Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Books and dreams

I find myself appreciating the small moments of happiness lately, if I don't I may lose my mind completely. One of the biggest things that has me smiling each day is seeing my kids reading. Finally!!

Yes, finally they have discovered the joy of reading for fun. I cannot tell you how long I have struggled with this, and for someone who has always read books by the dozen it was a major concern for me. Diggle enjoyed a bit of reading the past year, but I had to force him to sit and read. Princess would only enjoy being read to. 

This year however we started by getting some graphic novels out the library, this set in motion them joining the reading club there. This means they set a goal and if they reach it they get a prize. Diggle set 50 books over summer. He reads quickly, I wasn't that concerned, he's at 20 odd already. Princess set a goal of 30...this had me a little worried. However she's on book 10 and going strong...and yes we've progressed to chapter books. She started her first chapter book of Nancy Drew last night and she's nearly finished it. 

I've always cherished the childhood adventures I went on through the aid of my books. I visited faraway lands, I solved mysteries and crimes, I even went to non existent, make believe places, I still do! Books fueled my already vivid imagination and helped me dream of my future. Books were my escape and I have always wanted that for my kids. 

Seeing them reading, (sometimes in the evening all lying on Grannies bed with her). Having them not wanting to put that book down to go to sleep. Catching them reading in bed an hour after lights out, using the light from the corridor outside to see the words. It all brings me more joy than I can express!

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As an aside, I write this blog for my own ramblings, if you don't want to read it or think it's time wasting drivel don't read it. It was shortly after I posted my last blog that a friend commented on Facebook about mommy bloggers and how everyone considers themselves a writer because they blog. I don't ask you to read my blog, I don't consider myself a writer, even though I've written fiction stories, non fiction articles for web sites and yes I blog. I'm just someone who likes to write my thoughts down, if anyone else wants to read them, well that's up to them!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

That time of year

Summer break, school vacation, moms nightmare...call it what you will, tomorrow is the last day of the school year. The kids have been going to school all week to do nothing, they've watched movies, played games had popcorn. I've heard other moms say why send them, I'll admit to being more of the, I don't care, they're going, get them out my house kind of mom though.


The kids, I'm convinced can smell my fear, my desperation that soon, too soon I will be subjected to cries of I'm hungry, I'm bored, mom (insert other kids name) won't play what I want to.  Time to try and get creative (but not messy creative I'm not that good of a mom.) Our big thing of the summer is two, week long camping trips which are always our hi-light and best part! However that still leaves me with seven weeks to try and amuse my kids. We'll do our usual routine this summer, a mix of trips to the library, quiet days at home, trips to the local splash pad and maybe a friends pool, walks at the lake with granny and maybe some time at the park. Perhaps a few trips to the liquor store may be in order too.

I can see other moms I know reading this and rolling their eyes, they think I'm mean, overly dramatic, yes maybe just a touch. Okay, I'll come clean, as the kids have gotten older it's gotten a lot easier. They run outside and play with their friends, play on the computer or their DS's and even get their own food. There are advantages to summer, no more homework, no more making lunches before school and no more realizing you have nothing to give kids for lunch at the last minute.

Don't be fooled though, I'll be the mom celebrating with a very large drink the day they go back to school in September.



Monday, 2 June 2014

Home sweet home

I'm back home, back to the humdrum of everyday life, laundry, cooking, getting up early to make sandwiches for school and I'm so so happy to be home.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I got the chance to go back to South Africa again, it was wonderful to see my oldest brother and his family, to spend time with my best friend from school and see the old haunts. But it was no holiday. I have returned completely exhausted. There was so much work to be done to pack my mom up that I really needed a minimum of 2 weeks, but I worked flat out, survived on very little sleep and got most of what I could done. 

