Power and a Reflection

I had one of my long business trips this week to a part of our rural countryside in the North West of our country. I travel there quite often and have come to have a standing arrangement with a Bed and Breakfast who take me in as their daughter, who sees that I am fed and who gives me treats which are not put on the tab of my account. I appreciate this, as it’s tough being on the road.
And, admittedly, as someone who eats most of her meals alone, it’s nice to sometimes sit down and have a family meal.
When I joined these people on Wednesday I was pleasantly surprised to find another addition to the family. A 19 year old American had joined them to experience the art of working and doing hunting in South Africa. It’s a part of a summer school project which had him and other youngsters placed out on farms in the surrounding area where they are to work with the owners so that they could learn what conservation was all about. This American, whom I shall name Sonny to protect his privacy, came from the city of New Jersey and have, to my knowledge, not had a lot of farm experience so this was all very new to him.
Something else that was new to him was the lack of computers and internet in his life because the family that he lives with comes from the BC age.
Before Computers.
In a strange way, I immediately found a strange kinship with Sonny – even though I didn’t express this to him. He was a foreigner, cut off from everything that he took for granted back home, and he was in an area where they not only spoke English just as a means of self defense, but he had no access to his friends or family if they didn’t phone (and the telephones lines are down more often than not in that area).
I felt sorry for him because I sensed in him the isolation that I had lived in for a short time in England. I had realized there how dependent we had become on the internet to keep in touch, to link up our lives with others. And, I had used it to communicate with my family – something he thought that he’d be able to do as well.
So, that night – as I was looking at him across the dinner table, feeling sorry for him that the family kept talking in a language that he didn’t understand, I offered him my work computer and internet connection – telling him that he could use it for as long as the battery held. He looked at me suddenly in a whole new light, in a way that could only be expressed as gratitude.
The thing was that, even though it was a bit of an inconvenience for me (I really needed to work), I realized that universally – we have to be other people’s family if they do not have their own close by. It’s something that carried me in England, where I went out with a kamakazi like attitude and build myself a family that rivals no other. People whom I love and depend on.
I saw a reflection of myself in this young man and realized that the best kindness that I could do for him, was to help him find some touch of normality in this foreign, isolated bit of the world. Even if it meant playing around on Facebook, it would give him some stability, some touch to the life he left behind.
Just as I had found ways to keep in touch with mine when I was far from home.

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Three’s a Crowd: The Voices in my Car.

My car was becoming too crowded and the ironic thing was I was the only person present.
A couple of months ago, I invested into a GPS after I had gotten horribly lost in the dodgiest area of a nearby city. I went out and bought a Garmin Nuvi that same weekend and I have to say, I have not looked back since. It took some getting used to in the beginning. Inherently, I’m not the kind of person that you tell what to do. You request and provide me with other options so that I could make my own choice. SatNav Lady wasn’t quite like that, she told me where I had to go and come hell or high water, she was going to make sure that I stay on track.
I had endless fun in the beginning, driving left when she said right and hearing her get more and more excited until I could swear she shouted at me: TURN RIGHT!
She must’ve thought that I was a complete idiot and, when she finally figured out that I wasn’t and that I was doing it on purpose, she got her own back by occasionally sending me in completely the wrong road, letting the purple bar disappear quite suddenly and then telling me that she had to recalculate our route…
I promptly put her on mute the third time it happened, having decided that there was only space for one bitch in the car and it wasn’t her. My space was reclaimed…
I turned her volume on again at some point and after that we had a slow but steady alliance. On the odd occasion, I’d turn left when she meant right, but it wasn’t on purpose and on the places where I knew she had some difficulty distinguishing the roads, I tried to anticipate where I had to go without her help. I like to believe that after using her for three months that we’ve become allies, even though we would never be friends.
Today however the balance was upset with the arrival of Supertooth woman.
When my mother upgraded her phone (more than a year ago) she was given a Bluetooth hands free kit as a gift. She never used it and, after I was almost pulled over by cops on a number of occasions, I asked her if I could use it. She agreed happily and off I went to Zeerust, SatNav Lady and Supertooth woman in tow. Quite suddenly I had TWO women in the car with me, one telling me what to do and the other one telling me who was calling me (and that my call was dropped or not…).
I felt…
Crowded.
And, I’m sure that SatNav Lady feels threatened because Supertooth woman’s voice is way more sexier than hers. I’m of the mind to make SatNav Lady a SatNav Man, but then they might get together when I’m not looking and have babies…
I would hate for my car to look like this:

A Brief Interlude: My Beautiful Country

One of the perks of my new job is that I get to travel quite a lot on company expense. It comes at a price naturally. I drive hundreds of miles a week, normally very far from home to place which are VERY hot to see people who can be quite rude.

But, on the other hand, it allows me to witness an afternoon here, at the river crossing the Crocodile River to the Kruger National Park’s Malelane gate. My colleague and I had to come here to see some clients and show our faces (as my country apparently only comes this way once every six months or so). I set off very early this morning, leaving my temporary lodgings at 4:50am to meet up with my boss at 5:30am so that we can start on the road heading East to Mpumalanga (I stay in Gauteng). The day wasn’t very exciting admittedly as it was very hot and the clients… Well. Clients. I’ll never fault them because they are my bread and butter.

We finished up just after 2pm and came through to the guest house where we’ll be spending the night. I took a moment to collect myself while my colleague went to visit with some old friends in the area. I had a headache (read caffeine withdrawal) and needed to cool down a bit. It was 46 degrees Celsius outside, and cooking me alive. When he returned we went to the bridge crossing over the Crocodile River to the Kruger Park. It was beautiful and somehow just what I needed.

I have a beautiful country, and amazing place with so much a variation which I am priviledged enough to see now that I’m travelling so much. I forgot about it in a way. I had been so taken with England that I forgot that my country has just as much scenic wise to offer then the small British Isle. It’s not the same naturally, you cannot compare apples with bananas.

But, it is beautiful and I thought to share it with you.

 

Undeniable.

I cannot deny it.

I love travelling. I love packing, I love sorting out the stuff that I leave at home, I love waiting at an airport. Yes, Ladies and Gentleman, I’m one of the very few people who are at their happiest when they are at an airport, waiting for an airplane.

I’m not impatient, not stressed about flying and I’m not apprehensive about boarding. When I have my boarding pass in hand, and my luggage has gone the way of all down the conveyer belt, I find myself relaxing to enjoy the ride. The thing with travelling, especially by plane, is that for most of the time, things are out of your hands. You have no control of the airplane, of the weather conditions, or of whether or not things are going to work out the way you planned, all that there is for you to do is wait. In my two years travelling abroad, I’ve refined the art of waiting to perfection. I think it’s because I spend so much time waiting for airplanes, busses and trains (with normally every kind of problem or delay that you can think of thrown at me) that I have evolved past the impatience to a state of contentment.

I have missed the feeling and have almost forgotten its peace until now, when I find myself waiting in an airport lounge for the plane that would take me on my Holiday. I’m going to the Cape for a week, visiting old friends and taking a break before I start my new job. I haven’t taken a break ever since I started working in the restaurant and I have to say, for the first time I feel as if I need it. So, when the feeling of peace descended upon me as I looked for a place to sit down with the cheapest cup of coffee I can buy and a place for my laptop, I embraced it like a long lost friend.

Wanderlust followed in as well of course, but I’ll deal with it later. 😉

So, I have to run. My plane’s about to leave and it would be hysterical if I miss it. But, I want to invite you this week to come with me on my trip. It might not be very exciting, but I’ll keep you entertained.

Or at least amused. 😉

Alyss