Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mom, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Don’t let your age define you – Remove “too old” from your vocabulary

Florence

I had eagerly awaited meeting Florence, she is an angelic, elegant, absolutely captivating mom, granny and great granny. She will be turning a phenomenal 102 years old this October. Florence has an extraordinary presence, who touches the hearts of those lucky enough to meet her. She was described to me by a close friend who passed away in April as a very sharp, intelligent, classy and particularly articulate woman with a pleasant nature who leaves everyone she meets feeling lucky to have met her and spent time in her presence.

After much anticipation, the time finally came when I would meet the woman who had only been a legend up until that moment. I walked through the kitchen door past the dining room into the living room where she sat on a one-seater couch.

The dining room table is a modern rectangular table with 8 chairs. A number of timeless retro silver pieces stood on the table, similar to the tea set, a family heirloom, passed down through two generations and stands in my mother’s living room on a light, varnished oak sideboard. The living room has a warm, quaint vintage feel to it. Behind where Florence sat, stood a classic display cabinet with a collection of porcelain dolls in it. The room was filled with a number of antique ornaments, taking me back to my grandmother’s house in Merrivale, which a tiny town near Howick Natal, where we often visited when I was a little girl.

As I enthusiastically approached where she was sitting my attention was quickly drawn to a loud shriek, followed by some chirping, coming from one of two African Grey parrots. In the corner of the room stood two large bird cages with two African Grey parrots. The birds immediately noticed me, and they caused a racket as if to impress the new comer.

I quickly turned around and introduced myself to Florence and her face lit up as she told me that it is wonderful to meet me. Her voice is soft-spoken and her English, perfectly eloquent. She sat upright in the chair with perfect posture, her walking cane stood next to her, leaning up against the couch. Her light grey hair was perfectly done, not a hair out-of-place. Her face completely content, her eye lids slightly drooped, forehead creased, cheeks wrinkled. Her skin is light in complexion and absolutely perfectly made up, pinkish blush on her cheeks, eye brows neat and light pink lipstick on her lips, framed by lip liner. She was a picture of pure elegance and classic beauty.

I gazed at her, completely in awe at her magnetic beauty and marvelous presence, to me she seemed larger than life. I certainly felt very blessed to meet this enchanted woman. If I had not known her age, I would have guessed her at around 78 at most. I was instantly captured by her elegance, I remember both of my Grandmothers having the same sort of timeless elegance. We chatted for some time about the walk that she had been on earlier that day and the porcelain dolls, among other things.

Her articulate use of the English language struck me and impressed me as soon as she began to speak. I appreciate and respect for the English language and I am often left annoyed when someone abuses the language. I accept that the language has evolved(not for the better in my opinion) but I gave up correcting people years ago when I realised that I was only aggravating myself by obsessing over it and pointing the mistakes people make out because it fell on deaf ears and I realised that it is generally accepted these days to misuse English. I learnt to ignore bad pronouncing, misspelling and misuse of words in the same way I learnt to ignore bad driving by the South African minibus taxi drivers. Shouting and screaming and getting upset at taxi drivers was only driving my blood pressure up and affecting my mood and was completely ignored by them. Eventually I decided that accepting the way in which taxis drive and not getting riled up was the best option for my mental state and health. I still cringe when people use the incorrect to, too or two but smile and scroll past.

Florence left me with a unique warm feeling inside and a wide magical smile on my face that remained for the rest of the afternoon.

I so often hear people saying, “I am getting old” or “I am really feeling the age” or “I am too old to do this”. I am talking about people in their 30’s who constantly bring up their age in a negative way. Come on people, here is a woman at 101, who walks every day and still enjoys the small things in life. She spent the Soccer World cup watching each match and supporting her favourite teams throughout the tournament. I had hoped that Croatia would win the world cup, I often favour the underdog. Florence however was supporting France and celebrated their win. I laughed when she was watching and said, “Oh dear, that gentleman’s pants have torn”. She also said that she had seen his behind. I smile every time I think about that.

