Thursday, 17 September 2009

Life's a-changing


Yeah that’s me in a nutshell. For some inexplicable reason I seem to have landed myself in the same position I was in last year this time, and it really sucks. The temptation to go into social hibernation is great but very vivid image of me being a batty old cow having in depth conversations with Alfred (my pot plant) scares me a little.

Oh well guess I need to stop ‘the woe is me attitude’ and grasp change with both hands. You see although it seem like groundhog day on the surface quite a bit has happened in the past few months which is why I ditched writing altogether for a while.

An emotional rollercoaster is the best way to describe the surrealism that was my life until recently. Firstly I make a rookie mistake in my love life. I fell for a guy that, excuse the cliché, just wasn’t that into me. It took a lot of courage for me to let him into my life in the first place and then to own up to my feelings – his response “Not the right time”.

Ouch dude! I toyed with the idea of the “let’s be friends” scenario but screw it. I need to move on with my life, preferably not with my past ghosts still haunting me. Pretending that I don’t still care for him will eat me up inside and I need BIG changes to happen now – I have had a few too many heartaches recently.

You see unfortunately during this drama that was almost a relationship, I also lost 1 grandmother – as in she is now dancing with the angels and not stranded in a shopping mall somewhere; and the other nearly passed on too. The icing on the cake was my dear sister immigrating to the other side of the world making me feel like a lost little orphan. It’s the first time in my life that I have felt truly alone.

But as a child of the sun, I can never stay in a dark place for very long so I am summoning up all my strength and focussing on the future. I am finally leaving the grey shores of England for a warmer climate and I intend being the creative soul that I am. I want to start dancing again; writing again; doing photography; sketching; learning a foreign language; having adventures and maybe even falling in love.

My heart may still feel a bit tender but it will heal with time. Life is for the living and I intend living it to the fullest.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

World's worst planner

I should have learnt by now that I am a useless planner.

You see it all started in December in South Africa when I sat still and listened to my soul. It cried out desperately to return home, that my time in the UK had come to an end. My want is to write about Africa, to reconnect with the land and be an authentic person, knowing full well that the storm in my soul will never be calmed unless I face my country once again.

With this in mind I sucked up my courage and got another waitressing job back in the UK to finance my dream. At the end of October I would have sorted out life's little annoyances and built up enough of a financial reserve to fly home for good. There I would meet up with my mate on the 13th November to celebrate my return and somewhere in between have found my dream home. It was a good plan.

So I landed a three month contract which should have been a breeze - the people are great, I have no responsibilities and no longer take IT seriously after all I am a writer not a consultant. I fooled myself into believing that I could go to work, keep my head down, disconnect from the job and in the evenings I would work on my book. It all seemed to be panning out.

During my last few months in the UK, my intention was to extract myself from London quietly so that one day I would just disappear from the London scene and my friends would barely notice my absence. You see I have always known that leaving my friends behind would be the hardest thing for me as they are no longer just friends. They are my family and a part of my soul. They are the reason for me being able to grow creatively and emotionally even though they don't know it.

Unfortunately as for most of my plans, this one seems dangerously close to failing. As the months have past, so my resolve has weakened. I seem to be spending most of my energy convincing myself that moving back to SA is the right thing to do and yet somehow the image of sundowners at the Waterfront and Tai Chi on the beach seems to be fading. One of the biggest reasons is that my dear friend is pregnant and her baby will only take its first breath after I have left. This saddens me greatly. I want to be there for this momentous occasion.

As for work, I seem to be incapable of being quiet and not getting involved in things. So now I am being drawn in deeper and I am constantly fighting to pull back and let other people handle things. I keep telling myself only 8 weeks and then freedom, it is my only lifeline.

Then there is the other thing and I don't know what it is. My energy has been unsettled for weeks now and I only feel calm when I disppear into my book. As soon as I stop writing, my energy gets out of control again - I see it changing colour constantly as if it doesn't know what it should be. I feel like the rope in the tug-of-war where the prize is my soul. I need to go home but I don't want to lose what I have here.

I just don't know what to do anymore. My African drums seem to be fading as London grabs hold of me once again and it scares me. I do not want to stay here, I do not want to wake up 5 years from now and regret not going home. I do not want to be the person I am today.

