Thursday, November 21, 2013

Blah Blah Snow

By now family and friends are probably already scrolling past all my excited rambling about snow.  I wouldn't blame them, but it's so hard not to take photo's and clips. Even the bus this morning was alive with chatter! Yes, even us! :)

I am certain that people who live in parts of the world where snow is common, will roll their eyes and think thoughts like "The novelty will wear off, just wait until....blah, blah" - but I put my hands over my ears and I do not hear your voice.   I will fight losing the excitement when the inevitable slushy aftermath appears. 

Standing in the middle of the city this morning waiting for the bus, surrounded by old buildings with snowy roofs, trees shimmering and snowflakes settling on my hat, I felt as though I was in a snow globe.  It's completely magical.

Driving home through the forest I felt my eyes involuntarily tear up just because it was so purely beautiful.

Even now, looking out of my lounge window, the hounds are lying on the balcony, covered in the still falling snow flakes.

The gray & white world outside is not a true reflection of the mood today. 
It's a rainbow mood day!

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Men and The Burgers

Neither My Man nor I are fans of MacDonalds, however on seeing an ad for their new McBaguette My Man decided that it looked just way too good not to try.

So, to surprise him on Friday evening, I went into the city early to buy him one for supper. As I was walking in I noticed a young guy, probably in his early 20's sitting with his back against the wall, his dog with him, and a cup in front of him. My heart went out to him as it was getting a little cool.

I went in and ordered the McBaguette and then ordered a Big Mac for the youngster outside.  Leaving, I went out and there he was, with the lead in his hand, chatting to a guy who was now standing with him, I don't know how to say "Here you are, enjoy" so I just thrust my hand out and smiled. He looked at me and at the burger, smiled and said "Merci!"

I walked away and suddenly it dawned on me that MAYBE he wasn't even a street beggar?!  I didn't look in the cup to see if it was money or coffee and EVERYONE (and their dog)... has a dog with them in the city and when I was leaving he was just standing chatting to this other guy, he could just have been sitting there and waiting for him!

I suddenly felt so embarrassed, but what could I do, I couldn't run back and ask, or explain - I just had to believe, hungry or not, that he really needed that burger!

..... and that  it was better than the McBaguette which turned out to be totally forgettable.

* * * 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Removal of Rose Tinted Specs

We have been here just over 3 months and a recent conversation has made me realise just how idealistic I was before coming here - even up to last month.

We were so determined not to be the "expats" who joined the "South African Expat Group" on Facebook, (we still won't), so determined not to just connect with English speaking people, that which would be familiar and comfortable. Our hearts were so much to make friends with the locals of this country and find our way into their traditions and culture.  (Yet, when I hear an SA accent my heart leaps with excitement - it's who we are and always will be!)

However, we recently had a conversation with a local friend of ours and he listened to me sympathetically and I have not been able to get his response out of my mind. He basically chastised me in the nicest possible way by saying that this country is filled largely with people from other countries, there are tons of Brits, Americans, French, Irish, Portuguese, German, South Africans and Flemish - and he asked me "What makes a person a local?"  To me that felt like an odd question - you are local if you are from that place. However, as he pointed out, all these foreigners have been here for years, some are even the children of previous generations that moved here - surely that now makes them locals?  I couldn't disagree.

The point of his conversation with me was really to not be so narrow about WHO or HOW we decide to fit in here, but more to just accept that there are lots of people here who are far from 'home', and just because they speak English, doesn't make them "not a local".

I realise that this sounds all horribly fuzzy - but now we have to rethink this. I kind of feel as though we live in a country that is like a stew: It's made up of interesting and flavoursome people, all sourced from different places with cultures and traditions stirred together to make something warm and tasty. 

Maybe it will change a little of how I am experiencing people here, seeing it this way. It may not. All I know is that the word "locals" has taken on a new look that I hope will start to feel more familiar.

I know too that there is a bigger plan for us being here, it's a gift that came by way of employment - but I know there is more to it. 

Each day is an adventure that we are embracing - but I am so looking forward to it all!  We love it here!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Just me & my umbrella

Usually when I go and meet My Man in the city after work, I wait at our designated meeting place. 

Sometimes I go earlier to do the shopping then it's all done by the time he arrives.  I have always done the shopping and then made my way straight to where we meet, and wait.

Today, it was wet. It was cold and it was windy.  I had to do some shopping which I did, and then, as I came out I looked up at the almost dark sky (it was 17h00), at the rain pelting down, and thought it looked all rather dramatic.  The pedestrian walkways were bobbing with umbrellas, and it suddenly felt rather surreal.

Knowing I still had at least 20 min before he arrived, I opened my umbrella and decided to embrace the weather, and for 20 minutes I strolled around the cobbled streets in the rain and the twilight, and for the first time I really felt as though I could do winter.

It was really quite a lovely 20 minutes.