Smelly Nelly

Last week, after finally acknowledging the change of season and digging into my winter wardrobe I came across a few familiar favourites which I’d long forgotten about. One of them was my all time favourite multi-coloured striped thermal vest. It’s the perfect combination of cozy, yet funky and the best part is that it keeps me warm without making me look like a granny with a vest draw ūüôā

As I slipped on my old faithful to fend off the cold, so many familiar memories came floating back. It wasn’t so much the feel of the fabric on my skin or the funky colours, but more the smell. I hadn’t worn it since I’d been in London which seems like a lifetime ago and since it had been in storage for so long it still smelt of my good old Fairy Fabric Softener. The smell was intoxicating and kept me day dreaming for a good couple of hours.
You see, I get off on smells. Familiar scents always bring back memories in the truck loads, which I had no idea my memory bank had the capacity to store. I find a familiar smell so comforting, it’s like re-discovering something you’d long forgotten about and then feeling a flood of warm memories creep right up inside you.¬†
The smell of my vest brought back some other comforting memories of another lifetime. One of hour long bus journeys through the city and shopping trips to Oxford Street, of long walks in Hyde Park and Sunday afternoon picnics, of jazz clubs and dodgy alley ways, of  breakfasts at S&M Cafe and afternoon cream teas at Yumchaa. 
Whenever I visit my deceased grandparents’ house the smell always lingers on my clothes and I love it. The smell of the house is so familiar to me and it still smells exactly like I remember it as a kid. It smells of childhood memories. Memories of freshly baked cakes and vanilla ice-cream, of breakfast in bed and wax crayons used for colouring books, of bed time stories and good night prayers.¬†
Just the other day I was overcome by the sweet smell of watermelon in the air, considering it was pouring down with rain, I admit it was a bit odd, yet it evoked fond memories of care-free Summery days. I find the human sense of smell amazing and  I guess whoever said it was right when they said that you need to take the time to smell the roses or in my case, the watermelon. 
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Wedding cake in the middle of the road

So I should probably put it all out there from the get go and admit that I’ve always been a bit of a pessimist when it comes to weddings. In all honesty, up until fairly recently I’d much rather have attended a funeral than a wedding. For me, weddings were just another soppy romantic affair with two people committing to a lifetime of agony together in the presence of a bunch of people who were only really there for the food anyway (right?) and no hidden surprises, I mean seriously, for once would someone just ¬†‘OBJECT’ already!?!?

Uh uhm, so now that that’s out of my system, I can honestly say that I’ve finally come around to the idea of weddings or more importantly marriage. It might have a little something to do with the fact that many of my friends have recently gotten married or engaged, or it might have a little something to do with the fact that I understand the concept of love and commitment a lot better now. But, I now sincerely share in the joy of newly weds, particularly the ones closest to me.

Recently, at My Best Friend’s Wedding (and I’m not referring to the movie) I had the joy of sharing ¬†the entire wedding experience with her. Everything from the excitement of the engagement (which we had all been anticipating for years), to the planning, to the wedding jitters and finally the Big Day! I thoroughly enjoyed the entire encounter and was filled with genuine happiness and love for the happy couple.

Personally, I’ve always viewed marriage as a huge burden and a bit of life sentence. I think I developed this ideology by observing certain couples who’ve been married for years and just don’t seem to particularly like each other or their lives. It just seems like a lose, lose situation, a bit like a wedding cake in the middle of a road– it looks like a great idea to begin with, but in the end all you’re left with is road kill.

But I’ve since realised that not all marriages are prisons, when it’s the right fit and two people really work at it, it could be the fairytale you’ve always dreamt of, albeit a more realistic version (no wands, or sparkly dust). I guess I probably sound like a soppy romantic idiot by now, but indulge me for just a little longer.

One of my favourite quotes by my man Dr. Seuss, goes a little something like this: ”You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”¬†I figure that when you decide to get married and make that life long commitment, that’s the way it should feel.¬†After all, who doesn’t love a stay-awake right?





