Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

I had every intention of boarding this train to write a blog to rival the best of them. A piece of work that would have each and every reader rivoted from the very first line. A piece of writing that incorporated only the most sophisticated of writing styles on one of the most controversial topics I could find. A blog that would perhaps one day be recognised by a blogging council and maybe even win an award, the blog that would get me recognised in the blogging community and not just writings of a misunderstood mind. The truth is that the blog I am talking about doesn’t exist because, well, it just is not me.

When I started writing, I fooled myself into believing that I wrote for myself. That writing was therapeutic and it was the only way that I knew how to channel this big personality. For a time I believed that my thoughts and pieces were written for me and me alone, I kept written and printed copies of my writings and referred back to them when I needed inspiration, motivation or when I just wanted a reminder of why I was as dark and brooding as I was. Then social media flew onto the scene and suddenly writing was not just for me anymore, it was a way to get noticed.

I spent a lot of time lonely growing up… I was constantly surrounded by people and yet never had I felt more alone than in my early teens. I was not looking for attention, I was not trying to mimic the ‘wannabes’ that surrounded me. I was just a really confused kid, I did not know where I was going and chose to forget where I had been. I liken myself to Hank Moody’s Becca in Californication sans the guitar playing. I was an emo kid, before emo kid was cool. I was a black sheep before being a black sheep was mainstream. I tested the waters of many a label before I realised there was no label for me and I tried to put myself into many boxes knowing that there was no box I would be comfortable in. I spent hours pouring my confusion, my thoughts and my misguided aspirations into words on paper. It was only when the idea of a blog or social media arrived that I realised my writing could be put out there, that someone somewhere may understand what I have written and perhaps even identify with me… Maybe someone out there was like me? Maybe I did not have to be screwed up on my own…

I remember the first time I put a piece of my own writing on the internet. Long after I was chastised in my English writing class for submitting a piece of work based on the fight between good and evil, the unwritten book of Revelations that I was told was blasphemous and earned me an F for that particular piece of writing. Long after I had started writing poetry and started writing my own book (numerous times may I add, I still have not gotten that right). I became part of the 5FM blogging community and suddenly there were people around me, anonymous ‘people’ that were interested in what I had to say. They were encouraging me to post my writings online. They wanted to READ my most private thoughts and for some unknown reason, I was willing to give it to them!

I remember how belittled I felt when the criticism started, suddenly every one was a writer and I had the grammar police critiquing my English more than people were actually commenting on the subject matter. Surely these people should care about what I have written? Surely the importance of the content far outweighed the fact that I put a comma after the word and (Which is now acceptable I believe). I did not write to become a writer, I was writing to heal myself. I was writing because I wanted to make sense of my thoughts. I was writing because, I had nothing else to do. Now that I could write and post these writings online, it was time to have a concrete shake and deal with the criticism – Suddenly my misguided self medication was not for myself anymore, I was writing to please the people in the PC. I was writing because I wanted to get noticed, I was writing because I wanted someone to care.

How ‘special’ I felt when these bloggers started giving me positive comments, like I was doing something right! This only encouraged me to post as much as possible online and I felt like people finally understood me, I was not alone anymore. How ridiculous a thought that I was seeking approval from people I had never met (Some that I still am in contact with) instead of those closest to me. I was completely misguided in feeling comfortable posting my most emotional works on a blogging site when I could not even share these with friends or family.

Many years was spent posting my life’s work online… Poems I had written in dark times (Available on this blog under the writings section), stories, pieces, rants, reviews… Admittedly, I wanted to be heard and I still do – I am still here aren’t I? I am comfortable now, posting my thoughts here on my own site for the world including those closest to me to see. Do I still seek approval? Or course. Writing is still therapeutic to a degree but at the end of the day, I am in a position where I feel like I have a voice and I want it to be heard, posting these thoughts online is my way to get noticed and my audience is global. I feel honoured, accepted, approved of when people from all around the world take the time to get interested in my work…

