The Otherness of Being

Our family moved around a lot when I was a child. Every new place we went to, I had to adjust to a new school and make new friends. My parents did the rest. I learnt quickly to adjust, to settle in and to feel like I belonged. It’s not so easy when you’re older.

Some years ago, I worked for a non-government organisation in Cape Town. I worked there from 1993 to 2000, straddling the regime change in the South African government to a welcome democracy. Apart from the work that the organisation did, it focused keenly on organisation development; ensuring that the work it did, as well as they way it did the work, transformed appropriately in line with bigger changes in the country. Change was something we could always depend on.

We did loads of workshops and bosberade (literally “bush councils” – meetings in isolated venues to focus on a particular topic), learnt massively about ourselves as an organisation and as individuals, and laughed and cried as we grew in so many different ways. It was an incredible time in my life, and I learnt much that I loved and hated about myself.

Accordingly I changed in ways I hadn’t recognised even needed changing. It was about shining the mirror clean to get a clearer reflection of myself. I will always be a work in progress, but having the opportunity to develop a consciousness of that is something for which I am eternally grateful.

One workshop we did was presented by a daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. An amazing speaker and awesome personality, she gripped our attention for the entire day. I don’t remember what the workshop was called but she delved into loads of different awarenesses of self.

The strongest learning point for me was in identifying my own primary identity. I am totally oversimplifying this, but she told us that once we understood our own primary identity, we could understand how we view the rest of the world. And we tend to view the rest of the world in relation to that identity. So if I see myself primarily as a woman, I see everyone else as the “same” or “other”. Equally, if I see myself primarily as white, I see everyone else as the “same” or “other”.

It’s something that I have regularly been challenged to look at afresh in my own life. As a Christian, I am secure in my identity as a child of God. It’s finding my identity in my humanness that is my biggest struggle right now.

It’s no secret how much I miss my sons who are both back in Cape Town. Being a mother is a huge part of my identity, as is being part of a loving and close-knit nuclear family. We speak often, our love for each other is unquestioned, but we’re far apart. A month or two ago, a young couple in our church had their baby son dedicated. Both of their extended families filled our church for the service. I looked at them all together and I wept like a child with longing for my own family.

It is a conscious battle for me to choose not to find my identity in my work. Having worked constantly since I graduated from university (apart from a few years when my sons were born), I find it difficult to reconcile my identity as an unemployed person in London. Because of my job hunting nightmare here, I tend to view others from that perspective, and I find I see everyone around me as employed or with an income or livelihood of some description.

Finding my identity as a friend extends me too. I have wonderful, close friends back home – ones I hang out with regularly, talk with deeply, laugh with incessantly. They know who I am; I share a history with them. I have lovely friends here too, but I’m only just beginning a journey with them. That’s not a bad thing; I’m just trying to find where it all fits.

Starting a blog has been an amazing and positive experience for me. I love to write, to tell stories and share experiences and adventures with a growing community of wonderful writers, many of whom have also become friends. I haven’t quite found my identity through this yet; sometimes I see myself as a writer until I read the work of real writers, and I realise I am just a blogger. That’s okay too, and it keeps me reading and learning and growing and honing.

As you well know, life is not all bad in London! It continues to be an amazing adventure for my husband and me; we explore the city; we walk and we talk and we laugh; we grow memories and share a life here that we could never have imagined for ourselves. I know there is a deeper purpose in all of this for me and only with hindsight will I recognise what it is.

I don’t really know where I belong right now; I’m an absent Saffa and a visitor in London. Mostly I’m okay with that, but this topic has toiled through my mind for the whole weekend, circling and circling like a dog in a basket. I think it has now found its comfortable space and is ready to surrender to welcome sleep. As for me, I couldn’t have found rest until I wrote this.

Sunshine signing off for today.

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Minding My Language

Yesterday I travelled by train to an area south west of London. A young woman boarded the train a few stops after mine, and immediately made a call on her cell phone. I don’t think she needed the phone, she could have just shouted. Then she made a second call, and said this: “Hiya! You all right, love? Guess who died?”