She loves sharing stories of her childhood as well as of her children growing up and has also shared stories of naughty things that her grandchildren got up to as children. She assures me that she brought her children up to be well manned. I giggled when she told me about the only time her and her sister ever got a hiding as children. She said that her dad had bought them new rain coats and they put one of the rain coats over both of them and stretched it by trying to fit it around both of them. The girls had wanted to see if they could both fit into one raincoat for the fun of it. They got themselves into a lot of trouble over the rain coats and she told the story in great detail, using the sweetest facial expressions. I found the story cute and entertaining. If only I could say something as small as that was the only thing my children had got up to through the years to hit my nerves.

She walks every single day as well as reading the newspaper every day. She enjoys the small things and delights in the company of her family and caregivers who have become family. She has an incredible support structure and she is surrounded by people who love her. She keeps her mind active and feeds it daily. She has many a pearl of wisdom to share such as “love isn’t always fun, it takes hard work too” among many others. I look forward to spending hours with her and hearing many more of her wonderful stories.

A couple of weeks back the girls and I headed out for a ladies night. We had the pleasure of bumping into a 74-year-old man who was dancing up a storm and really loving life. We chatted to him and asked how old he was. When he answered, we were shocked because we had thought that he was probably around 65 at the most. 74 years old, dancing in a local spot in Fourways, filled with mostly youngsters and thriving on every moment. He was living life and enjoying every minute of it.

Forget that the word “old” exists and stop referring to yourself as old. I have certainly never heard Florence call herself old. Get exercise every day, eat right and most importantly, FEED YOUR MIND DAILY.

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Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Uncategorized

5 things that the first half of 2018 has taught me

  1. The best thing for me and everyone that I love is to put me first– It is no secret that I am a people pleaser but to give of myself I need to have of me to give, not putting myself first has affected me and my loved ones adversely.  As long as I can remember, I have always put people before me.  I am the first to volunteer to arrange anything from a baby shower to birthday party.  I remember a time when I was running from one event to the next to make everyone happy.  I had become completely exhausted and depressed because I had nothing left of me for myself and was spending all of my energy on everyone else.  Obviously, I had made it my duty to please everyone and I kept telling myself that loved ones should come first.  The truth is that I have to come first in order to be able to give the best to my children and the people who I love.  My entire life I have made decisions based on others.  I have stayed in the wrong situations for people, instead of getting out of these situations for me.  This has been a tough year for me and I have had to put my foot down, put myself first and stop giving my all at the detriment of myself and others around me.  Once I began making decisions based on me first, I suddenly was in a happy space and everyone around me was suddenly happier as well.  When I put myself first, I have more to give and I am living a fulfilling life and those closest to me benefit greatly.  Putting me first is not being selfish but rather being fair.  This for me is still a work in progress because I am quick to put others first, but I have taken leaps in the right direction and definitely am getting better every day and I am constantly making conscious choices and decisions that put me first in my life.
  2. I can no longer keep the wrong people for me in my life– The truth is you become like the people you choose to share your company with.  I had a number of toxic people that were in my life and they were not good for me at all.  I made bad decisions because of the company that I had been keeping and I was putting the wrong people before myself and before the right people.  I have had to put my foot down here and keep it down.  If people are bad for me, then they do not belong in my life.  It is important to be the best me that I can be and anyone who does not allow me to be my best or keeps me from achieving my goals is not worth having in my life.  It is not being a bitch, it is being real and painting the picture of my life that I want without being distracted.
  3. I cannot allow people’s opinions and judgement on other people to stop me from getting to know someone– I formed opinions on one person in particular based on what others had said about this person.  I took the time to get to know the person for myself and realised that I had been wrongly informed and misguided.  I cannot allow other people to form my opinions because it is not fair, and I could end up not missing out on having good people in my life, this would be absolutely tragic.  People are entitled to their own opinions, I am entitled to form my own.  I have also stopped listening as people start speaking in a negative or nasty way about others.  I don’t care what people think about other people and if it is nasty then I don’t want to know.  Like mom always said: “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it” and most importantly don’t entertain it when people are mean.
  4. No matter how hard I fall or however terrible the situation seems, it is only as bad as I allow my mind to make it– As I mentioned, I have had a hard year so far.  There have been big obstacles and I have had to make huge changes and hard decisions to make.  When I have been at my lowest my mind has somehow seen the light at the end of the tunnel.  I remember years back, sitting in a Doctors room, feeling miserable, sick and very sorry for myself when I noticed a book on the table.  I stood up and bent down to pick up the small white book with navy blue writing on the cover.  It was a book of “feel good” quotes.  I read “Don’t forget to sing in the life boats”. Suddenly I felt like a I was being a real brat.  In my mind I pictured a big ship sinking, people were standing with orange life jackets over their shoulders and fastened around their waists.  They were being helped into life boats, some crying, some screaming and some pushing and shoving.  I pictured one man with chubby, rosy cheeks, dark hair and a beard sitting in one of the boats.  The man began to sing in my mind and suddenly the storm seemed distant and people were instantly relaxed and calm.  You create the reaction to a situation and only you can control your reaction and how you deal with it.  Breathe, think and then react in best way for you.  Always see the light even in a dark night.
  5. In business and making money, thinking outside of the box and not limiting myself is the way forward– I have learned that there are many ways to make money and to make business work.  I have had to diversify my thinking and seize opportunity that really are everywhere. The future is bright and there is so much opportunity to take advantage of if I just stop limiting myself and get out of the box.  Thinking outside of the norm and paving the way to a successful future is what I have learned to do.
Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Personal Development

