Posts Tagged ‘rituals’

I’ve got a name, I’ve got a name

It happened! It has taken 4 years but it finally happened! Someone called my name out loud here in North Vancouver!

It was one of those rare sunny Vancouver days and I ventured out for some supplies. I limit my visits to the supermarket as my mask is not my favourite piece of attire. Things need to match what I am wearing! I stopped off at the bakery for a Cape Seed loaf. Yes, it is the tried and tested South African recipe. It was brought across to Canada by an entrepreneur. It nestles on the shelves between the famous North American sourdoughs and the Italian ciabattas. It appears quite at home too…..

“Hi Anne, how are you doing?”

I spun round to see who else carried my name. After all there are not too many ‘Annes’ around. The ‘Anne’ being summoned was actually me! I could not hide my delight at hearing my name. I beamed. I felt quite idiotic that something so simple would bring me such joy. It is the simple things that pave the road of a newcomer with familiarity. But back to the name caller…….The lady was an estate agent that I had recently met in my favourite coffee haunt. We exchanged greetings and I noticed the astonished look on her face. She would not have understood the significance of my exuberance at being recognised. But I thought I would let that sit with her for a while and would explain that at a later date.

I have mentioned this before but I find it important to develop certain rituals when you arrive in a new place. One of them being a place you sit and have coffee. Canadians are very particular about their coffee. Once they have found one that they like, they will be loyal to the brand. While I prefer the smaller coffee shops, many other discerning Canadians do too. Initially the proprietor will begin to recognise you, then the barista and finally some of the patrons. This is when I start to feel like I belong……

Friends who met over a coffee…..

And I carry it on like my daddy did….

I am what they call here ‘a chatty Kathy.’ I love to engage with people even strangers. But Canadians, as a rule, are private people so one needs to be sensitive to that trait. There has to be an ‘aanknooppunt.’ I use this Afrikaans word as it describes this so well. (It means a point of connection) I usually sit outside on the sidewalk. It has become the preferred place especially since Covid. This is also where the dog lovers are allowed to congregate with their pooches. They will gladly share details about their canine family members. Often these conversations develop into a ‘coffee friendship’ where you exchange news each time you meet.

Once the coffee break was done it was back to the task at hand….supplies for the kitchen. But there was more to come. I rounded the next corner and bumped into my young insurance broker. He addressed me by name as well. I hear the cynics already….

“Of course he knows your name. It is in his best interest.”

I did not care. I knew that too. Twice in one day was no coincidence, my heart skipped a beat! This was my affirmation for sure. My tiny network is growing in North Vancouver even though it has taken 4 years!


Moving me down the highway, rolling me down the highway. Moving ahead so life won’t pass me by.

Exploring the forests here in North Vancouver.


Read Full Post »

From the day we arrive on this planet………

A robin has set up home under the eve outside our basement door. Initially she took flight each time I opened the door. Even a saunter past in the garden would put her defences up. That was 2 weeks ago and a lot has changed since then. Both Mr and Mrs Robin are doing stints of duty on the 3 dainty blue eggs. They appear to have built up enough trust or maybe the recurring pyjama drill has worn them down. They remain firmly ensconced in their nest while I carry out my daily gardening rituals. The keen observers now know my movements and my habits. I hope that they will choose my garden next summer!

The young robins….

It’s the circle of life……

The importance of having HISTORY with others was brought home to me yet again this week.  There is comfort in knowing you have both walked a similar road albeit for a short time in your life.

Whatever happened to …….?  There were so many questions and stories to tell and much to catch up. Both of us had moved countries so there was recent common ground too. Oh how wonderful it felt to sit and talk to someone who actually knew who I was in my ‘other life.’! We all need that sense of commonality with others as it reminds us what it is like to experience ‘the familiar.’  Shared memories are triggered by the familiar idiosyncrasies that have long been forgotten. We experience this when we get together with old friends or those that just feel like ‘old friends.’ There is comfort when you have walked a road with someone. They know where you come from, have experienced some of your highlights and sad moments and just know all your ‘streke!’