I can’t imagine what response she got on the other end of the line. (I couldn’t hear because the callee didn’t shout.) The caller then said, “Only Doris, off Gavin and Stacey.”

I gathered she was a big fan of this romantic comedy that has now finished its run on BBC, and was sad that this dear actress had passed away. I did, however, find her method of sharing the news quite fascinating.

So that made me think that it was time for another post of talking forrin. If you’re new to my blog, this is something I write about from time to time: sharing new words and expressions that I hear here in the UK and words that I know from a lifetime in Zimbabwe and South Africa, that I know mean nothing over here.

Here are a few links to previous such posts: English as she is spokeSo this is where I learnt to speak funnyThis blog’s seriously going southDoes this make sense? I doubt; I’ll be there now now; Blogging is not pants;  Is that your new wife? Shame

I’ll start with English expressions I’ve heard:

  1. To get the hump: this means to go into a sulk, to get upset or fed up about something. I watched a quiz show the other day on the telly (as television is fondly known over here). When asked how she’d like to spend her prospective winnings, a contestant said she’d like to travel to Egypt to see the Pyramids and to ride a camel. (The programme was clearly filmed before the current events in Egypt.) Her adversary, who’d not been doing as well as he’d hoped, then said to her, “Well, love, sorry but you won’t be able to ride a camel.” “Why?” she asked. “Because I’ve got the hump,” he said.
  2. Flower. This is a term of endearment, used particularly in the north east of England, around Newcastle. A Geordie term, if you like. I travelled up to Newcastle for a conference last year, and I absolutely loved the city – it was such a beautiful surprise, and I’d love to travel there again when I can spend more than two days there. I am also mad about the Geordie accent. I went into a little newsagent in central Newcastle, and the shop owner said to me, “Can I help you, flower?” I immediately adored the expression and wanted to put her words and her accent into bottles and buy a dozen.
  3. Thick: this means dim or unintelligent. It is often accompanied by putting your tongue between your bottom teeth and your bottom lip and making monkey-type noises.
  4. Go on! This expression crosses the cultures, for me. Its use as I’ve heard it in England is quite different from its use by my Dad. In England, if someone is trying to persuade you to do something, and you’re hesitating and not quite sure whether or not you want to do it, and then decide you will, you’ll say, “Ok, go on!” By contrast, I grew up with my Dad saying this to me every time I’ve told him something that I find amazing.  “Hey Dad, the Springboks have just won the World Cup! Again!” He would say, “Go on!” which, in a slightly patronising way, means, “You don’t say?” or “Well, I never” or “Knock me over with a feather”.
  5. Gutted. This expression means cut up or distressed or extremely disappointed by something. So, for example, if your house burnt down and you lost all your possessions in the fire, you could well be completely gutted.
  6. Knickers in a knot. If you get yourself into an unnecessary panic about something, you could be getting your knickers in a knot.
  7. Faff: this verb means to waste time doing unimportant things while you’re supposed to be doing something important. It could take the form of procrastination, or it could be fiddling about doing things when you’re supposed to be going out. You can either faff or faff about. Either is annoying.
  8. All over the shop: this means everywhere or disorganised. For example, “He was trying to explain to me what happened, but his mind was all over the shop and I couldn’t follow what he was saying.” The equivalent expression I would use is all over the show.
  9. Argy bargy: argument, disagreement, fighting. For example, a sports commentator might say, if there is a potential fight on the field, “Ah, now there’s a bit of argy bargy going on there.”

