Sunday, 30 October 2011

The small things

I am so so thankful for the small joys in life. Superficial to some, obvious to others. I am not referring to the way my husband makes me laugh hard enough to have to "clench", nor to the roof over my head and warm winter kit or loyalty of my family. For these I am exceptionally grateful and very aware.

No, they are small, insignificant things that really do brighten my day.

An amazing nail polish colour.  (It makes me feel like a million bucks)

The smell of luxury hand wash. (Obscure, but it actually makes me feel calmer and more cheerful)

Clean bed sheets. (I partake in a full 5 minutes of glee when I first get into bed on "clean sheet night")

A perfectly ripe avocado pear. (With salt and pepper? *sigh* its....amazing)

Starbucks. (Specifically a Tall Double Skinny Caramel Macchiato)

A good hair day. (Out of my control and fully capable of putting extra spring in my step

Clinique's Chubby Stick in Cherry. (Its amazing. Its lip balm, with lipstick colour, without stick or chapping)

Lupa's waggy tail. (It has a kink and she wags it at a million mph - its unceasingly humorous)

Classical music. (Of course there are specifics, but it actually makes me feel lighter)

Hymns sung with African harmonies. (

Summer comic book blockbusters. (Muscles, damsels in distress, cheesy smiles, popcorn, 2hrs to tune out.)

And more and more! Thank God that I am able to be thankful for the little things.

My good friend Vanessa has mentioned a gratitude journal in our Skyping conversations. Its something I am exploring. The specific quote for motivation was unavailable, but its related to changing our perception from that of entitlement to that of gratitude. This can only be good. My recording journey will start with the obvious, and move onto the small, fine things in life that are often forgotten, expected or presumed. I have much that I am thankful for, and much more that I should be thankful for.

Sunday, 23 October 2011


Bloody immigrants, immigration, et al!

As an immigrant, from South Africa TO Canada, from Canada TO England, from England back TO Canada, I feel that I have the right to speak poorly of immigrants and of those who speak poorly of us.

Its fair to describe us as a sorry lot. We arrive in clothes that don't quite "match", we drive erratically, crossing over all the lanes while we adjust to new road signs, crazy local drivers and learn the unspoken rules of the road through trial and error. We settle by finding jobs that allow us to contribute to the economy and find our way in society but can generally only find customer facing, entry level jobs which enrages most locals and other settled immigrants because again, we don't quite "fit in" or they don't understand our accents. We attempt to arrange for loans and credit cards in order to establish a credit rating so we may purchase homes and cars and finally "match", "fit in" and "belong" only to be turned down for lack of credit.

And amidst all this, we feel it is important to hold onto a bit of our culture, which we left, not because we hated it, but because our government isn't as good as yours, our health care system sorely lacking and our education system less promising. We know that we are the minority, we do not need to have it thrown back at us time and time again. We know that we need to adjust to a new sense of humour, a new social value system, a new government, a new workplace and a new way of doing things.

But its hard. We have left good jobs, promising careers, partial education, homes, family and friends. We have made a commitment to start from scratch, wanting a life with more promise, as you do too.

So next time you see a crazy driver in front of you, please do not yell out "immigrant", (its probably a rich woman with a large car with very little spacial awareness). Next time we request to maintain a cultural value in the workplace or in a school, knowing that we are in a new culture by choice, please respect us for having values.

This is not an invitation to cite extreme cultural practices or to give one example of one individual's unkindness and anti-Canadianism. Its a call to patience. We impatiently seek to be settled so that we can get on with our lives. Cut us some slack and we'll have one less item to cross off the list.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

A bee in the bonnett!

Yesterday, in Dale Farm, United Kingdom, the council began to evict a group of Irish Travellers from a piece of land. Both sides had support from public, though the council had the heavier, riot geared kind - an advantage to be sure.

The situation occurred because a group of travellers purchased said land 10 years previously. This land was purchased 50km outside of London and next to another plot of land that had been purchased by travellers and built upon. At some stage during all of this, the Irish travellers began building on this land. While there were graphic photos and descriptions of the clash between the two groups, the media (who should be ashamed at their irresponsible reporting of the situation - biased and lacking appropriate research) does not explain whether or not the travellers ever applied for building permits nor whether said permits were denied or just not inquired about. However, it does raise an important question.

Why was the land sold to the Irish Travellers in the first place? Surely, given the nature of the community, and the location of the land (right next to another travelling community) it would've been understood that they would eventually begin building on the land?

Why did the media not research the information properly so that it could responsibly report on the situation, rather than fuelling the ignorant and negative views about this Irish community?

There has always been an opening for opinion columns and the like, however, I have noticed a serious lack of responsibility in the media recently. News is information, not based on agendas of opinion, war mongering, fear inducing, sensationalism or ratings. Why has this been allowed to change?

In a community of ever tighter time constraints, when reading bylines suffices for news updates, there should be even stricter guidelines on the quality of news being published/broadcast.

