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Fly by visits – whoosh!

23 February , 2015

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Vera must be one of my oldest and dearest friends. We’ve known each other from more or less Gr1! How we met is actually a pretty funny story…we apparently looked very similar (although we could never see the resemblance ourselves), and people kept confusing us for each other, so when we finally met that was more or less the main topic of conversation at the time.

I haven’t seen Vera for the last 10 or more years, since she now lives in the UK with her husband and son. So when she let me know that she would be passing through, I of course jumped at the opportunity to lay eyes (and hugs) on her! Who knows if I will get a chance again in the next 10 years, right?

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So glad I did! It was totally worth it.

They were only in JHB for a little bit more than an hour, as they had a stop over on their way to George. Jaco’s father (Vera’s father in law), passed away and they were on their way to his family to help wrap things up and to attend the funeral.

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Patrick, Vera and Jo (Vera’s mom). So funny…I was hovering around international arrivals, waiting for my friend to pop her head through those doors so that I could tackle her and give her a big squish, when suddenly I heard (after about half an hour of hovering in silence with more or less the same crowd throughout), “Hey! Wat maak jy hier?” Vera’s mom and I had been standing almost next to each other for ages without recognising one another, haha.

In my defence she had dark hair the last time I saw her! ;-)

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Wimpy lunch before they boarded their next plane. Hilarious listeining to Vera in a proper English accent talking to Patrick. I suppose after 10 years you’ll pick it up, whether you want to or not. Although she seems to be able to switch it on or off at will. I can’t get over it when it’s on though – too funny! Patrick is a very clever little boy, and probably the only kid in his neighbourhood who is also more or less fluent in Afrikaans. ;-)

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Ooh, and I got to take a trip in the Gautrain to the airport and back. I met a very nice lady on the way there who had something to do with selling books, and was on her way to see clients at the airport. Gosh, this woman has been just about everywhere in the world. We chatted for quite a bit. What a character! I actually wouldn’t mind running into her again – she was lots of fun to talk to and she knew all the best coffee spots at the airport and where you could find a decent smoking area that doesn’t smell like the bottom of an ashtray.

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Voortrekkers update

23 February , 2015

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I have very fond memories of going to Voortrekkers when I was a child. I mean seriously, what’s not to like?! We got to go on camps every school holiday, learn new things, get up to all sorts of mischief, and make friends for life along the way. Some of my fondest memories involve these camping trips and the people I got to know through them.

Naturally I would really like Nicola to have a chance to experience the same, so I’ve kind of strong armed her into it. Realistically I only have enough leave to almost cover one school holiday, and that will always be the December holiday since there is no aftercare in that one to take up the slack. So either I find something for her to do in the other school holidays or she will be experiencing extremely boring holidays for the next 13 years while I sit at work and she sits at aftercare during the day. In my opinion that is an awful way to spend a holiday!

The other plus point is obviously that it gives her a bit closer look at some of the cultural things and history of being Afrikaans. I got some of this out of it too, but mostly I was in it for the fun. ;-)

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The first few gatherings did not really blow Nicola’s hair back and she was desperately trying to wiggle her way out of it (sometimes by pretending to be a goat and eating my clothes along the way), but about 3 meetings in it looked like it’s finally starting to grow on her (thank goodness!).

Every morning she asks me if it’s Voortrekkers today…nope it’s not…only on Mondays. When a Monday rolls round she cheers enthusiastically about the fact that it’s finally a yes! I’m really relieved that she’s taken a liking to it, I am convinced that she is going to end up loving it as much as I did, if not more.

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I can’t remember how many meetings in this was, but they had a loom band competition for all the kids. You have never seen so many rubber bands in one place in your life! I think this might have been the one that turned it for her, because it became a lot easier to get her there after this meeting.

Most of children in her team are from her school, and even a few in her class. I am also hoping that this will be another channel for her to make friends…and a place where she can learn HOW to make friends in future. This isn’t something I ever battled with, so I am at a bit of a loss as to help her aquire that valuable skill. (Side Note: Her teacher at school tells me that she now in fact has two main friends in class – no1, the R-boy from her previous school who is so very attached to her, and no2, another R-boy who sits next to her in class…the teacher thinks it’s all super adorable and she specifically mentioned it to me because we had the lack of friend discussion a few weeks ago).

I’m sure I’ve told you before that I only let Nicola do one extra mural a year, so I think I may have to up it to two if I’m going to be picking this one on her behalf as an ongoing thing? This year it’s still fairly straight forward though, because the silly school has decided that all the GradeR activities happen in second break at school. I think she needs to eat her sandwich and chill with her pals in that time, so subsequently I’m not letting her do any of those activities…I’m pretty firm on this point. Extra murals should be after school, and NOT in break time!

What kinds of activities do your kids do, and how many do you think is ENOUGH? How do you get round to everything? (I’m slipping away a few minutes early every Monday so that I can get her to Voortrekkers on time – there is transport available, but I have issues letting my darling daughter get in the car with any random stranger…even for three or four blocks).

