Day 72 13 March – totsiens

totsiens
tɒtˈsiːns/
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 🙂

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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.

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18, and still counting.

class-of-98

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 43 12 February – bbb (buzzy bumble bee)

Today I spend the afternoon with my two lovely friends and previous work mates (the same vibrant ladies from my entry Gourmet Pizza) and once again they provided entertainment and a sense of acceptance. We went to the Howick Historical Village for a venture back in time during the fencible period, when the Royal New Zealand Fencible Corps was posted in Howick to defend the area against possible attacks. Volunteers dress up and act out how life would have been for the settlers and soldiers. There are 33 houses or sites to visit and even though the grounds are not very big, you almost feel as if you are intruding on their land and way of living. It is a fascinating event and one I would love to take my children to.

One of the sites you can visit is the main homestead, which is a magnificent old villa with all its original interior kept in tact. When we walked into the living room I imagined the room filled with neutral floral hoop dresses, awaiting young gentlemen on the dance floor, while a musician played a popular classical piece on the piano. You are surrounded by 1800 ambience and it is bone chilling realism.

During our walk through the village, my eye caught an unfamiliar plant and flower. While I was admiring the plant, I noticed a bumble bee waste deep into the open flower covered in pollen droplets and thoroughly enjoying his sweet feed. It was too precious not to take a photo. The bee was oblivious to the giant imposter and happily carried on with his pollen collecting duties.

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After our village visit we took a drive to the marina where we ate at one of my favourite eating places called Grangers. I chose the potato skins with parmesan, porcini and truffles and accompanied with passionfruit and feijoa cider. Oh wow, this was the first time I’ve had truffles and I LOVE the smokey, woody taste. It transform a dish giving it a depth of bursting flavours, like woodland fairies dancing on your tongue. The marina is buzzing from excitable visitors, everyone enjoying good food and even better company. We ate, drank and laughed.

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But still, how cute is that tubby bumble bee!

 

Day 21 21 January – peacan pie

It’s early Saturday morning and I’m at my usual hang-out spot…work. Routine kicks in: open the cash registers, the POS system, sort the shelves and the meat cabinet, take out produce from the fridges, hang the biltong. While taking meat out of the back fridges my eye caught a white plate with a slice of peacan pie on it. My first thought was that the lady who works with me must have brought it in yesterday but forgotten to eat it. I go on with my work as per usual. When she arrived at the shop, she told me that a friend of mine brought me the slice of peacan pie yesterday shortly after I left to go to my parents’ shop. I asked which friend because unfortunately I don’t have many. She said “Sandra I think”. My heart filled with so much appreciation and love. Sandra is a dear friend who I met while working at my previous work (the one I resigned from due to the tremendous workload and stress). She was my team leader and also a South African. We come from very different back grounds as she is a coloured lady from Durban and was brought up within a Hindu community. She is a few years older than me but never makes me feel like I am the young, inexperienced one. She always praise your work with positive reinforcement. She loves life and it is a pleasure to be in her company.

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By bringing me this slice of peacan pie she immediately placed a value on our friendship, made me feel appreciated and loved. She did what I am focusing on this year, uplifting those around me.

Much love to you all, and take some time today to enjoy a slice of pie. I know I did!

Day 10 10th January – my happy place

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Two things I love, baking and giving. And what better time to give than on someone’s birthday. A lovely friend of mine celebrated her birthday today, and as a small surprise I baked her some of her favourite biscuits of mine; mixed nuts and white chocolate. I placed the freshly baked biscuits in a glass jar, tied ribbon around it and in hand took the time to drop it off at her place late afternoon.

This year I want to pay attention to the lovely women in my life. It has always been hard to do living so far away from many of them, as most of my dearest and closets friends are in South Africa, and unfortunately the postal services there is unreliable. But treating them on their birthdays is certainly something I am going to do.

 

Day 8 8th January – braai

Similar to my first photo entry (potjie), a braai usually symbolizes fellowship, visiting for hours on end, laughter and sharing food. For those who are not familiar with this term, here is a quick definition:

The word braai (pronounced “bry”, rhyming with the word “cry”; or plural braais) is Afrikaans for “barbecue” or “roast” and is a social custom in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. It is an open fire barbeque, not gas. It originated with the Afrikaner people, but has since been adopted by South Africans of many ethnic backgrounds.

We invited some friends over today for a braai, and from what I could tell they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We sat outside enjoying the late summer afternoon sun, drinks in hand. We introduced them to boerewors, a traditional South African sausage best cooked on a braai. We made the most of our time together. The cooled down coals and ash from the braai is a testament of an afternoon and evening well spend.

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*oh, and we taste tested the French Plum cake from my plumlicious entry for dessert, and it is certainly one of my new favorite cakes! The plums are tart but the orange syrup I made to accompany it broke the tartness with a golden, sweet, citrus goodness*

Day 3 3rd January – gourmet pizza

I was invited to a friends place for dinner. We worked together a few months back but she’s the type of person who befriends you for life. She also invited some of her current work colleagues, as well as a mutual friend. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these new acquaintances, but more so spending time with my 2 friends. They are both story telling, laugh at yourself, free spirits. And I adore them for that.

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The third photo for my dairy is of one of the pizzas she brought home, a spicy vegetarian jalapeño pizza. Now I’m not a fan of spicy food. I don’t mind a mild (ever so slightly) spicy. Foolishly I thought that if I remove the jalapeño from the pizza then I’ll be alright, but NO! Whichever part of the pizza the chilli touched, was as spicy as eating the chilli itself. The inside of my mouth was on fire and my lips felt like they were bleeding, and then went numb. She didn’t have any milk so I resorted to drinking half a glass of cider. Bad move! The bubbles from the cider felt like acid stripping my skin bit-by-bit. It took 15 minutes to get sensation back in my lips.

I have learned a valuable lesson from this: I will go back to the pizzeria for their butterchicken pizza (finger licking good), but I will NEVER order a spicy vegetarian jalapeño pizza nor attempt to eat one.

New beginnings, new adventures, aye?!