Why have I not seen/read/heard about others speaking out about this?

Monday, 17 October 2011


My husband has not yet visited The Toronto Zoo and on this blustery, cloudy, somewhat rainy day, we made the drive to remedy his situation.

The zoo, AMAZING. The afterthought, not so much.

The new Tundra exhibit has a massive space for Arctic Wolves and Polar Bears to roam and swim etc etc. A bear in particular was very entertaining as it threw a dog bone to itself while swimming from rock to rock.

The Urang utan and Gorilla exhibit left me feeling less entertained. And by time we reached the African Savannah exhibit, I'd lost interest.

I'm not going to get all Rise of Jane Goodall's Planet of the Apes on this, but the expression on the faces of the apes struck me forcibly and without warning. Yes folks, expression.
I still love the zoo, its joyful (mostly) to see the animals in such excellent surroundings (Toronto Zoo does a magnificent job). Its a wonderful educational tool for children. Its a great day out and there is a tiny bit of pacified conscience that tells us that many zoos rescue injured animals from the wild.

But maybe, maybe, not all creatures should be included. Maybe, not all beasts can thrive in a recreated habitat.


My vocal chords are strong, massive, bouncy, healthy. I am loud. (Though, I have quietened some since having lived in England...) But it means that I communicate many athing too loudly. I am loud when I am excited. I am loud when I am scared. I am loud when I am frustrated. I am loud when I am angry.

I shout.

A lot.

This is not something that I am proud of, and while some may find the tenor of my vocals amusing, most do not. I have been called a "fishwife" amongst banter. I have been called a "fishwife" and a "banshee" as an insult.

The truth hurts. Especially when its coming from someone you love.

So the endeavour is for a continual bettering. God give me strength.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

The art of visiting

I haven't spent much time on my computer in the past month. It is directly related to spending more time with my husband now that we're both home all day. While my husband and I bond and connect in this unusual time together, I have fallen out of the habit of communicating with others. This is directly related to spending less time on the computer. I initially thought that I'd become callous towards the needs of my friends and my family but realised that I had actually just become techno lazy. It lead me to wonder:

how much quality time do we have to spend on the computer in order to stay in touch with those we care about?

a lot it would seem. My daily 10 minutes has left me completely out of the loop. The children of my dearest friends are growing up via blogs and facebook photo albums. My friends' moods and concerns are more clearly explained in their facebook status updates than you could garner from a 2hr coffee date. And this lead me to further explore the idea that our generation has lost the art of visiting. We find it simpler (and safer) to update our twitter and facebook accounts with our hopes and joys and frustrations rather than speaking in person. I have had friendships that involve in depth emails but have not been able to pass the "small talk" barrier when in person. Also, we are too busy to sit down and give someone our time which leads to constantly cramming visits into slots otherwise labelled "grocery shopping", "babysitting", "cleaning" and even "eating". And even then, our cell phones don't stop buzzing with text messages, BBMs and phone calls.

At the risk of being misunderstood, I am not referring to a leisurely lunch or dinner spent with others. Joyful, relaxed socialisation is not only brilliant fun, but very healthy. However, my generation does seem to have missed the boat on a very important aspect to the whole relationship thing. Time. You cannot effectively build on any relationship without putting in the time.

For me, it means computer time. Techno time. Managing time. Sacrificing husband time. However, if I want to know about my friend's lives and their children's development I'll have to spend the time clicking through online photo albums, reading and commenting on the captions. If I want to be able to stay in touch with friends and family (regardless of their location - this even applies to my father who lives 15 minutes away), I have to take the time to follow their interests online, email frequently, be available for Skype chats.

Yes, it is a shame that we've lost the delicate, but fulfilling practice of visiting. I do think that my generation suffers from "too little, never enough" which leads directly to bending to the social pressure to be everything all at the same time - socialite, spouse, friend, family, professional, running partner, parent...and the list goes on. However, this is how society has changed. My generation will continue to live the rat race because we've been told that we can, that its fun, that we should. So my choices are few. I love my friends, my family. Thus, I forgo the joy of sitting with another at home, drinking tea, enjoying the company unhurriedly and without distraction, and dedicate myself to spending more time online, starting with this blog.

Saturday, 1 October 2011


I don't know why the start of a new month requires a new blog post, however, I am inspired.

It is pretty darn cold outside, a balmy 9 degrees Celsius without the wind chill. There are tons of leaves on the ground already but the sun is shining and for me, that's good enough.

I feel excited for this month. September was quite a tumultuous time for our family, a lot of moving and adjusting and arriving and organising and settling. We're still trying to do much but we're getting settled with the act of settling. But October brings with it promise. Employment. Routine. Weight loss (though this is fixed permanently on the TO-DO list for each month). Quality family time. Direction and time lines. Yes, time lines, invoking a sense of security and purpose.

A Tall Double Skinny Caramel Starbucks Macchiatto in hand, and a job application on the table, I'm prepared to start on lists on time lines. Good times. Roll on October!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...