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Archive for November, 2014

 

It is a strange feeling to come back to a country where you once lived and you aware that you are now a visitor. The advantage being that you savour all that was once familiar……the African sunsets, a late thunderstorm and the warmth of friends. 

As a ‘visitor’ I took the shuttle service up to Sandton City, one of the largest shopping centres in the Southern Hemisphere. I climbed up the staircase and was greeted by the massive statue of our great Mr. Nelson Mandela. He has such presence even in bronze. I was one of many who had stopped at his feet to gaze up at him. The square was adorned with a touch of Africa. Wired Baobab Christmas trees glistened in the warm sun and the colourful ethnic fabric strips flapped in the breeze. The favourite shops beckoned but my first port of call was Woolies. The hours flew by and soon I was armed with all the things that I had on my shopping list. Success! It was now time to head back to the hotel. I decided to connect up with the convenient hotel shuttle again. 

A wire replica of this magnificent tree stood proud in the square.

A wire replica of this magnificent tree stood proud in the square.


Taxi! Taxi! The men shouted up at me as I waited patiently for my shuttle service back to the hotel. I assured them that I did not require their services although after an hour and a half of waiting, I was not so sure.

“Are you in any kind of trouble?”  A kind young man had noticed that I had been standing in the same place for rather a long time.
I must have had that ‘gatvol’ expression on my face or maybe it was desperation as my feet where killing me! I explained that I was waiting for my lift. He apologised that he could not assist me as he was on his motor bike and he did not have his extra helmet with him. I could imagine myself perched on the back laden with all my parcels.
But the kind young man was not about to leave me stranded.
“Why don’t you use a taxi?” He beckoned towards the eager faces
‘I am nervous to use my credit card here in a taxi.” I had run out of cash with all my purchases.
The young man scratched his head. He was determined to solve my problem for me.
“Your next option would be to use a Tuk Tuk.”
Why not? I have never been in one of those and I could do with ‘a bit of wind in my face’ after all the crowds in the shops!

My Tuk Tuk chariot......

My Tuk Tuk chariot……

My negotiation with the Tuk Tuk driver was futile. All I had was a R20 note and he insisted on R25. So for a measly R5 I was back where I started! I dragged my packets back with heavy feet. What do I do next?
Just then Sir Galahad came round the corner on his motor bike. Did I have an angel looking after me today or what? I was embarrassed but out came his wallet. We did a quick exchange of currency, my Canadian dollars for his Rand. There was no end to his kindness and I managed to thank him by his name this time.

I raced round the corner and the said Tuk Tuk driver looked across at me warily. I think he thought that I was about to begin round two of my freebie negotiation. The fee changed hands and my plight was about to end…..well so I thought. I dived into the back of the little bubble of a Tuk Tuk. It was quite rickety and was open at the sides. I positioned my legs like a giraffe at a drinking hole hoping that it might stabilize me. I began to have serious doubts about this ride. My driver jumped in and drove with purpose. We flew around corners and darted in and out of traffic. I giggled nervously and pushed my feet harder into the floor boards.
“Oh my hat! What have I let myself in for?”

My gallant driver ......

My gallant driver ……


Suddenly my imagination ran riot. I knew that if he took the right hand lane at the next intersection, he would be taking me into the dodgy part of town. My mind recollected all that was in my handbag….passports, credit cards, and an air ticket. I was a sitting duck! I called upon my angels to watch over me and scolded myself at the same time for being such a fool. I should have known better.

The driver took the safe route and calmness descended on me.
I felt carefree and noticed the purple jacarandas along the way. He screamed up to the entrance of the hotel and I clambered out….I straightened my skirt and flicked my scarf back over my shoulder.

Not my most glamorous exit but certainly the most relieved!

 

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I’m 15 for a moment

Caught in between 10 and 20……

My gaze followed the shape of the giant Stellenbosch Mountain that etched itself against the clear blue sky. It stood out in front of me as I walked up through the vineyards close to my house.

