The meaning of Sunshine

When my boys were small they used to play hide and sneak, as they called it. My elder son would hide and my younger son would look for him. He would squeal and jump up and down with excitement when he found his big brother, and then it would be his turn to hide. He would always choose the same spot his brother had just hidden in until he learnt the value of finding his own hiding place.

So today it’s my turn to find my own hiding place. Well, I guess it’s exactly the opposite of a hiding place. My new blogging friend, the delightful and outrageously talented writer, Maura at 36×37, tagged me a few weeks ago and handed me a task, which is this: to answer some questions about myself and my blog. And then to tag some other bloggers in turn.

Here goes nothing!

1. If you could have any superpower, which one would you have and why?

I guess I can only be selfish in answering this question. I would choose the power to be in two places at once: in Cape Town and in London. Every day. To be able to skip between the two cities, without taking an 11 hour flight. My heart is in both places. London is our adventure, yet I yearn for my sons who live miles and continents away. My parents too.

2. Who is your style icon?

This question makes me want to laugh. Me? I have a style icon? If I wear clean clothes, dry my hair and brush my teeth, that’s me styled up.

I used to love Princess Diana’s style and I guess she was my style icon in the 80s and the 90s. And if I think back further, I loved the soap opera fashions of Dallas and Dynasty! I know that is sooooo uncool, but it’s the truth. I promised I wouldn’t hide.

When my younger son was small, we spent a few days off school and work together as he was unwell. For some reason, we sat and watched a few re-runs of Dallas on daytime TV. I told him how much I used to love the programme, and how I loved watching all the fashions. He swung round to me, looked me in the eye and asked, “Did those used to be fashions in the olden days?” I rest my case.

3. What is your favorite quote?

I have a few:

“Sometimes a sad man can speak the sadness right out through his mouth.” (John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath.)

“Is this tomorrow?” (my younger son, at age 3.)

“Quote me to your heart’s content, Mom. I’m k*k funny.” (my elder son, at age 22.)

“We don’t need a major bloody march past.” (A client of the PR consultancy I used to work for. We did loads of work for his company and I always remember this regular instruction to us.)

“That’ll do pig.” (Babe.)

4. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

“You’re cute.” A shy, drop-dead gorgeous student said this to me when I was 19 and at university. That was almost 30 years ago, and he still tells me that today.

5. What playlist/cd is in your CD player/iPod right now?

Anything and pretty much everything by Van Morrison. He is the man.

6. Are you a night owl or a morning person?

I go to bed late in the hope I can sleep well, but I don’t, so I don’t wake early. In my previous, more ordered, life I would get up at 5.45am and start my week days with a 6.30 gym class and head off to work. So I guess, in an ideal world, I’m a morning person.

7. Do you prefer dogs or cats?

I grew up loving dogs and not knowing cats. My husband and boys taught me to love cats, with a passion.

Some years ago, we were on a family holiday at the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. We stayed over at a hotel, and were treated to some hilarity in the dining room that night. The waiter, who ground his teeth and kicked the kitchen door open as he entered and exited, stirred some hysteria in my sons and their cousins. When he came to take orders from the set menu, he asked each person in turn, “Beeffffffff or fishhhhhhh?” By the time he got to my son, he couldn’t resist answering, “Bothhhhhh.”

So, do I prefer dogs or cats? Bothhhhhhh.

8. What is the meaning behind your blog name?

I’ve been dying to tell this story! Sunshine in London has a kind of obvious ring to it, and I have mentioned before that it is both my nature and my intention to find sunshine in otherwise cloudy days. Our London adventure is exactly that, and we seek out fun and brightness in our everydays.

The deeper meaning is this: I worked for a non-government organisation in Cape Town during the 90s. This was the time that saw the end of apartheid and the birth of democracy in a nation that the world thought might implode. For me, it was the most amazing time of personal growth and learning that I have ever experienced in my life. I didn’t like how I thought or what my assumptions were and I worked hard, and with tears, to weave grace, respect and non-judgment into my life.

South Africa is a nation of 11 official languages, three of which are predominant in the Western Cape, where I lived. One of my friends and colleagues, who spoke all three languages (isiXhosa, Afrikaans and English), told me one day that she had been thinking about me, and thought it was time for me to have an isiXhosa name. She said she had chosen one that reflected who I was, and it was Nomalanga. This means “sunshine”. I carry the name, with love and pride, and humility, wherever I go.

So now it’s over to you! My mission, as I did accept it, was to answer the questions, and then tag another bunch of bloggers to do the same. So consider yourselves tagged:

If any other reader wants to take up the challenge, please feel free to do so. And do – all – let me know when you’ve written your pieces, as I’d love to read them.

Sunshine, Nomalanga, signing off for today!


