Category Archives: Friends & Family

Today was an exceptional day: I met my cyber-buddy face-to-face!

Since I started blogging a whole new world has opened for me.  I met some wonderful people on-line and today I met my first cyber-buddy face to face!

Namita Lad (whatlifesays.wordpress.com) and I met last year, on-line.  We immediately connected and had a lot of similiar interests and viewpoints.  We both were also relatively new to the blogging world.  She lives in India.  Imagine my surprise when she announced she is coming to Joburg, South Africa for a whole year on a work assignment!

We stayed connected and really tried to meet, but you know how it goes.  Time passed and life became busy.  But alas!  Today we met in person!  Whoop-whoop!

Namita and I

Namita and I

Now, obviously it is a bit nerve-wracking to meet new people, especially when you have created this on-line persona of yourself.  You wonder if this person would accept you and identify with the one she met on-line.  So I was a bit nervous!

Luckily, she was all that I expected and more.  She is warm and friendly and very open to living in SA (even if only for a while).

Ironically her office is situated in the city so we are literally a few kilometers away from each other. It was great!  We had lunch and chatted like old buddies!

Here’s to a many more Namita!  Let’s go to Parys soon ok?

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Who am I?

I have been plagued by this question for the last few months.  Where do I really come from?  Who are my ancestors?  This topic came up at three social events this past week.

My granny, my Mother’s mother is 98 and still alive.  I have been meaning to interview her and find out who her parents were and where they originate from.  Unfortunately she is starting to show signs of dementia which means it makes it more difficult.

I think many of our social problems will be lessened if all of us knew our history.  It will give me perspective of why I am and who I am.  Why I harbour certain habits and values.  Imagine finding out your great-great-great grandfather was a king. Imagine how that will influence your current state of mind.  You will think and act very differently because you are of a royal blood-line. Like mentioned in 1 Peter 2:9.  Could I perhaps be of Khoi-San descent?

Bushman drawings

Or could I have European/Caucasian roots?  I also feel a deep connection with my African people.  I am an African.

Read former President Thabo Mbeki’s inspiring speech of 8 May 1996: I am an African.  It encompasses all who we are and our rich history as a nation and continent and people.  I have made a decision to start researching my family tree.  I know it will cost a lot of research and work.  But I realise the value it will mean to my family and the generations to come.

Any ideas on how and where to start?  Please let me know if you have taken on the challenge.

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My mom, the teacher

Teachers are totally underrated.  My mom is a teacher.  A passionate teacher I might add.  I once again had the opportunity to visit her school about 2 weeks ago.

Bergendal Primary

I decided it is the ideal opportunity to interview her and find out more about the school.

Please introduce yourself: I am Felicity Jacobs

How long have you been a teacher? 38 years

 

 

How long have been teaching at Bergendal Primary: 29 years

What grade do you teach? Grade 2

Eager grade 2 pupils

What challenges do you face as a teacher?  The curriculum changes too often resulting in poor learners. We have too little resources.  A big challenge I face is to feed a child before I can teach a child.                                                                                                            

What do you like about teaching?  To see how a young child can learn how to read and write.  They come to school with eager faces and willingness to learn although they face a lot of challenges like poverty and the after effects of apartheid systems like the “dop” system.  

Tell us about the history of the school. The school will be 50 years old in 2012.  Initially the name was Leuwenjaght Primary School.  Situated on Seidelberg  the school presently educates scholars up to grade 9.  When the school started it only had Grade 1-7.  

Roland Seidel purchased the farm 15 years ago and too saw  this as a wonderful opportunity to invest in the community with the aim to let the learners participate in the future growth of the economy.

A lot of renovations have taken place over recent years and with the help of Mr Seidel and other donors there are a number of projects underway . A computer lab was recently built and is also used in the evenings for adult literacy classes. Current projects include the building of additional classrooms as well as the inclusion of a library .

The school yard

A trust was formed to collect money for these renovations. There is still a lot that can be done for the community , so if you wish to get involved in this project please contact the school at the details provided.  Recently Charles Back bought the farm.

