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The Rules of (Oceanic) Engagement

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Well it’s been a little over a week since we arrived back from the sunny shores of Umtlodi Beach. It was one incredible family trip filled with fun, laughter and loadsbof adventure. We did relax a little too!
I was quite forcefully pushed back into reality as university started the weekend after we arrived home. Ever since, I have been focused on Jane Austin, Oscar Wilde, the history of Southern Africa from 1652 and Cognitive Psychology!

Now, since my first swim in the swirling sea, this post has been playing on my mind. As a result of no internet and being in-between mobile phones, the chance to write it has not arisen until today!

So, what does Rules of Oceanic Engagement mean? This, in my mind, is the “do’s” and “don’ts” of swimming in that big blue mass that we humans call: The Ocean!
Here we go:
1) Always have a feel of what the terrain you are swimming in, is like. For example: if it slopes up or down, if there are sharp shells and rough sandy areas (as this may cause you mild amounts of pain if a wave throws you into it)

2) Always swim in a place where you are able to stand – don’t ever go deep enough to the point where the water is above your neck area. Rather be safe and stand where the water up to your shoulders.

3) Always keep an eye on the type of wave coming your way – if it’s just a normal swell, jump through it. If a large amount of white water is coming your way, swim with it, otherwise you may just be dunked violently!

4) Keep your eyes on the water all the time – know what your facing so you can react properly and “take” the wave on in a non-dangerous fashion. (Unless you are going to swim with the white water coming toward you. Refer to Rule 2.)

5) Always swim in-between the beacon provided by the lifeguards.

6) To avoid being pulled in by the backwash, dig your feet firmly into the sand and move your arms in an anti-clockwise direction. If you feel yourself being pulled in, swim with the next wave toward the shore – never go to deep into the water!!

Finally, have fun, enjoy the beauty of the water but always remember to be careful!!
The Ocean is truly a magnificenct place filled with all the wonders of the world. It is G-d’s untouched territory…
However as all things go in the natural world; at times  it can be quite a deceptively dangerous place!

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Holiday Hallabaloo?

Well folks, tomorrow I’m off to catch some waves and perhaps a tan in a remote area just off the East Coast. I see it as taking a leaf out of a birds book, (If I can say that). Migrating from the colder weather of the highveld to the warmer, sunnier climate of the coastline. It’s quite strange to think that this is our first actual family holiday in over eight years.  I always wonder why people stress out before going on these big breaks… They are suppose to be relaxing you know and the preparation is suppose to be exciting!

On that note, I would like to mention that our last holiday was nothing short of a December “disaster”. We decided to go off to a nature reserve far up north in the middle of the summer. Not the best idea as we learnt over time.

This all began when my father was stopped on the journey by an officer who fined him for speeding and nearly knocking him over because I was sick in the back. Then, as we arrived to our room, we found that it had not been serviced, so it was in a complete state of anarchy and finally just to add to our frustration, there was no air-conditioners. As a result, any attempt to stay in our Chalet during the early afternoon could be seen plainly as playing with fire – not in the literal sense, so don’t worry. I recall getting a bad bout of heat-stroke and my parents having to take me to see the doctor on-sight who happened not to speak a word of English. Afrikaans was his first language, and although both my parents came from a place where Afrikaans was predominantly spoken, they hadn’t used it in a long time. So communicating was just a tad bit on the difficult side!

However, one thing I do remember as being quite enjoyable was sitting on the veranda, just after a delicious Braai and watching the Game roam the grassy plains as the sun-set on the horizon. A few times we were wildly startled when some boars came bashing through the reeds. As night came creeping in, we would turn off all the lights, grab some binoculars and watch as different airliners flew over in the distance.

Yes there were definitely heated moments over that trip and yes, when we got to air-conditioned area’s, it  ‘cooled’ down nicely and yes, that may be the reason why my parents were put off going on family vacations but today, thinking back on that debacle of a vacation, we see it as part of a great adventure that was had by all. As they say: we just “roughed it a bit.”

Here’s to hoping that this trip will be a lot smoother (we’re flying this time) and p’G a restful break from the hustle and bustle of the usual City life. To all my readers, wherever you are in the world, wishing you a wonderful summer (or winter) vacation. Stay safe, drive carefully and just enjoy this wonderful time with your family and friends – it’s precious.

Too Socially Advanced?

Question: Have we become a generation that uses technology to hide-away from true face-to-face dialogue? Do we use technology as a means to hide our true selves or to fool the masses into thinking that we are something that we are not?

I have slowly started coming to the realization that just as technology, social-networking and social-media have advanced, so too are we both regressing and digressing from our ability to be socially coherent in a face-to-face situation.

I, myself am not innocent of this not so petty “crime” and I have noticed that I find it easier to send someone an email, a tweet or even a text as opposed to plucking up the ‘courage’ to give someone a call. So folks, has technology turned us into a ‘mildly’ social-phobic people? Do we use it to hide shyness?  Anxiety? Unwanted personal traits? Looks?

