Day 87 28 March – dawn

Today the kids have an outdoor adventure awaiting them as they are going snorkelling at Goat Island. They had to be at school by day break as the bus trip is approximately 2 1/2 hours. On my way back home from dropping them off, the sun was just peeking over the hills. Have you notices how soft yet striking the first sunrays are when it hits earth? It highlighted our trees that stand tall along our driveway and I couldn’t drive past with out taking some photos. It is obvious how the garden is taking shape, changing from summer to autumn. I walked around the garden a little while longer and saw some interesting seed pods forming. Everything seemed fresh and ready for the day ahead.

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Nature is truly inspirational.

Day 86 27 March – a girl can dream

 

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There is a travel agent inside the shopping centre where our one shop is, and I walk passed their display area adored with colourful travel magazines every day. What a tease!

I have been thinking about travelling for most of my adult life. I have never personally been in a financial position to do it and was too scared after leaving school to pursue it. My first time EVER to leave the shores of South Africa and fly in an aeroplane was in 1999 when my uncle and I visited my aunt and her family in Australia. The trip was more of a positive affirmation from my parents if my rehabilitation at the time is received well. I believe it was during this trip that my fascination over other cultures and food kicked in. I started dreaming of all the amazing and hidden places there are to discover.

The second time I left South Africa was on my honeymoon at age 23, and funny enough this was my husband’s first time in an aeroplane so you could imagine his excitement! We spent a week in Mauritius.

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Mauritius is a whirlwind paradise. As tourist you get to explore, relax, eat fresh local and very tasty produce and feel your worries ease away. But after spending a day out and about with our tour guide, seeing the locals and their poorly built villages and almost non existing road infrastructures, you come to realize the poverty that riddles through this paradise. Their main source of income is based on sugar cane exports and they rely heavily on tourism. We had one taxi driver/tour guide who dedicated all his time to us. Every morning he will be waiting for us outside our hotel, asking where we would like to go next. He was very friendly and spoke with pride of his land and people.

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The third and final time I boarded a plane to go overseas was at age 27 when we immigrated. We have spend 9 years to re-built our lives, so there is no finances dedicated to travelling. We have been fortunate to explore some of New Zealand, both the North and South Islands.

My travelling bucket list consists of:

  • Lisse Netherlands to visit Keukenhof
  • Provence France to see the lavender farms
  • New York City to take a walk in Central Park and visit Carlo’s Bakery
  • Rural Italy to visit small villages such as Treviso and Sovanato, experience the Blue Grotto and see the coastline of Amalfi Coast
  • Canada to see Niagara Falls and visit any of the breathtakingly large parks bordering the Rocky Mountains.

I would also like to take a short cruise to our neighbouring islands, such as Fiji, Tonga, Samoa or New Caledonia. The idea of being vulnerable on the open waters and my immense fear of drowning makes this travel plan a little more challenging, but hey, you only live once!

The world is at our fingertips, lets go and explore.

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Day 85 26 March – bella

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Our only pet (if you don’t count our only surviving chicken as one), is a hand-raised cockatiel named Bella. We bought Bella approximately 6 years ago when she was merely a few months old. She is our first pet since we immigrated. Well kinda. My daughter did get a goldfish for her 5th birthday from my sister, but Goldie lived a full 6 months before she went to goldfish heaven. We gave her a full burial and service as per my daughter’s request.

Bella adores my husband. I have never seen a bird bond with a human as much as she does with him. Growing up my mom always had canaries and budgies, but apart from singing and/or screeching all day long, they were not tame and never came out of their cage. So seeing Bella be almost human-like is such a treat. She’s in her cage during the night and when we are not home, but other than that she is out. She owns the living areas, the large coach is her private grooming facility and the cushions her bed. We all know when my husband comes home because the minute she hears his car door open she starts chirping, LOUDLY. And when he walks in, she comes running (literally) to greet him. When he moves, she moves. When he eats, she eats. She is very curious and when she hears a potato chip bag crinkle or popcorn being munched, she comes over to steal some. She also hides from anything that moves outdoors, usually behind the dining room table legs.

She is so very special to us all, and we couldn’t imagine our household without her.