What are the immediate needs of the school? We need more classrooms.  We also need to employ more teachers but for that we need more money.  We are always in need for stationery, furniture and computers.                                                                                              

Bergendal Primary

Paarl South

021-863 3470

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3 weddings in a weekend…

It has been two weeks of chaos and wedding bliss.  This past weekend I attended 3 weddings in a row!

Friday, 28 October – My younger sister, Ame got married.

My beautiful sister, Ame and husband, Edmund

Saturday, 29 October – This one is a bit complicated…wait for it.  Ashley’s cousin Yvette got married to his (Ashley’s) best friend, Edwellan.

Gorgeous Yvette & Edwellan

Sunday, 30 October – One of my dearest friends, Carmen, got married to Raymond.

Carmen & Ray - stunning!

All I can say is WOW! All of them were special in their own distinctive way.  Each couple added their own unique flair to their special day.

I was privileged to be my sister’s Wedding Planner.  I also assisted Carmen with hers with decor ideas.  That has kept me running around but I enjoyed every moment of it! I will post some of the ideas we implemented in the weeks to come.

I wish each couple health and happiness.  They are all very special to me, and I thank you for making me feel special by allowing me to share it with you!  Love you guys!!!

PS: Ame and Carms…I know you are still on Honeymoon but I am still recovering!

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58 days to go…

…till our beloved South African summer.  Although the feeling that summer brings must be universal, there is something special about summertime in Mzansi.

Braai’s are the norm…especially on Saturdays.  Saturdays are synonymous with a rugby game.  As you drive through the suburbs the whiff of smoky fires tickle your nostrils and the excitement of the weekend gets to you.  It is great.

Braaiing

If I think back to my childhood, I remember long, hot days in the street playing tennis, skipping rope and “kennetjie”.  Those were good days.  Many days we would spend at the public swimming pool which was literally in our backyard.  My mother has a natural fear of water so we were not allowed to go for swimming lessons.  (Very embarrassing as I still cannot swim). So we would just hang out and watch the boys…

At one stage my father owned a VW camper kombi.  It came complete with a daybed and cupboard space ready for camping anytime, anyplace.  As the mood swung, we would jump in and take a drive to the beach.

My father's kombi looked almost like this one

My father is a great music lover and in those days, the cars on the road still only had cassette players.  The volume would be up as the kombi’s engine made a lot of noise.  We would be singing along to Bob Marley’s “Jamming” or UB40’s “Red red wine”.  Gordon’s Bay is very windy and about 45 km from Paarl.  Nonetheless, if we could have 30 minutes of wind-free swimming, the trip would be worthwhile.

Then Christmas time would come.  Family would come visit from far and we would make one big “christmas bed” in the living room.  All the cousins would sleep there and make fun right through the night.  Mamma, my granny, would lead us with carols by the Christmas tree every night before bedtime.

How times have changed.  We are all grown up.  I now live in Johannesburg, away from sand, surf and sea.  Our summers are rainy and stormy.  People don’t drive out that much here.  In Paarl we have mountains and braai facilities almost everywhere. We have rivers and beaches. However, I have to make the best of it…after all I have kids.  Here is a lot to do in Jozi.  Like spending time at the lakes.

Braaiing at Florida lake

What is your favourite pastime during summer?  Do you have any special memories of summer while growing up?

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How to have a stylish wedding on a tight budget

Last week my younger sister got engaged!  In honour of my sis, Ame, and her fiancé, Eddie, I have decided to do a post on weddings and the planning thereof.

First of all, it is soooo exciting!  Congratulations to the two of you!  I know you will be happy together! Ashley and I got married on 1 December 2002 and it was probably the hottest day of the year. We had three and a half months to plan everything. It was tight and money was even tighter! The good news is, a stylish and affordable wedding is doable. Definitely! (That’s my sister, Ame in the picture below).

Our big day

Allow me to give you some tips on what assisted us in making our day a reality:

1. Express yourself. 

Make up your mind that the day and decision to get married is about what you want.