I guess I should just go with the flow and let life guide me. Planning has never been my strong point, I know that I need to close my eyes and leap into the unknown future. I know that the Universe will set me on the right path, whatever it may be.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The future Zumaland

Today my country goes to the polls in what may be the most important elections since '94. If the ANC wins a two-third majority we can say goodbye to South Africa and hello Zumaland. Zumaland will more than likely be modelled on the Zimbabwean system of government as most of the ANC drones seem to worship this tyranical despot.

You see, they just don't get it - they don't have the basic understanding of economics and leadership. They don't care about the masses of people living in abject poverty, in hovels unfit for human habitation. Or perhaps they long to return to the days of old living without modern conveniences like electricity and running water - herding cattle and occasionally declaring war on neighbouring tribes for entertainment. You see this is what could happen if the wrong people end up with a two-thirds majority.

Sure the leaders will live in luxury, emptying the country's coffers into their own bank accounts but the masses will suffer like their Zimbabwean brothers. Too many innocent people will suffer and recovery will not be possibility. They will cry to their leaders asking why they have betrayed them, but the leaders will turn a deaf ear - after all they have their utopia; their people long forgotten.

I feel scared and angry when I think of Zumaland and know that South Africa doesn't have to become yet another lost African nation. If only the people would open their eyes and see the true nature of their leaders. I hear stories of people voting for the ANC because of Mandela or because the ANC helped to eradicate Apartheid, but surely this shouldn't be enough of a reason to sign the death warrant of your country?

Yes Apartheid was wrong - we all get that. Yes Mandela is a good man - we get that too, but surely the time has come to get South Africa back on her feet. Voting should be about the future and not the past. All the ANC has proven in the past 15 years is that it doesn't give a damn about the masses. There is more unemployment; worse crime and corruption; as well as a weaker economy than there was during the "undemocratic" years. This isn't to say that we should return to those times either, but surely we can build a better South Africa now - where all men and women have the right to life in safety and have access to jobs.

I know that the ANC will win but I just hope that enough people will vote against them so that they don't get majority rule. I for one will do not wish to see Zumaland become a reality.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Election Time

Well on Wednesday history will be made. After a long hard fight the South African government has conceded – Saffa’s living overseas can vote in the general elections and I am so excited.

It is rather weird considering that I was never interested in Politics and I always felt that voting was pretty pointless. In Africa, votes tend to get counted, and recounted until the right party wins. This time around I feel a lot more positive, I actually want to vote. Why – well simply because I believe in South Africa and I want to make a difference, no matter how small that difference may be.

Sure I am not naïve, I know that the ANC will still win by a majority and we will be stuck with Zuma as President, but if we can eat away into their stranglehold on the country we may be able to ensure that South Africa doesn’t go the way of Zimbabwe. All I know is that to give up hope is like signing South Africa’s death warrant.

When I was there over the Christmas period, I noticed how people’s attitudes are changing. People are getting cross with the governments impotence and mismanagement, that’s why there are breakaway parties like COPE. What we really need is strong opposition leaders who can rally the people together and give them hope in a more positive future – ironically the same can be said for the UK, but I feel feathers for this country and its politics.

I know the situation in South Africa is pretty dire. The president-to-be can best be described as a cross between George Bush and Gaddafi , and the Zulu warrior blood runs strong in him, however there is still some sort of democracy in South Africa and perhaps the opposition may be able to keep him in line.

All I know is that I want to return to my South Africa, sure it has changed – in some ways positively and other ways negatively. We are a nation of survivors and if it wasn’t for the corruption and crime, it would be thriving. So on Wednesday I will proudly vote, not just to help shift the powerbase away from the ANC but also to say very clearly “I have not given up on South Africa.”

Friday, 23 January 2009

South Africa v Britain

After a wonderful break chilling out under the beautiful blue African sky, I’ve returned to the doom and gloom of Britain – and I am not all too pleased about it. True it is standard for this African’s heart to feel bruised for a while after visiting her homeland but this time it is different.

There seems to have been a reversal of fortune and the world seems turned inside out – very confusing for my little brain. You see while things are actually looking up in South Africa, with the economy still relatively stable and people filled with hope especially with the ANC getting competition from the political party COPE; while in the UK it is all negative. The recession is in full swing – thanks to the pathetic economic leadership and of course the Brits are as pessimistic as ever. Granted they are moaners by nature, but now the air is thick with resounding dejection.

