Category: just a thought

I recently spent a week in Durban, soaking up the sun, admiring the fish at uShaka Marine World and cycling along the promenade.

Before boarding my 07:00 flight, I decided to have breakfast at Woolworths at the airport. I ordered a fruit salad and hazelnut latte. I paid for my order at one side of the counter and picked it up at the other side. After 5 minutes, my order was done.
Barista: Here’s your cappuccino.
Me: Excuse me?
Barista: Here’s your cappuccino.
Me: You mean my hazelnut latte.
Barista stares at me for a minute, removes my cup from the counter and pours honey over the coffee.
Barista: Here’s your hazelnut latte.
It wasn’t a hazelnut latte. It was just a cappuccino with honey on it.

The following photo was taken in the Japanese Garden in Durban.
Japanese Garden, Durban

One
I bitch and moan about my neighbourhood a LOT. I joke about how I don’t need to pay R400 to participate in an obstacle course. Every day that I run through my neighbourhood I have to side-step a beggar, vendor or prostitute. And it is true. There ARE a lot of beggars, vendors and prostitutes in my street. On two occasions I’ve nearly tripped over a beggar dozing in the doorway.

But this doesn’t mean that I don’t love my apartment. Every time I step through my front door and see the two palm trees off to the side, I am thankful. Every time I sit on the balcony and watch the sunset (which isn’t often enough), I am thankful.

Two
Yesterday, I opted to surf instead of pounding the street for a couple of hours. (Note: My idea of a short run is 1 hour. I am hoping to one day run the Victoria Falls Marathon in under 5 hours.)

While in the water, one of the many surf coaches at Muizenberg instructed me to “Get out.” I thought it a rather strange way to proposition a woman, until he explained that he’d seen a fin in the water. My reaction to the news wasn’t panic and fear. I’m afraid of rejection and intimacy, but sharks? Nope. Instead of fear, I reacted to the news with dismay and reluctantly left the water. (I was back in the water 5 minutes later when I’d decided that the coach probably just had an overactive imagination.)

Three
I am currently reading “The hundred-year-old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared” by Jonas Jonasson. My favourite lines from the novel are:

“Allan Karlsson’s father was both considerate and angry. He was considerate with his family; he was angry with society in general and with everybody who could be thought of as representing that society. Finer folk disapproved of him, dating back to the time he stood on the square in Flen and advocated the use of contraceptives. For his offence he was fined ten crowns, and relieved of the need to worry about the topic any further since Allan’s mother out of pure shame decided to ban any further entry to her person.”

Four
A few days ago, I ran 30 in 3:19. That’s a new personal best (PB) – five minutes off my previous time. I’ve yet to achieve a new PB for a 21km. My current PB for 21km stands at 2:08, which was achieved many moons ago.

Five
Photograph of Joss Stone performing at Carnival City in April 2014.
Joss Stone - 2014 Joburg concert

Yesterday I was lucky enough to watch two really inspiring TED Talks – Brené Brown’s The power of vulnerability and Amanda Fucking Palmer’s The art of asking.

If you’ve read my blog post yesterday, you’ll also know that I preferred Amanda Fucking Palmer’s talk to Brené’s. Amanda Fucking Palmer talks from personal experience. She talks about her first job standing on a milk crate, dressed as a bride, asking for money in exchange for a paper flower. When strangers offered her money, she would hand them a flower and look deeply into their eyes. And her look would say, “Thank you. I see you.” And strangers would often return a look that said, “No one sees me.” And this is pretty much the point at which I teared up.

Amanda Fucking Palmer goes on to say that one day she was standing on her crate, when someone screamed at her to get a fucking job. And even though this happened years ago (she’s now a famous musician), you can tell that the memory still hurts her. She then goes on to talk about the fear of shame and why people are so reluctant to ask for money. She also talks about why people shouldn’t be forced to pay for music, but should rather willingly donate money to the cause.

Brené’s talk is a little more academic. She talks about what she’s learnt after years of research. Of course, this doesn’t mean that her presentation doesn’t have any merits. Anyway, here’s what I took away from her talk:

  • Vulnerability is necessary and should be embraced.
  • Vulnerability allows us to be authentic and to connect with others.
  • You cannot numb pain, hurt and anger. Numbing those emotions means that you’ll numb others, like happiness and love.
  • To be truly happy and to live a life of fulfilment, you need to have the courage to be imperfect and believe that you are worthy of love and belonging. To need courage to be vulnerable. You need courage to risk something with no guarantees. You need courage to say “I love you” first.
  • You also need to be compassionate – to others and yourself.
  • You need to believe that you are enough.
  • You need to practice joy and gratitude.

Anyway, if you have 30 minutes to spare (each video is about 15 minutes long) and the bandwidth, then check out their TED Talks.

Vulnerability

Sunday sarcasm
On Sunday, a friend and I went shopping at the Waterfront – he needed a few things for his Mac. While he quizzed the shop assistant about various products, I scrutinised the sound systems. After selecting his items, he headed over to the checkout till to pay. Because that’s how it works in stores – you select a few items and then you pay.
Anyway, it was at this point that I sidled over to him. I stood right on top of him and started rifling through his purchases.
Cashier: Are you together.
Internal me: Noooo. I just like standing next to random strangers in shopping malls and fingering their purchases. Seriously?

Future Travel Plans

moses

On the bus from our seafront hotel (Durban Spa) to Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, my mother and I got to talking. I confessed that it was my lifelong dream to India, but that I was simply too afraid to go by myself. And just like that, without a moment’s hesitation, my mother offered to join me.
That was almost a month ago. Since then the plan has morphed. My cousin and brother are keen to join us as well.
My cousin wants to do the Golden Triangle. I don’t really care as long as I get to see the Taj Mahal, gorge myself on curry, and wear a sari.

Music
I’ve recently rediscovered my love of Ludovico Einaudi.

Books
I am OBSESSED with George RR Martin’s “A song of ice and fire” series (the Game of Thrones television series is based on these books.) I am currently reading the fifth book in the series (A Dance of Dragons).
I once told a friend that one of my greatest fears was that George (we’re on a first name basis) would die BEFORE he finished the series. Or worst that the final book would be a complete disappointment, and she laughed at me like I was crazy. I think it’s a justifiable fear.
I have also purchased the latest David Sedaris novel, and The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.

Photography

I am surprised and greatly honoured to learn that some of my friends and family members have used my photographs for their Facebook profiles. It is such a huge compliment.

We ended up NOT having sushi for supper. Instead we ended up in a traditional New Orleans type restaurant. I had popcorn shrimp, which wasn’t too bad. Needed more chillies though.

Anyway, supposed to be meeting the African in a few minutes.