Posts Tagged ‘South Africa’
The furthest phrase from my mind today. Although as I get older I get better at attempting to keep perspective. The new music is really helping. Seriously if you haven’t given it a try yet, just do it.
That being said, naturally, since I’m leaving tomorrow, I’m stressed out. What’s the temperature? What should I wear? Do you wear black to a memorial service? Who do I need to see? When’s the bus? Did I schedule enough content for our clients through the weekend? How’s my grandfather doing? Several of the thousand questions running through my head at a mile a minute today.
After work I went for a pretty hard run to get some of that stress out and just smell the Pacific.
Why do we stress? It’s so not worth it. Preemptive anxiety about leaving, about a big event; it’s so silly. For we don’t know until we get there and we only have this moment so screw worrying about the ones that might never come. Right?
I was beautifully reminded of the joys of just living post my run this evening when sitting down to peruse my Twitter feed. I came across a tweet from an old acquaintance , Guillaume Marais. Guillaume was a tour guide turned friend on one of my many adventures in South Africa.
Anyway, his profile further directed me to his website of absolutely incredible photographs from all about.
You have to go to his site and check out the rest of the images. They are absolutely incredible and instantly brought me some much needed peace. Hope all is well, friend!
Earlier this week I wrote about South African artist Fortune Sitole and his paintings of the shanties on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa.
I thought I’d offer some perspective as to what a shanty town like Khayelitsha really looks like. This is one of my favorite photos from South Africa as it was a very impacting moment that I will carry with me in my heart for the rest of my life. Upon driving into Khayelitsha I was so rocked to my core. To the point where I started to realize THIS is more the norm in the world we live in more than our lives here in America. It still blows my mind to contemplate.
To me, Sitole’s paintings and their vibrant colors add an aura of happiness to the paintings. I find that to be an accurate representation of Khayelitsha. The people and the children in Khayelitsha that I met were just as happy, if not happier, than the people I work and interact with in my daily life here in San Francisco.
It’s pretty amazing, but it really comes down to perspective. Does that mean that the living conditions of those dwelling in these make-shift houses aren’t horrific? Or that all the inhabitants of this community are in fact happy? Absolutely not. I’m not that naive and won’t pretend that I know the faintest thing about the daily lives of these people because I met a few of what is estimated to be hundreds of thousands.
I digress. I was speaking to perspective. It helps me remember that while my life these days is not what I imagined it to be, for better or worse, it’s still pretty damn fabulous.
I woke up, made a cup of coffee, put on some Bob Marley (REGGAE FRIDAY!) read the headlines in bed, wrote a few updates for a client and then got to sit here and write. Plus I get to wear jeans to work today and I’ve allowed myself to splurge and buy my lunch. These simple little indulgences and freedoms are all too frequently taken for granted in our society. I remind you to stop, breathe and enjoy the littlest things.
These days I try to spend my lunch break in the Union Square park whenever it’s nice out. Though a large amount of homeless people and tourists tend to also be flocking around the park area, it’s a great spot to people watch and enjoy the sunshine. Plus it’s two blocks away. #cityliving
Anyway, during the day Union Square is filled with various displays of art work as well. The other day when walking by I saw a group of paintings and instantly was brought back to South Africa. Right away I knew the pictures were displaying the townships on the outskirts of Cape Town, specifically Khayelitsha.
A friendly reminder of an adventure into a world so vastly different than my own. I could almost feel the sunshine and see the faces I passed many years ago when writing an article about the water supply and sanitation conditions of the townships.
The following is a statement from Fortune Sitole explaining the exhibit:
“I want to foster an awareness of the conditions suffered by South Africans, who create makeshift shelters by optimizing outside space and leftover materials – metal, tires, stones, etc., whatever they can find to build their homes.
Fashioning my work as homage to my ancestors, family and community these pieces are a reminder of the day-to-day life in black South African townships. But shanties exist throughout the world and my art actually tells a story of the universality of poverty.
The characters in my scenes are about communities who have overcome adversity and have progressed into the braiding hair and wandering drunken fathers. Pictures of everyday events, ironically set against the backdrop of Shanties are slowly disappearing from South Africa’s landscape. Redevelopment and investment begin to paint a brighter picture for the future of South Africans, an encouraging example for the people of the world who are experience poverty today.”