I am almost tempted to flash the birdie to this “woe betides me” nation and return to my quirky third world country. Sure it still has issues like the crime epidemic; random electricity supply; and corruption and nepotism within the government but hey at least our banks are stable and our politicians are more colourful than the pompous Tory leaders or the dull-as-dishwater Labour leaders – even if they are somewhat misguided and unqualified. (And no, having being in prison for political crimes does not count as a qualification!)

I haven’t given up on South Africa yet. Yeah sure even as recently as last year I had all but discounted living in South Africa as an option, but now – who knows. I have a little more hope in my heart for my home; I think I have finally accepted the New South Africa.

One thing that will swing my decision in favour of SA is for the crime issue to be addressed. Living in the UK has taught me that it isn’t normal for law-abiding citizens to live behind bars and in constant fear of being robbed; raped or murdered. I, like many other ex-pats, just can’t return to living in fear so I pray that SA will sort itself out and maybe the government will get its wish for a “brain drain” reversal.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Dream it; Believe in it; Live it

Yippee, only 4 days to sunshine and proper summer weather!!

I can barely contain my excitement - I can't wait to throw on my swimsuit and feel the sun rays embrace my ghostly skin. Like a giant generate, the sun will recharge my batteries and I will have an abundance of energy again. Oh and I get to see my family and friends again - it is going to be a fabulous Christmas.

Like most people at this time of year, I've been doing a lot of reflecting on 2008 and I must say it certainly has been a year to remember. So much of my life has changed and I am really enjoying riding the waves of an unpredictable life. Monotony and stability just doesn't work for me - as a teenager I swore I would never become a grey suit and yet that is just what happened.

The saying "and then I grew up" rang true for me and instead of fighting the norm, I accepted it and slowly saw the real me disappear. Even though I was disgruntled with the way life was going, I continued to wear the grey suit to avoid conflicts and disapproval, until my soul was screaming so loud that I had to break free. I decided then and there to take charge of my destiny and all I can say is Wow. It is amazing how fast change can happen when you accept it into your life.

As I look back on the year I can honestly say I wouldn't change a thing. While it is true that perhaps I could have been a little more sensitive to others when I caused upheavals and I do still feel a bit bad about it, however the decisions were right. I am on a different path now and that excites me.

I've encountered many people who look at me in amazement when I tell them that change is possible and that it is up to each and every one of us to decide on a path. The rebuttles are all the same and quite frankly not valid. They are merely excuses born out of fear. I truly believe that we would not have been given the gift of dreaming if we weren't meant to fulfil our dreams.

My mantra for the new year is "dream it; believe in it; live it" - my only wish is that others too may start believing in themselves again and start seeing the possibilities of life before old age sweeps in. Life is so much more fun when you are living your dreams.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Life in the sun

Hola todos!

Well I am absolutely loving Spain - work is good and totally relaxed. I don't think I have ever laughed so much on a project before and the biggest bonus is that I get to wear casual clothes to work ....yippee!!! For the first time in many years I am enjoying IT but I do think this can largely be attributed to the eclectic group of people I am working with. We are all from different corners of the world so it is facinating chatting to everyone about their countries and cultures. The one little issue is not being able to speak Spanish, most of the locals don't understand English so conversations are very limited. If I was there for longer I would definitely try to learn the language.

Working there has made me realise that there is really nothing left for me in the UK. Every morning when I draw back the curtains of my window I am greeted by a spectacular sunrise over the mountains, it is so peaceful, so beautiful - I just have to smile to myself. I can't think of a better way to start a day. It is so sunny and warm during the day that I don't even need to put on a coat or a jacket when I stand outside - such bliss! Coming back to the UK over the weekends is such a pain. My mood is as grey as the weather, I can't stand the noise, the dirty streets and the fast pace of London. Spain is way better than this crappy country. Hmmm... so do I move to Spain or Italy early next year- difficult decision.

Once this contract is finished I have to start making definite plans for the big move, I've wasted too much time just contemplating it. My excuses are no longer valid - I want a better life and I know I can get it in Spain or Italy. The great thing is that my writing is coming on and I am getting a lot more work in. It is so cool having a portable job.

OK so just a few more weeks in IT, then it is homeward bound for Christmas and in the new year I leave the UK for good and start writing full time. Life is going to be good - it'll be nice to start afresh, especially since it will be in the sun.