Ps! Some of the peeps reading here were in Voortrekkers with me, way back when. You might get a kick out of this next bit: there is a husband and wife combo in charge of Nicola’s team. It is traditional at Voortrekkers to refer to these people as Nig and Neef. A few weeks ago the wife part of the team wasn’t there and the husband part wrangles the 12 hooligans all by himself. Nicola insists on calling him Juffrou, I chuckle in my sleeve everytime she does it! Hahaha….to his credit he responds to it every single time! :lol:

 

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Bullet points update…

20 February , 2015
  • Everything is going really well. Seriously…extremely good on almost all fronts except work. Work is a mess due to the big secret mission on the go, and the absolute chaos that goes with it.
  • Remember I had such high hopes for the new captain, and all the new kids who started here with her? Yeah…dashed is a soft word for how those hopes are doing. I could tell you so many little things about that, but I won’t, because I still enjoy getting paid every month.
  • Health wise I seem to be in a bit of a dip at the moment. I guess because of the secret place shenanigans and the stress that goes with it, my system is a bit down and now I’m catching any super bug or half plague going around. This week’s flavour has been somewhere between a flu and a pneumonia sort of thing and I can’t emphasise this enough…I am really GATVOL of coughing myself awake at all hours. It can end now please. I’ve had enough. There is a lot of thinking that I need to do about the current situation, and how best to approach it.
  • The pink terrorist is doing great at big school. She tells me that she doesn’t have any friends, so naturally I’ve been a bit concerned about that – but I spoke to both her teacher and the lady at aftercare and they both reckon that she’s doing great and perfectly socialised with all the other hooligans there. I feel a bit better about it because in the mornings when I drop her off, there are sometimes up to three different little people queuing to give her a hug, so perhaps she is just being a bit dramatic about it? The aftercare lady says that Nicola has plenty of friends, but is clearly still taking auditions for the roll of Best Friend. She doesn’t have that one special someone that she always plays with, like she used to have with L-buddy at the previous school. Shame, she also told me that one of the boys in her class, R, is from her previous school and he only wants to play with her and only wants her to play with him…and that she finds it really annoying that he’s so clingy about it. It’s funny, because it’s ironic I guess? It’s kind of what she wants, just not from him specifically. That’s life for you right there, isn’t it? We’ve just talked about it and I stressed the firm but nice approach might be best?
  • As for the man in my life, couldn’t be better! :-) If I write about this again it will probably go behind a password though. Or private posts…haven’t decided yet. For now, just assume that everything is going spectacularly well, unless I tell you something to the contrary. SPECTACULARLY… :-D
  • Talking about password protected posts, I’ve been meaning to write about this. Actually I have already written about it, but the WordPress app ate my ramble post a few weeks ago and you never got to read it. You will be seeing very little open posts about Nicola from here on out. The reason being that she is now in big school, and I am sure that once her peers are let loose on google, she would much rather not have big chunks of her life “out there” for anyone to read. This is not just MY story, it’s her story too, and the plan has actually always been to scale down significantly on what I share once we hit school going age (well, it was my plan – I just never told you all about it).
  • This leaves me with a bit of a predicament when it comes to this blog. You know how much I love writing here and sharing our adventures, but realistically I have to now sensor what I write about school, I have to sensor what I write about work (this isn’t new), and as for my new love…he says he doesn’t mind my blogging at all, but still – you know? On the other end of all this self imposed hushing, I still want to be able to capture the memories, to have a more or less in tact record of all the major milestones that we have, the everyday joys and frustrations of life…so I can’t NOT write about it. Writing is my thing, I NEED to do it. Blogging is the platform, but writing is the thing. Half the fun in blogging is the interaction that you have with other bloggers, so if I stick every little thing behind a password then I’m taking that completely out of the equation anyway, aren’t I?
  • It’s a pickle…I’m still not sure what to do about it. I strongly suspect this blog in a similar form that it’s been in will either go offline completely or completely private. I can’t just post about traffic to keep the gremlins off my back, if you know what I mean? How bloody boring would that be for all of us? If this was a food blog, or a fashion blog or something similar, I could stick the private ones in private and let the main topic at hand stay out there – but this is a personal blog, and if you take all the personal out of the equation then all I can leave you with is the occasional rant about service or a few inspirational quotes every now and then. Meh…I’m still thinking about it. Tell me your suggestions in the comments section if you have two cents to spare.
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Protected: TSC – Part 6 – Panic attacks and whatnot

10 February , 2015

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Laerskool Kameeldrift – help out if you can please

9 February , 2015

So, you guys know how I like to drag you into all sorts of interesting community outreach projects. Today is another day like that! ;-) My friend, Denise, has been involved with helping Laerskool Kameeldrift for a couple of years running and she needs a bit of help.

Please have a look and see if you can help out? If you can, please contact Denise directly, or leave a comment on this post. If you are reasonably close by (JHB or PTA) Denise will come and fetch whatever you’re willing to donate. Any food donations also welcome and then also specifically the items listed below for the little girls in the school, where the greatest need seems to be.

