Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

I feel like 2016 was a pretty shitty year for the world in general. But to be honest when I look back at 2016 – it was actually an amazing year for me. Yes there were struggles, but overall I really did have an awesome year. Sometimes when you think life is really hard, you need some perspective (getting to go home and visit) to make you appreciate life the way it should be appreciated.

Was it an easy year? Definitely not. But when I look back the nights I slept on mattresses on the floor/ a couch, I appreciate the hell out of my bedroom. When I look back at the hours stuck at work on the weekends, I remember how worth it it all was when I got to travel across Europe with my bestie and meet my family in Amsterdam. When I think about the nights I cried myself to sleep, I think about how far I have come and how much I have to be proud of. When I think about how I came back to Atlanta after my Eurotrip not really having a clue where I was going to be living or what I’d be doing for work, I smile and think about my awesome job and apartment I have now.

Even though I only had two weeks to spend with my family and friends back home in South Africa, I’m grateful I atleast had the opportunity to be with them. Even though the visit was short it was better than still being stuck and not having much to come back to. Also, I’m grateful I atleast have an incredible family across the world that I love unconditionally. So even if I feel alone, I’m never completely on my own.

I’m so beyond grateful that 2016 allowed me to travel the world, spend time with my amazing family, see how grown up my siblings are, learn how to be more independant, work my ass off, achieve my goals, make new friends, appreciate true friendships, learn from my mistakes, focus on my own happiness, be kind and understand that karma is real, and appreciate the little things in life.

Trust that everything happens for a reason. Even the hardest times end up being a lesson at some point and help us be more humble, grateful human beings.

Bring on the 2017 adventures ❤

 

How is this my second blog post all year?

How is this my second blog post all year?

I don’t even know where to start and of course when I finally put pen to paper my pen doesn’t work properly. (Not taking it as a sign, gets new pen)

Last year I got into the habit of writing regularly and I didn’t delay capturing my thoughts for very long. I really loved it. It was a way I could look back and see what was on my mind at that time. I wish I had forced myself to set aside time to sit, gather my thoughts and just write more often this year.

Before my Eurotrip I had planned on making an amazing GoPro video as well as writing a post for each country we went to. We ended up being so busy that when we weren’t busy – we were sleeping. It was the most incredible three weeks, but the late nights led to nocturnal sleeping habits as we pretty much just slept on the bus while we travelled to the next place in the day (No regrets). I definitely wish I wrote more throughout the trip but I did take tons of photos and will always have the memories. Eventually I will finish the video and post about my European adventure but for now I’m just glad I’m actually writing so I’m just going to keep going.

The trip flew by and I headed back to NYC to visit family and friends in NJ before getting back to reality with my life in Georgia. I started putting the videos together and sorting out my photos but it honestly made me miss my best friend and my family so much that it led to a lot of procrastination.

The weeks after getting back went so quickly and July had become August, August became September, September became October, and all of a sudden it is the bloody 20th of October. It is kind of scary when you think about how quickly the months go by without even realizing it. I mean come on, by the end of December I would have lived in America for TWO YEARS. *Mind blown*

For the first time in my life I have an amazing, stable and intriguing job. I am so grateful for it everyday even though it’s just a job. It makes me feel productive and significant, and it has given me the opportunity to really settle into real life in Atlanta. Before my trip I was comfortable not doing anything serious for work and just wanted to save up and be able to travel. Then afterwards I went through a strange place trying to understand what I want, how I’m going to get it, and what need to be my priorities. So having a steady salary paid 9-5 job might not seem ideal to many 23 year olds but it is exactly what I needed.

Other than that it hasn’t been an easy four months. I moved in with a friend of a friend who opened up her home to me when I basically had nowhere to live. I am so grateful for her kindness. After a few weeks I moved in with some awesome friends who let me crash in their spare room. They are such genuine and kind people, and they helped me to get my head in the right space just by giving me a room to call my own. I never realized how much I had taken things like a bed for granted my whole life. This year has been a hell of a ride for my messed up back living life as a nomad couch surfing.

When I moved to Brookhaven I had no real job (just waitressing) and had no idea what I was going to do. I spent weeks looking for jobs online and after spending a day handing out my resumes to wherever I possibly could, I got a call from my family friend that night. He explained his friend is an Attorney and their firm was looking for a new Administrative Assistant/ Receptionist. I emailed him my resume immediately, went for an interview the next day, and had an offer emailed to me later that night 🙂

However when it comes to taking care of myself and staying productive personally, it has been a struggle and I’ve definitely lacked ‘me-time’. All the moving back and fourth (I am now back in Sandy Springs, long irrelevant story) really impacted my mental state and motivation towards fitness; which prior to my trip was a huge part of my mental and physical wellbeing.