Thanks to the internet, I am not just some dark brooding female holed up in a room with a pen and paper.Thanks to the people who actually give a crap, I still have a blog and even if I only get 1 view a day I know that someone took the time to read what I had to say… and that is worth far more than self medicating with a dictionary. I am not always intelligent, I am not always linguistically superior and I am not always controversial. Sometimes I want to write for the sake of writing, like today, like now sitting on this train when I decided that my award winning blog could wait because my desire to ramble was far more important…

Shevy Xxx

Don’t you find it strange how you can decide to buy a blue car and suddenly every second car on the road is blue. Or you hear of someone being pregnant and suddenly everyone around you is falling pregnant. Now that I have moved, now that I have removed myself from a country rife with crime I feel like all I see is bad news and crime reports on South Africa.

I am writing this post out of anger, something any writer will tell you never (or always) to do. Recently, I have seen many news headlines of criminal activity in and around Southern Africa. Violent, racial, sexual or abusive crimes that no human being should have to endure and no savage be allowed to inflict. Now more than ever, these headlines grab my attention because I am here in the UK but my family have been left behind temporarily in South Africa. Just the other night, while my family were all asleep in their beds, someone cut the electric fencing whilst there was a power outage in the attempt to break into the property and ultimately, rob the house. You can understand how this would be extremely worrying for me, not around to protect those I love with no control of how quickly I can remove them as well from the crime rife city of Johannesburg.

I have said it repeatedly and I will say it again – I do not want to bitch about South Africa. I grew up there, it is still classified as my home. I met my husband in South Africa and my children were born and so far raised there as well. If the crime were to have driven me out, I would have left a long time ago – I have been held at gunpoint with my toddler in my arms, I have been hijacked and inappropriately frisked by my assailants, I have had men follow me home and attempt to run me off the road, I have had a man attempt at hijacking me on my bike… the list is endless and does not stop there, so if crime was the problem I doubt I would have been in South Africa for as long as I was.

The plans to move to England have been around for some time. I knew when I had my children that South Africa is no place to raise a family (My personal opinion, bound to upset people). When the opportunity presented itself and the decision was made, there was no question that it was time to give up everything we knew to make the move – For our future and for the future of our daughters, after all this is who I am doing it for. If not to give my husband and myself a better life, to ensure that my children are not raised in fear. Do not flinch at every noise in and around the house, do not have to ask me questions about the violent attacks on the news, it was a no brainer to me to take their vulnerable bodies away from a country raping its people.

I am sick to death of people accusing other people of being traitors to their country if and when they want to get out. First and foremost, I am not a traitor, I did not choose to grow up in South Africa – I was born in the UK and the first opportunity to move, I did it. Secondly, I have every right to remove my family from a dangerous situation. If something criminal happens, why should we feel scared or ashamed to discuss it? We have the right to be angry, have the right to voice our opinion and have the right to moan without being told that if you don’t like it, you can leave. After having done the leaving myself (As I didn’t like it) I understand why this country move is not for everyone. IT IS NOT easy, in fact it is one of the most difficult things I have ever done. Thankfully I am young enough that my career is still wide open, my children are young enough that they can adapt and I know that I will settle and quite easily make new friends as I learn the rhythm of my new life. Not everyone can just get out. I would not expect people to be able to move who are held down by strong family ties, careers, financial responsibility and the basic ability to move without a foreign passport. I am irritated at the fact that every ‘Happy South African’s’ solution is if you don’t like it you can move instead of ‘What can I do to help you and your situation?’

