Photo taken in San Diego.
I’ve just finished reading “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes. It’s a gorgeous book and I found myself balling like a baby near the end.
Here’s an extract:
I told him to please let me go because I got to go to the toilet but he was just laffing at me and I dint know what to do. So I started crying, let me go. Let me go. And then I made. It went in my pants and it smelled bad and I was crying. He let go of me than and made a sick face and he looked scared then. He said For gods sake I didn’t mean anything Charlie.
But then Joe Carp came in and grabbed Klaus by the shirt and said leave him alone you lousy bastard or Ill brake your neck. Charlie is a good guy and nobodys gonna start up with him without answering for it. I felt ashamed and I ran to the toilet to clean myself and change my cloths.
When I got back Frank was there to and Joe was telling him about it and then Gimpy came in and they told him about it and he said theyd get rid of Klaus. They were gonna tell Mr Donner to fire him. I told them I dint think he should be fired and have to find another job because he had a wife and a kid. And besides he said he was sorry for what he did to me. And I remember how sad I was when I had to get fired from the bakery and go away. I said Klaus should get a second chance because now he wouldn’t do anything bad to me anymore.
I’m currently in California on a scholarship. Class is kicking my ass. Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what my life is currently like.
Food on display at Wednesday’s Davis Farmers Market.Sunflowers are a thing in Sacramento.
Piano found in a park close to the university campus.
Artichoke flowers. I tasted my first artichoke a couple of days ago.
Class is heading to San Francisco tomorrow. That should be fun.
Photo taken in Istanbul.
Nicole recently sent her “No BS club” a end-of-the-month template. The template allows readers to quickly reflect on the past month and commit to future goals or projects. Here’s my review of the past month.
The three things I’m most proud of from this past month are:
When I first read this question I thought, “Erm …” I’ve spent a great chunk of this month travelling: Istanbul, Fethiye, Durban and California. This doesn’t feel like much of an accomplishment. Accomplishments aren’t FUN. Accomplishments are BIG. They take months of training, hard work, require strict schedules and end with a medal to prove your worth. But after giving this some more thought, I’ve decided that there are a number of little things that I am proud of.
– I am a proud of entering my first photo competition. Believing that you actually stand a chance, that I am good enough, THAT takes courage.
– Asking strangers if I could take their photograph. There have been many moments where I’ve met interesting individuals and wanted to capture their adorable faces on film. Unfortunately, I’ve never had the chutzpah to ask. This year I spoke up.
– Being a little braver each day. There are many moments during my Turkey trip where I was a little nervous. But glad that I didn’t allow fear and nerves to get the better of me.
The three things I’m most grateful for from this past month are:
– I am immensely grateful for the opportunities that I’ve been granted. (I’m currently in the California for 5 weeks on a partial scholarship).
– I am grateful for parents who placed a huge emphasis on education, and that they had the funds available to send me to university.
– I am glad that money isn’t a concern. I’m not rich, but I’m glad that I don’t have to worry about where I am going to find the cash to fix my car.
The most impactful lesson I learned this past month is:
– Ask. Ask. Ask. If you’re unsure of something, ask, even if you think it’s a silly question. If you’re curious about something or someone, ask. Do not bottle up your questions and curiosity. It could lead to something beautiful.
Nicole’s template had a number of additional questions related to our goals and aspirations for July. I didn’t answer those questions. I plan to spend this month exploring California and taking it all it. I plan to eat as many interesting dishes as possible (as long it’s vegetarian or halaal), meet strangers I befriended on the internet, AND capture it all on film.
I spent a few days in Goreme, Turkey – visiting the Open Air Museum, hot air ballooning, going to a hamam (a Turkish bath), taking photos of so many pretty flowers, getting lost, worrying about dehydration and screaming like a little girl at the approach of a dog … I now wish that I hadn’t been so impatient to leave and see the rest of Turkey. It would have been nice to ride a horse through Rose Valley.
Photo taken in Kaş, Turkey.
Photo taken in Cirali, Turkey.
While I was in Turkey I managed to ride a hot air balloon, drink Turkish tea on a yacht, marveled at several beautiful mosques and read two books: “Snow” by Orphan Pamuk and “White Teeth” by Zadie Smith.