And on to some of my words and sayings from Saffa:

  1. Naartjie (pronounced narchy): this is the term I would use for tangerine, Clementine, mandarin. It refers to any orange citrus fruit (apart from an orange) that has an easily-removable skin and is easily divided into segments (which I call skyfies, pronounced skayfies).
  2. Chaff (pronounced charf): this word also has a dual meaning, and is no longer really in common use. It can mean to chat up someone, or it can mean to stretch the truth. So, for example, a guy might meet a girl and, if he fancies her, he might chaff her. When I was at junior school, I remember reading our school magazine during one of my holidays. It was quite an honour to have your story or poem featured in the magazine, and I always read others’ writing with interest. I remember reading a story written by a girl who was a year younger than me, which would have made her about nine. It was a fantastic tale, that I was struggling to believe, but I persevered with it because, hey, it had been featured in the magazine. When I got to the end of her story, she had written “Chaff chaff.” (Which meant she had made up the entire story.) I was horrified.
  3. Ja (pronounced ya): this means yes.
  4. Is it? This is an expression of interest or surprise. Is that so? For example, someone might say to you, “There are terrible riots happening on the streets of Cairo right now.” You might respond by saying, “Is it?”
  5. Hanguva: this means very or a lot. For example, in London lately, it’s been hanguva cold.
  6. Stroppy: this means difficult, aggressive, uncooperative. For example, actor Russell Crowe sometimes gets stroppy with the paparazzi.
  7. Koppie: this means a small hill. There is a koppie in the middle of a park near where we live, and if you walk to the top of it, you get a great view over south east London.
  8. Dof: this means dim, or not very intelligent. (See thick above.) For example, if you can’t find something or don’t understand something, you might say, “Sorry for being dof, but I don’t know what you mean.” So it usually refers to a temporary state of mind, rather like having a brunette moment.

I hope this has expanded your vocabulary horizons somewhat, and I’d love to know some of the interesting words and expressions that you use at your ends of the stick. I won’t get the hump if you don’t, but I’d be hanguva interested to learn more words. Thanks for reading, flowers.

Sunshine signing off for today!

Now I’m the Cat’s Pyjamas

Last week, our church small group had a social evening where we played a bunch of games. One game involved passing a small, ticking grenade from player to player as you each had your turn. Yesterday, my “friend” Maura, threw me a grenade from Ohio.

Right. The game we played last week goes by the subtle moniker of Pass the Bomb. You have a deck of cards, each card has two or three letters on it, and you have to think of a word that uses those letters in order but not necessarily consecutively. You may not repeat a word – obviously, duh – but you may modify the word by making it a plural or adding –ing or whatever. Or you can be entirely original and think of your own word.

You have to think quickly; the grenade is ticking and you don’t want to be left holding the bomb when it explodes. Well, when it fizzles, really. Each time you set the grenade a-ticking, it ticks for a random length of time, so you never know when it’ll go.

The grenade got thrown around the circle at such pace, some of us got shrapnel injuries. It seems that the Memetastic award is doing the same.

So, thank you dearest 36×37 aka Maura (who is, in fact, one of the most gifted writers I know, disguised as a friend) for throwing the kitty-bomb my way. I am eternally indebted to you for passing this extraordinary honour to me. I am taking it back taken aback. I’m glad you think so much of me. Or not.

So here’s the deal. I’ve been Memetastic-ed. And read quickly, because I don’t want to be left holding the grenade.

Jill, at Yeah, Good Times, created this Award. Thank you, Jill. Thank you very much.

The Memetastic Rules

The Memetastic Award

1. You must proudly display the graphic (above), which Jill describes as “absolutely disgusting.” According to Jill: “It’s so bad that not only did I use COMIC SANS, but there’s even a little jumping, celebrating kitten down there at the bottom. It’s horrifying! But its presence in your award celebration is crucial to the memetastic process we’re creating here.”

2. You must list five things about yourself, and four of them must be bold-faced lies. Quality is not important.

3. You must pass this award to five bloggers you either like or don’t like or don’t really have much of an opinion about. As spoken by the great Jill: “I don’t care who you pick, and nobody needs to know why. You can give a reason if you want, but I don’t really care.”

4. If you fail to follow any of the above rules, Jill will hunt you down and harass you incessantly until, according to her, “you either block me on Twitter or ban my IP address from visiting your blog. I don’t know if you can actually do that last thing, but I will become so annoying to you that you will actually go out and hire an IT professional to train you on how to ban IP addresses just so that I’ll leave you alone. I’m serious. I’m going to do these things.”

5. Once you do the above, please link up to the Memetastic Hop so that Jill can keep track of where this thing goes and figure out who she needs to stalk.