A visit from a friend….

Till we find our place on the path unwinding…..

Although the feeling of having your ‘old’ history brought home to you is comforting, it is essential that you create new history with the people you meet and the new places that you discover. I enjoy creating new rituals too. This can take the form of something simple like having a regular coffee bar.  The barista smiles as she recalls your order, “One shot latte coming up!”’ You might take it one step further and have your favourite spot near the window. This is where you observe the world go by. How basic is our need to belong?

Relocation means creating new history and a new friendship circle. In order to do this I need to don my brave hat and put myself out there! I am embarrassingly spontaneous so I just let this happen. If I feel the urge to talk to someone, then I simply do! Sometimes I get a strange look but I don’t let that deter me. You just need to find the common ground and then you have a jumping off point.

Would you like to join me for coffee after class?

Coffee with a friend along the sea walk….

Unfortunately I have been remiss. This blog was started during the summer but the amazing weather did not allow me to complete it. I was too busy creating new history! My computer could not compete with long walks along the seafront and my summer garden. But the Vancouver rain has come and we all pull our rain jackets from the back of the cupboard. I am getting used to the rhythm and what to expect here on the west coast of Canada..

It is the Circle of Life.

 And it moves us all

Through despair and hope

Through faith and love

Till we find our place

 On the path unwinding

The twins making history together…..




Read Full Post »

I am a ‘lady of leisure’ propped up against my plumped up cushions and with a cup of English Breakfast tea at my side. What can I say? I am a lazy little cow! Well, this is how I feel. I am forced to ‘take it easy’ as I recently had a bit of surgery all in the quest to maintain health and to keep mobile. The anesthetic has hit me for a six and I have spent most of the weekend trying to unscramble my dreams. They range from weekends spent on the farm in the Karoo and Lowveld to shopping trips to the Fourways Mall. One’s brain is such an interesting piece of machinery and it is fascinating what thoughts are unearthed when it is forced into submission for a while. All these amazing memories are stacked away just waiting to be drawn upon and savoured once more.The Lonehill Koppie

So I have the luxury today of just recalling some of those special moments spent in Africa. The pictures are vivid in my memory…… green wine lands and those majestic Stellenbosch Mountains, the grey ‘ganna bossies’ of the Karoo in the evening light and the lush forests of Toehill Farm. The memories of my dear Lonehill Koppie are crisp. I recall my last climb of its colossal boulders and the breath taking view from the top as if it were yesterday. The wonderful thing is, that as time goes by, I can relive these moments without feeling too sad.

A rare moment with lion cubs.

I get these gentle reminders of how the Universe is connected, no matter where we live on this planet. That fact alone is comforting when one is so far away. On Saturday a local robin discovered the bird bath that we had placed in the back garden under the trees.  It was one of the things that arrived in one piece after it had made its journey across the sea in the container. Many of the earthenware pots had not taken the wave motion quite as well! Our robin splashed about and washed off all his winter grit. His red breast glistened against the backdrop of the spring blossoms. I was reminded of his cousin back in Africa, the Olive Thrush; he had followed the same rituals during those long hot summers.

We had a taste of a warm summer evening last night and walked down to the lake. The evenings are light till late into the night so we get to enjoy them. The men in my house practiced their long forgotten cricket throws, as they skimmed smooth pebbles across the water. I perched on a nearby bench and watched a front approach across the lake. The ducks and swans were feeding and some got in the last bit of their socializing before the light failed. Small groups of summer bugs were out discovering the delights of the yellow dandelions and the blue forget- me- nots.  
It was time to go and get back on the bed with my feet up. I am going to indulge myself with more memories, as soon I will be up and hopefully  ‘dancing on the ceiling’ once more.

On Toehill Farm


Read Full Post »