My favourite Mandela Quotes – Mandela Day 2018

On this special day, that would have been the father of our rainbow nation, Madiba’s centenarian birthday, I have chosen three of Mandela’s quotes for us to live by.

The very wise Tata (which means father) said many monumental things but what made him such an incredible man was his actions, he united our country and brought peace when it seemed impossible. Madiba changed the world, built our nation and put peace and his people first. Truly an unbelievable hero who’s footsteps will remain in our hearts and on the ravishing landscapes and surreal orange sunsets of South Africa and the world forever.

The first quote I would like to remind you of is: “Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day dreaming, but vision with action can change the world.”

Mandela was truly a man of action and vision. His vision was to “eradicate racism and establish a constitutional democracy”. He sure had his work cut out for him in a very angry and divided country. He set aside his pain and anger and set out to make his dream a reality and save our beautiful country from its past pain. May I always have the guts to action my visions and may my visions always be positive and make a difference to those around me.

The Oxford dictionary defines his two key words as follows:

Vision: the faculty or state of being able to see, the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom, an experience.

Action: The fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim.

Decide on a vision and make it happen. What do you want to achieve? Picture it repeatedly and make it happen. You are in control of your destiny. Focus on your goal and make it a reality. It is said that happiness is found through helping others, it is truly fulfilling.

My second Mandela quote of choice is:

“We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.”

If you think that you are only one person and you cannot make a difference, remember our Mandela was once a child born in the tiny village of Mvezo, Eastern Cape who was to become a world-wide hero and change the world. My favourite quote by Gandhi is “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Change starts with you, stop complaining about things and start doing and being the change.

The final Madiba quote that I have chosen on this significant day is:

“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”

You cannot control everything that happens in your life, but you can control how you deal with what happens. The bottom line is your thoughts and words become your life. Focus on what you want, control your mind, banish negative thoughts and create your own fate. Attract what you want and make it your reality. If you fall, get up. If you make a mistake, learn from it. Leave the past behind you and paint the future you want. Choose your company wisely and surround yourself with the right people for you and your plan for your life.

Start your new chapter today, be the author of your own book, train your mind and silence all thoughts that are not proactive to what you want in your life.

Change starts with YOU!

Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development

Let the Sun warm your face and soak up it’s radiance

For such a long time I was completely suppressed by the situation I was in and I allowed people to affect my mind space. The most destructive effect of this negative mind space was on my health. There was a time when I found myself ill every day. Eventually I suspected that there was something seriously wrong with me. I was physically ill every single day. I would literally throw up every day. Fear of some or other dreaded disease set in, and I was wasting hours daily thinking what could be wrong with me, google of course had everything for my symptoms and mostly terminal illnesses popped up. I was spiralling into an unhealthy negative hole that I had created through my own bad decisions. The cure for all the possible diseases that I had thought of was as simple as sorting my head out.

Today I am walking with my head high, loving the feeling of the warm golden-yellow rays of the fiery African winter sun on my face. The South African winter sun shines brighter and warmer than the South African summer sun. If I take a moment to soak in the golden sun’s warm radiance, in the midst of the Fierce, piercing winter wind which chills to the bone, I realise that I don’t even notice the venom in the pitiless wind. In my mind the almost prophetic and luminous sun shadows even the cruellest and most remorseless wind. The winter sky is crystal clear and bright blue, not a cloud or haze can be seen because with the bite of the winter wind, comes the clear blissful sky, that only it can bring, as it clears all dust and pollution as it howls across the dry Joburg. It is in the heart of harsh, bitter Joburg winter that I realise how positivity flows through every vein in my body.

I am truly proud of how far I have come and how much the bad times have taught me. The greatest truth that I have learned is that I create my own reality. If I allow negativity to consume me, then it will consume every part of my life, my mind, my body and even my health.

When I learned that I hold the greatest tool of all, I began to learn how to use it and it was right then that I opened the door to the true positivity and amazing things.

Let me break it down for you. My mind was polluted with rubbish, how could I be happy and healthy whilst my mind was in the trash?  The answer is I couldn’t, I was completed focussed on the trash. In order to see the sun shine through the polluted sky, I had to get rid of the pollution, “throw out the trash” – so to speak. Secondly the mind is an incredible thing. What you imagine, comes to light. If you imagine you are sick, you shall be sick. If you imagine being healthy, so shall you be. The mouth too is a powerful tool, if you speak only bad things then that is what you will get but if you speak good things even when your ship is sinking then good things will come your way. Start small, think about your life and what you want to change. For example, you aren’t making ends meet and your bills are piling up. Think about financial freedom, think about how you will feel and picture you what you will do when you achieve it. Most of all picture it in the present, own it in your mind and it will become yours.

Your mind is able to paint incredible pictures, visualise exactly what you want and see it in your mind’s eye and fixate on the beautiful vision you have created in your incredible mind. Speak it, say it out loud. I have learned that the tongue is a very powerful thing. If you say you are broke, so shall you be. If you repeatedly say “why me? Why are things so bad for me? Nothing ever goes right for me?” Do not cry when nothing goes right for you! You are speaking this into your life.

Just before you think that I think you are an idiot for speaking and imagining bad into your life, let me say, I have done it, many times. I would constantly think about how difficult a certain time in my life was and it would become more difficult. Looking back, it was really not that difficult in the first place. I was choosing to see the bad and ignore the amazing parts at the particular time. I am here to help anyone in the situation which I found myself in.

When I started writing, it was out of passion to help people and this is one of the most incredible tools that I can pass on. Stop thinking negatively and expecting a positive outcome. You are completely in control of your thoughts and thereby you are completely in control of your destiny. Get your mind out of the rubbish and into the light. Start making things happen in your life by making it happen through your thoughts, imagination and words. You can change your life right here and right now, so what is stopping you? Be who you want to be, go where you want to go and be the writer of your book.

Take out the trash, before you drown in it. Invite good things in, open your eyes and watch your tongue. What you speak and what you imagine, will be what you get. Start today on a brand-new canvas and paint your perfect world with your imagination. See and speak your desire into being and stop limiting yourself with your own mind. Do not allow negative thoughts to creep in because you are having an off day or not yet where you want to be. The key is to be 100% in control of your mind. Be aware as anything negative pops into your head and fight it off with over powering positivity. Be thankful for where you are and how far you have come.

