bugger that

We had an interesting moment yesterday. Well, I thought it was. It interests me how subtly the girls are changing. Kate had a secondary music recital thing … we as parents were asked to bring something along for afternoon tea. Because I always was the woman in “I don’t know how she does it“, Alison Pearson’s book, not the movie, cos I loved the book and hated the movie, except I never pretended my shop bought cakes and cookies and things were homemade (I never had enough time and quite frankly didn’t give a damn). Anyway, so I thought I would make something for Kate to take (not sure whether to absolve my latent guilt or because I’m bored) … and I thought I would do those fab cheese puffs from Lynn’s mom that both my girls love. Kate was horrified. Why are we taking anything? We’ll be the only ones. And anyway why can’t you just buy a packet of biscuits? And if you (must) make something why does it have to be something South African with melted bovril (didn’t have marmite, Lynn) and butter drizzled over fabulously crisp cheese scones with a soft melted cheesy centre.  I mean, nobody here knows bovril. It will be weird. Ergo I will be weird. I will be noticed. I will stand out and god forbid that happens. So, I settled on shop bought donuts, which I did arrange on a lovely muted 70’s green serviette and serving platter. Thank god for the other mum who brought the dainty tray of cupcakes or else I would have been the only one and then could you imagine how mortified my daughter would have been. What is with that? Is it a secondary we’re so cool thing, or is it a “don’t stand out” australian thing or is it a combination?? And why does nobody bring anything in? Is it just a we couldn’t be bothered who really cares kind of thing? Well, stuff it, we will still bring in our offerings, no matter how depleted. Because that’s us. And damn my girls need to be proud to stand up. Even if they are the only ones. And anyway, my donuts were eaten within seconds.

one hundred and sixteen

I am grateful for a quick coffee that lasts a morning. For time spent with an honest, authentic, inspiring but most importantly what you see is what you get friend. And consistently so. It is very reassuring to share truth with someone who respects honesty and sharing as much as I do.  And who uses the word ‘shame’ as much as I do too.


We went to a wonderful fresh food, trendy, vintage clothing market cum foody space in Braamfontein today. Wonderful to be there, to see it and to feel the air of acceptance, living togetherness and simply getting on with it air I have felt this visit. But what really made me pause was when a complete stranger asked us what we thought of the skirt she was trying on as her mom hated it, and when another stranger told Kate how gorgeous she looked in the top she was trying on and continued to chat to her about her life for a good five minutes. Kate afterwards said how lovely she was, but wasn’t that a bit odd. That lady chatting to her like that. To me it wasn’t. But to Kate it was, because she isn’t used to it anymore. The funny thing is it’s not odd here. South African women are open and we generally do share, a lot and to anyone. Suddenly it all made a bit more sense, my being ok with my sharing. Because it’s what I’m used to. And why some of my friends find it odd. Because it’s not what they’re used to. Then again, maybe I do overdo it a bit. Just a teeny little bit.


We made a conscious decision when we came here not to actively seek out other South Africans. To not live in an African enclave. Many expats do that and thats cool. But we knew the only way we could survive being here was for us to embrace the difference. So there was no real basis for comparison. To live a new life, not try and emulate our life back home and then be even sadder when it was just not the same. To rather celebrate the difference. And learn from it. And that’s worked for us. Many Africans are seen as arrogant here, primarily because they don’t integrate. They keep to their own. In fact, I have been rejected on occasion purely on the basis of being a South African, and the assumption that I have an air about myself. Or maybe it was just because I say fuck a lot. Or maybe I do have an air about me. Whatever. I don’t think we have an air about us, but I do think we expect a lot. From ourselves, our friendships, our interactions. And I think that’s a good thing. But maybe sometimes we expect too much, and I for one am definitely learning that. To be still and have less expectation. Of others.  I am still very happy living in my not purely African enclave, but have to say every time I am with my fellow South Africans, I do feel at home.


Being with heaps of South Africans last night made me think. Everyone knows I never wanted to come here and only did so because I was too scared not too.  Scared of being the one not brave enough to embrace the adventure. And because I had no fight left in me. And because B believed so much in it.  And only on the proviso that I could and believe you me, would, be going home in two years time. On the 15 may 2012 we will have been here for 4 years. Well, the girls and I, B will have been here for 4 years and 9 months but that’s another story. I am not sure when being here became easier than not being here.  I think it was the realisation after many trips home that even though my heart will always be in Africa life there is moving on without us. And our life is moving on here. There truly is no going back, and I don’t mean geographically.  So now I feel a bit like I don’t really belong anywhere.  But then as Ilona and I realised last night, I actually belong in both places. And even better I’ve realised I simply belong. Less attachment. My world has expanded. How cool is that.  Not sure how significant this is, but on 15 January 2012, 42 months since we left South Africa, I put my mac to oz time.