All that glitters isn’t gold

Some days, and they are very few and far between, but some days I wish for a semblance of the normality that was my life in Cape Town. On most days, I can handle the new “normal” of England – I can handle the strange people with their odd habits, the food that tastes different, the relentless weather, the impending darkness of winter (even thought its not even winter yet), yet, every so often I miss the easiness of my former lifestyle – warm days, a place that I knew like the back of my hand, people who understood my sense of humour and who understood South Africanisms on a whole, flavoursome food, vibrant personalities and a job that I excelled at – with my eyes closed.

Don’t get me wrong…I do love England and I love that England is on the doorstep on the rest of the world, where South Africa is like the back room of the house that people seldom go to because its just too much effort. I travelled to Sweden last week and I am travelling back to Ireland next week, so I cant complain. I love the travelling – more than I love the heat of an African summer.

But on days when I doubt my existence, such as today, South Africa glimmers like gold in my mind eyes, whereas England is grey. But only for today (every other days, its green!).

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was homesick, because I don’t long to go back, my soul does not ache. I know what I left behind and I know why, but, I suppose, I miss the familiarity. I mostly miss being around many people with whom I can relate on many levels, as opposed to one or two who I can relate to on one or two things.

What I think I need most (as pathetic as it sounds) is a new group of friends – who live the same country as me, because, currently, I have one.

This is me not enjoying my day.

Dublin

I know I haven’t blogged in the longest time, but I have been meaning to write this post since I arrived back from Dublin some three weeks ago, and will have to blog about the rest of my present life on another day (although, as I am off to Sweden on Wednesday morning, I suspect you will get a Sweden post, before you get another “day in the life of…” post).

Anyway – three weeks ago, I popped over to Dublin, Ireland (in case, you don’t know where Dublin is. Also, perhaps you should reconsider the rock you are living under). If I had to put my feeling of Dublin into a few words, it would be something along the lines of “I never want to leave”. Granted, I didn’t get to see that much of Ireland, as a whole, but I did manage a few interesting conversations (mostly with cab drivers, mind you), see a bit of the night-life and take a extended walk around the city. Before I departed for the land of sheep and leprechauns, I managed to find this amazing little self guided tour book called “Dublin in half a day” – which is all the time I really had to fit in as much as I could. If you are in Dublin and want to do a short tour-type thing, I would, definitely, recommend this one and, I suppose, if you have more time, this could help you out too, because some of the sights do require more time to see them properly – more on that later.

So, in review of my trip to Dublin, I took pictures of each site that I went to, in order of the tour guide:

1. Trinity College, College Green

The only real significance that I took from this place was A. that it was exceptionally beautiful and B. Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde attended and graduated from the college.

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2. Book of Kells

Out of all the real “to-do” stuff, this is the only place where I paid to go in and actually spent a bit of time. I am an outright Atheist, but even so, I could appreciate the absolute wonder and significance of seeing something like the Book of Kells. If you don’t know what it is, the Book of Kells is a 600-800 year old original Biblical manuscript which contains four Gospels of the New Testament. It was absolutely humbling to be able to stand in front of- and witness something which has shared part of and helped shape the face of humanity. Again, I don’t believe in religion or God, or any of that, but I can’t deny that it is a monumental part of the world as we know it. To be able to view one of the few original remaining artefacts which date back to the beginning of this very large part of human history is something else entirely.

I also had the privilege of seeing the “Long Room” which is a massive, old library and no longer in use, as, from what I can tell, they are trying to preserve and it was built between 1712 and 1732 and houses 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books

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3. National Gallery of Ireland

I popped into the National Gallery only because it was on the list and would have, otherwise, not bothered. I am no art-fundie and have very little interest in it really. I didnt recognise any of the artists, as expected, but I will say that the art I saw was rather (at the risk of sounding totally vapid) “pretty”. Honestly, if it is your thing, then sweet. If not, perhaps give it a miss.

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4. Oscar Wilde Statue, Merrion Square

In the middle of a park, in the middle of town, I had to opportunity to gaze upon and read the quotes of the famous Mr. Wilde, the writer and poet. As he so famously said, and one of my personal favourite quotes: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”

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5. Leinster House

The National Parliament of Ireland – because what good is a trip to a country, if you don’t visit the parliament buildings? Historically, these are the types of buildings that crazy people try to blow up (yes, different country, different parliament building, but same importance)

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6. Government Buildings

Again, another mandatory thing to see in the countries you visit. Everyone should know where the law comes from.