Picture sources:

http://www.bridalwave.tv/justmarried.jpg
http://lifeincolor.typepad.com/life_in_color/images/2007/04/16/catch.jpg
http://ganimsflorist.com/Florist_Website_2010/Vendors/bouquets_bridesmaids.jpg

Dirty Little Secrets

I’ve reached a ¬†stage in my life where I’ve realised that everybody has secrets and although I try to live a good, honest life and make a point of saying what’s on my mind, it’s not always as easy to say the things that matter most right out loud. That being said I do feel like a bit of a fraud when I’m not completely honest with people, but I’ve learnt that sometimes honesty really is not the best policy.¬†

Growing up I was always bad at lying and so whenever I’d get caught out for doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing I’d avoid looking people in the eye, because I knew that the truth would be written all over my face, no matter what I said. I also learnt that telling lies was hard work, as you had to remember so much more. And lastly, I learnt that sometimes secrets are best kept to yourself.¬†There’s this website that I like to visit sometimes called Post Secret and somehow I find it comforting to know that other people are carrying around secrets a lot bigger than my own.¬†
Post Secret is a community mail art project, which started out as an experimental Art Project in 2005 by a guy called Frank Warren. The idea behind the project was that people would anonymously share their secrets with the public on home made post cards and send them in to Post Secret. The site updates the secrets weekly, on a Sunday and has become so popular that there is even a Post Secret book and museum exhibition. Here are a few of my favourite Post Cards sent in by regular people like you and me. 

Picture credits: http://www.postsecret.com/
                         https://marshmallowmonologues.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/af0cf-shhh.jpg

Would I lie to you baby? Would I lie to you?… It is a poor idea to lie to yourself

My four year old nephew constantly brags, to me and anyone who will listen, about his BIG¬†Red Ferrari. Which in all fairness is not a lie, his definition of ‘BIG‘ however is relative. Kids have a habit of battling and are often encouraged with the notion that ‘competition is healthy‘. Whether it be ¬†the size of their father’s ¬†car, their house, their mother’s handbag or even their own height, size really does matter in a child’s world.

I once knew a guy who always drove the latest BMW, dressed in the fanciest suits and appeared on many a VIP list. In short, he certainly knew how to talk the talk and walk the walk. He was very popular with the ladies and his bachelor pad on the beach front didn’t seem to hurt any. To the outside world he seemed to have it all- a young, successful bachelor with the world at his feet. But, what very few people knew was that he was up to his ears in debt. I asked him once why he didn’t simply downsize and start over and his simple, yet honest response was this: ‘it’s far better to live a lie than suffer the honest pity of society.’¬†

Profound, yet sad at the same time. I suppose it’s simply easier for some people to live a lie than to face the brutal reality of who they really are. Some of us never grow up and still have that ‘BIG’ red Ferrari hidden under our beds, while the rest of us proudly drive around in our high mileage cars with no air-con, because life’s so much simpler when you just put it all out there.

Picture source: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2695/4479075202_ce0c3b2616.jpg

They say that home is where the heart is…

…but I guess that depends on what your definition of home is.

At the naive age of 18 I flew from my parents nest where I’d enjoyed all the comforts of home and then some, such as a home cooked meal 7 days a week; a free laundry service; a 24-hour taxi service affectionately called ‘Dad’ and an unlimited bank fund coincidentally also known as ‘Dad’. And now, after moving around countless times and spending the past two years living abroad, I find myself back under my parent’s roof.

But the experience is so much different this time around. Not only because I’ve done a lot of growing up; learnt to pay my own bills; figured out that not doing my laundry for a month will leave me with nothing but my PJ’s to wear to work; mastered the art of driving and finally got a license; realised that a shoe budget does not constitute a lifestyle budget and other important ‘adulty’ things. But, also because times have changed and so have my parents.

Of late I’ve been confronted with the reality that while I went about my life and did my growing up, my parents also grew older and so the dynamics of our relationship has changed. With my parent’s future looking very different to mine, the old timers have decided to sell up and move into a cosy little home for two (me being the third wheel…Eeek!) and this made me think about where my home would be.

To put things into context, I have never lived anywhere else in my entire life, aside from the 5 year growing up period that is. So this, is what I would normally refer to as home. This is where my first childhood memories were made, where birthday parties were held and Christmas presents are unwrapped. This is where I learnt to crawl, then walk, then fall and get up again. This is where the best cakes are made and where you can smell mum’s home cooking the minute you walk in the door.

This is home to me, or at least it was. Although I’ll be sad to let go of so many memories, I got to thinking lately about what home really means. To me it’s a place I feel loved. A place I feel safe and secure and a place where there’s an endless supply of tea. A place where comfort is key and tears are shared in equal measure with laughter.