Don’t let trends and other people influence you in such a manner that you think your personality and wishes are compromised. If someone you know is also getting married in the same year you intend to, steer away from comparing your day to theirs.  Be yourself and do what makes you happy.  Don’t feel pressurised to spend thousands more than is necessary to “keep up with the Joneses”.  I had a yellow wedding with sunflowers and yellow vintage cars.  We rented the cars from a friend and a colleague and they charged us minimal.  I usually wear my hair curly and decided my wedding day shouldn’t be any different. Your wedding day should reflect your personality.

Vintage cars

2. Secondly, set the date!

Make sure the date gives you reasonable time to save money and plan everything.  Many times the date will depend on the availability of the venue you desire.  If some of your friends and family that you would like to invite live in another province or country, be sure to inform them as soon as you can.  This will give them enough time to book air tickets and make arrangements to attend.

3. Choose an inexpensive or free venue.

I personally feel some venues are ridiculous with their prices.  You do not need to pay an arm and a leg to have a nice, stylish wedding.  Don’t get sucked in with the ‘latest venue’.  Be realistic in what you can afford. Be creative.  If you know someone who owns a farm or a property with enough space, be bold and ask them if they would be willing to rent their space to you for that day. You never know.  People might surprise you. Drive around your town and ask the locals. The tourism offices also keep a list of all the venues in the area.  Also try venues where you are able to bring in your own caterer.   Ashley and I settled for an unconventional crocodile farm for our wedding. The views were spectacular, the price was all inclusive and we were able to negotiate with the owners.

Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm

4. Narrow down the guest list.

Who to invite and who not?  Your family is quite huge as well as his…what to do?  Have you considered having a smaller affair?  Decide on a realistic total of people to invite.  Once you have decided, be fair and split the amount between the two of you.  Stick to the decided total and only invite those people that really matter to you.  No offense, you don’t need to invite Aunty Mavis and that distant niece you haven’t seen in 20 years!  Invite those who would make your day special.

It was really disheartening when some of our guests did not pitch.  If we had known sooner we could have invited other people who would have loved to be part of our special day.  Both of you know a lot of people like colleagues and friends of friends.  You might not be close but you would like them to be part of the day.  If you are really clever invite everyone you know to the ceremony at the church and invite only a select group (family and close friends) to the reception.

 5.      Avoid the busy days. 

Most people get married on Saturdays.  So venues will cost more on this day.  Look at alternative days like Fridays or Sundays.  Why not get married ‘out of season’?  The South African wedding season is from September to April.   Venues and most services run specials during the off-peak months.  Ashley and I got married on a Sunday morning and we were treated to a Sunday lunch at the reception.  It saved us some money as we did not have to serve liquor (it was our preference) like we would have had on a Saturday night.

6.      Ask for moola!

If you really want to save money (especially for your first month’s rent), ask your guests to give you money in lieu of a gift.  This will prevent you from getting 5 toasters and they will love the fact that they don’t have to guess what you would like.  They can pop the cash in an envelope and this will really help you start your new life together.  Put an appropriate verse to add in the invite to bring your message across.  Here is an example:

“Don’t wonder about a gift all night,

A gift of cash will make it right,

All other gifts are welcome too,

As long as it’s with love from you.

Save on costs

7. Use Your Friends And Family

Within our families we all know an aunt who can sew, or a cousin who has a great camera.  Perfect!  Ask them for assistance in making a dress, taking pictures, providing music for the ceremony, and making your wedding cake. Always offer to pay.  You will be surprised that most of them might offer their services at discount or even for free as a wedding gift. Be careful though; don’t let your wedding and friendship be ruined through this.

8.      Something borrowed

It is great to use heirlooms from yesteryear. Give new life to your grandmother’s wedding ring and use it as yours.  If there is none, ask your family members for odd pieces of jewellery and have them melted to make a wedding ring.  My mom-in-law gave us her odd gold jewellery and the diamonds of her wedding band for my ring.  If there’s a wedding gown, veil, handbag, engagement ring or wedding band in the family you like, use it for yourself.  It is much cheaper than buying a new one and it has sentimental value.

9.       Go back to school!

Take advantage of students.  For every service you need, there’s a student willing to provide it for a nominal fee in exchange for experience.  You can use beauty school students for your make-up and nails etc.  Get a Graphic design student to design your invitations.  However, be sure to ask for samples before you commit. You don’t want to arrive at the ceremony with a ghost face!