I really loved Zadie Smith’s “White Teeth” and have recently purchased “On beauty”. (I did NOT love “Snow” and upon completion ended up discarding the novel at the airport). I’ll try to transcribe a larger paragraph or section from “White Teeth” before I leave for Durban. Key word in that sentence is “try”.
Anyway, I’m currently reading “Kinshu” by Teru Miyamoto, who is apparently a prize-winning author in Japan. “Kinshu” consists entirely of an exchange of letters between a divorced couple.
Here’s an extract from the novel:
““She said her four sons had died in battle, but this was not entirely true. My father said that there was at least one untruth in Grandmother’s story. Three of her sons did in fact perish in battle, but the second-eldest, Kensuke, seeing his comrades die one after the other from starvation and malarial fever in Burma, walked deep into the forest and hanged himself. His death in battle had been fabricated by the military, and Grandmother learned the truth from a soldier who had been repatriated from Burma. He came to visit, carrying a small square paper box containing Kensuke’s ashes, as well as his glasses and his tattered notebook. When Grandmother heard that Kensuke had not died by an enemy bullet but by his own hand, her face turned deathly pale. Only one thing was written in his notebook: ‘I was not happy.’””
Photo taken while driving from the Kayseri Airport to Goreme. I managed to get a fairly cheap flight from Istanbul to Cappadocia via Turkish Airlines (60TL approximately R273.95).
Horse ranch close to Goreme Open Air Museum. Unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to ride any horses while I was in Turkey. Sad face. I guess I’m just going to have to go back.
Taken while I was bundu bashing through the valleys of Goreme.
Hot air ballooning. Definitely a highlight.
Photo taken while sipping apple tea from the balcony of a Korean Restaurant in Goreme.
And I’m back home in cold, cold Cape Town. After spending 21 glorious days in Turkey. And it was glorious.
If I were to draw up a quick list of my top 5 moments in Turkey they would:
1 Hot air ballooning
I loved how completely and utterly safe I felt floating around in a giant wicker basket. Our trip started with a short safety briefly, during which our pilot stated that under no circumstances were we to jump out during mid-flight.
I loved the heat on my back. I loved the smell of helium. I loved sound the gas makes as it rushes out of the tank, like waves crashing on rocks. I loved watching the landscape change to a burnt rust colour with the rising sun. I loved looking at ridiculous shapes of the rock formations. And then there was the people.
While floating above fairy chimneys and admiring the landscape, I met a former South African. She now lives in Geneva and works for the World Health Organisation (WHO). She told me that one of the things I have to try while I’m in Turkey, is go to a hamam. She also told me to email my CV through to her.
2 The generosity of strangers
I met so many individuals, who just treated me so gently. Guys, who bought me cups of tea while I was struggling to stay awake in the bus terminal. Guys, who helped carry my suitcase up a flight of stairs. Strangers, who invited me into their homes for breakfast and dinner.
3) Mud bath in Dalyan
Getting to the mud bath involves taking a boat cruise down a river, from which we could observe Nile River Turtles chilling in the reeds. We also managed to get an awesome glimpse of Lycian tombs from the river.
4 Spending the day on Heybelianda Island
It’s an island off the coast of Istanbul and boy, is it gorgeous. And secluded! Longer post to follow soon.
5 Fresh orange juice every damn day
I have finally finished reading the novel, White Teeth by Zadie Smith. Here’s one of my favourite passages from the novel:
“It was odious to be reminder of one’s children when one is calculating the exact shade and rigidity of a nipple that could assert itself through bra and shirt.”
I have also been doing a bit of travelling over the last few weeks.
Clockwork starting from the top left:
- I flew down to Durban to celebrate the union of two very beautiful and generous individuals. I also acted as one of the bridesmaids. Stylist: What do you want me to do with your laps? Me: Make them not look dry?
- I had a 13 hour layover at Doha International Airport, which meant I was privy to a free three-hour tour of the city. To qualify for the tour I had to present myself at the Doha City Tour Desk at 06:00, as the tour is offered on a first come first served basis. I did not need to make prior arrangements for a visa.
- In Goreme, I was lucky enough to tick one more item off my bucket list – hot air ballooning. It was a frigging awesome experience. I loved the heat of the fire on my back, the sound of hot air entering the balloon like waves crashing on rocks, and the sıght of the landscape as the sun rose. It is definitely something I’d try again.