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7. St. Stephens Green

Main public park in ireland, opposite Grafton Street, which is a major Shopping area (and the location of a bar I went to on the Thursday night called Lilly Bordellis). Didn’t spend too much time here, as it would have meant spending hours loitering in the sunshine and green-ness, for which I did not have the liberty of time available.

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8. Kildare Street

The address of the National Museum of Ireland, which I only saw the lobby of, as I had not the time to browse the entire place (and trust me, I could have spent a whole day there). What the guide doesn’t mention is that Kildare Street is also the former home of Dracula author, Bram Stoker, which I was way stoked about. I even ambled into the middle of the street, in all my tourist glory, to take a picture of his largely-unremarkable former home.

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Museum of Ireland

Museum of Ireland

9. St. Annes Church

I would have enjoyed this more had the church been open so I could explore the inside of the building. The outside, nonetheless, was beautiful

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10. Mansion House

I can’t say I know that the deal was with this place – apparently, the residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin….er…okay then?

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11. Grafton Street

Shopping, you say? Now you are talking my language – also, buying things in Euro, when you work on Pound Sterling…well, hello. Busy as anything, and quite entertaining. They were also quite into Halloween at that stage.

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12. Powerscourt Centre

If you are going to give any of them a miss, I’d say let it be this one – once upon a time, it was the indoor garden of an 18th Century mansion. Now, it is, quite simply, a shopping centre. Not something worth seeing honestly. I didnt even take a picture because I was so whelmed. I did take a picture of the entrance to the flower-sellers, which was the entrance to the house, though:

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13. South Great George’s Street

Because tourists love markets, innit? Sweet place, but a market is a market. Historically, it is a bit more interesting. Did I mention that they sell all kinds of old vinyls?

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14. City Hall

Again, another one of those things that people should see when in another country/city. Typically, it was grandiose and old.

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15. Dublin Castle

The first real castle I have seen, in real life, in front of my face! Whoop! I didnt go in thought, due to the fact that I was on a time budget and, also, because I want  to leave some things for when I return with Jean in March for our anniversary.

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I did pop into the curio shop – only to find the same old stuff that you find in any Irish curio shop (of which I had already bought enough to fill a suitcase)

16. Christchurch palace

I nearly missed this one, because the guide is not hundreds on the directions, but I did find it and, again, was slightly whelmed, considering it is vastly less palatial than one would expect. Maybe its a poor-man’s palace?

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17. Christchurch Cathedral

Now, this was magnificent. Again – I would have liked the opportunity to go inside and walk around as I am totally into cathedral and said-architecture. I actually have a bit of an obsession with churches and their architecture (perhaps I am the oddest atheist…but I have great interest in the history of the church, the architecture and the religion surrounding it, but no actual belief in the “faith”, if you will..I dunno, perhaps, Im just too curious. Anyway…)

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18. Fishamble Street

The only real significance of this stop is the neat little bronze “art” piece, found in the sidewalk…which appears to be a bronzed block with combs and a knife inlaid. It’s a bit of a :D moment, because you kind of just happen upon it and then are like “someone stuck a bunch of combs and stuff into bronze and popped it into the pavement…this is so cool!”

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19. Handel’s Yard

Something that I am totally into is classical music, so, while you may not know who George Frederic Handel is, I certainly do and did. There is not much of the Yard left, but this used to be the yard of the old Music Hall, in which Handel first conducted the performance of “Messiah” – one of his greatest works. I stood in front of this old yard arch in awe of what was. :)

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To boot, I stayed in the Gresham Hotel, which, as I found out, has been the hotel of many a famous entity over the years, not least of which was (my favourite) The Beatles:

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Jean and I have decided that we would go back to Dublin for our 1st wedding anniversary in March to do a few more of the Dublin sights, as well as some of the country side – kind of like a little honeymoon, I guess, since our actual honeymoon moved us to England.

I can, also, officially, say that the travel bug has bitten me.

The Luck of the Irish

x

Residential Bliss

I found out this morning that Jean and I have passed all relevant credit and reference checks and are now, officially, the new residents of 8 Riverhead House as of 1st December – I am excited beyond words to have my own home again. Admittedly, I will miss all the voices in the same house as me, and I think it will be a slight adjustment getting used to just two of us again – its been a while, you see.

The other most important and exciting aspect of this renewed independence is that we can finally ship our beloved fluffins over. Perhaps I sound like an overly-obsessed, in-need-of-a-life, hoarding cat lady, but if you have kids, can you imagine leaving your child in another country for an indefinite amount of time? Its the same thing for me, really. If you dont have kids…um….