Now I am not saying that England is where the grass is greener. Every single country in the world has their crimes, for goodness sake a man was eating off his girlfriends’ face just the other day. The differences between South Africa and England when raising a family are what matters… AND TRUST ME, there are many. I am free to walk around, in the dark, alone as a woman, with my phone in my hand to and from the train station and I am not scared that I will be raped or attacked on my walk home. I grew up in South Africa, of course I am still aware and make a noticeable effort to be vigilant, much to the curiosity of the innocent joggers that come past. There are children out and about, playing and cycling. Cars give way to pedestrians. There are no burglar bars on the houses. Cars sit unlocked in the car park. Public transport is safe. Hundreds of different cultures and ethnicities can live so comfortably together (Still with some degree of discrimination but not noticeably so).  England is not perfect but since I have arrived I have felt exactly what Rantchick has described in her blog…  I have felt the fear lift, I have finally felt what it is to be free and I cannot wait for my husband and my children to be with me to feel it to.

http://rantchick.com/why-i-will-not-go-back-to-south-africa/

What has to upset me the most is that when someone in South Africa is hijacked, everyone else will say at least you weren’t injured. When someone is injured they will say at least you weren’t killed. When someone is murdered they will say at least it was only one person and when a family is murdered they will say at least they went together. It is NOT OK to walk around scared for your life or your children’s lives – In the same breath it is not ok to say that you accept the crime and are prepared to die. Rape is not ok, it is sick. Murder is not ok, it is sick. Theft or Xenophobia is not ok. Racism is not ok. Millions of tax payers money for a presidential house is not ok. Your children not being able to grow up in a country that has their best interests at heart, that IS NOT OK!

Everyone has a right to be angry and complain about the criminal state of South Africa or any other country for that matter. Everyone has a right to get upset when someone else is a victim of the violent criminality prevailing in South Africa. Everyone has a right to love their country and want to make the most of living there but everyone also has a right to leave. No one has the right to judge others for the decisions they make to better their or their families lives. No one has the right to judge freedom of speech and no one has the right to speak out against the exodus when they themselves are one of the very few people left yet to experience the wave of crime that I have. I get it, people want to stand up for and defend the country that they have lived in their whole life and that is admirable but I am afraid to defend, you must be informed and to be informed you must understand what has been experienced by those around you.

The next time someone shares an awful story about South Africa, take a minute to realise just how awful things have gotten and instead of attacking those that choose to leave, think of what you can do to make it better for those who decide to stay… because trust me, if everyone could actually leave, South Africa wouldn’t have any educated people left.

***

Shevy

You’re pregnant!

Ok, not really, but this is about the time that you figure out you’re in need of a new home. It’s an exciting time of possibility, opportunity and anticipation. You want to name it but you need to see it first before you can lovingly call it home. You have all these ideas of what kind of parent (tenant or home owner) you’ll be and just how you plan on raising your newest arrival (by raising I mean turning house into home). You’re completely motivated at this point and know exactly what you need to do, it’s only a question of time and money. You start picturing life with (in) your new addition and life as you know it is about to change forever.

Morning sickness.

After finding out you’re expecting (a new abode) it’s time to go through the motions and emotions. You will search and search for a possibility, you will register to as many websites as humanly possible, you will contact every real estate agent in the country. You will auto pilot your requirements into your browser and suddenly Google starts directing you straight to Zoopla. You will feel ill at the number of possibilities and suddenly the realisation of what you’re doing has hit home… Nausea and bile rise constantly, reminding you of what you’ve given up and how you’ve put yourself into a position of homelessness. Suddenly your search because a matter of urgency and you’re annoyed with the fact that morning sickness doesn’t only last in the morning, instead it’s a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week situation. Despite all this, you’re also starving.

OB/Gyn appointments.

The annoying thing is, these doctors (estate agents) work the same hours that you do and the possibility they’ll work out of hours is slim to none. You’re forced to set up ‘viewings’ for your new baby during office hours and take your hard earned leave to do so… They’ll keep you waiting, keep you baited and keep sending you new reasons to feel the afore mentioned sickness. Sadly, one viewing is never enough so of course you set up multiple opportunities to take a look at potential housing. The agent arrives, takes you in, shows you around and explains what you’re looking at. He gets you all excited and ready to sign, only to be let down by the fact that you may not actually have this one or can’t afford it. It feels like the appointments are never ending and suddenly all you’re seeing is the same thing repeatedly, searching for a new reason to be excited but trying not to get your hopes up too high for fear of disappointment.

