Blind Date Genius

Yesterday I came home to the bathroom screaming Taylor Swift’s new lyrics, my housemate frantically applying mascara, and then more mascara, and then a little more after that. “Does this shirt look good, or should I change it?” she asks me and I start telling her about my day, the funny stories the kiddies wrote for me with their actions, and my friend and I sitting on a roof sipping hot coffee.

If she is distracted she won’t stress so much about the blind date that I set up for her. For a moment she is listening to my rambles, but eventually I have to bust her tranquil forgetfulness with reality. It’s time to leave, and I would rather she isn’t too late for my friend who would so patiently wait for her should she be.

The delay tactics she plays are good, but another housemate helps me in ushering her to her car. Now it’s just fingers crossed that she will drive to the meeting place, walk into the meeting place and talk in friendly tones to the meeting face.

I got a message from her telling me that she had just parked, and then it was her turn to fly, “fly little bird!” Can I tell you the helplessness you feel being on the wrong side of the blind date. I mean, my boyfriend wouldn’t appreciate me being set up on one of those, so I guess it’s a good thing I was on the wrong side.

I sat on the couch, waiting to hear the gate bumping open. I was joined for a bit by my housemate who eventually lost interest and went to get ready for bed. My boyfriend also kept me company for a while, bringing me tea and playing ‘Friends’ in the background of my anxious wait.

JC with the feline, while cooler people are out on dates

Minutes turned to hours turned to days…

Kidding. She finally walked through the door, “be cool, Jordy. Be cool.” I held my tongue, but couldn’t hold my giant smile that scared her as she came in. “All I’m going to say is that you chose well,” she said as she ran upstairs to pajama herself.

You guys, I crushed it. Maybe they won’t go out again, maybe there will be one or two more coffee dates, maybe something more, but there was a date with lots of talking, laughing and stories because two people were brave enough to trust their friend.

I didn’t even go on the date but in the end I think I felt the happiest out of everyone involved.

“Back to school, back to reality”

Back in reality, so distant from hyena calls at night, glorious purple beach sunsets and slow- morning sleep- ins. Life is accelerating into needing a weekend after the weekend; “should I really eat another piece of cake?”; early nights for early mornings.

The lazy holiday feels have evaporated and I find myself arguing with my student, “I know your mom said you can eat when the food is ready, but I said you can eat when your work is complete.” Unfortunately my anger levels never reach above a 2 out of 10, and I can’t stop laughing at her death stare that she so kindly and perfectly shares with me.

We do have a lovely relationship with lots of giggles and disses and hard school work, and after our little tiff she walks me to my car and asks me to stay a little longer.

Even in the busy mundane of working days, there are moments of true hilarity where water snorts out your nose, true understanding where you watch the animated light bulb atop their head ‘ting’ on, true friendship where a secret is shared with you that you promise to keep safe.

I’m so corny, it’s face flushing. I always get sentimental when the holiday comes to an end.

How safe is it living in South Africa?

We were lucky to have my two British cousins in our car. The big old Prado bounced around the Kruger roads while the inhabitants laughed and blasted music and fought within. The other car completely contrasted ours, somber and serious, searching for African creatures hiding in the bush veld.

Our first full Kruger day held eight hours with these two contrasting cars zooming about the roads at a whopping forty kilometers an hour, stopping every now and then when a passenger shouted “stop!” All other passengers would magnetize to the side of the car closest to the creature of interest, a picture or two was taken, and then we would continue on with our journey.

We were kept highly entertained by the little British voices next to me. One comment that came from the young teen was, “imagine if a guy lived on his farm and had to help his wife have their baby because they can’t get to the hospital in time. He would see a lot more of his wife than he’d ever bargained to.”

We saw a jackal, a hyena, hippo and some birds of prey. Other than that, we came across a momma ellie (might even be scarier than a momma bear) eating leaves hanging over the road with her two little babas next to her.

An infantile bakkie driver (bakkie is a pick up truck in South Africa) roared past in his haste to get to wherever he felt necessary to roar off to. Momma elephant flapped her ears, desperately wanting to protect her calves, while our cars desperately reversed backwards to get away from momma ellie.