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Anyway, I’ve started going slightly bos (for lack of a better word, because there is not word that quite explains like bos does) with the procurement of basic necessities – in a week, I have bought the following:

A kettle, cutlery, a dinner set, a chest of drawers, bed linen, a farrow and ball vintage country chair (okay, now that I’ve Iisted it, it doesn’t seem that bad…). I am currently also in the process of buying a vintage TV stand and a vintage bureau.

Whoa Nelly.

Thankfully, my mom and sister are donating some other stuff to us (like coffee cups and a couch), which means we don’t have to spend more money on those things.

We, also, only move in on 1st December, so we have a month and a half to save for the rest of the deposit and buy the other little things that we find we may need (like a TV, according to Jean – not that I am complaining) :)

Most of all, I am so excited to have a sense of normalcy in my life again – even if it is a new kind of normal in a new place.

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Too many kinds of excitement!

Peace!

PS. I totally have to mention that this place has a dishwasher. OMFG.

Friday words

I wish I was better at this blogging thing. I think about blogging quite frequently, but unfortunately, I rarely have the time to sit and blog. Today, being a Friday, with an empty office, is an exception.

Before I start rambling on about my life, I would just like to mention this quirky little thing about WordPress…I logged in and selected “Add a new post” and this little picture appeared stating “beep beep boop” – which, I think, is just so funny and cute:

Capture

As I sit here on the cloudy Friday afternoon, listening to Queen’s greatest hits, I have to wonder – why is it called radio gaga?

Haha. Okay no, Im not really wondering anything. I am, actually, most pre-occupied with finding furniture on eBay. Jean and I are currently being vetted for a flat in Sevenoaks, which we would move into on 1st December.

It is a huge, beautiful 1 bedroom flat, which, in African terms, could fit about 20 families in it. It has massive surrounding gardens and is neatly tucked away in a corner near the main road. Its a 40 minute drive for me to work and a much quicker trip for Jean to work, so we are quite excited. The only problem, of course, is that we have no furniture to fill this glorious space – except for a bed and a red couch. I’ve bidded on a lovely book shelf for the entrance hall, a chest of drawers for the bedroom and a kettle – for the kitchen, obvs. I’ve bought drinking glasses and cutlery and we bought a toaster together. My moms also donated some kitchen-y type stuff to us. All in all, we should be able to survive.

The best part of this all is that, if we get this flat, I can start making arrangements for my kitties to come over to England. I cant wait! I miss them so much (even if they, probably, haven’t noticed that we aren’t even there)

In other news, I am off to Dublin, Ireland for 3 days in 2 weeks time – I am super excited to see Dublin! I, also, have to go to Sweden twice before the end of the year. The only dates I actually know of for the Sweden trips are 17th and 18th December though, which is for our Xmas party (never mind that we also have a UK Xmas party on the 11th December – or something like that). So excited for all the upcoming travelling!

Anyways, that is my little update for now!

Peace!

The last day before the last year of my twenties

Would you think less of me if I lay on the ground, thrashing my arms and legs around while screaming and crying “I don’t wanna! I don’t wanna!”?

Twenty nine years old, 10592 days old, 1.525e+7 minutes old and about 4 years past my ideal age. 25 was good. I could drink a glass of wine – hells, I could drink a few bottles of wine, without waking up to a crippling hangover. I could also sleep like the dead after said-bottles of wine. I could go out until 3 in the morning on a school night and still wake up at 7 for a full day of work with a fair amount of ease. Sure I would be tired, but I was young, so who cared! I could spend my money on clothes and shoes, because rent was minimal, and so were food costs, my car was “vintage” and medical aid was for people who needed it. Not me, life was carefree.

Not that life is tough now, but it just isn’t 25-esque anymore. A glass of wine ensures that I hardly sleep that night, I’m beset with an incurable headache the next morning and that a small furry animal sleeps in my mouth (or at least, that is how it feels). Money is spent on being an adult – buy anti-aging eye creams that make your future wrinkles less imminent, buying skin-friendly cleaning products for your house, paying bills, paying for “responsible” cars, getting married, running a household…you know – adult things.

I wont be giving you a list of “things I have learnt from my twenties”, because I am fairly certain that anyone my age and older knows exactly what you learn about life and the world during your tumultuous twenties. If you aren’t my age or older, you will learn – and you will love it. Instead, regard this as a reflection on the best years of my life so far, and the start of the best to come.