Think about this: When we are eating dinner with the family or we’re out with friends or even just watching a movie, how often do we find ourselves furiously typing on our Blackberry’s or Social-Networking applications instead of being sociable with those around us? Just the other day, I was out for dinner with my sister and some friends and at the end of the evening we all found ourselves using our mobile devices – “Tweeting”, “Whatsapping” or “BBMing”. As a joke (or somewhat experiment), during that time, we decided to speak to each other over “Whatsapp.” Low and behold we found that the conversation was buzzing wildly over this application as opposed to the face-to-face dinner talk that took place earlier that same evening…Is that not saying that something is radically wrong?

I asked myself the above questions after I was given a job that entailed calling up different speakers to address a student audience on specific matters. After being asked to call certain people that were unknown to me, I found myself texting or even ‘Whatsapping’ them rather than merely just calling them to ask if they would be willing to chat to the students. Then, things gradually got worse, if they would call or even if one of the speakers who I knew well would call, I would allow my voice-mail to answer it and respond via text or email. Soon I started using this method with anyone who called me on my mobile – my teachers, lecturers, old friends and even my closest of friends.

So, what did I do to get myself out of this terrible and unsociable habit? I forced myself to be more sociable of course. Slowly but surely my social-confidence beagan to trickle its way back into my face-to-face and ‘over the phone’ contact and communication. Now, I force myself to answer my phone wherever I am, (as long as I’m not driving or in the middle of a conversation). In addition, I make it my business to actually chat to people in person (and not just over a social-networking applications). I have made it my business to be sociable while I’ m out with friends or having dinner with the family.

Whether it be answering an unknown number or relaxing with a close friend, I know that if I am going to beat this ugly bug of technological social-media advancement, I’m going to have to work extra hard on being a real social-butterfly… Who’s with me?

 

“Niece Times.”

Yesterday, I had the privilege of spending the whole of the afternoon with my 18 month old niece. When I arrived she was standing at the lounge table, playing with play-dough, something she had never seen. I watched her for a bit. Her look was of absolute fascination. She kept pressing and squishing it and then looking at me, wanting a reaction.We made a few shapes together and then that she was suddenly off…

Running to her bedroom. I found her eating a wet-wipe…well more like chewing on it. Poor kid is teething…again!

So, it was just me and her. Chilling out. Spending some Real quality time together. Something I haven’t done with her in a while.

The best moment was when this gorgeously cute child, was lying on me. I cannot explain the sudden feeling that came over me, there she was, my little niece lying on me, quietly and happily looking at her favourite “Teddy-Rabbit”. Then suddenly she did something she’s never done before:

She turned her head, looked me in the eye and gave me the biggest smile I have ever seen. She then proceeded to top it off with a huge kiss on my cheek. At that moment I wanted time to stop so I could fully take in the incredible moment that had literally made my day.

So, you must be wondering “Ag, why did I have the need to share this story?”

Well, all too often, we don’t appreciate the beauty of the quiet moments in life. We get way too caught up in our busy lifestyle, our work, university, social networking (don’t think of me as a hypocrite here!) and we don’t take the time to really look at the little mercies we are blessed with. These little things, like a smile, a hug or a friendly conversation can really change the way we look at our world and the things that take place in it.

So fellow friends and Bloggers, take a moment, look around you and appreciate the things you take for granted because in the end, it’s these little moments that make life worth living.

“The Story of a Southern African Farm(er)…”

ImageI heard a great story today. I must say, I could not stop laughing. It represents the true spirit of the typical Southern African living on the “Plaasie” (farm). It also reminded me of the Henry Charles Bosman story we learnt about in first year English – “The Withaak’s Shade.”

My brother was carefully driving, on his way to Vereniging, when a very interesting sight caught his eye.

He was stuck in a bit a traffic, so he decided to take a look. Low and behold there was a man, the typical, Afrikaans farmer, with the “beer-boep” and the sun-hat, off loading an entire herd of sheep into a make-shift pen on the side of the road. A few minutes later, there was a large sign made out of cardboard that read:

“Sheep for sale, Perfect for Labolla.”

The sign was written in THREE different languages: English, Afrikaans and Zulu.

So if you’re on your way to Vereniging tomorrow, don’t forget to give our friendly sheep farmer a hearty, South African wave.

“Sweet about Me…”

Just a little Bit about ME…

I’m just you’re average “Jo-Anne” who is a happy, go lucky, ex-teen.

Budding Writer – both in a Creative sense and in a journalistic fashion.

Culinary Skills Abound (in the baking line of things).

Music Lover and Guitar-Hero Wannabe. (Uhh, Literally!). Coldplay, The Darkness, Foo-Fighters, Rihanna… There’s a special place in my heart for Score Music (Right Now, you must be thinking, “Oh brother…”, If you are – Sorry…) – Thomas Newman, James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer.

Favourite Actors/Actresses: Tom Hanks, Robert Downey Jr, Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet. (If only I could have them for one of my scripts…)

*Monty Python Freek.* – If I could, I would create International Monty Python Day. Michael Palin and John Cleese: The Kings of Comedy.

Israel Lover and Advocate. – The Holy Land – Enough said…

Random and Excitable. – Also, Literally, I find the most random things funny and get excited over things that are completely random…!

Motto: “A laugh a day, keeps the Doctor Away. Never mind apples…”