There is fear jailed between my eyes and eyelids,

Torturing my nightmares,

Stress eats the butterflies in my stomach,

Anxiety bullies my sore heart.

Softly, I whisper hope for layers of peace.

A layer of peace to silence the fear, a layer of peace to shatter the stress, a layer of peace to snuff the anxiety.

Whispers of hope to fall asleep beneath a warm and safe Comforter of Peace.

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.

We ride elephant to school in South Africa

Post awkward reacquaintance with my overseas family, we were woken early by our parents, squashed into our respective cars filled to the brim with holiday food and luggage, and hit up a young convoy- type road trip.

We stopped in a small town with quaint restaurant, and my “I’m not really hungry” was squashed by the array of delicious breakfasts, I spent the time picking bacon off my little cousin’s plate.

The closer we got to Kruger, the more layers of clothes we shed, as it got hotter and hotter the higher into South Africa we drove.

By the time we got to Phalabowa gate, temperatures were reaching 35 degrees Celsius- disclaimer, it’s winter this side of the hemisphere. In the park, on route to our camp, we came across tons of ellies grabbing partial tree branches, steenbok hiding in the tall grass, and the usual impalas grazing all along the road.

When we arrived at the cabins, we didn’t even go inside, we all (adults included) ran to the main deck. Sipping GnTs, we stared at the massive dam in front of us, accessorized by crocs, water buck and the African sunset. My near- hypochondriac mother went around spraying everyone with mozzie spray, fearing malaria around every corner.

Out of nowhere, the Kruger silence was broken by millions of flapping wings overhead. Little birds known as quelea flew down to the water in synchronized movements. They danced as a unit along the surface of the water, every so often being disrupted by hungry crocodile (who felt like a tiny snack) leaping from the water to catch two or three.

“Welcome to Africa”

Got me a boyfraaand

“Hey dad, I just quickly wanted to tell you something.”
“Cool Jords, I’m just going to put you on loudspeaker so that Tom (my uncle) can hear too!”

“Oh okay dad. Well, I just wanted to let you know that I have a boyfriend.”
“Awesome, is he nice?”
“Ooh Jordy, our curries are here! We’re going to have to call you back.”

Between the jumping screams of my friends as I make my happy announcement, my parents casual take on the whole situation is a little bizarre, but also a little calming and relieving.

So guys, I guess it’s time that I tell you that I have an actual boyfriend. The dates and sweeties and messages and movie nights have resulted in the official business of an official relationship. Who would have thought?

On a cold Wednesday, a guy set up a projector in the courtyard, moved a couch outside with blankets, beanies, popcorn and yellow M&Ms (I had mentioned how we buy those whenever we go to the movies).

We watched “Eddie the Eagle” and sipped hot cups of tea.

Once the scene closed off the movie and the credits came up, he turned to me and said, “you’re the prettiest girl.” I rolled my eyes and replied, “I think only you think that.”

Then he said, “Jordy. Jordy.” Now he had my attention and I turned myself to look him dead on. “Would you like to be my girlfriend?”

“Are you joking?” And at the shake if his head, I replied with, “Oh. Okay.”

That’s the story. It’s rather anticlimactic after that. We both sat there and were like, ‘cool, guess not much changes now except that people will know.’

It’s been four days of people announcing it in meetings; jumping, screaming friends; heart eye messages when people hear via the grapevine; and the most asked, girly question, “so…. how did it happen?”

I’m still a little overwhelmed at the reactions we get, and sometimes melting into the floor sounds nice, but it’s calming down and the new normal is slowly settling in. Even my housemates have to get use to a new male hanging around, or a housemate not hanging around so much anymore.

Who knew getting a boyf was so much admin?

We’re Going to the Chapel

Destination weddings are fun. Everyone piles into cars with padkos (South African word for ‘road trip food’) and the N3 carries convoys of friends down to the wedding location. We each get a maximum “wedding attire and one other outfit” to bring down to ensure that there is enough space for bums in the car. Everyone has to either beg, borrow or rent accommodation for the weekend.

The car trip consists of DJ-ing, eating, using up your phone data on the Gram and deep conversations. Surface- level talk is not possible in such a confined space for such a long time. You must know that psychological examinations and wise words from experience are swapped between passengers.

My three friends and I got to stay on a farm and drink copious cups of tea and eat copious amounts of biscuits. Mini vacations are nothing to complain about.

We spent Saturday morning sharing the one mirror in the bathroom and curling our hair as quickly as we could. Sharing stockings and throwing jackets at each other. It’s winter here in South Africa, you guys.

The wedding was completely beautiful. Happy and sweet, tender and exciting, joyful and mushy. We all just loved it.

There were horses in the background and a couple madly in love with each other, unaware of the eyes watching them as they vowed to love each other for the rest of their lives.

There were soups and cheeses and breads… Yum delish! There was also live music, and guess who was one of the acts? Yours truly!

One of my favourite friends and I sat on a hay bale, me with my ukulele, the two of us singing Vance Joy, Coldplay and Van Morrison. There were one or two glasses of courage sipped at before I got the the stage, and the end of our ensemble was met with,”Jordy! I had no idea that you could sing!” I won’t lie, I was elated.

My favourite friend and I hopped off the stage right after our act, and ran up the hill to watch the sunset. The sky was pink and purple and fresh, and we stared at it with flushed cheeks and panted puffs of white air. I plucked softly at my ukulele as we watched the sun go down, and felt the air turn icy.

I got to spend time with my very special, long- distance friend in- between her photo- taking (she was the photographer), and overeat on all the good things set up on the food tables.

There was hip swinging music and a lot of selfies. And saying goodbye to everyone at the end of the night was rather blue. My long- distance friend and I found it quite hard to part and the hugs were many before we bade each other farewell for real.

At the end of the night, with four of us snuggled under blankets and warming our insides with tea, we reflected on the evening, recounting our favourite moments and awkward stories, revisited the bride’s beauty and the groom’s complete adoration of her in our minds’ eyes.

“I’m a lone wolf. A loner. Alone”

This morning, Male Housemate woke up early, made himself some tea, began making a quick breakfast and doing the usual before- work routine when he looked at his phone and proclaimed in anger, “There’s no work today! Why am I awake?”
He promptly grabbed his tea and went back to bed, leaving me standing in the kitchen, highly amused by the show I got to witness so early on a Sunday morning.

Upstairs Housemate has gone home for the holidays so at the moment it’s Married Housemates and Third Wheel Me. And when it comes to third wheeling, I have no ‘skaam’ (shame). After making my dinner, I join them on the couch while they’re eating their food and watching a movie. This morning, we all made breakfast together and ate it on the couches, deciding what we were going to do for the day after the electricity went out.

Last night I couldn’t fall asleep. I usually come home and end up sitting on Upstairs Housemate’s bed, telling her how my night was, with dramatic flair added. I felt too overloaded with my stories to go to bed, so I snuck downstairs to sit on Married Female Housemate’s bed and tell her my tales. Luckily Male Housemate was studying in the office. She got highly surprised to see me, but promptly moved over on the bed so that I could share my evening with her.

To be fair, they are a couple who make room for a spare wheel. They call me to join them and offer for me to have breakfast together, so I guess I’m lucky.

In our beautiful symbiotic relationship the other night, Married Female Housemate and I were sitting in the dark (load shedding duh) watching series that we had downloaded in preparation, asking poor Male Housemate to please replenish our tea mugs for us, “and while you’re doing that, please bring through some chocolate as well.”

People often feel sorry for the third wheel, but honestly they should rather feel bad for the poor male who has to cater to two fussy girls.