I've done two trips back back to South Africa now in the past two years after an extended period away and they've taught me a few things. (These may be a little jumbled, I'm still jet lagged and have a headache)

- it's possible to jump back into a manual stick shift car and drive on the wrong side of the road without completely freaking out. It comes back to you very quickly.
- it's strange how quickly you forget that you have to lock your car doors and drive with the windows up and your valuables or parcels hidden.
- there's something special about African air, being able to breath in the ocean air, or lie at night looking up at the stars watching palm trees wave.
- monkeys are pesky but cute
- I'm stronger than I give myself credit for but every now and then you just need to hear a loved ones voice or be able to message with them to keep you sane when things are getting rough and you're emotional or scared.
- I have absolutely no doubts that we did the right thing for our children's future in moving to Canada.
- DH is capable of surviving for a week (possible more) without me. He fed the kids and the dog, did laundry and got everyone to school on time and even remembered to collect them at the end of the day.
- it is possible to eat so much you feel ill at the mere thought of food for days after.
- hard alcohol doesn't really go bad, cream based alcohols can turn into a solid however and it's not pretty
-my skin loves the SA climate, my hair...not so much! I could not keep it from being frizzy, I oiled, I straightened it looked okay, 5 minutes later it would frizz. I remember why I used to have either long hair that I could tie back or really short easy hair!
-old friends who take the time and expense to come and see you when you're in the same country are the best. 
- long haul flights suck so bad, and hurt my body and my back way too much!

I doubt I'll be making any trips back to SA now for a long time, I wish I'd had more time to go a few places and have more fun there this time, but I had a strict timeline to abide by.
It was nice to know I was missed here by the dog, the kids and even DH.

If you missed my posts from South Africa on my adventures there see them here:

http://www.fim40.blogspot.ca/2014/05/update-from-dubai.html

http://www.fim40.blogspot.ca/2014/05/full-day-number-1-done-and-dusted.html

http://www.fim40.blogspot.ca/2014/05/day-2-and-3-and-i-need-new-diet-and.html


Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Day 2 and 3 and I need a new diet and some sleep!

I'm surviving on around three hours of sleep a night and a constant flow of restaurant food. My body no longer knows what hour it is or what it should be eating. That's my excuse for why at 1:30 am last night I was working my way through my moms paperwork while eating chocolate cake.

Day 2 was a day of working through more cupboards and paperwork, a lunch out with my parents oldest friends, a short nap, more work and dinner at my brothers house so I could get my wifi fix and post a few pictures.


Day 3 my mom and I drove down the coast to visit my father in law and have lunch with him and my brother in law, it was great to see them both. We then did more packing work and headed out to dinner with my brother and family. I'm sure you can now see why I'm going to need a serious diet once I get home!


Day 4, I opened up my moms house to the staff at the retirement village to sell things, tomorrow I'm locking the doors and pretending I'm not home! 


People keep asking me how it feels to be back home and to be honest It's a strange feeling being back here. Things are so very familiar, but just not quite the same. There are times where it would be so easy to slip back into denial and living your life here, and then there are those moments I can feel my heart race a little faster, or I look around and shake my head at the sense of entitlement that a few people seem to have and know I'll never live back here.


Here are a few things that have left me unnerved or just shaking my head in astonishment.


  • Driving through my old suburb at night and seeing security guards outside houses.
  • Having my mom tell me to be aware at certain traffic lights as they're hijacking hotspots.
  • Driving past a guy wielding a rather big knife.
  • Being stuck in a traffic jam at a red light and having a guy walk up to you car, stand by the back door and peer into your car to see if there is anything worth doing a smash and grab for - and the sheer powerlessness to do anything, also the reason we drive with doors locked, windows wound up and valuables tucked away under your legs.
  • Being so used to being able to trust 99% of people and realizing that here you just can't take that gamble. I had people through the house today to buy stuff of my moms and little things I know we're taken when my back was turned while busy with someone else.
I convinced my mom to take half a sleeping pill tonight as she has not been sleeping either and was starting to be unable to focus, and I need her to focus on things right now. I've kind of decided it's no longer worthwhile trying to acclimatize my body to this time zone when I leave on Thursday, I think I'll just survive on the few hours a night with a short afternoon nap thrown in if I have time.

Two and a half more days and we have no choice but to be done, did I mention how I'm looking forward to going home yet?  Perhaps I shouldn't be lying here in the dark typing my blog. Late night paperwork anyone?