Excited? I thought so.

Here is my offering:

  1. I have often been mistaken for a ballet dancer. However, when people study my style, they realize that my motif is more contemporary slash jazzart, if you will. Interpretive dance is my preferred movement.

    Dance (via societies.cam.ac.uk)
  2. I am easily bored and take little interest in anything around me. Especially other people.

    Boring (via jmorganmarketing.com)
  3. Nothing relaxes me more than sitting down with a mug of hot cocoa and a jolly good game of Sudoku.

    Sudoku, or as I say, "let the fun roll" (via stellalunaa.xanga.com)
  4. I wish I was funny enough and brave enough to be a stand-up comedian.

    To stand up or to sit down (via dailycomedy.com)
  5. I love applying for jobs and going for interviews. These are the funnest things you can do in London.

    Ah, mad fun at interviews (via utahtechjobs.com)

So, study these points carefully because hidden among them is a truth about me that you would never be able to guess.

Maura, you’re fantastic – thanks for sharing this award with me. Jill, you’re the bomb. Pleased to meet you.

I think I am going to cop out of chucking the grenade towards anyone in particular, as I know many of you have had this honour already. If anyone reading this feels so inclined and wants to grab the mic, or the grenade, or the kitty – knock yourself out. But beware … the ticking starts now.

Sunshine signing off for today!

I Blog. Therefore I Am

Apologies to Descartes. This post is in no way related to him. Nor in any way philosophical. (He was, but this post isn’t.) This is my contribution to blogging terminology. Not that I see myself as a post-er girl for blogging, it’s just that I love words and being silly. And not necessarily in that order.

This is my 100th post. I didn’t realise, when I pressed publish on that day in mid-August last year, what fun this blogging ride was going to be. I didn’t expect to be living my life out loud like this; I didn’t really know what to expect, but the friends and the support and the love I have encountered have been at the same time humbling and overwhelming. I’ve made wonderful friends, and I learn from your amazing writing every day and I recognise the depth of my passion for writing. And the act of writing every day has made me hungry to hone my skills.This is true community and I love it.

So, on to my post for today: my entries into the great, universal, blogging lexicon. A bloxicon, if you will:

  1. bloggard n one who boasts endlessly in her posts
  2. introblogger n one who thinks before she blogs
  3. extroblogger n one who blogs before she thinks
  4. blinge v to moan or whinge
  5. bligot n a blogging bigot
  6. blog envy n an overwhelming wish that you’d written the post you’ve just read
  7. flashblog n an event that drives readers to your post, for example, being Freshly Pressed
  8. blog-noser n one who compliments your writing because she wants something from you, for example, to steal your readers. See also blog envy.
  9. blogiarism n the act of stealing someone else’s post
  10. blogue n a post to avoid like the plague; could also mean a post about shoes
  11. blogotist n a blogger whose life and posts and comments revolve around her
  12. blaff v to spill your coffee or spurt milk out of your nose while you read a funny post
  13. blarf v to spill your coffee or spurt milk out of your nose while you read a disgusting post
  14. blibble v to allow saliva to spill from your mouth while reading a food post
  15. blingxiety n a fear that your blog may be too posh
  16. overblogging n the sharing of too much information
  17. blol n an acronym for “false laugh false laugh”
  18. blomb n a post that goes nowhere
  19. bloax n a fake post, or a post by a fake blogger
  20. hyperbloggilate v to use too much punctuation
  21. amblogilent adj to be in two minds about a post, or to be in two blogs at once
  22. bloring adj dull, unimaginative, usually refers to a post
  23. postitute n a blogger who will write anything to get comments
  24. bliyotch n a not very nice blogging female
  25. wannablog n someone who wishes they could blog
  26. blog-standard adj ordinary, common, everyday
  27. Bloghty n the country I blog from
  28. blong n bells and whistles you might attach to your blog
  29. bollogs n nonsense, rubbish. (Not to be confused with the dog’s bollogs, which can sometimes be used as a compliment.)
  30. writer’s blog n an affliction rendering you unable to think of what to post about next
  31. OCB n obsessive compulsive blogging; can manifest itself in many ways, for example the overwhelming need to post at the exact same time every day, or the need to ensure you use a word starting with each letter of the alphabet, in order, in every post
  32. blob n a post that does nothing, just sits there; a couch potato post
  33. blogged down adj to get side-tracked with too much detail
  34. bloggy-no-mates n a blog post with no comments. This is a sad word.
  35. ASBLOG n an order for posting social offensive material (derived from ASBO – a civil order , in use in the UK, made against someone displaying anti-social behaviour)
  36. blovvered adj what you are not, if someone leaves an unnecessarily nasty comment on your post. Example: Face? Blovvered? (Possibly originates from Catherine Tate, British comedienne.)
  37. BA n Bloggers Anonymous
  38. blingo n blog slang; could also mean a numbers game played via blog posts, but this is not very popular.
  39. colonoscopost n a post that, when you read it, makes you feel very uncomfortable
  40. beatblox v it’s a rap