Braxton Hicks.

There is always that one appointment that makes everything you’ve endured seem worthwhile. You’ve seen it, you want it, you can afford it, you love it, you’re ready… It’s almost too good to be true, surely a few more appointments are needed before you can be certain… But no, the doc (agent) reassures you that you’re good to go and shouldn’t panic. You go home picturing your new life, already hanging the family portraits on the wall, filling up your online shopping cart with the goodies you need in anticipation… It hurts a little, you’re not sure if it’s too good to be true, you think it’s time but maybe you just need to pee… Your back hurts, your back always hurts, you’re tired of looking at it and are ready to own it, you feel like it’s coming, it’s almost there…

False alarm. If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. You’ve wound yourself up, you’ve been let down, you’re over it.

Birth.

You can’t be sure after the next appointment because let’s be real, you’ve been let down before. The same reassurances abound and you wait patiently to sign the forms… You stare at the wall, decide you’re going to forget it because it’ll probably be a repeat of the last time you got excited for nothing…. Like paying the hospital administration fee, you get the referencing fees out the way. You’re not in the clear yet, they’ve got to check your (financial) health to ensure you’re truly ready for what’s about to happen. After which they’ll make you wait agonising hours while they deliberate on your fate… It’s so close you can almost touch it. Then, as if you weren’t expecting it, you get told that it’s happened and you are now the proud tenant to your new home! You did it, you got through it, you aren’t sure how and most of the time you were just in pain but suddenly that pain is forgotten and replaced with excitement about the future that awaits you…

So now you’ve got your new baby, what do you do with it??? Why you dress it of course… And you spend as long as you need making your house a home, because isn’t that what moms do?

Xxx

It’s official, I left South Africa on this day exactly 3 weeks ago and what a few weeks it’s been.

You may be sitting there thinking to yourself “What is this woman blubbering about, 3 weeks is nothing?!” but 3 weeks feels like a lifetime when you’re in a foreign country getting used to a foreign way of life without your husband and your children. In fact, 3 weeks is nothing when I’m going to be here for another 13 or so weeks without them.

In the short time I have been here, between my husband and I, we have managed to accomplish a tremendous amount of things, even though it doesn’t feel like it because when one task is completed, another two crop up. Each task costs a pretty penny and each step limited by some form of governmental ruling that we cannot get past… We just have to hang in there, do everything the correct way and hope that all goes just as we hope. In 3 weeks I have moved countries, moved in with friends, started a new job, nailed (well almost) the public transport system, gotten a bank account, made new friends, applied for my national insurance number and lastly (but not at all least) viewed and hopefully almost secured our new home – that’s right, it looks like I’ll have a place to live! This is exciting stuff…

So, I thought I’d do a short informative breakdown on what I’ve done so far, for those hoping to do the same (Move cross country) and haven’t a clue where to start… I’m not 100% there yet, I don’t even have furniture, but I’m getting close and I can feel it. My next step after securing my home will be my move and then school applications which I will cover nearer the time once I’ve verified the information I’ve gathered.

1. Moving countries.

This is up to you, you have to make the decision to get on a plane, but when you do, have a look at airlines like Qatar Airlines (via Doha) and fly at an off peak period, midweek. I paid ZAR3200 for a one way including taxes with 30kgs baggage… Almost enough to put your life into. Don’t forget about the move cube I’d mentioned in a previous blog, this is useful for sending your personals to make your new house feel a little more like home.

2. Living

If you can afford to move into a house of your own when you arrive, good on you, I couldn’t. Find someone you know and love who won’t get irritated with you (that much) who can help you. Trust me when I say you’re gonna need all the help you can get.