My cousins and I, who aren’t much in the way of brave hearts when it comes to elephants in their best moods, lay as low in our seats as we could. What you can’t see, you can’t fear, according to us.

Squeaks and squeezed tight eyes happened behind my parents as they tried to assess the situation, deciding when the best time to pass the elephants would be.

Eventually momma and baba ellies crossed the road and headed further into the bushes, and we were able to get out alive and tell this near death story to others.

We, again, ended our first full Kruger day with GnTs with the sun setting over the quelea- munching crocs in the dam below us.

“Because a promise between friends means never having to give a reason” – Phoebe

Two girls sitting across from two boys at a burger joint during Happy Hour.
That’s what you would have seen last night. You also would have seen passionate hand movements and belly laughter.

We have a group that tries to regularly meet up (although, it’s not so regularly). When we do, there is so much catching up to do, and deep questions to ask, and giggles to be had.

We started at five with our happy hour drinks. By six- thirty the two girls are ravenous and order chicken strips and croquets. By seven fifteen, one of the boys orders himself a pizza, and the evening ends on coffees all-round.

I’m pretty certain that our waitress got annoyed with our petty ordering, and the fact that the table eventually got to the point where we had stopped ordering, but weren’t asking for the cheque.

I know it’s not the greatest way to treat your waitress, but we just had so so much to catch up on, questions to ask and stories to hear. Plus we gave her a great tip, so she definitely won in the end.

We eventually dragged ourselves away from the table and headed out to our cars. We took selfies in the elevator and pressed all the buttons on the way down, just to prolong the night, wishing that it wasn’t coming to an end. True juvenile style.

Our gentlemen friends walked us to our cars and waited until we were safely out of the parking lot before they went their separate ways.

I’m pretty sure we all drove home with big smiles on our faces and big thoughts in our heads.

It’s so corny, but hang onto friendships that leave you feeling like last night left me feeling.

Date Things

I’ll skip the farewells and welcomes that I alluded to in a previous post and hit you with the good stuff.

There was a date. There was a floor full of unwanted dresses. There was a friend throwing heels at me. There was a boy who was super on time.

There’s been some back and forth banter, shared instagram memes and group invitations to hangs with no real agenda. The “will you go on a date with me?” Was inevitable, how he actually asked… not so much.

In a far off land, full of work presentations and colleague roommates, he would find seconds of time to send me a message here and there. “When I get back from this work trip, we should totally hang and watch Friends.” My response encouraged him to take it one step further, “When I get back from this work trip, would you be keen for hangs and to watch Friends on Friday night?” Again he got a positive answer from me.

When he got back from his work trip, he gave me a call that went something like this, “Hey Jordy, I think watching Friends is a really bad idea, so we’re not going to do that.” Cue the crickets in the background of my unexpected call. Only, he continued, “so I’ll fetch you at 7, wear a dress, see you then, bye!”

Smooth operator.

Cue the floor full of unwanted dresses and friend throwing heels at me. In the end I went for a short black, long- sleeved dress and borrowed brown boots. I was still applying make up when he arrived at exactly 7:15, just like he said he would. Tough times. I scrambled for purse and lipstick and more perfume.

He finally saw my gate open, and his date walk out of her home, stress in her posture and deep breaths coming from her pursed lips.

He gave me a single white flower and opened the car door for me.

There was awkward small talk on the way there and general confusion as to where we were headed.

We stood in front of a classy restaurant, and he announced to me, “they serve seafood! You said seafood was your favourite right?”

He gingerly put the wine that he had brought on the table, and whispered that he didn’t really know how the whole corkage fee thing worked. The waiter had to explain it to him.

We spent the night munching on calamari in my case, steak in his and talking about family holidays and funny friendship stories. We spoke and ate and sipped coffee until the restaurant was empty and the waiters started locking up.

Unfortunately I needed to leave the province at four the next morning for the long weekend with my family, so my Cinderella story came to an end when he dropped me off right after dinner, ending the night rather abruptly.

My housemates sat waiting for me to return and enrapture them with stories of my romantical evening.

When my friend asked him a few days later how the food was at that particular restaurant, his reply was, “I don’t know, I remember nothing about the food.”