I have used the feminine version of words and pronouns to avoid having to write he/she, which can get very boring.

I hope this has enlightened, edified and educated you today. If not, I hope it made you blaff. Please send me your additions – I’ve no doubt there are plenty of wonderful words to add to the bloxicon.

In the words of my favourite Cape Town comedian, Marc Lottering’s character, Aunty Merle, “Ooh, I can be so foolish.”

Sunshine signing off for today!

 

The Colour of Monday

There’s some doubt in the media about whether or not today is Blue Monday. Heck, from where I sit, Monday is blue, grey and drizzly. Downright miserable, if you ask me, with not much at all to redeem it. Navy Blue Monday.

When I was at boarding school, and probably through my high school and university years too, I used to get the Sunday night blues. That mild feeling of dread that the weekend was over – and, as a boarder, that often meant a weekend away from the hostel   – and Monday would bring with it a bunch of its friends – four other weekdays – to work through until the next weekend. I loved school and sport, but my slight dis-ease related more to the freedom and generally school-rule-free abandon that a weekend away allowed me. Even if I didn’t go out, boarding school rules were quite relaxed at weekends. And we got to listen to our radios, have “free” swimming and have a roast for lunch on Sundays.

When our sons were at school, our weekends were just fabulous: most Saturdays were spent watching our boys play rugby or water-polo, depending on the season, and the rest of the weekend revolved around our family. Sunday evenings always brought that ripple of disappointment as I acknowledged the end of a weekend and the dawning of a busy week where we all went in different directions.

As a working person, I did find that Monday had a charm all of its own. For most of my working career, I’ve loved my jobs and Monday brought with it new and exciting opportunities.

Now that we’re in London, and empty-nesters for now, Mondays are a different animal all together.  Some Mondays I wake up with hope and excitement and a renewed sense of enthusiasm for all that the week holds. Other Mondays not so much. Today is one of the latter.

Last week I wrote about my start to 2011 as a ride on the backwards rollercoaster and in the dark. I don’t know if this is supposed to tell me something, but I lost 15 subscribers that day. Just like that! I don’t think I’ve gained that many in a day, so to lose them seemed quite careless! Who were they, and where did they go? And was my post that bleak that they just unsubscribed on the spot?

At the beginning of January, I got an email from WordPress giving me a summary of my statistics for the five months I’ve been blogging. In the email they congratulated me for my busiest day ever – 3 December 2010 – when I got 2 views. This was the second half of my Freshly Pressed day, and how they lost 2,861 from that day and a good couple of thousand from the day before, I’m not entirely sure. If I thought losing 15 subscribers was careless, this, WordPress, was entirely irresponsible.

The media tells us there are things we can do to feel better on a Blue Monday: sing a song, sit in the sunshine, listen to the sea, listen to the birds, or go for a walk. In drizzly, grey London, where I am nowhere near the sea nor sunshine, and I don’t fancy a walk in the rain, I could stand on my head and whistle Dixie through my a*** and it won’t change a jot about Monday. I’ll live with it for today and tomorrow it will be Tuesday.