What I will tell you is how the last day before the last year of my twenties started out -

Jean decided to work from home today, so I woke up at 5:30am when his alarm sounded…and then didn’t sleep a wink after. My husband, who I love more than anything, rolled around, tickled my hand, ticked on his phone keyboard and sighed continuously until 7am when I had to get up, which meant I didn’t get the extra hour that I usually do. Since I stayed up late to finish bawling my eyes out to Marley & Me last night, I really needed that extra hour. Really, really. Anyway, I got up and went to shower, only to have the shower head fall on me while rinsing my hair. Everything else happen as it usually does this morning, until I got into the car and had to turn it around as I was taking my brother to school, which is a different route from my straight-to-work route. I reversed into the driveway, a little too close to the fence and, while pulling forward, knocked the fence over and got one of the poles wedged into my wheel-arch**. I, then, held up about 3 cars while trying to get the fence off my car, turning, reversing, swearing, while Angus tried to yank the offending wood post away. After a few attempts, we got the post out and I drove, hurriedly, into my neighbours driveway – handbrake up – to get out of the way. Off we went with a new green scratch on the side of the car, only to get stuck on the East Farleigh bridge by the oncoming train, listening to some young punk’s krappy idea of morning music.

Anyway, I got Angus to school in one piece and I got myself to work on time. Here’s hoping the day, somehow, turns out better than this morning did.

The moral of this post is that getting older is the pits, don’t drive when you are tired and that, however scary it may be, the rest of my life awaits.

Peace.

** Sorry mooooom. The fence got it again…:S

M’ange Tout

Sometimes, everyone just needs a cheesy inspirational to make their situation seem a little more normal – whether that situation is another Monday, or a move across the world.

Today, this motivational is for my little Jess –

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In other news, the last two weeks have been a bit mad, as you may tell by my lack of everything.

I am starting to get the hang of this technical account management stuff (specifically the technical part) – diagnosing things by myself and, generally, getting on with it without the help of others. I don’t feel so much like the weirdo in the office anymore, either, which is great, although I suspect I may still be thought of as the stranger in heels and a scarf in the corner. Last week, we had a go-karting/pool/dinner team-building event, which was nice as I had the chance to experience everyone outside of office confines. I may not have won at go-karting, but I didnt come last, I didnt fade away into a girly heap when they smashed me about on the track and I managed to knock back a few pints while failing epically at pool (although, to be fair, I did get a few good shots in on the pool table).

I wont make too much mention of the beautiful hangover I suffered the next day. I will mention the legit suffering I endured from the racing – pain in the neck and pain in the shoulder. Eish. Which reminds me, I forgot to text Cass back. Cass, sozzles…I forgot…my phone was off for most of Saturday and Sunday.

All that aside, Im up dark and early tomorrow morning at 4am (which is actually still the middle of the night) to hop on a train to Nottingham for the day. Oo-de-laly! Unfortunately, its not to reenact Disney’s version of Robin Hood by running through the forest with Little John singing all the way, but, instead, to ride through the streets at the back of the buses testing internet connectivity all the way – by myself – no little Johns, big Johns or Johns of any kind.

The only other interesting bit of news is that I enter the last year of my twenties at the end of this week. Not stoked, in the least. To commemorate this travesty, Keran (the sister) and I are participating in a mud run in aid of cancer research in Finsbury Park. Shall tell you what that’s like once we’ve been muddied up and won for cancer (Hah. Likely).

The only thing I am excited for that has anything to do with birthdays is the new ink that Keran and I shall be getting – again, more on that later.

Lastly, my thought for the day, which has been a thought in my mind for many a day:

If teach a man to make a fire, he will be warm for a day; if you set a man on fire, he shall be warm for the rest of his life.

Peace!

2 Month-aversary

Today, 28th August, marks the 2 month anniversary in the fair lands of the Greatest of Britains.

I have, never, experienced so many new experiences in 2 months, as I have in the last two months. And to recap, in but a few words — 

I saw, and marveled at, an ancient bunch of rocks 

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I saw a Palace 

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I’ve experienced living with my parents as an adult

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I’ve driven into a hedge to avoid by smooshed by a truck driving towards me on a narrow, country road

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I’ve participated in the great British past-time of Parking

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I’ve become gainfully employed at a technology company in the transport industry, which I am finally, after a week and a half, starting to grasp (the work, that is)

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The sun goes down at 10pm in the height of summer; the people are polite, but impersonal; the speed limit is so low; it takes an hour to get anywhere (except to work!); when it rains, it rains non-stop; navigating is impossible because there is no mountain!

I could, literally, go on and on about the vast experiences I have had in England, but really, i would have to write a list like this every week.

Every day is new experience in one or another and I can, honestly, say that this has been the best decision I (we – Jean and I) have made, after marrying my sweetheart (a close third would be the decision to listen to Creedence today :P).

I miss my people in South Africa, but I am loving England (for the most part) right now.

So, this was a bit of a nonsense post, sure – but life too serious to be serious all the time ;)