After a much needed candle-lit bubble bath, I’ve realized that I really need to start taking my own advice and also work on not feeling guilty putting my myself and my happiness first. It hit me that yes I can keep procrastinating but it is literally only detrimental to my life if I don’t start making an effort to work on my own happiness. When I am happy, I am excited to get shit done and cross things off my list, but I tend to stay busy and distracted to avoid thinking about everything that stresses me out and it is a problem I am aware of.

I know I should feel proud of my accomplishments but it is hard to see the bigger picture when there is still so much to be done. Primarily being a car, apartment and my post-graduate studies; which are all way easier said than done when you are pretty much doing it alone.

Looking forward to camping tomorrow night. There is just something about being in nature that makes me happy and free from the stresses of life. Rant over – I don’t even know where I am getting at anymore but I’m glad I picked up my Van Gogh notebook and just started writing tonight. I clearly needed it.

 

 

There’s just something about Miami

There’s just something about Miami

“Currently sitting in the restaurant at Freehand Miami, next to Ami James (famous tattoo artist, Miami Ink) and his friends”. 😀

That is all I managed to write down before I convinced myself they would all think I was some kind of weirdo reporter writing down their every move. I mean I did literally start this post with writing those exact words in my journal so maybe they were right to hypothetically be concerned. Okay, losing focus here let’s get back to the post.

“After a long day of travelling I finally arrived at Freehand Miami to stay for the night. I had to come to Miami for my Visa appointment tomorrow morning – wait let me phrase that better – I got another awesome opportunity to visit Miami even though it was just for my Visa appointment 😉

I took myself out for dinner and a glass of wine. It is so amazing being back here. I forgot how much I love this place.

Discovering that I’d have to fly to Florida just for the application on top of the mission to sort out everything for the Visa was very stressful and it was a huge ordeal getting it all together. Now that I’m here it all seems like it happened for a reason though. I needed this mini trip to Miami.

Living in Georgia has been amazing so far but these last few weeks have been exhausting and overwhelming at times. I’ve been an anxious mess. But now I’m sitting on this bus back to Miami Beach (my appointment was in Downtown Miami) and I don’t remember the last time I felt this calm and genuinely happy.

With the help (a lot of help) from my incredible Momsy, my Visa appointment and application is all done and sorted, now all that’s left is excitement for my Eurotrip with my bestie Moooky ♥

There is just something about Miami. Something about the way the sun feels on my skin, the wind in my hair, the clear blue skies (until it pours with rain), the amazing beaches, the streets, the palm trees, the people, the vibe. I wish I could stay here for longer and just relax on the beach. But this was just a trip for my real trip, and I’m so appreciative I still got to visit!

After feeling very overwhelmed before I got to the airport yesterday, I felt like everything kept going wrong, I’d mess something up, I wouldn’t be able to afford to get anywhere, etc etc. I went and chilled outside in the park and spoke to my late Bobba.

I asked her for a sign that she is with me and that she knows how much I miss her every single day. I didn’t feel anything, but had to started missioning to the airport. It felt like one thing went wrong after the other, be it the public transport or the airport security lines. Yet, without fail, it all seemed to work out just perfectly in the end.

I managed to be on one of the last flights out that night to Miami due to crazy storms. I made it to the hostel from the airport and everything worked out perfectly fine for my Visa interview, all without a phone I could depend on for maps or uber or ANYTHING BECAUSE THE BATTERY LASTS SHORTER THAN okay I’m sorry it just drives me absolutely crazy.

My darling Bobs was watching out for me and I know it 🙂 I miss you and love you and I know you’re loving getting to see Miami today, because you’re here with me in my heart.

So right now I’m still on the bus back to Miami beach and I plan to tan and chill out by the pool for a little bit before I make my way back to the airport.

Sometimes you need to truly be on your own to remind yourself you are perfectly capable of anything you set your mind to.” ❤

X

 

Hello South Africa

Hello South Africa

Just over two weeks ago I made my way to JFK for my flight back to SA. 15 hours, 3 movies, some series, a couple chapters of Tina Fey’s “Bossy Pants” and a glass of wine later, I landed in Johannesburg. As I got off the plane I couldn’t help but smile when I thought about how I’d get to see my little siblings soon after around 9 months of being in the states. Seeing them again was unbelievable and even though I’d seen photos of them throughout the year, I couldn’t believe how big they had gotten.

The next day I had my flight home to Durban as I would be back in JHB the following week for my gran’s wedding. I had planned to surprise my sister Rachel for her 18th birthday and her Matric Dance, so I had to be very careful to not mess up the surprise by talking to her when I should have been sleeping (America is 6 hours behind), or snapchat my little siblings by mistake and ruin months of keeping the secret. My mom fetched me from the airport and it was so good being back in Durbs again.