All the pre- date stress things

“They don’t know that we know they know we know”- Phoebe

“Our friends are flying back to England tonight, and they are just desperate to visit the Voortrekker Monument before they leave. You studied history right? Awesome, so I’ve told them that you will go in my place and be their tour guide.”

“Uuuum I really don’t know that much about the monument, I don’t think I’ll be much of a tour guide.”

“Nonsense! You’ll be fine, you probably have more knowledge on it than you think you do.”

While you spent your Tuesday morning reading over reports, calming excitable children down, cooking delicious breakfasts for your customers or whatever else your vocation requires, I was sitting in the backseat of a minibus, frantically googling interesting facts about the Voortrekker Monument.

My girls that I teach, sitting on either side of me, were canning themselves at my expense. Snacks were passed to me on the drive and I absent mindedly, stress- ate them all.

When we eventually got there, everyone turned to me, eight pairs of eyes expectantly waiting to hear where we should head over to first. I three- sixtied on the spot to get a lay of the land and pointed toward the huge building competing with the sun for a space in the sky. “This way first, I guess…”

Questions were asked as soon as we hit the steps and I quickly perfected the, “is she shaking or nodding her head” talent.

I will say that the building is beautiful, the stone is smooth and the views are magnificent. The stairs were many and our legs were shaky afterwards. The planning of the building must have been extensive and it’s safe to say that I, the tour guide, learned almost as much as they did, my tourists.

So many awkward moments of, “I think that could have happened…” and ” we didn’t learn that in history” (although it could have also been that I wasn’t listening in that part of the class).

My girls followed me throughout the day, laughing loudly when I gave an unsure answer and enjoying my red, and growing redder, face.

Moments of called- for blushing seem to follow me wherever I go, but I guess I’m learning how to live in it, embrace it, and share it with you guys- allow you all to laugh at my expense as well. At least the awkwardness isn’t experienced in vain.

But let’s also just say that there may or may not be some lovely British people trawling the streets of England with a warped view of South African history, because of a history student who couldn’t remember her facts.

I’m hopeless, and awkward and Desperate for love

“Looks like you’re going to have a fun Valentine’s Day evening.” I smile at the cashier with my mouth, my eyes are a little more death stare-y. I pick up my two slabs of Top Deck Mint chocolate and walk out with all the dignity in the world.

At least I wasn’t wearing my pajamas in the garage shop.

With posts, pictures, Instagram stories and Facebook essays dripping in gag- worthy soppiness, there are many of us who go about the 14th of February just like any other day, although we do try to avoid social media a little extra.

Okay, okay I might sound a little bit like that bitter girl, who makes it a mission to let everyone know that she’s actually happier to be single on Valentines Day. Honestly, who is that girl kidding?

Yesterday I decided to be another girl. While half the world was staring starry- eyed at their lovers and partners and S/Os and ‘cutie- patooties,’ I realized I could stare outward. I could use my eyes to see the happiness the celebration of love sort of brings to everyone, I could use my eyes to appreciate those who are happy for the lovers, and I could use my eyes to see those who were hurting a little bit more on Valentines Day.

Last night we typified that ‘single lady, don’t care’ (peace sign) life; overflowing bowl of popcorn (check), slabs of chocolate (check), ramekins filled with a variety of sweets (check), warm tea (check), good movie (check).

We cry- laughed and stuffed our faces and forgot for a movie- length time that we were a little sore, a little lonely, a little jealous (maybe..?).

You would roll your eyes at the cringe-ness if I ended the post with, “and there wasn’t any other place I’d rather be.” However, maybe one day there will be a soppy post on my wall, and someone to stare at starry- eyed, and hopefully, because of these not- so- much- celebration- of- love- days, I will still be able to see those around me who need the chocolates, and the friends sitting next to her, and the belly- aching laughs a stupid movie can bring.

In essence, all I’m trying to say is that I am grateful for days like yesterday, where I get to use my time and energy embracing more people than those who get to wholly love one person. I want to say that neither one is better than the other, but I’m a little biased at the moment.

(Although I wouldn’t be surprised when my relationship status changes, and I just rub it in all them single people’s faces – but for now, at least, I’m a good person)

Happy day- after- Valentine’s- Day!

Only Valentine’s Day affection I’m getting is from the dogs