“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.

I wanna quit the Bank

After ranting about boys hurting girls, here’s a story about my big heartbreak: his name is the Bank.

As I said in my first post, I am trying my hand at Online English teaching, and so far so good. I lie. It’s actually super, incredibly, fantastically, superkalifragilistikespi… how do you spell it? Anyway, you get the picture, I friggen love it. I get to meet beautiful people who sometimes put me to shame with their use of the English language.

I’ve met economic professors, stay- at- home- moms who want to stretch their minds and language proficiencies, a little munchkin who wants a panda as a pet, and a traveler who dreams of high mountains and vast views of the ocean and the ability to talk to the locals in these far off places.

Honestly, payment is just an added bonus to this meeting- of- awesome- people that I get to call a job. However, payment I do get, and yes, once the lovely finance people in the company that I work for add some dollas to my account, I would like to spend it.

Except that here in South Africa, we’re a little bit backwards with things such as PayPal.

As I sat across from a man who was apparently there to help me, explaining to him for the fifth time how it wasn’t PayPal that was the problem, it was this bank, all that I could see in my head was Chandler Bing brokenly telling his banker, “I wanna quit the bank!”

The best part came at the end of my consultation time with this lovely man, who honestly was trying his best to help me out. He thought he could call South African PayPal headquarters, which was of course the number of the only bank in South Africa that actually links to PayPal (can I tear my hair out yet?). With panic in his eyes, and the loudspeaker telephone announcing to the whole branch that this consultant was calling another bank for help, he whacked the mute button, threw his telephone into my hands and yelled at me, “don’t let them know you’re calling from this bank!”

As a girl with introverted tendencies, and an unexplainable fear of answering or making calls, all that whirred around in my flustered brain was, “I wanna quit the bank!”

I say more dumb things before 9 am than most people say all day

A packet of Skittles and a piece of paper sat on the table between us, and three little faces looked up to me with much skepticism and distrust.

“I’m sorry guys, I have a weird personality. You’ll get used to me eventually.” I got unconvinced stares back as a reply.

I bought Skittles and they had to tell me something about themselves depending on what colour Skittle they had picked out. They would stare at the pink sweet in their hand, stare back at me, shrug their shoulders. Nope, they don’t know where in the world they would like to visit.

After four or five rounds of this endured form of torture, where I was the only one answering my own questions with a stupid, over- exaggerated smile on my face, I finally called it quits. The relief on their faces was a little disappointing. But we must remember that I’m new, they’re used to their former home school tutor, and let’s be honest, I was right, my personality is weird.

I’m the girl who gets comfortable in her own thoughts while someone is trying to have a conversation with me. I will form an idea in my head over a topic, and long after we have moved on to better conversation, I will randomly bring up the topic again. Sometimes I laugh out loud over what I’m thinking – my friends are starting to get used to the answer “Sorry, I’m just laughing over something I thought about.”

I can be so awkward, and have perfected the awkward silence, the awkward side hug, the awkward laugh where everyone knows I don’t really find what I’m laughing at funny.

Last night my housemate asked me what she has in her fridge to make a salad, and my reply was, “Cheese.”

Sorry kiddies, the worst is yet to come.

Constantly asking myself, “Why are you like this?”

Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You’re gonna love it

If you happened to walk into my grandparents 18 years ago, on a Saturday afternoon, you would most likely have seen some very quiet children sitting side- by- side on a flowered couch. The other couch would be taken up by a sleepy grandpa, with the TV remote held tightly in his hand, and a young grandchild tickling his feet and his arms and his semi- bald head with a supernaturally sharp pencil.

My conniving grandpa would bribe his witless grandchildren with packs of Wine Gums and five rands to tickle him for ten minutes while he watched the cricket. We were raised on sugar rushes and any means of getting our hands on sweets, or on money to buy sweets, we took.

Hence the image of several little children sitting on the couch, awaiting the egg timer that would sound when the current kid’s turn was up, and the next in the line could do his/ her tickle duty.

Once we heard the ringing of the timer we would all move into action; the next child up would grab the pencil and begin his tickling time immediately, the other waiting children would all move up on the couch, ready and waiting for their turn, and the triumphant, done kid would toss the pencil and run with all force to my grandpa’s office to retrieve their prize.

When trying to pinpoint my first job, I had to think back past my year as a teacher’s assistant, way before tutoring, and babysitting in high school, all the way to six- year old me who would sit alongside my cousins, awaiting my turn to tickle my sweet grandpa’s feet and arms and semi- bald head for a prize of sweets or a five rand. Either one was acceptable payment.

