Heart hurting sunny days

As I sit here inside the shop, keeping an eye on the weather outside and hoping for it not to rain, at least until after 3 this afternoon so that the blankets I have hang up this morning can be taken inside, I have an immense feeling of despair. I have been feeling like this for most of the week. The weather today, for most of it, has been splendorous. It is warm (20 degrees C is warm for New Zealand), the sun is shining, and apart from the clouds rolling in, the sky is crisp. Most days when the weather looks like today, I am in a cheerful mood, enjoying every minute of my day. But today I feel like crying.

This morning, in the kitchen baking with the kitchen windows wide open, over-looking our lush green back yard, letting the fresh spring air in and having the sunrays dancing on the dining room carpet, I found myself thinking how wonderful it would be if I could stay home. How much there is for me to do at home, how much has been neglected since I started working 55 hour weeks. I would have opened every window and sliding door to get a proper breeze throughout the house and let the magpies’ singing fill the house. I would have sorted, scrubbed, played my music, ironed (and I do NOT like ironing) and washed the delicate mountain of clothes.

Yes it my choice to have these working hours as we get our new part-time staff member on her feet. As a small family business we do what we can to help each other out. And obviously the additional income helps a lot towards our (first in 10 years) family holiday next year. It has only been 3 1/2 months but it feels like a life time!

Today I miss my friends. My lavender companion. Our house. Our dogs. Our random and spontaneous braais. Sitting outside in the shade with our kids when they were babies and toddlers, playing, laughing. I miss the connection with my family. Having Wimpy breakfasts with my sister. Secret Santa with our home group. Our church.

To have these memories are an absolute blessing, but today they hurt my heart.

Day 74 15 March – home


Home sweet home!

I bought this painted wooden sign while at the Silo markets in January. During the weekend I finally put it up, and it is one of the first things you see when you walk into our home.

Our house is definitely not a showcase home, but can at times be neat and tidy. The gardens, which we have too many of, is un-kept, things which I don’t have names for grows wildly and our “veggie” patch is a breeding ground for weeds. Our home itself is sometimes not a liveable place either. We have too many rooms and not enough packing space. I have been meaning to start a cleaning roster for EVERYONE in the house to receive chores which needs to be completed during the week.

We are currently still renting and I know it can be emotional to think back that 10 years ago we were home owners. We literally gave up everything to immigrate, but selling and moving on was essential to break all material ties to our home country. We had a large house, and a big corner section and we had plans for extending and changing the house. The kids would have grown up in that house, and it would have secured us a financial investment as a stepping stone to move up in the property market. But all those dreams came to a sudden halt when we decided to leave. I don’t think my head had enough time to make sense of it all. We put a lot of time and effort into re-doing the kitchen cupboards, painting and making the house look presentable to buyers. We had 2 unsuccessful open homes, until a lady came knocking on our door with an offer to purchase the house. From the time the offer came in and we sold, it couldn’t have been more than two weeks. We packed with the help of our amazing friends, kept our household goods that we didn’t sell in storage and moved in with my parents for 2 months before we flew out. Once we arrived in New Zealand we stayed with my sister and her family for 2 months before we moved into our first rental property.

I don’t regret immigrating, not for a second, but it would be nice to walk into a building that you know is yours to keep.

Home is where the heart is, and mine is just a little bit messy at the moment.




Day 72 13 March – totsiens

exclamation South African
  1. until we meet again; goodbye.

Today I hugged a dear friend farewell as she is bound to embark on her next adventurous journey. I met Dawn end-July last year when she came to work for the company I was with at the time. She had then only just arrived in New Zealand for a working holiday, after she left the UK for a year of travel. I was fascinated by her bravery for taking on such a leap and travel by herself across the world. She is a funny, witty, kind, humble, has heaps of stories to tell and I still can’t pronounce her surname 🙂


Dawn also has several tattoos and that was one of the things we had in common. When she saw my then 2 new tattoos on my forearms we started talking about where I had mine done, the reasons for having them and also why in such a visible place. She has one tattoo that is slightly visible, on her wrist, but she wears a thick dark strap so it is usually well hidden. She was unsure about having a tattoo that everyone else can see, but I told her that comes down to personal preference and it doesn’t matter where a tattoo is situated, as long as you are happy with it. A few weeks back to showed us her latest tattoo, one that symbolizes to her, her travels here in Australasia. Not only did she see almost every corner of New Zealand, but she had been to Australia and Fiji. And off course I love the position of it!

We have had many outings and visits together, accompanied by our mutual friend Sandra. And we always end up surrounded by food and drinks. She introduced me to a delightful Irish cherry cider and in return she had traditional, fresh biltong for the first time. We laughed, a lot!

I will surely miss having her around, but after her next 3 month exploration of East Asia she is going home. And I am sure her family will be all to glad to have her back safe with them.

Happy travels Dawn and may you add more memorable travelling tattoos.

18, and still counting.


7, the year standard you were when you entered our school and our lives.

1, the number of days it took for me to secretly fall madly in love with you.