- Graffiti in Istanbul.
A few days ago I celebrated my cousin’s birthday at De Waal Park. At first I was wary of going, De Waal isn’t my favourite urban park, that honour belongs to Green Point. But I had fun. There was lots to eat, the sun was out and their was plenty of opportunities to people watch.
My favourite moment was watching this man teach these young ‘uns how to tightrope walk. He was so patient. Kid to young man, “Who teached you to do this?”
A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about how it was only March and already 2015 was turning out to be a pretty awesome. I talked about how I’d finally obtained that effing sub-2 and how I’ve set new PBs for a 5, 21, 30 and 42km. I also stated that I was about to participate in my first ever Ultra and that there was a chance I might not complete it. And if this were to happen, there would be tears.
Well, I did it! I completed the Two Oceans Ultra (56km) in 6:25. I was hoping for sub-6 and up until the 28km I was on track. That is until Ou Kaapse Weg and then it all went downhill from there. Figuratively speaking, of course. Ou Kaapse Weg is a bitch 7km climb.
What else can I say about the race?
Well, for weeks before the big day my father and I planned to run the race together. We trained together – 5 days a week. We talked strategy. Or more accurately, he talked and I tried to absorb it all. On the day of the race, at the 7km mark, he left me. And I wasn’t surprised. Or angry. Or hurt. He’s done this before; so many times that I expected it. At the 37km mark I caught up to him. And then I proceeded to finish the race ahead of him, by 12 minutes. (It’s funny, at the beginning of the year he told me that I would be able to kick his arse in shorter races but I’d never take him in longer events. This year I’ve beaten the old man in a 10, 15, 21, 30 and 56km race. And now I want to do what he’s never been able to achieve. I want to do a marathon in less than 4 hours.)
At the about the 40km mark, there was a radio announcer slash TV presenter. He asked various runners what was the first thing they wanted to do when they got home. Some said they wanted a cold beer. Others said they wanted a warm shower. And I just thought, “I’d like to take a nice, satisfying shit.” Right now several mothers are wishing their sons would end up with someone as classy as me.
Other than wanting to take a dump, I also wanted to cry, a lot. After 42km, running is no longer fun. It’s just this stupid hobby that requires you to move your legs in quick succession. And yet, the very minute I’d crossed the finish line I was so overcome with euphoria that I vowed to run the Comrades next year.
So that’s one of the reasons that 2015 has gotten a little sweeter. The other is that I’ve been awarded a partial scholarship to go to the United States for a few weeks.
Life is good.
Photo taken at the Paolo Nutini concert in Kirstenbosch.
I finally did it! All those hours of hill training, bootcamp, early mornings and ounces of GU have finally paid off. Today, 21 March 2015, I finally managed to achieve my goal of running a half-marathon in under 2 hours. 1:58 to be precise. And even though it has taken me months (fine, YEARS) to get to this point, I can’t help but wonder, “What else is possible?” Can I possibly get faster? Can I do 21km in 1:55?
Notes about this race:
- I’d originally started the race with my dad. At the 1km mark I was slightly ahead of him. But it really did take him long to catch up (3km mark). And then he widened the gap. Man, did he widen the gap to the point where I couldn’t even see him. It took me a whole 10km to set my sights back on him and another 5km to actually catch up with him. And the whole time I was eyeing him, watching that gap close, I kept thinking, “He must be crazy if he thinks I’m just going to hand this one to him on a platter. I am going to put up a fight. I am going to make him work for it.” I beat him by 1 minute.
- I wasn’t entirely sure I’d make a sub-2. At the 19km I had ten minutes to spare. That’s 10 minutes to finish the last 2km. That isn’t a lot of time to play with. But at no time did I think, “You’ll never make it. Just give up.” This is something I think of often on races. It’s the reason you’ll occasionally find me walking during a race. Instead I just thought, “Anything is possible.”
- Complete the Two Oceans Ultra-marathon (56km) within the cut-off time (7 hours).
- Get faster. Set new PBs. I’ve already set a new PB for 42km (4:27), 30km (2:53) and 21km (1:58). But I’m hoping to drop my marathon time by 12 minutes (4:15).