Meet the Parents

Nope nope nope. I’m not meeting his dad, family are off limits, it’s much too early in the relationship to ask such things.

I got the, “But my dad is really great, you’ll love him.”

He got the, “This isn’t fair, you haven’t met my family yet, why do I have to meet yours?”

Yes, I am dramatic and immature and make a weak argument. Why he’s still with me, we’ll never know.

Long story short, he won and my pettiness was shown up.

He proudly introduced me to his dad, and I pathetically laughed at nothing funny and otherwise sat mute. Of the four times I spoke to him, two times I shouldn’t have opened my mouth. The first incident was worse than the second.

After boyfriend left to make us tea, it was just me and boyfriend’s dad. Boyfriend’s brother walked past and I said, “Hey, come sit with us.” His reply was, “I’m just going to put a shirt on.” I responded with, “No! You look great without a shirt, come sit.” All the while, boyfriend’s dad was watching.

The second, albeit not as bad, was finally building up the courage to make conversation with the dad by asking him if he enjoys living in the country that he has been living in for the last ten years. When he said yes, I replied with the most surprised, “Really?” He’s ever heard.

Now you’ll understand why I really didn’t want to meet the parents; not because I was worried that they wouldn’t be nice, but because I knew that I would be a complete disaster.

Good luck to his mom who gets to meet me next week.

“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.

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”

Wine and Trouble mix too well

Too much wine calls for too much trouble.

Saturday was slow and lazy, filled with good friends, good food and good coffee. South Africa played New Zealand, and the girls played with the happy baba running around dropping sips of tea all over my best friend’s home. Who cares though, when you’re that cute?

Everyone went home, except for me, who made herself comfortable on the couch with tea and a blanket and an episode of How I Met Your Mother.

Eventually bff coaxed me off the couch with promises that if we left the house, we would be able to have scones when we got home.

We had to buy birthday presents, braai meat and scone ingredients; prepped for the rest of the afternoon.

Our scone- eating slightly coincided with our friend’s braai, and my friend, her husband and I pecked at our overloaded plates, trying to look enthusiastic about the excess food in front of us.

Bff and I eventually have up on the eating thing and turned to the wine glasses we had placed next to us. It wasn’t excessive, or strong, and we really didn’t let ourselves go.

We may just have had enough to lose our sense of compassion.

Our slightly sensitive friend was butchering his braai meat (no pun intended), and we took it upon ourselves to point it out to him… multiple times.

After observing that he wasn’t taking the jokes so well anymore, I turned to friend and shared my observations with her. “We push him until he cracks.” And crack he did.

Oh, just me and my partner in crime

He scooped up his parts of meat and stormed off to the kitchen, having had enough from the two peanut gallery imbeciles on the bench nearby.

We lost a friend that day.

Just kidding. This dance is repeated many times. It’s not okay, but it’s still a little funny. Luckily he is a forgiving soul who returns to the friendship time and again.

And don’t think that he doesn’t give it back. Past shameful memories are embellished and told to strangers, thanks to him. He tunes us solid and can make the most cutting of remarks.

It’s a give and take kind of relationship. Beautiful and messed up at the same time, and sometimes we let each other reach their snapping point, just for lols.

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?”
“Yup.”
“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?

“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.