I was back in the land of robots, Rands, left side passenger seats and beggars on the side of the road, which took some getting used to I won’t lie. Looking outside the window on the drive home from the airport made me happy knowing I was home. I appreciated the sugar-cane fields and the beautiful sea views more than I ever have. Driving through Umhlanga, La Lucia and Durban North made me think how crazy it is that you can spend so much time in places and then be away for almost a year, go back and feel like you never left.

I arrived home freaking out I was so excited to surprise my sister. She knew I’d be coming home soon for the wedding, but I told her I wouldn’t be able to come back before her birthday. The surprise was great, she cried so of course I cried too. Being home again was amazing. Seeing my family, my soul-dog and just being able to chill out at home again was just perfect.

In America I was the one with the accent, ‘cool’ nonetheless, but I couldn’t get a sentence out without getting asked where I was from. Now since I’ve been back in SA, every now and then when I talk people say “OMG you sound so American!” I can never win. Dealt with constantly being asked if I was Australian or British, to say things, speak Zulu, the list goes on, and now when I’m back home I apparently sound American. What can you do.

What has taken some getting used to is how I am back to rands and not dollars. Getting an iced coffee for R32 seemed like a lot of money to me until I realized that was around $2. We went to spar and got some groceries and I realized as I got to the till that I couldn’t for the life of me remember my pin for my card here, so I used my Chase card from the states. The groceries came to around R60 and it took something like $3.50 off my card which is bloody crazy. That’s like a grande coffee at Starbucks. That exchange rate though.

Rachel looked so beautiful at her dance and I’m so glad I got to be there for it, as well as her birthday. She grew up too fast, it makes me feel extremely old knowing she is 18 already. But it is very awesome and exciting.

What took getting used to was how we drive on the left side of the road with the driver on the right of the car, the walls around houses and electric fences, the humidity, and the fact that I could chill out and do whatever I wanted to and not have to be at work for 11 hours a day. What did I miss the most? My family of course, then the South African accents, then the Indian food and samp and beans. I miss my friends like crazy but luckily I’ll see them next week when I visit Rhodes again!

Last Thursday we drove up to JHB. We had my gran’s wedding on Sunday which was absolutely beautiful and so so special. All the grand-kids were bridesmaids, flower girls/ boys; so we all got to be a part of the wedding which was amazing. Not many grandchildren get to be at their granny’s wedding, never mind all twelve of us! It was a beautiful wedding, and I’m so happy for my gorgeous gran and Ron.

I’ve been in JHB for a week now and will be here till I leave for Grahamstown which is next Friday. I’ve loved getting to spend time with my Joburg family whom I adore. It’s kinda scary but very exciting to think about being back in good old Gtizzle with everyone again. I’m so happy to get to be with the kids again, and happy I’ll get to see my friends soon too. Speaking of friends, I didn’t realize how I’d come back from the states having really great friends that I miss already. So even though I do miss them and it sucks, I’m glad I have people to miss back in NJ.

Well that was quite a long blog post but I’ve needed to sit down and actually type this out for awhile now, so here it is! I’ll post one with some photos since I’ve been back soon.

❤ X

I’ve got a lot more blog ideas and a lot less time.

I’ve got a lot more blog ideas and a lot less time.

A couple months back my uncle Tom saw I used dove soap, and bought me a pack of three big liquid soap bottles. At the time I was all like ‘omg it’s going to take all year to finish these’, and now I’m almost finished the second one. The relevance of this soap story is how crazy fast this year is going. Winter has passed, Spring is basically done, and Summer is here – come back to me tan I beg of you. I’ve had my first year of actual seasons. At the end of June, I would have been here for six months already.

I’ve been so busy that it is hard to believe how quickly 2015 is going. I’m always thinking about things to write about in my next blog, but I’ve got barely any time to sit and get them done. I’m currently working 8am-8pm with a one hour lunch break, Mon-Fri, with weekends off. Which basically means I have weekends to have a life. It’s not as bad as it sounds though, I quite like it actually. Staying busy and working hard, and then in the times I am free; socializing, working out or just chilling out keep me distracted from how gosh darn scary this all actually is.

I’ve gotten used to not being around my girls and my family. I miss them and I know they miss me but they have their own lives to deal with, and if I wanna be happy I’ve got to have my own to deal with too. We all stay in contact as much as possible, but sometimes I wish I had more free time to be able to Skype everyone back home more. Yet at the same time if I had more free time to sit and Skype everyone I love at home, it would only make it harder to be happy here. Staying busy is my way of distracting myself. If I’m busy working a lot, when I do have time then I make an effort to go out, or see friends and do cool things. When I have too much alone time, I think about home too much.