There’s nothing like the feeling of coming home and since home is where the heart is, I guess my home is universal. There’s a little bit of my heart all over the world, a little bit of me that I’ve shared with those I care most about and that they in turn keep safe until we meet again. Home is never very far away for me and every time I see my loved ones that little piece of my heart beats faster and lets me know that I am home.

                             http://ny-image2.etsy.com/il_fullxfull.193304266.jpg

The sound of one hand clapping

As he took a bow at the end of the final act, the room erupted into a monstrous applause. The crowd began to stand and as they did so, their applause escalated to a crescendo, but the only sound that he could hear, the only one in the room that really mattered, was the sound of one pair of hands clapping. The sound of his father’s applause.¬†For the insecure, scrawny young boy who had now become a man, it was the most momentous occasion of his life and after years of hard work and harbouring feelings of rejection and inferiority this was all the vindication he needed.

At the ‘all boys’ school he’d attended as an adolescent, he stood out for all the wrong reasons. Because of his dream of wanting to be a dancer he suffered the cruel punishment of being bullied by his peers and at home things were no better. His father, being a proud masculine man, accustomed to hard labour as a result of his farming background, could not conceive of any son of his becoming a dancer. He’d spat out the words ‘A DANCER?!? No son of mine!’ the day his son had arrived home to proudly announce to his father that he knew what he wanted to become one day.


For an optimistic 7year old with his whole future ahead of him, this was not the reaction he had expected from the man he idolised and who’s approval was ¬†the one that counted the most. He was shattered and although his mother had comforted him, saying that it’s just how his Dad was raised, she had also advised him that it may be best to start dreaming of a different future, one that involved a more masculine role.

So he buried his dreams right at the very bottom of his heart, covering them up with many layers of pretence and expectations. The boy grew up fulfilling the more ‘appropriate’ role of a strong young boy, as his father expected of him. He’d joined the sports teams at school and after school would help his father with the cattle on their farm.

But, deep down inside, the boy still harboured his secret dream of becoming a dancer and in the evenings, all alone in his room, in the dead of night, he would sneak out to the barn and practise dance routines which he would watch over at his friend Kelly’s house. He would take out his cassette player, put on his head phones and dance to his heart’s content.

When the boy finished school and the time came for him to choose a university, he chose Juilliard. Needless to say his father did not approve of his son’s decision and refused to pay for his son to become a dancer. So the boy attended a local community college for a year and worked two jobs after school to raise the money for his first year’s tuition. The next year he was excepted to Juilliard and he was ecstatic, although he still had to work two jobs to be able to afford being there and he’d since been kicked out of his father’s house and was now having to pay rent to crash on his friend’s couch.

But it had all paid off eventually. Here he was for the first time ever, performing on Broadway in what would become one of his biggest career highlights. He’d made it to the top and dance critics were singing his praises all over town, but none of it mattered, because this was the moment he’d waited for all his life. The moment where he would once again see the look of pride on his father’s face, that he had longed for for such a long time. His father stood and applauded his son, the dancer, and with tears streaming down his face he felt an overwhelming sense of love and pride, as he thought to himself: ”A DANCER!!! This son of mine, yes this son of mine is a dancer!’

Picture source: http://thelatest.co.uk/7/files/2009/12/CHICAGO-Male-Dancer-1.jpg

I want to tell you a secret

I know I seem tough and cocky, but I’m actually quite a softie.
I know I laugh when you have a toss at me, but in all honesty, it hurts deep down inside.
I know I poke fun at stupid girls who get their hearts broken and then fall right back in love again, but the truth is my heart’s been broken far too many times before.
I know I say it’s fine when you cut in line, but actually that spot was mine.
I know I’m always leading the pack when we walk into a room, but I secretly wish I could just chill at the back and go unnoticed for once.
I know I say I’m sarcastic and make snide remarks, but in all honesty, I’m just trying to hide the fact that I’m shy.
I know I stick up for you and would probably punch someone out for you, but the fact of the matter is I hate being mean.
I know I always say that you know me best, but the real secret is you don’t know me at all.

Picture source: unknown

Not all who wonder are lost

At the age of 20 I sat down and wrote down a five year plan for my life. Since I’m the type of girl who normally plans everything in detail, it should have come easily for me, but I seemed to have trouble with planning or predicting what I wanted to do five years down the line. There were a few things I knew though: I really wanted to travel as often as possible, I wanted to do more volunteer work, I wanted to progress personally and professionally and I wanted to meet new people and make new friends.