Today I read through books and notes and schedules preparing myself for a coming week that will hold a new job, and a new line of work that requires prep and learning, and man! am I keen for the ‘funemployment’ to finally come to an end.

You can’t just give up! Is that what a dinosaur would do?

Waking up with a purpose makes it easier to wake up.

I’m not falling into a pit of despair with this whole unemployment thing, but today I realized that a job is important, not just because we need it to buy food and pay rent, but we need it to make the day purposeful.

Unless that’s just me.

I worked as an assistant teacher last year and fell in love with the quirky words the little people spoke, the not- so- secret secrets they would whisper to each other, and the pure joy on their faces when they heard the break bell. I was asked to sub for one of the teachers today, and if I believed in auras mine would have been sunshiny yellow. Every interaction with one of the miniature humans, each photocopy made, and squeezy hug received held a piece of purpose. Knowledge that that interaction was correcting a mistake and furthering their development, that each photocopy given to a kid contributed to their skills and abilities, and that every squeezy hug was affirmation that they are appreciated and loved.

Okay, I am rambling and over sensitive at the moment. Clearly a little too sentimental after being reminded of what I was lucky enough to have last year.

One funny kiddie story before I go:

I asked one of the kids to make up a story for me about three princesses, and the story went like this; once upon a time there were three pretty princesses who all loved the same handsome prince. Each of them planned a special date with him, and when he realized that all three dates were on the same day, he ran away. He got lost in the forest but sadly there was no Wifi there, so he never found his way back home.

Here, have a photo of some fat caterpillars crawling up a wall

And I’m getting coffee, and it’s not even for me

This job-less mania hasn’t ever really been a problem for me before. Yeah, there was a baby freak- out when I graduated, but a few weeks later a friend gave my CV to her boss and I had a call a few hours after the interview to say that I was hired.

A year into varsity, I was put in touch with a tutor company who I worked for for a year. The following year I was asked to privately tutor two girls, and in the year 2016 my best friend convinced me that it would be fun to do a barista course. She ended up marrying the guy who trained us, am I wrong to think she had ulterior motives…? (I’m kidding, they hadn’t met before the training)

Once we could decently pull a shot and poorly steam our milk, the guy who trained us asked if we would like to work for his coffee events company. Another job that falling beautifully into my lap. Of course, the customers of the first few events that we worked received overheated cappuccinos, and bitter- tasting espressos, but with time comes practice and with practice comes deliciousness in a cup.

We gave up the late weekend nights and traded our holidays to serve coffee to person after person, staining our hands in coffee grind for days and splashing our hair with milk drops. Weirdly enough we liked the trade off. We could not think of a more fun or challenging or hilarious place to be. Exhausted baristas trying to banter with customers equated to many word- slurs and brain farts, switching a blender on without the lid caused one fabulously maintained lady to swear uncontrollably at our ‘incompetence,’ and latte art competitions that sometimes meant someone was served a rather dodgy- looking flat white.

One of my friends who worked with me misheard the order, and the poor lady on the other side of the counter got handed five cappuccinos. She only ordered one.

I know, I know! It’s not good to longingly wish for the past to reappear into our present reality, but I guess it’s okay to think about it sometimes and appreciate how lucky I was to be asked to work, and to do work that I absolutely adored and would do all over again.

Yesterday felt like a knock- out challenge. We started with training, and then got sent details to do a demo. If you passed the first demo, you were sent more details for the second demo. After experiencing several heart palpitations throughout the afternoon, I finally received the “Congratulations” email. Yes friends, I am now employed to work as an online English teacher.

I rarely take photos of my art, so here is my rather amateur- looking stack

Here we have a highly professional photo of of one of the best baristas in the company…

I’m gonna get one of those job things

Two interviews down and one more to go this morning.

Just for anyone who is counting.

As D- day approaches (aka rent- paying- day), the bank account remains empty and that little thing, known as panic, is starting to seep out all over my brain.

Yesterday was a home school tutor position interview, but I think I got so excited that it was on a farm, with little piglets and dogs everywhere, that I didn’t focus on the interview as much as I should have. Maybe that panic guy should have made himself more noticeable during the interview.

If you were wondering, it seemed to go pretty well, I’m just waiting for her to tell me if it’s a yes on her side, and I’m waiting for my mind to tell me if it’s a yes on mine.

What if we just pretended not to grow up? Ignore those mounting student loans and keep asking our parents what’s for dinner?

Unfortunately my time is up on daydreaming of a responsibility-less world, I have an ear- ache that I have to ignore until it goes away, and a Skype interview to prepare for.

Pretending I’m still on vacay with no boys in the yard, and no responsibilities