Don’t hold onto anger towards those who have caused you pain. Anger will only hurt you and will have no effect on the person whatsoever. I believe that every person comes into my life for a reason and if that reason was to teach me a difficult lesson then I have gained through the heartache. Though it took me years to get to where I am, I truly know now that I have gained from even the hardest and most traumatic experiences. I have learnt many a lesson and I believe I am the best version of me today. I am more driven today than ever before, and I am more satisfied with my life than I could ever have dreamed.

I am walking in the glorious sun and choosing to take in the beauty and not the wind that could penetrate my bones if I allowed it.  I have chosen to see the beauty instead of the horror.  I have stopped noticing the ugliness and I am happier than I have ever been.

 

 

Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Personal Development, Relationships

Give and you will always have –the joy of giving

When I was a young girl, around 12 or so, I met an old man whilst walking to 7th Street in Melville, a man whose lesson I would remember forever. After walking for over half an hour, first the thrilling downhill and then the burning uphill.

I was finally approaching the end of the uphill, almost at the Café made famous by the into on 7de Laan, a south African soapie, when I bumped into a friendly elderly man. The old man with grey hair, brown pants and a yellowish golf type shirt held a basket of fruit and vegetables in his hands.

As our eyes met, I said, “Afternoon Sir” and he responded with a warm “hello” and asked where I was going. I had explained that I was walking to the shop and then looked at the basket and said “Sir why are you carrying a basket of fruit and vegetables?” The old man uttered the words that I would never forget: “My girl, give and you will receive and always have”, I looked at him, wondering what on earth that had to do with the basket. He continued “I have fed people in need since I was a young man and I have never ever gone without”. I asked him what he meant by that, and he explained himself. He told me about him not being a wealthy man and not ever having a lot but what he had, he would give to the needy daily. He went on to tell me that some days there would be more hungry mouths to feed than food he had to give. He said that these were the days that he would wonder what he would be eating that night because he had given all of his food away. “Somehow, my girl, I have never gone to bed hungry for just when I have thought that it would happen, food would arrive for me.” Completely confused, I did not understand and shyly muttered: “I don’t understand, how does food just arrive?” He told me that it would arrive in different ways, sometimes his son would pop past and bring him food, unexpectedly or his neighbour would bring him over a plate of her delicious cottage pie. He said that it did not matter how the food arrived but that it always did. He said when you give, you will always receive. He said that he had never gone to bed hungry and that his heart was always happy.

 

The old man explained that he goes to bed happy every night in spite of losing his wife years before. He offered me an apple and I took it and went on my way. As I bit into the sour apple, I repeated what he said in my mind “give and you will always have”. I was rather baffled by how he food would just arrive; however his story has remained in my mind until today.

The bible says in Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

As a young child I was friendly and always wanting to meet new people. I would go to the neighbours and help them with their gardening and I even became wonderful friends with neighbours. My friend and I used to baby sit the two little girls across the road, we were spoilt rotten by their mother, Lizelle and adored the little girls, Amber and Amy-lee.

After school, I went to work with my aunt who worked at a special needs school and helped one of the teachers for the day. I would help my mom and of course still make sure to drive my sister up the wall.

In my adult years I have done everything from teaching Sunday school to volunteer for the SPCA, to feeding the hungry and assisting at orphanages. And of course, my biggest sacrifice, the gift of a second chance in life to my foster children. Through all the years, I have always remembered the old man’s words.

The old man’s words have come to me on many occasions, some days I would not know how my family and I would be eating that night and I would think about the lesson the old man had taught me. His lesson was one that proved true over and over in my life. When I thought that I would not make the next two days, suddenly I would receive. Once a friend paid me back money which I had forgotten about, once a tax reimbursement and sometimes just a friend coming over with something for dinner.