It’s hectic but I am working towards my goal of travelling, so it’s all going to be worth it when I’m sipping Sangria in my bikini on a beach in Greece, riding a bike around Amsterdam, taking touristy photos by the Eiffel Tower, getting gondola selfies in Venice, ETC ETC ❤

So what else can I tell you. It has been awhile. I visited family in Long Island last weekend and it was amazing. I had never met them before! Overall I had a wonderful weekend of memories with them, ranging from going to Splish Splash Water-park (which was life changing), experiencing true New York City traffic, Le Miserables on Broadway (Wow) and lots of great conversation getting to know each other.

What’s ironic is how neither Alyson or her daughter Marielle are actually blood related to me. But they didn’t feel any less like family. I think Alyson’s grandfather, and my step-dad’s grandfather were brothers. Marielle was adopted. But nonetheless, I was visiting family. Family is family. They opened their house to me, made such an effort to do cool things and it was really special getting to know them. I’m so lucky to have them, and now I have an excuse to get to visit more cool places in New York!

On an ending note, I have a desk in my room now which automatically means it should increase my organization and magically make more time for me to sit down and look at how cool it is while I blog right?

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Ottawow

Ottawow

I took a bus to Ottawa while I was in Canada to visit my cousin and old friend. I arrived on Thursday afternoon and met up with a friend of mine from prep school, who moved to Canada yeaars ago. It was amazing getting to spend some time with her, as this was the second time I’d gotten to see her in around 7 years.

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Ottawa is absolutely beautiful. It really is such an amazing city. I loved exploring around and being able to catch a bus downtown (something a South African is still not used to).

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We took a bus to my cousin’s apartment, and it was fantastic being able to relax and literally just chill out. After a little bit my cuzzie got home from work and it was so amazing seeing her again. She visited earlier in the year but I missed her a ton.

We went to see a band that night called White Horse and they were incredible! A husband and wife who were as talented as they were adorable together. They just had a kid and the wife looked amazing. So that was a treat to see!

Friday morning was incredible. And guess what I did? NOTHING. Being able to wake up without an alarm, take my time getting out of my pjs, chilling drinking tea and hanging out was all I needed.

I met up with my friend and we went for lunch and coffee at this gorgeous restaurant Downtown. I forgot what it was called but it was all artsy and stunning.

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I had an amazing time exploring the town with her and getting to catch up with her now that she is a party animal 😛 We said our goodbyes and it sucked only getting to spend such a little time with her, but it was worth it for sure.

I made my way back to my cousin’s place and got in a quick workout. We went for dinner with her lovely boyfriend (soul-mate) and their friends. Curried cauliflower soup and Sangria. That is all ❤

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My cousin and I have spent most of our lives apart but I’m so lucky to have her in my life. She is not only hilarious and beautiful, but a really amazing person 🙂

We headed back to Toronto on Saturday morning, to spend some last minute time with family and then have some pre-birthday celebrations.

Terri, her boyfriend Jared and I headed downtown to meet up with her good friends. We got delicious food, some drinks and headed to a beautiful park to chill out.

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Then we went dancing and I pretty much fell asleep on the dance floor which sucked, but I was exhausted. Looking back I probably should have sucked it up and had a Redbull, but considering I had to be at the bus station at 5:30am the next morning I think my body did me a favour.

12 hours later I arrived back in NYC, took a train back to Asbury Park an hour later, and finally got home around 10pm. It was a LONG day. Did I mention I shlepped a massive suitcase, another suitcase, a backpack and my handbag like 8 blocks in New York City. Yes, everyone thought I was the biggest tourist. But oh well at least I have my summer clothes again!

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It wasn’t 10 blocks or even that much of a mission I’m just overdramatic.

Ottawowza for sure ❤

Canada you were amaze

Yes my keys inspired me.

Yes my keys inspired me.

So I’ve been here for almost three months. I can already say I’ve quickly gotten a new bunch of keys. Last year I had my car keys, Rhodes student card, apartment keys… Your keys are such a simple and normal part of people’s lives that you don’t notice how they almost carry our ‘lives’.

I’m not a student right now.  My car is in South Africa. I’m not living with my girls. My life is completely different. I have a completely new set of keys. New key ring. New house keys. A key for both my jobs. Gym card.

It’s scary but exciting. I guess people go through a bunch of sets of keys throughout their lifetimes. Changes. Experiences. Mistakes. Lessons.

Slowly starting to understand how it’s all part of life.

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