 10.   Be creative!

  • Make your own flower arrangements.  I ordered sunflowers from the local flower lady and made my own table arrangements (with the help of my mom, aunt and mom-in-law).  I did however hire a professional to make my bouquet and flowers for the main table.

Self-made bouquet

  • Make your own invitations and keep-sakes.  My mom and aunt helped me with mine.  As my theme was sunflowers, my keepsakes were sunflower seeds in an organza bag with a thank you message attached.  The idea was that my guests should plant the seed in honor of our wedding and see it grow!
  • Skip the 3-layer cake that cost thousands!  Go for a large chocolate cake or cupcakes instead.  They taste better and the guests will actually eat it.  And it won’t gather dust in your mom’s sideboard as a display!

Alternative wedding cake

  • Email your guests with a nice ‘Save the date’ message.  This will save you money on cards.
  • Have a stylish braai!  Or ask your guests to bring food in stead of a gift.  You will have a great variety of dishes and save even more money on catering.  Use the money you have saved for a well-deserved honeymoon!
  • A great idea is to buy a bunch of disposable cameras and ask your guests to take pictures of your big day.  They will enjoy this gesture and you will see the day through their eyes.
  • Skip the bridal shops and designer dresses.  Look for your dress in bargain or vintage shops.  Have it altered to suit your needs.  Buy shoes and a dress that you can wear at another event again.
  • Ask a few music students to play the Wedding march as you walk down the isle.  This will give them exposure and they won’t charge you an arm and a leg.

That is quite a mouthful.  The bottom line is YOU, and your betrothed, saying your vows, expressing your love, and making a commitment to each other is what makes a wedding a wedding.  Be yourself and most of all…enjoy it!  After all this will be a once in a lifetime experience!

For more info check the following websites:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Weddings-in-SA/130143887061466

http://www.theperfectwedding.co.za

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Recollecting and remembering myself

As we reflect and bask in the glorious aftermath of a very successful World Cup of 2010, I am reminded of my very bad memory.  Excuse the pun.

What again?

Whenever my sister and I would reminisce about growing up, she would sometimes mention people’s names, or situations that we found ourselves in, then I would hit a blank. Totally…

I find that especially now that we have moved away from our family, it is even worse. Maybe the saying: “out of sight, out of mind”, applies here.  I forget birthdays and anniversaries, etc.  In fact, last night at 23h15 I found myself in a panic.  I was getting ready for bed when it suddenly it dawned on me that it could’ve been my parents wedding anniversary!

Oh my!

Obviously it was too late to phone them, and I would have been too embarrassed anyway. And for me to make the same mistake twice in one year, I fear would just be too much for my Mom!  On 29 April at about 08h20, on my way to work, I call my Mom to wish her a great birthday.  She disappointedly reacts: “My child, my birthday is tomorrow…”  Oh my…

Ok, at least I wasn’t late…at least I didn’t forget it.  I just had the date wrong!  I forgot the date my Mom, (the one who gave birth to me) was born!  OOPS!

So I need your help.  If you are a family member of mine, or a friend, or my Mom, please send me your birthday and anniversary dates.  

I used to have a birthday calendar, but alas it got lost in the move.

Please guys…I fear I might forget your important day and that just would not be good for my self-esteem.  It would just be too much for me.  I cannot promise a personal phone call…but with all the means of communication of late (email, sms or Facebook) I will try my utmost best to at least wish you well on your day of remembrance.

I will also try to follow my Gran’s advise of drinking parsley water…(I also suspect my lack of exercising plays a part)

Ok, what was I about to do now?

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Our life on the wall

I love wall arrangements.  They add a little extra warmth to a home.  Usually owners or designers arrange things they love, like photo’s in such an arrangement.

I like to add a little something extra…things I love, that mean something to me.  To other people it might seem mundane…but it might remind me of a chapter in my life.

This is our hallway.

Hallway

It is stark, cold and dark.  There is no light fixture…or there is, it is just not working.  I realised this while we were busy renovating.  It started raining and a few minutes later the water started pouring out of the hole where the light bulb should go.