Looking back, this was taken on a great day. This picture was shot somewhere amidst an 8 hour ride on a very cramped bus down the coast of South Africa back to Cape Town from a weekend safari/bungee jumping excursion. The bus ride, while not so comfortable enabled the viewing of some of the most beautiful landscape which, in turn, provoked some serious reflecting/writing.
It seems like forever ago we were attempting to eat lunch on this very windy beach. While I feel very far from my days in South Africa in terms of how long ago it was, I also feel much closer and more inline with the journey I started there. The journey to do more things that I love.
I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking about where I want to be going. I think many people in life set a goal and reach it and then forget to set another one. Sometimes the struggle of achieving that goal is so difficult we are deterred to set new ones.
Ever since taking my job at the ad agency, I have been trying to think of where I want to be a few years from now in my career. I think I was so excited to finally find something that I love waking up and doing and getting paid for that I have become a little bit consumed with my work over the past year. But I have been forgetting to think about where I want to be in my life.
What about traveling? Writing? New adventure?
I need those things too and I haven’t exactly been making a lot of time for them. We must not forget to live. To let down our hair.
It’s certainly a balance though. Because without sufficient funds, we can not expect to enjoy the letting down our hair part so much.
So, this weekends to do list? Try to laugh and smile as much as possible. I’ve got some catching up to do.
This photo I know is just another sunset photo to some, but it was taken from the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa and means much more to me.
You’ll notice that a lot of my Favorite Fotos are from South Africa. That’s because it was truly the most beautiful space I’ve ever been to on this planet. The coast of Maine is up there too.
Anyway, we raced to the top of the mountain nervous that we had underestimated just how tough the climb was and that we wouldn’t get there in time to see the sunset. But we made it. With enough time to grab a quick glass of wine too!
The feeling of finally getting to that top of the mountain was amazing. For some reason when I was in South Africa I had very few worries. On that day, climbing a mountain to see the sun set was my challenge. It was all that mattered on that day and I accomplished it.
South Africa was the one time in my young adult life that I can point to and note that I was literally care free despite leaving a lot of loved ones and an unknown path back home. Perhaps it was because I felt guilty that if I did worry it would be insulting to those in the country who endured countless tragedies and hardships, or maybe because I knew my trip would end in a month and I had to become saturated in each and every moment and enjoy it.
When I recently left for California I also left loved ones and headed for a path un known. However, it has been much more difficult than my journey to a seemingly much more dangerous place. Maybe it’s because it’s a permanent move or maybe it’s because I’ve lost loved ones back home while here making the separation from family a harsh reality, but either way those carefree moments that I seemed to encounter daily in South Africa have been few and far between since arriving to San Francisco without a job.
Life is much more difficult when we have expectations. When we have dreams. When in South Africa the dream was to have as much fun and experience in one month as possible. The dream now is to have a life time of fun and experience. In order to get that the stakes and challenges have become much greater than climbing a mountain.
Just yesterday, I started a my new job, I’m officially a 9-to-5er, or rather a 9-to-6er! Everything I have been working towards is the past year is finally concrete. While this is most definitely only the beginning of a new dream, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I did when I climbed to the top of that mountain years ago.
Bet you want a cupcake now!
Today’s photo is my all time favorite food pic (that I’ve ever taken). I just think the quality is pretty awesome. That would be mostly due to my incredible camera, Cannon T3 Rebel.
Anyway, I’m feeling like a could really go for one of these adorably decorated cupcakes right about now. My blood sugar is running low and October in general always makes me want sweets! Luckily, thanks to my mum, I have a whole basket of Halloween candy in my living room, so that will have to suffice.
This picture was taken on a Saturday at the Old Biscuit Mill in the art district, Woodstock, of Cape Town, South Africa. Probably one of the most magical places I’ve ever been to.
Read my vivid description of this incredible market on Voices Around the World.
HOW CUTE IS HE?
Except that he’s quite the little terror! Sound familiar, cute and mischievous?
This pic was taken on our way up the coast of South Africa in Plattenberg Bay on our way to our safari destination a little further north. This was taken at a little place called Monkeyland. Yep, a real life place off the highway in the middle of nowhere FULL of monkeys. Birds of Eden is another animal park located at this wildlife pitstop.