36 thoughts on “The meaning of Sunshine

  1. On behalf of the United States, I’m sooooooo sorry you ever thought you should dress like the people on “Dallas” or “Dynasty.” I know it was long ago, but still, it makes me sad to think of the pain and embarrassment we must have caused you. 😉

  2. Hi sweetie – I loved your answers – I, too, would love to be able to be in two places at once. How cool would that be! Go back to my place…. giggle…. you’ll see I did this one recently – but thanks for thinking of me! I love your blog btw. 😉

  3. Hi Sunshine:

    “If I wear clean clothes, dry my hair and brush my teeth, that’s me styled up.” I knew we were “almost twins”! I used to love Princess Diana too…she was the same age as we are. I was lucky enough to be able to cover hers and Prince Charles’ visit to Ottawa as a young radio news intern back in 1983! My guilty pleasures in the ’80’s and ’90’s were Knot’s Landing and Falcon Crest.

    I absolutely love Steinbeck, and have read all of his work I could get my hands on (30 years ago – I should start rereading!).

    Your waiter story reminds me of the time we all went out to an office lunch…our summer student was with us, a pretty sharp university student who later went on to become a doctor. After we’d gotten our food, the waitress came over to check on us. “How are you making out?” she asked. Deadpan, the student replied, “We’re not ‘making out’…we’re just eating!” There was a whole lot of choking going on after that!

    Love the story of how your blog name came about…you really are “Sunshine”!

    Off to check out your taggees!


  4. Fabulous. Just fabulous! Sunshine, you are such a treat.

    There’s so much about this post I love.

    1) “Is this tomorrow?” hahaha. Ollie and I have this conversation every day.

    2) “’You’re cute.’ A shy, drop-dead gorgeous student said this to me when I was 19 and at university. That was almost 30 years ago, and he still tells me that today.” This just makes me happy. Mr. Sunshine sounds adorable.

    3) “When he came to take orders from the set menu, he asked each person in turn, ‘Beefffffffff or fishhhhhhh?’ By the time he got to my son, he couldn’t resist answering, ‘Bothhhhhh.’” Ha! I see your son has your wonderful sense of humor.

    4) Your thoughts about South Africa made me tear up. I’ve been fascinated by your nation since reading Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country–one of my all-time favorities–and your loyalty is heartwarming.

    Very nicely done. And thanks for saying such kind things about 36×37.

  5. Love how you reached your blog name. It suits you.
    I always wanted straight hair with the fashionable 80’s flicks so in all honesty, I guess I looked up to that fashion and era alot dreaming of long legs and straight hair just like Diana. Hubby and I were scanning the TV last night before bed only to spot a gazillionth rerun of TJ Hooker. How we laughed. How times change and fashions with it.
    Sending from phone so apologies if it’s garbled. Sunshine is my relax fix when I’m drinking my coffee and starting my day in the USA where the fashions of Dallas and Dynasty still live on.
    Oh I too would love to be in 2 places at once without the 25hr flight sigh!!
    Hugs x

    1. Thanks so much for reading my blog and for enjoying it! I’m so glad! You live right in the heart of Dallas and Dynasty fashions, don’t you? hahaha
      Much love to you both, Sunshine xx

      1. Yes, I’ve even been to the South Fork Ranch ek se! Did you know all the inside scenes of Dallas were shot at a set in California? Oops!

  6. Yo, Miss Sunshine! Thanks for tagging me. I will do my best to answer those questions. I don’t know if I’ll be as funny as you, but I promise to be real. And thanks for giving me a blogging idea – my readers are getting restless! Do you think I can sneak a recipe in there somewhere?

    1. Being real is the best! I look forward to seeing your answers – and I’m sure you can weave a recipe in there somehow. It wouldn’t be a vampiregran post without one, now would it?
      Sunshine xx

  7. Sunshine! Love it. This tag q&a is great because it lets us know more about you – and you are so interesting! And delightful! Am adding you to my roll. 🙂 Cheers!

  8. So I did my homework last night! You can see my answers at my blog under the “More about me” post.

    Was thinking of what you said about South Africa during the ’90s. The ’80s and ’90s were quite a time to live through here, weren’t they? Who would have thought that we would get through it as well as we did.

  9. loved the story behind your name 🙂
    i think the name suits you perfectly, so do carry it with pride.
    … and that waiter story made me laugh out loud!
    Best, SGM

  10. Hi Sunshine,

    Love the blog! We’re currently putting together a piece in SHE magazine about interesting things that people do on their commute, and after reading your piece about the Tube (v. funny!), and how watching people on the Tube inspired you to start blogging, I wondered whether you’d be interested in being in the feature? Drop me a line if you like.



  11. I´m so pleased I came across your website. I´m a Londoner born and bred but now live in Spain with my wonderful Big Man. I too would love to be in two places at once, I confess to an eternal love for shoulder pads and I adored the story about how your blog got its name. I look forward to reading more. Give my love to London!

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