3. Job

Let’s be honest, it can be really difficult finding a job from South Africa without actually going in for an interview. I was lucky, I found a company willing to take a chance on me – they were open to telephonic and Skype interviews, suggest this! I did go through a recruiter and he was extremely understanding of my situation. Let your CV speak for itself and be completely honest, you’d be surprised how many people are willing to assist. I mentioned Reed in earlier posts, go back and have a read :)

4. Public Transport.

Google maps is amazing, if you’re not sure just google. I was lucky that my friend travelled with me on day one to show me the ropes, it’s pretty easy when you get the hang of it. You will get off at the wrong stop, sometimes you will get on the wrong train, you may have to phone a friend and that’s ok. I downloaded a myriad of bus / train apps for up to date information but when in doubt, read or ask. I have had to stop many times to find out where to and how, rather that than a nervous breakdown at the station. I do a monthly seasonal ticket, works out considerably cheaper and may be useful if you plan on a daily commute. You will, like me, realize the advantages of living close to work and try to reduce traveling times and cost.

5. Bank account

Tricky, but possible. You will have to shop around, especially without a utility bill, but Halifax helped me and I’m certain they will help you to. Once I’d applied, I received the online banking activation code one day, my card the next and my pin another… It’s frustrating having to wait but they do come, just be patient. The amazing thing, no queues!

6. National insurance

You’re going to need an appointment if you’re a British passport holder I’m afraid. It’s a quick call to the Job Centre, they will ask you for your postal code and will set up the soonest possible appointment for you nearest your area. Do your homework though, mine was made for Oxford (miles away) and I called back to change it to Woking (On a friend’s advice). They called me with a cancellation, in I went and 20 minutes later I had an application in with an up to 6 week waiting period for my number. If you were born here and your parents claimed family benefits for you, make note of that as they can find you on the system, hopefully issuing you a number sooner. Also, no queues.

7. Finding somewhere to live

I guess this is all about preference. It means a strict budget and knowing when to turn down possibilities for being outside of that budget. Remember, you’re not just paying rent, you’re paying council tax as well as the utilities… It all adds up. Get onto rightmove.co.uk which is great for available properties for which you can search by area. Once you’ve found a few you like, go and view them – investigate the area, investigate the schools etc. The council websites are extremely helpful with all the information you need, right down to the council band which you can search for by postal code. You’ll get a breakdown of what council tax you need to pay and just how it’s spent – council tax is paid over 10 months. There will be admin fees involved and the deposit is heavy, 6 weeks rent plus a month upfront – be warned. Also, your salary dictates the value of rent you qualify to pay. If you earn less than the rent you’re wanting to undertake, you’ll need a guarantor who earns the required salary to guarantee the rent payments for you, they too will be referenced and checked.

If you’re planning on moving and have any questions about anything so far, give me a shout and I’ll help as best I can :D

After my amazing trip to Reunion, the TIR (Travel Industry Review) featured some pictures and an article on the destination… I’m on Page 1 (Front cover) and Page 12 ! Why not have a look?

http://www.tir.co.za/digitalmagazine/14/oct14/

image

Eternal

Posted: November 2, 2014 in Personal, Writings
Tags: , , , , , ,

The truth in my dark
The knight to my light
The hand in my hand
The blood in my fight

All that inspires
You’re all that I am
All that ignites
My flame, your fan

A soothing breath
Cool, calm caress
Your scent, your look
Feelings to confess

Clutching my heart
My love in your palm
Every inch of me
Enamored by charm

The ink to my iron
The spirit in my eyes
The strength in my soul
The truth in all lies

Waking moments
So quickly pass
Without you though
They last and last

Life without you
A torture in itself
Periodic separation
Hazardous to health

Hands tightly held
A feeling I miss
It hurts me intensely
Feeling like this

The love in my body
The smarts in my mind
The humor in my bones
The sight in my blind

I love you always
This is my truth
My hands, your hands
Eternally me. Eternally you.

Forever Love_225.jpg

Having only been here two weeks (officially arrived two weeks ago today) it’s impossible not to make constant comparisons between my birth (now home) country and the country I grew up in. It’s easy to be a South African sitting in South Africa constantly moaning about the state of the country and how green the grass is on the other side of mud island, once you’re here it’s a whole other ball game – even better than you can imagine!