Sunday, 25 May 2014

Full Day number 1 done and dusted

I arrived yesterday, another long flight done and very glad to be back on the ground for the next few days. Had pizza with the family, got a look at some of the stuff to sort through and passed out for the night on the sleeper couch in my moms living room. All told I slept pretty well, awake from 2 - 4 am and then back to sleep until 6:30am, when I got up and tackled the first few things before a shower and coffee. 

I will admit I'm impressed with what I got done today. I cleaned tabled covered in mountains of paperwork, all while reading my school reports about how lazy, unmotivated and underachieving I was, with apparently my flair for being creative my only redeeming quality. (yes that's how much paperwork my mom has hoarded, and yes if you ever wondered why I have self esteem issues I think I may be able to point out why now). 

I put at least 6 black garbage bags out of stuff to give away for free or real garbage and did a few smaller bags of things for my nephews here to take back and fiddle with. I'm lying here feeling accomplished and I haven't even got to the good part of the day.

My best friend from school and bridesmaid at my wedding flew down from Johannesburg to spend some time with me today as it is not very often we are on the same continent. She spent the afternoon watching me shred papers, laughing at my face as I went through my Dads old stuff (and she wasn't even here when I found the condoms in my dads draw), and helping me sort through the liquor cabinet.

Sorting through the liquor cabinet was an adventure in itself. There are bottles in there that we were too scared to drink, we opened them outside and poured them down the drain. There were bottles we kept, admittedly we had to google if certain types of alcohol went bad and had to do a sniff, taste and visual inspection before drinking. 

All in all it was a successful and good day and I feel very blessed and happy right now, but that may be the 15 year old vodka talking. Tomorrow when faced with the next few cupboards to sort through I may not feel so great. I will only get to post this tomorrow night when I get a decent Internet connection at my brothers house, if vodka does go bad, I'll be able to let you know by then.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Update from Dubai

At 5:30am today I ate a breakfast that would put an Olympic athlete to shame. In my defence I skipped dinner last night in favour of a hot shower and a bed. All that seemed like a good idea at the time, however at 1:00am when I woke up starving I started to reconsider how wise that was.

Let me start at the beginning though. At this present time I'm in an airport hotel room in Dubai on my layover to Durban. My body has no idea what time zone it's in or what meal I should be eating. I flew from Canada on Wednesday night, changed time zones to one that is 8 hours ahead of Toronto, arrived here after 13 hours and it was night again. This morning I leave here, fly another 8.5 hours to a time zone that's 2 hours behind this one and 6 hours ahead of Toronto. Are you confused yet? Yes? Good so am I.

I had a pretty decent flight from Canada even though I had a 5 year old girl sitting next to me. I inwardly groaned when she took her seat, expecting the worst, but she turned out to be well behaved and slept like a dream for most of the flight. Her mom was so happy to have someone who didn't mind if her daughters feet were resting on them and was happy to chat to the kid that I began to wonder if she was going to invite me to spend the night at her mothers house instead of the hotel. I got a bit of sleep, watched some movies and tv shows and still have more to watch on the way home! I highly recommend Emirates, their entertainment list is wonderful. 

Breezed through passport control here in Dubai on my Canadian passport, no visa required no questions asked. Got to my hotel, showered and slept. Until my marathon breakfast an hour ago. Now I'm back in my room trying to decided if I should relax here or go to the airport early to find a free wifi signal. All my friends are mostly now asleep, so maybe I'll split the difference and relax here for a bit and just get to the airport early enough to check mail and messages and post this.  This was just a quick update for now, I'm sure I'll have more to post once I'm settled in at my moms.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Africa

A land of colour, a land of beauty
A land of violence and strife
It calls you home, it pushes you away
The juxtaposition of life

The sea, the sun, the earthy smell in the air
The bustle of crowds, the vibrance of life
It reeks of hope, it clings to desperation
It festers in greed and false promises

Oh Africa, I love you, I fear you
I miss you dearly
I long to be back, I long to be done with you
Never to go near you

It's in your blood
It's in your soul
I'll be home soon,
but I'll never truly be home again