Denise sent me this mail in Afrikaans, so here follows my English translation:

Good day everyone,

I am collecting food and goods for a school where there is a great need (Laerskool Kameeldrift). The majority of the school’s community comes from the surrounding 5 squatter-camps (informal settlements). The school provides the children with food during the day, and for many of the children it’s the only meal they will have. In addition to this the school also manages a feeding scheme where they try to provide food to the community.

The principal of the school has has requested specific items for the little girls in the school. They desperately need the following:

Sanitary pads

Roll On

Deoderant

Panties (7-14 years)

Bras (smallish sizes)

 

If anyone could please help out with a donations of any sorts, it would be greatly appreciates and it will do a world of good.

Kind regards,

Denise Vermaak

0835929241

 

And here’s the original request

Goeie dag almal

 

Ek samel kos en goedere in vir n baie behoeftige skool (Laerskool Kameeldrift). Die meerderheid van die skool se gemeenskap is van 5 plakkerskampe. Die skool gee die kindertjies kos by die skool sodat hulle darem kos kry vir die dag…meeste het nie kos by die huis nie. Die skool het n voedingskema waardeur hulle probeer kos na die huise in die gemeenskap ook stuur.

 

Die hoof van die skool het n spesifieke versoek met my gedeel. Die dogtertjies benodig die volgende:

 

Sanitêre doekies

Roll on

Deodorant

Panties ( 7- 14yrs)

Bra ( kleinerige groottes)

 

As enigiemand asb kan help met bydraes van enige soort sal dit geweldige goed doen.

 

Vriendelike groete

Denise Vermaak

0835929241

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Sometimes quiet is good…

4 February , 2015

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I’ve been very quiet. Not the navel gazing, woe-is-me type of quite…nope. I’ve been the I-have-a-secret-happy kind of quiet. I haven’t been ready to talk about this until now. It’s just that I am so over the moon happy, and for once blogging has been the furthest thing from my mind. ;-)

I’m pretty sure there are going to be a lot of questions, and I’ll take a stab at answering them all (within reason). Just know that I am completely head-over-heels, Cloud9 and beyond happy, and that the feelings are mutual. It’s real. He’s here to stay. Life is grand and amazing.

I could go on and on about how fantastic and caring and amazing he is, and how special he makes me feel and how he treats me like the sun rises and sets by my whims (he does!)…and I probably will, so go ahead and brace yourself…but for now I am just going to sit here and grin like an idiot and walk around humming while my colleagues look at me like I’ve lost the plot.

Love…it really makes the world go round, doesn’t it?

:-D

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Nicola is mad about him too, and makes the poor man read complicated Afrikaans stories to her…which he does beautifully.

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:-)

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A blurry photo, but you get the idea…I was being treated to dinner prepared by two of my most favourite people in the whole wide world.

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 Getting spoilt all the time…seriously…ALL the time!

Okay, so go ahead and fire away all your burning questions, or don’t and just be happy with me. I am having the time of my life either way. ;-)

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Bob’s your uncle…or in my case, Ben

19 January , 2015

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If you know me, then you’ve probably heard me say this at some point in time.

Well, my uncle Ben passed away yesterday and our whole family is reeling from the shock. He hasn’t been healthy for a while now, but I guess nobody really saw this coming – because the thing that he was most known for is his ability to bounce back from seemingly impossible odds.

We still don’t know exactly what happened, and we’re waiting for the autopsy to be completed by the police medical examiner before arrangements can be made with regards to a funeral or cremation.

I guess as a family we are very blessed that this isn’t a very regular thing for us, having to say goodbye to one of our own. The last funeral we had was for my Uncle Willem in 2010. Shame, my poor father had to be the one, again, to tell my gran that one of her children had passed away. I’d say she’s not taking it well, but really none of us are.

Things I’d like to remember him by:

  • My uncle had a wicked sense of humour, and he was never afraid to speak his mind about anything. He wasn’t known for his tact, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with his snappy one-liners. If a cat was being thrown amongst the pigeons – Ben would be in on it, or enjoying it with a twinkle in his eyes from the side lines.
  • He was a man that loved his children to the moon and back. I don’t think that there is anything he wouldn’t do for them. Whenever you spoke to him, you’d hear all about what they were up to and he was super proud of them and their accomplishments…and when they got up to shenanigans, he was always amused rather than upset. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him lose his temper with any of them, and when you have four children I’m pretty sure you get plenty of opportunities! Above all, he has always given his children the opportunity to be exactly who they want to be with unwavering support in whatever that means.
  • He was the man with the plan, and the plans were always HUGE! You get dreamers, and you get doers. He was most definitely a doer. He had the Midas touch…he turned things into gold, with vision and connections, and whatever else it took. He never shied away from big risk, if it happened to come with his big opportunities.
  • He loved to entertain and to network. Ben’s indoor braai area is the stuff of legends. Red wine flowed freely, and so did conversation. He was an avid golf enthusiast. I don’t think I know anyone else, who loved golf as much as he did.

It’s so hard to believe that he’s gone now…rest in peace Ben. Our hearts are so sore, you will be missed… xxx

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