Roof leaking through light fixture

If you look closely you can see the water dripping from the hole.  We haven’t really attended to this issue yet.  It has rained after that again…but for some reason we haven’t detected water in the hallway since.  Weird.

In the meantime we have painted the walls, as well as the doors and frames.   We just went with white PVA on the walls, and white enamel door frames.  We had lots of grey paint, so the doors were painted grey.  If you look closely again…you’ll notice slight greyish mark on the walls.  Our dear friend and helper, Chris, decided to do some touch-ups after painting.  In stead of using the PVA, he used enamel!  Aaaggggh!

Enamel on walls

So, my idea is to paint horizontal stripes on the wall with left-over paint.  Broad stripes about 20 cm wide.  Obviously we first have to sand the walls and especially where the enamel stripes are.  However, that is a project for another day.  For now, I just wanted to add something personal to the wall.  So I decided to make it a photo-wall.  Check the one I did for a client a few years ago.

Wall arrangement

See how I centred it, so whenever she wants to add photo’s or memorabilia she can spread them toward the outside.  I added photo’s in frames and something personal in the top centre.  It’s a woven hat they bought while in Zanzibar.

Now whenever this bug bites me I cannot stop.  I get all the ‘props’ together and lay them out on a big flat surface.  Then I move the frames around as I see fit.  For instance this example I made a few months ago.

I found some fabric samples on-site:

Fabric samples

I put them in frames:

Frames fabric samples

And arranged them with a mirror like this:

Testing arrangement

Our lounge has not been painted yet…due to budgetary constraints.  However the main wall was screaming for some TLC.  So this is how it looks now.  Please keep in mind…the wall has not been painted yet.

Fabric sample wall

So last week I decided our hallway needs some love.  So here is the process again:

Testing the waters

I started hanging them one by one.

Hanging frames one by one

It needed something personal.  So I added a string with a shell from one of our excursions back home.  One of my dear friends, Liana, once gave me a salt & pepper shaker set and unfortunately one of them broke during one of our moves.  It was turquoise and wrapped with raffia.  So I tied the shell and one of my jewellery creations together with the raffia of the broken pepper bottle.  I also hung a key.  It is the front door key of one of the many homes we stayed in.

Completed arrangement

That’s it.  At least for now.  Once again…it cost me nothing.  Some of the frames I had and the rest were sourced on-site. Now we need to fix the light, re-paint the walls and the floors…oh the floors!  Don’t get me started on the floors!  That’s a post for another day!

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And counting…7 weeks with kids at home

So it’s been more than 7 weeks of bliss at home.  Fast-paced renovations, building business and blabbering babes have been the order of the day.

I have really been tested to my limits especially with Chelsea and Kirsten being at home.  I am totally overwhelmed. Everyday is a chase after wind or to me it feels that way.  The day starts at around 6h30 when Kirsten wakes up. (07h30 if she really wants to spoil me)

Uhmm...sand is nice and crunchy

Then my day only ends after midnight.  It is a constant nagging and fighting and crying and they get up to big mischief while I try to get on with chores and running the business.

Going wild

Since now, we haven’t found a creche we were comfortable with.  So I am glad to announce that if all goes well this will be their last week at home!  They will be joining the creche next Monday!   I am counting the sleeps!  Three cheers for me-time! At least I thought so, then I remembered all the to-do lists!

Check the list of reno-related things still to do:

  1. Front door (kitchen door) needs to be painted
  2. Roof needs sealing
  3. All Burglar bars and window frames need to be painted white
  4. Bricks under kitchen sink needs to be painted
  5. The lounge needs to be painted (both walls and ceiling)
  6. Steam clean couches
  7. Plaster window bands
  8. Study’s ceiling to be painted
  9. Walls needs painting
  10. Finish painting main bedroom door (after the mishap that happened!)

That is just half the list of to do’s.  That is besides all the household chores and office work. It is a mammoth task, but at least I will be able to focus systematically working my way around things.  No interruptions!  Maybe I will even find time for a bubble bath or so!

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