My life with two extra teenagers in my life has not been cheap and has not been easy but it has been incredibly fulfilling and I have never not had. I have given, and I have always had and never gone to bed hungry.

I smile as I remember the old man, his sun blotched, wrinkled face, blue eyes with thick framed glasses, his grey messy hair and his wide smile. The man had given since he was a young man and had lived an incredibly fulfilling life. Giving had given him joy, even after the passing of his beloved wife, and he had lived a life rich in blessing and gone to bed happy every night. I smile as I remember the lesson he taught me and how his lesson has followed me all these years. Thank you, Sir, for your lesson, changing my life and for remaining in my mind to this day, I will never forget your words or your joyful smile.

Friends, I now pass the incredible old man’s lesson on to you. GIVE AND YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE.

Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Relationships

Time to Stop Reacting and Start Acting

I’ve wasted way too much time and energy on reacting to words or actions from people. The worst part is that it is the people who deserve the least that seem to get the biggest reaction out of me. Seriously? I have wasted so much time and energy on people who aren’t even worth a minute of my time, the ones who literally add no value to my life whatsoever.

I am in control of my reaction to a situation or a person, and I am going to stop reacting to nonsense. Time is life’s most valuable commodity, and I am wasting it on meaningless situations and purposeless people. I have recently learnt that surrounding myself with like-minded, driven people who have positive energy and add value to my life is so important. People who drive me and make me want to succeed are the best people to keep around me. Wasting time and energy on negative people with bad habits that try to bring me down at every opportunity need to go. My obligation to long-term friendships and relationships that aren’t healthy to me has become very obvious to me of late and it is time for me to stop the cycle. I have no obligation to unhealthy company and people who do not motivate me and have a positive influence in my life.

Right here, right now I am pledging to stop reacting to futile people and situations. I am from now on, focusing all energy on my goals and aspirations. I am going places and will not be side tracked at all. All distractions will be removed from my life and I will only be moving up from here. Reacting in anger or despair has only affected me negatively and kept me from having my eyes, mind and heart firmly fixed on my goals. Anger only damages me, and I will no longer allow it in my life. I am letting go of anger and negativity and people who cause it. My eyes have been opened wide in the last couple of weeks and I have been given an incredible drive as well as an awareness about how I allow people to affect my life and my goals. I am more focused than ever, and I am going to make things happen. I have been blessed with incredible new experiences, and I am learning new and exciting things every day. I am so excited about the future and what is in stall for me. I know what I want in my life, I have goals, and I am driven, it is time to start acting and go and get what I deserve! My time is precious, and I am using it for me!

To quote Joel Osteen:
“You need to associate with people that inspire you, people that challenge you to rise higher, people that make you better. Don’t waste your valuable time with people that are not adding to your growth. Your destiny is too important.” His words are true and very much relevant in my life today.

I have to take accountability for myself and my choices and cutting out people who don’t add value in my life has become incredibly important to me. I need to stop worrying about how I am hurting people by letting go and start thinking about how I am hurting myself by holding on. I have been too soft and too giving for too long and the only person who has suffered for it is me. Letting go of negative people is the way forward in my life, and I am starting now.

Negative people have one thing in common, they love bringing people down. Negative people never keep their negativity to themselves, and they feel the need to spread it around and manifest it wherever they go.

No matter what you say, the company that you keep influences your decisions and choices so keep the right company. You cannot place the blame on the company you keep, place the blame on yourself for choosing to keep the company that you do.

Putting me first is my main priority. Looking after me means choosing the right people to hang around and cutting out those that are not healthy for me. Wasted time can never be regained and wasted energy is draining and taking focus off my goals.

There are so many positive people in my life, but yet so many negative people as well. I have started identifying the negative people and I have to let go. These people are obstacles in my life, and they are diverting and distracting my focus and I have allowed it up until now.

“Bad company corrupts good character.” — this quote comes to mind. I am not sure who wrote it, but I came across it recently. The truth is that when you surround yourself with trash, you become trash.

