Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November: Part 1

If someone were to ask me to describe my last few weeks (go ahead… ASK!) the first word that comes to mind would be RIDICULOUS. And I do not mean that in a bad way. It has been ridiculously busy, but also ridiculously fun, exciting and simply breathtaking. So much so, that I do not have the breathe to explain it all in one post.

How about we start from the beginning? The first weekend of November was an incredibly busy one, but in the best way possible. The Saturday was spent taking photos for the Rhodes Chamber Choir (the people who have kept my photography going throughout the year) in my studio. I really enjoy spending time with people in my studio, so it made for a fun afternoon with lots of laughter. The photos were being taken for adverts that will be used to find new choir members next year, and they had a mugshot theme. This meant a lot of fun for the people involved, and a lot of post-production to make the white background seem a little more like a police station. You can check out the results on my photography blog.

Sunday saw more time spent with my camera as Lwando and his girlfriend, Nonkosazana, who was down from East London for the weekend. A new challenge faced me as I have never had a couple session in my studio, and found it a lot more difficult to co-ordinate while trying to stop the shadows from the lighting getting in the way. After half an hour in the studio, and around 40 photographs to work with, it was out into the sunshine as we made our way to the Botanical Gardens. It was the perfect day to walk around, and I took them to the spots that I am used to being the small bamboo jungle, the romantic pond and the river. From being hyper-aware of the camera in the beginning, the two started relaxing more, posing easier and just have fun. Have a look at the photos that came out of the session on my photography blog.

With the weekend out of the way, it was back to work for a slightly shorter week than normal. Grant’s dad and stepmom came down on Wednesday in preparation for our roadtrip on Thursday, and they came bearing many a gift. Having just moved into a new house in Johannesburg, they had a lot of extra bits and bobs that they didn’t need any more and decided to bring down to their incredibly grateful (step-)son and his girlfriend! This included an extra fridge, a gas braai and a tortoise named Tommy, Grant’s childhood pet.

The new house in Johannesburg doesn’t have a big garden (hardly any garden at all, in fact), so it was decided that Tommy would be far happier in our backyard nomming on the fruit as it falls (because we are entirely useless at picking it) and having a Puddims to play with. For the first few days, Tommy was entirely unimpressed with his new situation, hissing and spitting and threatening to chew on any hand that got near him (though for a toothless animal, his beak certainly does pack a punch). But he seems to have come around to it with the help of some tomatoes, apples, strawberries and cuttlefish. He is undergoing an entirely new diet regiment consisting of less veggies and fruit, because apparently tortoises struggle to process sugar, but more hay. Which he seems entirely unimpressed with. But we keep trying regardless!

The view of Robberg Beach in Plett.
The view of Knysna Quays.
Grant and I jetted off on Thursday, leaving Jono to look after the new addition to our family, and made our way to George for a long weekend away, stopping off in Plett for a night on the way to visit family friends and just rest considering that Grant and I only managed to leave Grahamstown close to 6pm. The Plett leg of the trip was very short and not particularly eventful, being only one night, but from there Sharon and I made our way to Knysna for the day on Friday while the boys carried on to George for their first day of golf. Knysna meant shopping and time spent by the seaside, which was greatly appreciated by me, and it was a lovely, relaxing day spent wandering from shop to shop, without buying too much to Grant’s relief.

Sunrise from one of our balconies. To the far right, you can see our lounge and further in our bedroom.
From Knysna, Sharon and I slowly made our way to the hotel in George and, oh my, what a hotel. The Hyatt Regency in George is absolutely stunning, and Grant and I were incredibly, incredibly lucky because Grant’s dad decided that, because it was Grant’s birthday weekend, we would get the bigger suite. Which just happened to be the presidential one!! The hostess seemed just as shocked as I was, but managed to keep her composure for long enough to hand me the key to the room and keep herself from gawking as Sharon and I made our way to the elevator. When I returned with Grant later in the evening though, we caught her whispering to a colleague and pointing in our direction, which we found to be hilarious rather than offensive. We were just as surprised as she was at the luxury we had been provided.

Sun setting over the Hyatt Regency.
The room itself was bigger than our entirely three bedroomed, two bathroomed house. With a lavish lounge, an office area (as part of the lounge), a dining room, a kitchen, two bathrooms, a giant bedroom and three balconies (all with amazing views, of course), we were set to never have to leave the room again. But then, there were others things to coax us out and convince us that we were still in the real world with shopping downstairs, an infinity pool, a spa and the Ernie Els designed Oubaai golf course all being part of the resort. Grant and Rob made full use of the golf course, while Sharon and I perused the shops and the local area, stopping into Heralds Bay for lunch on Saturday and sitting by the pool with the boys for the rest of the afternoon. The breakfast that the hotel provided was also phenomenal and out of this world, but unfortunately I only got to make use of the restaurant for the breakfasts. On Saturday evening I started feeling completely out of it, losing feeling in my arm and feeling disoriented and nauseous. After taking a few pills, I was out like a light and only managed to wake up for a few minutes to grab a bite of the divine grilled chicken that had been ordered from room service as part of the dinner. I got told the next morning how the meals that Grant, Rob and Sharon had ordered (also through room service) came on silver platters. The next morning, we were slow to wake and reluctant to leave, but were out of the hotel and back on the road by midday, stopping briefly to grab a token or two and some lunch on the way back to Grahamstown.

The view on the way back into Grahamstown

And thus ends part one of November thus far. Watch this space for part 2.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


If I had to name only one that I hate about Grahamstown, it would be an easy task. It is that people are always coming and going. Grahamstown is an inbetween town, and I have had more than my fair share of goodbyes. So, what I suppose it boils down to is hating to say goodbyes.