And Tuesday will hold its own charm. It brings me the privilege to write my 100th post. I can’t quite believe I’m hitting the ton, and I’m really excited to be doing so. There’ll be no mention of Blue Monday, no whingeing, no whining. I hope it will be pure Sunshine in London – lame humour served with a lashing of optimism. Actually, it’ll just be lame humour. Sorry I can’t find either today. I wonder what colour Tuesday will be?

Sunshine signing off for today!

 

Big blogger’s watching you

A few years ago I did a short sound-bite for national television news. As media spokesperson for our organisation, I had to provide comment on a tragic incident that had dominated the media that day. It wasn’t my first or only such interview.

The reporter and cameraman arrived at our offices. The reporter chatted to me while the cameraman set up his camera in the corner of the room. Reporter and I stood next to each other, like the two old men in the Muppets. She and I engaged in small talk without looking at each other. If I’d been a guy, I guess I would have hooked my thumbs into my belt, altered my stance to an at ease one, and with chin down I would have looked through the top of my eyes and spoken in a slightly deep, nasally version of my own voice. I did the female version of that, and stood with bent elbows and hands on the back of my hips.

Cameraman gave us the go, and we sat down, did a quick sound check and made sure I was sitting within good eyeshot of the camera. Reporter asked me a few questions. I stumbled over my words a bit to begin with but knew that would be edited out. I knew what message I needed to get across, and I knew that I needed to use snappy, information-rich sentences because, heck, I’d probably get 15 seconds of airtime. I knew all of that. What I hadn’t thought about was …

Watching television news that night, with customary cushion in front of face because I hate watching myself in any kind of video, my heart started racing as the piece came up. As the news anchor read the back story, what should come on screen but her nibs with hands on hips… And with the gormless expression of one engaged in small talk. Like a Muppet. It seemed like I was on the screen like that for hours before they cut to the interview, which, by the way, came across just fine. (Although why don’t they use soft focus and bring a make-up person along with them? Just asking.)

I know the golden rules of there being no such thing in dealing with the media as off the record and that when doing television interviews, you watch what you say from the moment the camera starts rolling because anything can be used. What I hadn’t thought about was that the camera was rolling as the cameraman was setting up, and I was caught with my, well, hands on hips. And it didn’t look too good. Or elegant. I was just glad I hadn’t had an inelegant scratch or picked my nose. Not that I would, but just imagine?

Fast forward to two weeks ago, and my blog post about the Van Morrison concert. Effusive would be an insipid term for my descriptions of the man and the concert. That blog post, in its entirety and, fortunately with correct attribution and a link to my blog, appeared on a Van Morrison news blog that day. I still can’t decide whether I am thrilled about that or not.

And here’s the thing: in my blog post, I wrote about the “chirpy Dutch chappy in checked shirt” who sat next to me and helped me with the song titles. He read my blog post on the other site. He commented after the post, “Hey Sunshine in London, I’m the cheery Dutch guy you wrote about. I didn’t realise you were writing a review, let alone that you would mention me.”

I sat open-mouthed as I read that, thinking how grateful I was that I had written what I had about him. What if the “stiff-lipped English couple” on the other side of me had read that blog post? They could well have, I don’t know.

When I got to my zumba class last week, the first person I locked eyes with was the person I had described, a few weeks back, perhaps not as well as I could have. Actually, I wrote that she couldn’t dance. I smiled coyly at her and slunk to the back of the class thinking, “I-hope-she-doesn’t-read-my-blog-I-hope-she-doesn’t-read-my-blog.” I guess there is no reason she would, but who knows?

The beauty of blogging and citizen journalism is that everything is out there. We all have our opinions, and we all comment on social issues, events, political issues, whatever takes our fancy. But the flipside of it is also that everything is out there. Here in the UK, with CCTV cameras everywhere, there is also someone watching you all the time – just ask the thoughtless cat in the wheelie bin lady.