Day 84 25 March – horror

A few months back I noticed the advertisement for Horror, a stage production from the Jakop Ahlbom Company, which pays homage to the horror-movie genre and will show during the Auckland Arts Festival. I jumped at the opportunity to see this piece of work and booked 2 tickets, one each for myself and my husband, and it is yet another excuse to spend an evening in Auckland city.

Tonight is the night! We took the train in as coincidentally this is the same weekend Adele is performing in Auckland. The roads would be manic and you save a lot of time and money using public transport. We took the train into Britomart, and took a short 15 minute walk to the Civic Theatre and Aotea Square. The streets were alit, lively and packed with city goers. There are a few small eateries opposite Aotea Square and we decided on Shawarmas and burgers. The food was so tasty and extremely filling. After dinner we slowly made our way to the Civic Theatre where a large crowd gathered inside. I knew the show is very popular but I honestly didn’t think that so many people would attend. We each got a drink, made a quick stop at the restrooms as we were warned that once they close the doors you will not be allowed to exit, or re-enter.

Walking into the theatre feels like a step back in time. The décor is a famous example of the atmospheric theatre style in which lights and design were used to convey an impression of being seated in an outdoor auditorium at night, creating the illusion of an open sky complete with twinkling stars. I feel like I should be dressed in Shakespearean style clothing watching Romeo and Juliet unfold. We took our seats and awaited the opening with anticipation.

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What an amazing, well constructed and immensely clever show. There were so many tricks that leaves you wondering how did they do it without the gadgets and camera work of an actual movie. The sound is intense, you feel how your seat vibrates with each beat. The actors/actresses do not speak one word (apart from a single ‘Hallo’ during one of the scenes). Spoiler alert, there is blood! And lots of it. The show was 1h20m long but surely didn’t feel like it. It has you in its clutches throughout and I personally jumped a few times, but there is a bit of humour worked into it to break the intensity. You can get a sneak peak here.

Once the show was over, we leisurely walked back. We made a quick stop at Starbucks and with drinks in hand made it back to the train station. It was such an adventurous night out, one for the memory bank.

 

Day 83 24 March – gratitude

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Today I received a card from my friend who left New Zealand a short while ago to finish her travels before she heads home. It was such a lovely surprise and it made me feel such gratitude towards our friendship.

I was reminded again, through this small gesture, of how important it is to be surrounded by people who add value to your life, who will walk an extra mile with you and who still thinks of you even though you are apart. I am truly grateful to have met some amazing people throughout my 36 years on earth. But I have also learned that unfortunately not everyone has good intentions. We need to cut ties with those who munipulates, distracts, adds negativity and do not have our best interests at heart. It certainly isn’t an easy thing to do and I had often kept ‘friends’ around out of guilt and not wanting to hurt their feelings or be portrayed as the bad one.

I remember how I had a huge friendship group while in primary school. Honestly, we could have formed our own gang. I was never bullied, never exchanged bad words to anyone or felt that I didn’t get along with any of the children in my year group. After primary school the majority of us moved to the same highschool while others went to a technology focused highschool. It was interesting seeing how these friendships from primary school soon withered as we formed new friendships. All of my newly formed friends were students from other primary schools. I still had contact with the boys who attended the technology school and we got together on a regular basis, whether it was to go to the movies, each others birthday parties or to the drive-in.

I went to university a year after highschool and attended one of its local campuses. All of my friends had since moved on from highschool, most going to universities in the larger cities and others started working. A small handful travelled overseas and had since settled in places such as the UK, Italy, Brazil. My university friends had become my family. We have been through so much together: engagements, weddings, stork teas, our children’s births, birthdays. And today it’s them who I treasure.

I think with age comes a sense a responsibility towards yourself.

 

Day 82 23 March – messy Thursday

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Thursdays seem to be the get-your-hands-dirty-and-make-sosaties day. This is one part of my job I really don’t like. It is time consuming, the meat is freezing cold and I often poke my fingers with the sosatie sticks!

Sosaties are basically kebabs or meat skewers. We make them from marinated beef and add chunks of capsicum and red onion. They are ideal to cook on an open fire and I serve them with a couscous salad. This is just one of the many fresh meat products we sell in our shop.

I love my traditional South African roots!