I had to say goodbye to all of my friends back in 2009 when I decided to leave Grahamstown, and was on the leaving end. That was ridiculously rough. I remember nights of celebrating the time that we had together, but more than anything I remember leaving the house on African Street, tears streaming down my face because I had just had to say goodbye to Grant, for what we expected to be the last time, and having to drive the 10 hours to Cape Town unable to listen to my radio because every song that came up reminded me of him.

Then I had to say goodbye to my parents and Cape Town friends as I left for Korea, though that was never intended to be a permanent move, and was not a goodbye for good. Still, the image of my mother waving goodbye to me through the crowds is not an easy one to forget.

Then, after a friend or two leaving during my time in Korea, I had to leave all of the friends that I had made behind, not knowing when I would see any of them again. The weekend before my departure, I shed more tears than I am willing to admit, but every drop was worth the friendships that had been forged. I still get a little teary eyed when I look at the last photo of Amy and I ever to be taken, a polaroid that I keep in my wallet. You can tell from both of our red eyes just how much it hurt to be saying goodbye.

And then, after all of these heartfelt goodbyes, I ended up back in little old Grahamstown where people are constantly coming and going, entering and leaving your life. And most of the time, for most of the people, it leaves no impact. But then, there are the people who make it worthwhile, who make you want to stay around, who can convince you to leave the comfort of your bed even if it is just for one drink, who are willing to stay in bed with you if you can't be convinced, who are happy to do nothing in each others company and who are always there with a kind word, even if you don't think that you need it. And tonight, I have had to say goodbye to one of those people.

So yes, I am more than a little emotional at the moment and a little resentful towards Grahamstown because without it, I wouldn't have had the chance to meet half of the awesome people that I have met in my life, but I would also be without the pain of having to say goodbye to those people while one or both of us forge our own ways in the world.

There are more goodbyes to come over the next few weeks, but I don't think any of them will pull at my heartstrings quite as much as having to say goodbye to Kath. We will always have Kenton!! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Revisionist History

The theme for today - Go back in time to an event you think could have played out differently for you. Let alternate history have its moment: tell us what could, would or should have happened?

It was my first year, my first street party. I had one sip of my alchipop, one taste of Brutal Fruit after a week of heavy nights, and suddenly felt the world spinning at my feet. 

The music reverberates through my body and I can feel rather than hear every beat of it. People pass me in masses as I sway on the spot, unmoving. Laughter and screams of joy interrupt my thoughts, not letting them complete themselves and leaving me running in circles in my head without so much as blinking. I couldn't blink even if I wanted to, cannot control the weight that it my eyelids. I ignore the alarms going off in my brain, telling me that something is just not right and take another sip of the liquid poison. An unfamiliar hand slides along my waist and pulls me, and I follow unrelenting, unquestioning, leaning into it. And then there is nothing.

I awake, broken in every sense of the word, my throat begging for relief in the form of cool liquid, but nothing is enough to quench the thirst, nothing is enough to bring back the night that has been lost. This room is not my own.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Some Nights

I never know just how I will feel from one night to the next. My mood changes with the temperature, with the day that has passed, the day that is to come, with ever so slight alterations in my surroundings and in the attitudes of those that I spend my time with.

Some nights I lay up cashing in my bad luck
Some nights I call it a draw

What will it be? A night of joy and laughter, soft music and popcorn, or a night of grinding teeth and glaring eyes staring blankly at a computer screen without taking anything in, waiting to snap at the first person to walk in the door. Will it be a night of tap tap tapping on the keyboard, or one of clicking away at the mouse incessantly, trying to get the picture just right, just the way that I imagined it in my mind, just the way that I saw it before it got compressed into 1s and 0s. Will I lie down and sleep, or will I twist and turn, first too hot and then too cold. Will the cat be an annoyance or a welcome distraction and cuddling partner?

Some nights I wish that these lips could be a castle
Some night I wish they'd just fall off

It speaks volumes to me as I ponder how I am going to be feeling tonight, what mood I am going to be in and how it will affect those around me, from my loving boyfriend to my housemate to my pets. Because while the good nights are wonderfully, blissfully good, I know that the bad nights are horrifying and I live in a constant fear that one of these days the bad night will end and I will not know how I got to where I am, alone and bitter.

But I still wake up, I still see your ghost...

The ghost that I see is all too familiar - a ghost of my past. A ghost of a better me, of the person that I wish I could be, especially when compared to the person that I have become. A person with hopes and dreams that cannot be quelched by reality, when I stand here wondering what became of those dreams. I can remember a time when I knew what I wanted in life, when I knew what would make me happy. Today, I look at myself and do not know where to start. Each day goes on relentlessly, and I am left in a zombie-like state, living out day to day without any feeling or meaning and not knowing when it will end.

Oh Lord I'm still not sure what I stand for, oh..
What do I stand for? What do I stand for?

Most nights, I don't know anymore.

Daily Posting

It has been awhile since I last posted, but I am hoping that is about to change. See, after reading my friend Annetjie's blog for awhile, I realised that Annetjie has been getting ideas for blog posts not just from her wonderful mind, but with a little help.

And so, I have discovered a blog that I hope will give me a little inspiration. Or a lot. Depending on how it goes. I at least hope that it will inspire one post a week, starting with a post today. See below/above (not sure where the post will end up in the grand scheme of things) for my interpretation of today's theme.

In addition to using the Daily Post as an inspiration and idea-generator, I also hope to be using Worth1000's ideas a little more often on my blog. I do not often enter the contests, but I do occasionally find the subjects inspiring and, though I might not finish in the time-frame, hopefully it will mean that I can post the ideas that I have here. So this will become more of a space for creative writing, for musings and for introspection, or so I hope. 

I hope that anyone following will either join in or at least appreciate what I have to give!