There are ups and there are downs, as with anything in life. Right now, I’m missing my husband and my girls so much that I forget to stop and smell the roses so to speak. I forget just how amazing this country truly is and don’t put much thought into the day to day differences that suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks today. I thought I’d list a few of them, home truths, dreams that have become my reality and give you insight into every day life here in jolly old.

Public transport works.

It’s an amazing thing this ‘public transport’. All races, religions, ages and creeds use public transport in the UK – From the average cross country trains and the London Underground to buses and cabs, there is an option for all wage brackets. That said, you pay for public transport to work… I travel from Crowthorne to Wokingham, Wokingham to Virginia Water and Virginia Water to Chertsey every day (Morning and evening), that trip costs me £16 a day (or £260 for a monthly season ticket) – that’s a big chunk of change out of my salary, I assure you – AND that’s without even touching London central. Sure, cars here are well affordable and you get to pump your own gas but those costs add up just as quickly and we won’t even discuss traffic on the M25 or lack of parking in London. Did I mention that there are no taxi’s? Oh, also, there are no taxi’s!

Self service and laziness.

The Brits are just as lazy as they are independent. Here, you have to ‘pump your own gas’ and yet you can get food, beer and cigarettes delivered to your door (just about anything actually) at any time of the day or night. Sure, you can make use of the self service check out at Tesco’s but because you’re spoiled for choice, we will put 4 hair dressers on one short street. Why not? It’s rather confusing and complicated to get used to… I’m getting there slowly :)

Old people

Wow, no offense to anyone but there are a lot. Or maybe it’s just that you see them because their bodies are younger than they are thanks to this amazing climate and they get themselves out and about into the world?! The reality is that I don’t think the pensions are nearly enough to keep them comfortably going… Or, out in the sticks, they’re so bored all they want to do is be around people. At my local Sainsburys, the trolley collector (yes, it’s a job) is about 90 in the shade and yet takes those trolleys back to their houses every day with a smile on his face… Either that or the 88 year old cashier caught his eye. It’s cute, all these really old people, I’m gonna live for ages!

A different era

Perhaps it’s just where we live or where I work or maybe we went into Camden on a rough day but I’m pretty certain that most of England thinks they’re living in the 30’s, 40’s or 50’s – not that I’m complaining at all – only with earphones. The men, well, there are three types. Rough and tough, bearded, tattooed and Doors looking regulars. Metrosexuals with a comb over, brown pointy toes shoes, grey suits and an upside down newspaper. Lastly, the ‘chav’, grey tracksuit pants, high tops and quite probably a pony tail – they like to say ‘Blood’ a lot. Anyone else is foreign. The lines between fashion senses are pretty definitive. When it comes to women, there isn’t much of one style persay but as mentioned in a previous blog, camel toes are acceptable as are mustard yellow leggings, brown cardigans and purple hair (all combined). It’s safe to say, the most eclectic people get to live in England and it’s completely normal.

Food

… Is awesome. Bland as all hell. Just the way I like it. Sure, they don’t know that a kebab is actually a pita bread and Fanta Orange is supposed to be Orange, but everything else edible is awesome! I’m just happy that I can have Ribena any time I like, I’m weird like that.

Work

The English don’t really know what ‘work’ is, that’s why they’re so quick to hire South Africans. I get into trouble if I get in earlier than start time or leave later than finish and heaven forbid I don’t take my lunch – the concept of a lunch hour is foreign to me so it’s pretty amazing to actually eat during the day. When we are all working, my definition of busy is very different to that of a Pom. It’s refreshing really, people here understand keeping work and home separate.

I could go on and on and on… I’m not saying it’s perfect here but it’s a foreign concept to me to be ‘nice’ to your neighbors, to walk around at all hours of night in the dark safely, to smile and wave at passers by and to have a library or museum on every corner. What a cultured place to live… I know I’d fit right in, if only my people would arrive and I could get back to being my awesome self.

Guess what? I’m on a train…