Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Weekend That Was

If you read this post you will know that our family lost a special person recently: a son, brother, nephew, cousin, uncle and friend to all.

We went up to spend time with the family and attend his Memorial which was held on 19/11/11.

I am fortunate that I live within easy reach of my family, but  My Man's family is too far away for a weekend hang out or a spontaneous dinner date.

It was a lovely memorial with the hall full of family, family friends and young people who knew him, loved him and will miss him.

As I sat there, I felt emotional listening to the reams of FB posts from friends and family talking about how awesome he was and how much fun he was to be around. I couldn't help feeling "Damn! We miss out living so far away!"   I found myself emotional for being so far away from them. I felt we had lost out on being a part of his life and he being a part of ours.

It was a difficult weekend - but it was so good that we could go and be with the family.
Bulleted list of "My Most" of the weekend:
  • My most heartwarming moment was seeing My Man and his brother standing at the braai together and joking around. It was one of the moments in the weekend that I wanted to freeze, or grab and not let go of.  I wish we could do this more often. It just made me realise again that family is so precious and life is fragile - really treasure the time that you have together. 

  • My most funny moment was when we got into our hired new automatic Polo 1600 and it wouldn't start. The gears wouldn't move, the brakes were solid and the key turned but nothing happened. After much debate as to whether the radio was left on, or the lights, My Man eventually phoned the Call Centre to which the lovely lady on the other side said: "Have you perhaps locked your steering wheel?"  Oops. Yes. Let me say no more about that! :-)
  • My most daunting was driving on that coastal road! I have NEVER EVER seen taxi's and cars who use the painted yellow islands as overtaking lanes.
  • My most inspirational moment was when my niece stood up at the memorial and shared memories of her cousin. What a brave girl!
  • My most thoughtful was the banner my nephew and his friend had made for everyone to write their final farewells on.
  • My most 'yay' conversation my sister-in-law saying they were going to come and spend a week or so with us next year. I can't wait and am already making plans!
  • My most goose-bump moment, was hearing all the big bikes arrive at the memorial and seeing these bikers, men and women, in their colours, coming to share this day. What made it more intense is that my sister-in-laws husband passed away about 4 yrs ago, and he was biker.... we were blown away by their kindness, generosity and care for the family then too.
  • My kodak moment was My Girl and My Brother-in-Law chatting in the rain at the braai.

  • My most enjoyable  time was every moment spent with the family.

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.
Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one." 
~ Jane Howard ~

Monday, November 7, 2011

An Emotional Rollercoaster

On Thursday last week, our 19 year old nephew was involved in a motorbike accident with a taxi.

It's one of those calls that you dread and the days since then have been filled with plenty of prayer from plenty of people as well as regular phone conversations with the family.

 He is still in the medically induced coma.

If it feels like a rollercoaster to us, I can only imagine how his parents must be feeling (although probably not). It seems that there is good news, and we are thrilled and then the next day they find something else, and it's bad news and our hearts sink.

The news yesterday evening was that his recovery is steady and he was going to have a follow up operation to his liver today, half of which has been removed. From what I understand, it's still not working properly. To add to that, his kidneys aren't functioning properly either and they are connecting him to a dialysis machine, his body is still not producing adrenaline either.

The leg that is severely damaged is still waiting for treatment and we are as yet, unsure of what that is. I don't know what the news will be this evening.

I feel so helpless being so far away from them, but have been overwhelmed by the sense of care from family and friends through their correspondence in various ways. We really are an interconnected people and we do need support and encouragement from one another. So don't kid yourself. No man is an island.

It reminded me of a post I wrote sometime ago, although I am not asking "Why?" at all. Instead, I know that even though we have little to no control over this situation, that we are never alone in it.

For that, I am truly thankful.

* 11.11.11 - My nephew fought bravely but lost his battle. He was loved by family and friends and will be missed by all. Our hearts go out to his folks and siblings especially at this time.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Living Under the Line - Final Thoughts

Living under the Line was a challenge put out to the community to try, for 3 full days, to spend no more than R10/person/day on food. 

When someone first said to me "You must blog about it" my initial thoughts were, "Yes, it will be fun to record the meals and shopping experience".

But, that's not what I am going to blog about because it really wasn't about that for me in the end - so instead I am just going to jot down some thoughts I had during those 3 days.
  • It is easier to feed 2 or more people on R10/day than it is to feed 1 person.
You really can't get anything that classifies as a meal for R10. However, for R20 or R30 for 3, you can actually throw together something that is fairly nutritious, even if the portions are smaller.  I wonder if that isn't just another reason why our African population (let's face it, they are the majority who struggle the most) have totally got the edge on us when it comes to living in community. We are, for the most part, so self-sufficient, often too proud to admit when we struggle and then try to 'go it alone', whereas when you are part of a real community you just take time to look after one another. 

It is NOT easy living on R10/day on your own.

  • Bread is satisfying.
When I was young, if we finished a meal and said we were still hungry, my folks would say "Have some bread" it was annoying and yet it's one of those things that I carried into my parenting, so that if My Girl said she was hungry, I would say "have some bread".  I may have said it all these years, but it's as though now I really know why - bread is satisfying. A little bit can really 'hold your heart' if you are hungry and fill you up.

It reminded me of the Israelites in the desert being fed manna to sustain them and Jesus years later telling them that he IS that bread, except he sustains permanently and not temporarily.

  • Sauce is expensive.
I never realised how heavily I leaned on 'ready made' sauces - especially for mince. For me, mince needs as much help as it can get...therefore I get it LOTS of help with lovely jars of basil and tomato sauces, or such like. One can make a meal for the price of one of those nice big jars of sauce. It's outrageous. I have learnt that a great deal of red wine can go a long way to saving mince!  I should learn some good old-fashioned  recipes on making my own sauce, however I know myself well enough that this will never happen... but it's a nice thought. I will probably always buy sauce!

  • Waste not.
I have to admit to loving fresh vegetables. They look so bright and colourful and I LOVE them, and though I am not the worlds most domestic goddess, I am a sucker for buying heaps of fresh veggies when I shop: and honestly, I am every single time without fail, convinced that we WILL eat them all.

Probably what nailed me most in this exercise is how wasteful I am with what I do have. I never seem to learn that if I buy that much fresh stuff - it inevitably goes off, and I end up growing my own veggies in the fridge (and I don't mean 'growing' in a good way - I mean, like, FUR!) I am not proud of this. It's not only a waste of money, but it's also a waste of food. I know myself well enough that this is something that I can change, and that I want to change.

  • I don't feel guilty.
Often people feel guilty about what they have when there are so many who don't have. I don't feel guilty, I do feel grateful.

I am thankful for what I have and, I believe, that as long as my gratefulness overflows into generosity and does not become greed - I think, I hope, I will always have compassion and a desire to help those who have less.

It was a good exercise - but it ended up being more than that.

It ended up being a lesson.
I learnt something.

That's good.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Living under the Line

Day 2:

I am not going to write an actual post on this yet but there are some things that I have noticed:

1.  Usually I don't eat that much anyway - but now that I can't, I am starving ALL THE TIME!
2.  Vienna sausages are overpriced.

I told you I wasn't going to write anything yet.... Thursday.

I am waiting for something - something breathlessly revelationary.

  (and I don't mean food)


No, this is not me obviously. I have blue eyes. Oh, and I am a girl!