My choice of company has led me to this discovery and revelation in my life. I have chosen to have the wrong people in my life, and I am fully aware of the damage it has caused up until now. It is up to me to change the company I keep and cut out the rubbish. Where I am going, there is no space for rubbish, only blue diamonds. I am no longer wasting time on stones, I am here to find diamonds and make the magic I want to happen in my life.

Life is a gift, and I am going to show my appreciation by going big and achieving my goals, taking the life I want and deserve and making it mine!

Children, Family, Happiness, Inspiration, Kids, Life, Love, Parenting, Relationships, Uncategorized

The joy as two perfect soul mates unite and an extraordinary, a little crazy family reunite



My baby cousin (not so much of a baby anymore, but the baby of the cousins nevertheless) had decided to get hitched in Cape Town. My cousin, Kerry-Jane was to marry her bae, Graham. I flew to Cape Town a couple of days early to fit some work in and catch up with a few friends. Cape Town is an exquisite place. Its beauty captivates me from the moment I arrive to the moment I leave. Cape Town is a very special place and of course Table Mountain is one of the 7 wonders of the world in the Nature category. When I am in Cape Town and driving around, I can always see Table Mountain. I have never looked around in Cape Town and not been able to see Table Mountain. I am truly proud of this beautiful part of my country. When I arrived, I went to my friend’s place on a farm near Paarl.

I spent a lovely evening with him and his wife chatting and catching up. I was off to training the next morning and then went to a friend and his son, who is a very close friend of my son and has spent large amounts of time in my house over the years. I had a wonderful evening catching up and chatting to them, and we shared lots of laughs and many a random and even strange story. On Saturday, my Aunt and one of my God Mothers, Aunty Barbara came to collect me to take me to the Bed and Breakfast where I was to spend my night after the wedding. I chose to stay in the same B&B as my aunt so that we could spend some time together. We spent the day being rather lazy and then got ready for the big wedding. After deciding on the purple dress instead of the red dress, I was ready and on my way with my aunt to the venue.

 

The wedding venue was the divine Cellars-Hohenort Hotel in Constantia Heights, Cape Town. On arrival, I quickly recognized the groom, Graham from social media and myself and my aunt introduced ourselves. Graham is a lovely, attractive gentleman who looked quite nervous, but he was friendly, well-mannered and accommodating. As we were directed to the greeting area, I was filled with a sudden feeling of excitement and delight. The realization that I would be seeing family members for the first time in years, was almost overwhelming in a good way. We walked towards a table, jugs of water and glasses and a few people were standing around. It was a lovely afternoon; the sky was blue and the sun shining. The venue was charming and the staff welcoming and friendly. I looked around to see if I could see my mom and dad or any of my family but no one I knew had arrived yet. My uncle and the proud father of the bride walked towards us to greet us, and he looked incredibly nervous. He is a quiet man and not normally very talkative, but he was so quiet, I could almost feel his nerves. Eventually I said: “Uncle Ernest, you seem more nervous than the groom”. He answered quietly: “I probably am”. My Aunty Barbara responded: “He is the one giving her away, the groom is gaining her”. Shortly after that the rest of the family started arriving. Uncle Seth and Aunty Shirley first, then Uncle Alan who had driven my mom and dad there.

Aunty Daphne and my cousin Robyn were obviously with the bride getting ready. I had waited for my cousin, Christine to arrive with her mom and my Aunt,