I often wandered there in those teenage years as I contemplated my future. Some of these thoughts were not profound as I would often merely dream about the weekend that lay ahead. It was a wonderful place to grow up! There were trips to the beach with friends, gatherings on the local farms and often a ‘braaivleis’ in the backyard. Whatever the activity, it was always sociable and usually outdoors. The breeze rustled the pine trees close by as my feet echoed over the sodden earth. I do remember those Cape winters with all that rain!

Camping 'hippie' style

Camping ‘hippie’ style

I’m 22 for a moment

And she feels better than ever….

The giant Table Mountain towers above me as I drive my mini along De Waal Drive. I am adept at taking those corners at quite a speed. My little car hugs the edges while I gaze across Table Bay. Huge ships from far away places dwarf our Table Bay basin. The flags of Norway, the United States and Great Britain flutter in the South Easter and I envisage myself visiting these places one day…….one day.

 Life was careering along at quite a pace. The years of studying were complete and I became involved in the demands of a teaching post. There was seldom a free moment but that did not take away any of the joy of imparting knowledge and hopefully teaching some life skills to eager faces along the way. There was much abundance in so many areas of my life. But we learnt to cope with less and had to wait for ‘things.’  Still don’t know how I managed to rent, eat and live on a teacher’s salary! But we did it…..life was simple and we were happy to entertain ourselves.  There was time for a long walk along the beach at Kommetjie and there were sunsets across Sea Point to enjoy……usually with a glass of red wine.

A new teacher.....

A new teacher…..

I’m 33 for a moment

Still the man, (woman) but you see I’m a ‘they’……

The Pilanesburg Mountains stood silhouetted against the morning Highveld sky. There are plenty of happy thoughts that fill my head.

The joy of parenthood has certainly been a highlight in my life. The wonder of watching a little being develop into an adult fills me with awe. I take ownership and delight in their strengths and their weaknesses. They are manifestations of one of my purposes here on this earth…… ‘Go forth and multiply.’ My 3 beautiful sons chose me as their mom.

While all this growing up was going on, I was also trying to establish my career as a teacher. It was a busy time with us flying down the William Nicoll Highway to school. The little blond heads bobbed at the back of the car complete with a mobile breakfast. Sometimes one was still dressed in pajamas! The world had moved just a bit too fast for the brain that morning! On reflection, the world was spinning just a tad too quickly for me as well. But it still brought me joy, intrigue and a feeling of accomplishment.

A new mom....

A new mom….

I’m 45 for a moment
The sea is high…….

 The ‘Koppie’ stands proud as our bastion.

 It grounded us for many years in Lonehill as we walked up to the top and gazed out across ‘our world.’ This is when life got interesting! We juggled 2 sons actively involved in their senior years while we still had one just starting out. Waterpolo games, cricket matches and a band rehearsal were all part of the day. Somewhere in between I had to fit in my after school commitments! We adjusted after school meetings and rushed from one side of Johannesburg to the other. Life was busy but so productive. There were times when I felt stretched but I loved it! There was purpose and I felt like I made a contribution to the lives of my pupils. It was a hugely satisfying time.

'Our Koppie' in Lonehill

‘Our Koppie’ in Lonehill

 

Half time goes by

Suddenly you’re wise……

Our Koppie still stands steadfast as we enjoy the wonders that live and grow beneath it.

This was a time to question where we were at and where we were going. There were bumps and falls but we got up and carried on. We kept our family close and learnt many lessons. Forever changed by the events of our 50’s we savoured the gift of wisdom and forgiveness. But our journey was by no means over, we still had a new adventure which lay ahead….. the GROOT TREK to Canada was about to begin.

Another blink of an eye

67 is gone…….

I see no mountain! Instead we have the immense and fascinating Ontario Lake. It stretches on into the distance like a sea. It is fickle with huge waves that crash against the lighthouse and breakwater. Other days it is like a pond, still and mirror like. I watch the reflection of the Canadian geese as they fly down south for the winter. Is the lack of mountain indicative of the ‘no more mountains to climb?’

One thing is for sure….there is still so much to discover and learn.

A new country to explore...

A new country to explore…

 

Hey 15, there’s never a wish better than this
When you only got a hundred years to live……

 

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