Some of the little devils are fearless scoundrels! The little lad featured above is no exception.
We stopped to have lunch at Monkeyland and this guy, as well as several of his peers, were on the hunt for leftover scarps on the deck.
As the monkeys are kept in a habitat like their natural environment, you’re not allowed to feed them. These are by no means domestic monkeys either, so while they look cute and fluffy and you want to give them a french frie, they’re pretty vicious from what we were told.
I still want one as a pet.
It’s another BEAUTIFUL summer Friday. The weather the past two days has truly been perfect! I’d love to be out sailing in Casco Bay but I’ll settle for my long runs by it, at least.
This picture was taken from another truly beautiful summer, the summer month of January that I spent in Cape Town, South Africa. This is a photo from Muizenberg Beach, one of my favorite spots in Cape Town. Obviously, it was a beach! These colored changing houses are a famous subject of many photographers visiting Cape Town.
I remember taking the train from Wynberg, where I lived, to the beaches we would often frequent. Muzienberg was one of the first stops, and then you could walk along the ocean all the way up to Kalk Bay passing the beautiful beach of St. James as you’d go.
Taking the beat up trains out to the coast took about 40 minutes and I’ll never forget the anticipation as we got close to something so beautiful, to the ocean (my deepest love), to the sun, to a kind of peace I have felt only by the ocean. I would catch a few glimpses of the ocean right before you pulled into the Muzienberg stop, my heart would skip a beat.
I can’t say it enough, Cape Town is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to on this earth. As if the picturesque landscape weren’t enough, the culture is also so rich with vibrant life as well. I miss it every day.
Is there anything better than being a kid in the summer time? Nope! Pretty sure most of us subconciously are searching for that sense of freedom .
The heat this week has been brutes! (abbreviation for BRUTAL) I can’t complain though, it’s summer. I much prefer this to the cold and the rain. Now if I could only get off my lap top and get to the beach and lay in the tide like these two little munchkins. Hopefully this weekend!
This picture was taken on my walk to Kalk Bay in Cape Town, South Africa. These kids clearly killing it and just chilling on the cool sand with a “hey American lady why do you want to take our picture” look on their face.
I was drawn to the universal concept of being a kid at the beach in summertime and the carefree attitude that it brings with it, no matter what country.
The water behind these little kiddies, though this was in the middle of summer in Cape Town, is numbingly cold. As I sit here, fan at my feet, chugging my smoothie and getting brain freeze, I can almost feel it again. Ahh.
I love summer.
Today’s photo is of a surf competition in Camps Bay, Cape Town that I stumbled down the hill upon on my third day in South Africa. Tough to see why I quickly fell in love with the country isn’t it? The beauty of the landscape, of the people and of the general atmosphere that breeds respect and love for life left a permanent stain on my heart that keeps me constantly remembering what life is all about.
I remember when I decided to go to South Africa it was a go-after-your-dreams moment. I always wanted to go to Africa to write and had heard great things about South Africa. So, I researched this Projects Abroad program a friend of a friend had been on and suggested to me. It looked like a good program and I would get to knock off a HUGE bucket-list item- to live in Africa and write.
This morning, while ever so coolly listening to some Frank Sinatra, as I do from time to time when my heart starts to ache for adventure, I started perusing my photos from my travels. I hold my travel to South Africa very near and dear to my heart as it was at a time when I didn’t even necessarily want to leave the life I was leading. I was splitting my time in Boston and Portland, working in Boston and living with my best friends in Portland. I was a waitress and dating the guy I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. Turns out this was exactly the time I needed to leave.
Even though this was a dream of mine, I remember having feelings of resistance. Of not wanting to get on the plane. Maybe it was because I knew that South Africa would be the start to a year long awakening. Where my entire life would change and I would realize that I needed to get back on track to the life I was meant to lead, one filled with adventure and writing.
Today, I feel as though I’m on that track again, but it’s time for the next big move. I’m longing for that euphoric feeling of unknown, of adventure, of raw life. The feelings that were present as I took this photo then walked down that hill into Camps Bay to find the friends I’d known for all of three days.