My plan went a little something like this: at the age of 21 I would intern at a reputable company in Cape Town for a year; at age 22 I planned to take a Gap Year and go to India; at age 23 I’d be working full time and studying photography or social work part time and from the age of 24, up until about 27 my life would pretty much follow the same routine of work and studies, aside from the one month every year that I’d take out to do some volunteering abroad.
Well, I’m happy to report that I’m precisely 47 days away from my 24th Birthday and my 5 year plan has been chucked, unceremoniously mind you, out the window. It all started out pretty well though, with me landing a job at a huge international publishing house, thinking that my plan was right on track. But then, at the end of a year long¬†intern-ship¬†and after turning down a brilliant job offer, I boarded a plane to London England and my entire life changed. I took a job in a field completely unrelated to PR and met some amazing people and before you knew it a gap year turned into two years and now here I am back in Cape Town finishing my PR degree at the age of 23.¬†
When I look back at my five year plan now, I find it laughable, because the person I am now is so different to the person I was nearly four years ago. My life experiences have changed me and the people I’ve met and befriended have also influenced me. I’m not certain of the direction my life is going in right now, but I find the uncertainty comforting and exciting.¬†
I’m still figuring things out along the way and I plan to wander around for a good deal longer, knocking into obstacles I couldn’t predict, taking a wrong turn every now and again and changing direction whenever I see fit. Some might say it’s a reckless way to live your life, but for me it’s thrilling and what fun would the ride be if you didn’t have a few bumps along the way. I’m a firm believer in the journey and not the destination and since this is my journey, I plan to live it by my rules, at my speed and with as much enthusiasm and Oomph! as I can muster.¬†

                         http://ni.chol.as/media/geoff-files/sillymaps/rude_map.jpg
                         http://farm1.static.flickr.com/40/128310305_025cda4fbd.jpg

This is me

This is me, flaws and all. No pretences, no airs and graces, just plain old me.
I’m nothing special, no one famous and certainly not anyone you’d suddenly stop and stare at when you’re walking down the street.
I’m just an ordinary person, making the best of the one life I’ve been given and hoping, by God, that I’m doing a good job at it.

I’m not competing with anyone, because I can only be judged by my own standards and letting down myself would be my biggest failure.
I’m as lost as the next backpacking foreigner reading a map in a language I don’t understand and right now I don’t know where my life is going but I know that it’s moving.
I like taking risks because I believe it’s the only way to stretch myself and actually experience life at a high altitude.¬†

I’m the worst joke teller in history so I stick to sarcasm.
I secretly love Rom-Coms and Grey’s Anatomy always gets me all chocked up.
I love singing and karaoke really gets me off, as I get to play out my superstar alter ego .

I love travelling and I sleep with a huge world map¬†above my bed with places marked out that I’d like to visit one day.
I hate politics and border patrols.
I think people were born free and then some cocky bastards decided to rule the world. 

I dislike rude people and I generally try to get along with everyone.
I think life’s too short to go through it making enemies or sticking to a clique when there’s a whole world of personalities out there that you’ve never even met.¬†
I love meeting new people and find people’s life experiences interesting and inspiring.

I invest in people, as I think that it’s the only share price that really matters in life.¬†
I’d like to think that I’m a good friend, one who really listens and cares and inspires you to push a little bit more when you’re near to breaking point.
My relationships with friends, lovers and family are the ones that matter the most to me.

I adore little people and take great pleasure in watching them grow and play.
A child’s innocence reminds me that no matter how far gone we might be, everyone was once just a simple child.¬†
I believe in the good of human nature and would like to believe that it will always prevail… eventually.

I am no more and no less than what I project.
I aspire to live a life of purpose and really make a change in the world, particularly in the lives of young children.
When I’m old and grey one day, sitting in my rocking chair enjoying a cup of tea, I hope¬†to say that I made a difference and that my life counted for something, because after all, simply living is not enough.¬†

So now you know…This is me!

Comfort in a cup

I LOVE COFFEE!

The smell of it freshly roasted.
The rich frothy milk on the top.
The creamy coloured tasty liquid.
The warm robust aroma.

I take a sip and swallow slowly.
The warmth travels down my throat and heats my entire body from the inside.
I feel a tingle from my lips down to my toes.
My whole being seems to inhale the scent.

I’m intoxicated with this sinful indulgence.
The pleasure it gives me is simply unmatchable.
It’s feels like a nice warm all embracing hug.
It restores the balance when I’m feeling slightly off centre…

and I call it comfort in a cup ūüôā