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I’m tired of being afraid

There have been times in my life when I was brave.

Like in matric when I decided to face my stage fright and try out for the school play. I got a part – not a very glamorous one, but a part nonetheless – and even did a bit of improv when my onstage husband missed his cue and left me in the lurch.

Or that one family Christmas when I punched my acrophobia in the gut and leaped into a river from a high rock. The beauty of the waterfall thundering close by and the pristine sandy white beach and the cheering faces of cousins and brother and aunts and uncles and mom and dad won out over the wobbly knees and racing heart.

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10 Obsessions of a pre-teen girl circa the late ’90s

Blink 182 recently released a new album and you know what came with it? A flood of nostalgia.

Since hearing the first strains of California a few weeks ago, I’ve caught myself reminiscing ever so often – about my childhood, which has left me feeling intensely grateful for how uncomplicated it was (thank you mom and dad) and also about my teen years, which has left me feeling intensely embarrassed about how angsty I was most of the time. Dang, if only I knew how good life was back then!

I guess retrospect is a good teacher. It has certainly reminded me that living lightly and being happy is so much more rewarding than getting stuck in a rut of negative moods and emotions.

It has also brought to mind some of the quaint hobbies, activities and fashion obsessions that occupied my mind in that vulnerable slice of time between being a child and becoming a fully-fledged teenager. That awkward year or two of discovering just how very wide the world was and how strange it could be to find your place in it.

Here’s a little snapshot of things that tickled my fancy back then… maybe you can relate:

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An itinerary for my brain on its 3am adventures

3am – Depart from the land of Fitful Sleep for a short excursion into Wakefulness en route to the Republic of Deep Sleep.

3.20am – Train delayed due to howling winds outside? No problem! While away the time by exploring the popular after-hours district of Existential Dread.

3.30am – Enjoy a lengthy trip down the dark side of highly acclaimed Memory Lane with its spectacular display of neon billboards flashing all your worst, weakest, meanest and most embarrassing moments.

3.45am – Since the latter normally proves to be particularly gripping, we highly recommend taking the time to investigate the extensive exhibits on display in the Museum of Awkwardness.

4:15am – That was fun right? Well it could hardly match what happens next: a continuous replay of the scariest moment from the FIRST AND ONLY scary movie you EVER watched, followed by the renowned What Was That Noise?! rollercoaster ride.

4:45am – Head down to Blues Beach and take a languid swim in the Sea of Comparison. This ancient site of emotional torture will have you weighing up your life, looks, personality and intelligence against every other human you have ever known… and particularly those you don’t, in no time whatsoever!

5:15am – By now you would have worked up quite the appetite! Quench your thirst with the legendary Self Doubt cocktail while indulging in a platter of the choicest selection of What Ifs.

5:45am – After a jam-packed adventure in Wakefulness, it’s finally time to head on to the Republic of  Deep Sleep.

6:30am – Curse the alarm clock and come up with the groggy idea to write this silly blog post. Also vow to steer clear of the District of Existential Dread on the next excursion into Wakefulness, planning to opt instead for a wander down the Lane of Love and a top-down drive along the Coast of Contentment, cruising back along the Happiness Highway.

Any insomniacs out there who can relate or is it just me?

 

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Ice Cream sandwiches in Sea Point

I’d heard about ice cream sandwiches before, but never really paid them much attention.

The picture I had in my mind was that ice lolly you buy when you can’t afford the big guns – Magnum and Mega and even Fruttare: a rectangular slab of vanilla ice cream encased in two crispy wafers. Relatively uninspiring, but icy and creamy enough to suffice as a substitute for deliciousness on really hot days.

So, when my cousin, Nikola called me up one afternoon to ask whether I wanted to go for an ice cream sandwich at Crumbs & Cream, this new place in Sea Point, I was slightly skeptical.

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How to know if you’re suffering from phantom cat syndrome

I have a cat. His name is Sandokan. He’s a big, fat tabby that weighs in at around 8kg with a temper to match his size. Everyone’s scared of him, including me. Despite his unexpected swipes and frequent hand mauls, I really do love him. And miss him a lot… because, you see, he doesn’t live with me.