3, the number of classes we had together: English, Biology and Registry.

2, the number of Judo Jnr World Championship titles you held.

2, the number of times we were dared by our friends to kiss each other in socially awkward moments.

0, the amount of times we actually followed through on these dares.

Too many to count, afternoons we trained together in our local gym, just as friends.

1, the number of chocolates we gambled on in support of each other’s weight loss/weight gain.

1, the number of times I won our chocolate gambled bets.

3, the number of dances we attended separately, with me wishing I was the one holding your hand.

1, the number of times we actually danced together.

18, the age you were when you decided to end your life.

4, the number of family members you left behind.

Too many to count, the number of people that attended your funeral.

12, the number of times you have haunted my dreams and filling me with a desperate hope.

18, the number of years it has been since that dreadful day.

You will stay forever 18, while we keep on counting the years without you.








Day 19 19th January – me time and 1st book review

It had been a horrible day weather wise. The south island received a lashing of gale force winds and rain and this weather bomb was making its way up north. Thankfully we only got the tail end of the storm as it made its way out, but none-the-least it was pouring down with rain. We shouldn’t complain though as it had been very hot and humid for the past week, and some areas were desperate for the rain. And living on a rural property where we do not get municipal water, we rely on the rain to fill the water tanks. So for that I can give a shout of “hallelujah”.

After doing the gymnastics run in the afternoon I had an hour to myself when I got home. I made myself a cup of ginger and lemon tea, curled up in bed and started reading a book I haven’t looked at since 2005, called Dis ek, Anna. It is an Afrikaans book and captures the story of Anna Bruwer: based on a true story she tells the readers about her life with great emphasis on an incredibly difficult time of her life. There are times you don’t want to continue reading as it is so raw and sad, but you are compelled to see how it all ends, her victory through it all (not that I think you can mentally escape such heartache and dreadful circumstances). There is an English translated version of the book called It’s me, Anna, and if you do choose to read it, be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster.


Reading the story again, 12 years later with a daughter of my own, the same age as the book’s character when these atrocities were happening, I struggled even more to turn the page. The realisation that a girl my daughter’s age had to go through it, not her doing but by the hands of someone else, made me cross. I was upset for her, I was upset with the perpetrator, I was upset with her mother. I read some reviews on the book and someone said that you will not find a place in the book to smile or laugh, but I did. The author writes it from the mouth of a child, then teenager and it is so innocent that you can’t help but smile when she thinks her mother has gone completely insane, or when she hopes her dad will punch the living daylights out of her bastard of a stepfather. I could hear my own daughter’s thoughts, see her actions and it made it so much more real for me.

Saying that this is one of my favourite Afrikaans books to read sounds a bit mean. It is certainly not because of its graphic and torturous content, but because of its simplicity. It reads easy with almost a limited use of vocabulary. The author literally takes you with her, into the bedroom, when she is with her best friend, even just playing around on the beach with her dog. You are there with her at all times. And the typical Afrikaans slang makes it authentic.

There is a follow up to the book, called Die staat teen Anna Bruwer (The State vs Anna Bruwer). The hunt is on to find, order and read it.


Day 12 12th January – running on empty

Today was not a good day. Not that anything bad happened, but more so that I am feeling unwell. Day 12 into the the new year and I feel like I’m ready to celebrate the end of the year. I have mentally prepared myself for the year ahead and am looking forward to what’s lurking behind each day hence the reason for starting my photo diary project, but on days like today I wish I had a fast forward button on life’s remote.

I had a terrible headache again and the humidity we’ve had for the past few days has depleted me. I have no energy and am exhausted by late morning. By the time I realized I haven’t taken my daily photo yet it was well into the early evening. Nothing exciting or worth mentioning happened during the day…what am I going to photograph now?!

I was in need of a home baked sugary treat. I noticed the rocky road jar on the side table in the lounge and realized my mistake for leaving it where my kids had access to it, as there was hardly any left. I looked into the jar and honestly felt like I was looking at the scraps of my day.


I still ate the largest piece…now it’s truly running on empty!

Recipe for this jolly good rocky road:

1 large slab each of 50% dark chocolate and white chocolate (I prefer Whittakers)

2 cups of marshmallows, cut in quarters

1 cup of turkish delights, cut in quarters

1 cup almonds

1 1/2 cups shortbread biscuits, broken into small pieces

Mix dry ingredients (except chocolate) and divide them into 2 separate mixing bowls. Place the dark chocolate over medium heat in glass bowl over saucepan. Do not let the water in saucepan touch the base of the glass bowl. Once melted, remove the glass bowl from heat and let it cool down slightly. Repeat the same process with the white chocolate. Add the cooled melted chocolate each to the dry ingredients. One mixing bowl will have the dry ingredients + melted dark chocolate and the other will have the dry ingredients + the white chocolate. First pour the white chocolate mixture into a prepared tin followed by the dark chocolate mixture on top. This will give it the ‘top deck’ effect. Place in fridge until set. Remove from tin and slice into desired edible sizes. Store in cool, dry area in an air tight container. Enjoy!