Aunty Mary, who is my other God mother. Christine and I are close, we have an affectionate friendship. I am the God mother to her beautiful youngest daughter and self-proclaimed God mother to her oldest daughter since my brother and his wife (her God parents) left for Canada. My family and I walked across the green grass and down the stairs to the rows of simple yet elegant white chairs at the exquisite arch that was apparently hand crafted by Graham and Kerry-Jane that stood in front of white chairs set out in the divine garden and the sun kissing my face as we went to find our seats. I still couldn’t see Christine, so I messaged her to say I was in front and had kept seats for her and her mom. Christine and Mary arrived, and we waited in anticipation for the beautiful bride. I had not seen either Robyn or Kerry-Jane for years and could not wait to catch a glimpse. Robyn and Carey (Kerry-Jane’s bestie and Robyn’s fellow bridesmaid) came down the aisle first, sparking the excitement. When I saw uncle Ernest and Kerry-Jane behind us at the back end of the aisle, I was literally breathless. Kerry-Jane is absolutely captivating and Uncle Ernest looking very anxious, about to give his baby girl away. The service was heartfelt and touching and the nervous bride and groom giggled at one point which seemed to calm Graham’s nerves slightly. Although he claimed to Kerry-Jane that he had not been nervous, he was shaking at one point so of course I made mention of that to her because it was very sweet. After

the I do’s the couple and witnesses went inside to sign the register and Christine and I filled our hands with rose petals, eagerly awaiting the couple’s return outside and down the stairs.

 

The crisp blue sky started warming into a slightly more grey-blueas dusk was slowly setting in. Aunty Daphne and Uncle Ernest walked through the doorway and down the stairs, smiles so broad, showing off their absolute joy, delight and pride. As the couple and wedding party disappeared for photographs, Christine and I headed to the champagne table for a glass of champagne. While we stood taking photos, chatting and giggling, the sun started going down on the horizon. The euphoric Cape Town sky captured my eye as the exquisite orange and purple boasted the beauty of a true African sunset. We were directed into the hall where the reception would be held. The tables beautifully decorated and the place-name cards hand-made by Kerry-Jane. I sat next to a lovely couple from Bloemfontein, now living in Cape Town and Christine on the other side. Surrounded by my parents, Aunty Mary, Uncle Alan, Uncle Seth and Aunty Shirley. I think I ate most of the bread in a basket on the table, I was quite hungry by that stage (although I am always hungry). The starters and mains were served quite quickly. The lamb, which both Christine and I chose as our main, was succulent and tender, simply but elegantly presented. Speeches were delivered after mains and each speech special and personal. My favourite was the gorgeous Carey’s speech. “We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” The first dance was Uncle Ernest, Dad and his beautiful daughter. My heart sang with delight as I watched the two dances. Then the groom joined his brand-new wife on the dance floor and my face lit up with a wide smile, I felt absolutely blessed to have been part of this incredible, joyous occasion. Getting to know my aunts, uncles and cousin again as an adult was an extraordinary experience. I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to spend quality time with my family that I don’t get to see often. We had lunch at Marina

Whalf on Sunday for Mom’s birthday and again, I felt elated as I got to spend more quality time with my extended family. I walked down to meet “Pietie” the tame seal, I was absolutely terrified as his owner encouraged me to sit next to him and touch him. I did eventually touch him, and it was really an amazing experience and I escaped with all my fingers and in one piece after all the reluctance, as if I expected to lose my nose. The Sunday afternoon and evening were exceptionally special as I spent it with Uncle Alan. We shared lots of chatting and a few giggles and some red wine. We went for a walk on the beach with his two Scottish terriers. I took my shoes off to feel the soft sand under my feet, far different to the sand in Durban, which is much more course and a lot darker. The sand was almost white with a hint of grey, the sea was calm and turquoise in as the waves slowly stroked the sand. The sky started turning purple as a few thin white clouds came in, moving quickly across the sky. I love the smell of the sea and the salty breeze hitting my skin. The Scotties squeaky barks at huge dogs, I joked as I said that they thought their little squeaky bark was intimidating to the massive dogs running past. When he dropped me at the airport he thanked me and said that he had never really had the opportunity to spend quality time with me as an adult. As I landed in the hustle and bustle that is Joburg, I felt so incredibly blessed to have been part of the union of these two beautiful souls and part of the reunion of an incredible, diverse family. Each person in my family is a completely different person and together we are a phenomenal family, all unique but all special and most of all, all tremendously blessed.