My television news interview that day was a lesson to me. And I introduced it into my media training workshops for my colleagues, much to their amusement. The Van blog post incident was a lesson to me too. I tend not to write about friends or family; I don’t want anyone to think they have to watch their words because what they say will end up in my blog. I tend also to write within the boundaries of my interests and knowledge, and heck, if it makes me laugh and falls within these boundaries, I’ll write about it. My intention is never to mock or be nasty, but living my life out loud in this way means anyone – and everyone – can read what I write.

So here I stand, with hands on hips, not wanting to censor the fun out of my blog posts, but wanting to acknowledge the public face of blogging. It just makes me think.

Sunshine signing off for today.

Forwards, sideways and blogwards

We would really love to go home to Cape Town for Christmas. But last night, I said to my husband that if that isn’t going to be possible, maybe we should go up to visit his family in Scotland for Christmas. And then I said, “Imagine the blog I could write about that!”

Which reminded my husband of how much he had thought about me at university earlier this week. They had a lecture about confidentiality and the lecturer opened his presentation with a cartoon of a Catholic priest in a confessional box, listening to the distressed confessions of his congregant. The priest’s thought bubble read, “I’m so going to blog about this.”

I realised that that’s me! I know that I have always had a keen sense of the absurd and I do notice funny things that others might not. My family have often listened to my ridiculous stories and then said things like, “It could only happen to you.” I disagree. It could happen to anyone, anywhere, but I notice and remember! And I have a compulsion to tell everyone about it. (That’s a topic for another day!)

But that’s me. And somehow lately I have noticed that my blog radar scans the horizon and it beeps and zooms in on everything I see around me. It’s like I have a renewed sense of observation. I also find myself formulating my blog post in my head. Do you do that?

Which also got me thinking about my blog. It’s so freaking random! I know that I write, largely, about being a Saffa living in London. And about Saffa slang. Oh, and Zimbabwean slang. And music. And London. And my husband’s Scottish relatives. And about his Scottishness. Oh, and about job hunting. (Yawn.)

And then I realised that my blog reflects my life right now. It is not going the way I had expected. And the thought occurred to me that my life in London is a bit like my sister’s drag racing. Fast, for sure. Exciting? Of course. Fun? That goes without saying. But not what you would expect. Let me explain.

My sister is married to a champion drag racer. He is one fast dude. He has a rail that could make a grown man cry, and a collection of Chevies that is, well, embarrassingly awesome. With a passion such as this, it’s not surprising his family have all come alongside him. Well, to a certain extent. He and my sister and their son and daughter, have regularly taken part in drag races. Not in the fancy rails, but in street cars and on a straight 80 metre course at the racing track.

We went with them to some drag races in Cape Town when they visited us there on holiday. My brother-in-law’s sweet Chev Lumina caused a stir and he had men lining up to drool over his engine and say, “Please can I race against you?” Boys never grow up. Their toys just become more expensive.

My sister then told me about an experience she had had of drag racing in Zimbabwe. I will relate the story in Sunshine-speak.

My sister is one mean driver. And competitive to boot. It was her turn to race. Out of a dust storm of revving, her vehicle emerged to take its spot in the starting dock. She manoeuvred the car this way and that until she was in exactly the right spot. She eyed her competition with that look that I know so well. Eat my dust, she thought. She glared at her enemy and growled, and that drag racing music came up all around. Eye of the Tiger, I think. And then it all went into slow motion… she watched for the cue of the green light … the crowd grew anxious with anticipation … she revved once more and the light went green … this was her moment. GO!

She stepped on the gas and her car shot backwards. She managed to shift gear and finish the race in second place, but that was not what she had expected to do. It is easy to understand how it happened, and it is now one of my favourite racing stories. Ever.

The parallels with my life in London are just too obvious to mention. And I guess, along with that, goes my blog. I don’t always move forward. I turn down plenty of side streets. And I head off on a tangent when something catches my eye. I hope I don’t take you backwards, and I seriously don’t need to win. But thank you for coming along for the ride. I hope I take you to new and unusual places, that I don’t drive badly and make you carsick, and that the scenery is good.

Am I focused? Not so much. Am I bovvered? Not at all. Am I having fun? Hell, yeah. I really hope you are too!

Sunshine signing off for today!