I got him in 2009 when he was just a tiny kitten with big ears, big eyes and a tiny belly and I was in the last phase of writing my thesis. For about six months we lived in bliss, him frequently launching his mini feline body across the room and skidding along the highlighted pages carefully arranged on my bed or desk; me, in turn, insisting on constant cuddles that would cramp his tiny style. We got on each other’s nerves, but always made up just in time for him to find a cozy spot on my head/face/neck to sleep while I lay in meditative shavasana so as not to disturb his delicate rest.

At the end of that year I got an amazing internship opportunity that would send me careering off across the country – from Cape Town to Joburg to Port Elizabeth, and back to Joburg and Cape Town again – for the whole of 2010. There was (and still is) nothing Sandokan hates more than a road trip, so it became obvious that our paths would have to split for those twelve months. I put him in foster care with my parents in Betty’s Bay, comforting myself with the knowledge that he had a huge backyard to play around in, fynbos to explore, field mice to pester and birds to dream of catching.

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Sandokan boss

A short list of things freelancing has taught me… so far

It’s been just over four months since I set out from the safe harbour that was my stable job as a content producer for a well-respected media house into the wild waters of freelance writing.

While I wouldn’t say resigning was a spur of the moment decision by any means, it certainly was a 1-2-3-JUMP, now-or-never kind of thing. I’d felt a change in the tide of my life and knew it was time to take a definitive step instead of just waiting for the restlessness to abate, even though I didn’t have too much of a plan in place.

Apparently this isn’t an altogether alien occurrence among those about to clock over into their 30s and my friend, Leandra, even told me its name: a Saturn Return.

Wikipedia explains it as follows: “The phenomenon is described by Western astrologers as influencing a person’s life development at roughly 29.5 year intervals, though the planetary influence may be felt for a few years before the exact conjunction… These intervals or ‘returns’ coincide with the approximate time it takes the planet Saturn to make one orbit around the sun, roughly 29.5 years.”

While I find astrology to be little more than light entertainment served up among the gossip and self-help articles in glossy magazines, I have to admit that this Saturn Return theory sounded rather spot on, especially since my big decision came exactly – almost to the day – at 29.5 years of age.

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A short list of things I saw on the Sea Point promenade lately that made me smile

The other day I felt a little cooped up in my flat after a long day of working from home and decided to go for a walk along the sea. I also happened to have had an awfully ‘fat day’, so the intended stroll snowballed into a spontaneous jog-walk combo (to my surprise), measured in landmarks – from the Winchester Mansions Hotel to the seal-shaped bench {walk} from the far side of Three Anchor Bay to the big glasses {walk} etc.

While huffing and puffing along, I somehow still managed to catch snatches of conversation, pretty scenes and poignant interactions that made me smile (and even cry a little bit on the inside) at how very saturated with life those ephemeral moments in-between are.

I’ve written about my love for the Sea Point promenade once before, about my deep-seated fascination with the unfiltered expressions of humanness that play themselves out there and decided it was time to share some of my most recent observations.

So, here’s a short list of the things I saw on the promenade the other day that squeezed my heart:

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The sad reality of being a sucker for succulents

Get succulents, they said. They’re soooooo easy to look after, they said. And practically impossible to kill. You will see, succulent gardening is a breeze – even in a tiny flat. Especially in a tiny flat!

Well, guess what? Here I am with a whole lot of dead succulents on my hands and I swear it’s not my fault!

I mean, it’s not like I didn’t try. I planted them in the choicest terracotta pots. Placed them where they would be able to soak up the golden sunshine that streams in every afternoon. Dripped tiny drops of water onto their plump leaves every few days. Talked to them. Loved them. Played them Bach suites and North Indian classical music.*

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By Nadia Krige

Of Fynbos and fires and how beautiful things rise from the ashes

A fire had been raging in the mountains above Grootvadersbosch just outside Heidelberg in the Hessequa region of the Western Cape for a good 24 hours when we happened to meet one of the farmers who had been battling the blaze.

He sat down next to us at a table that had been stylishly laid for the GVB Concervancy’s AGM and let out an almost inaudible sigh. I had spotted him earlier, peering out the window, watching that mesmerising red glow in the distance, murmuring messages into a two-way radio.

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