If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to over the last few days, I’ve been busy. Watching YouTube videos. (Side note: I think I’m adorable. I have a feeling that I’m the only one that shares this sentiment. I have the feeling that others find me impossible, frustrating and uncoordinated. And I’m okay with that. I mean sure, I’d love to be able to walk and talk at the same time, but whatever.)
Besides the YouTube videos, I’ve also been busy reading. Like actual books.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how this year I’d only managed to read ONE book from cover to cover. I’ve started reading many books, but they were tedious and reading ultimately felt like a chore. So I gave up. Since then I’d managed to plough my way through “Empire of the Moghul: The Serpent’s Tooth”. Yep, that’s right in the last 6 months I’ve managed to read TWO whole books. I am on fire!
“The Serpent’s Tooth” wasn’t a great book. It was okay, just okay. I did learn a lot from the book. I learnt about posta, which is this milky concoction of opium poppy. Pousta was served to Shah Jahan’s grandson, Sulaiman Shukoh on a daily basis. The daily dose of pousta eventually killed Sulaiman.
I am now half-way through “Porno” by Irvine Welsh, he’s the very same guy who brought us “Trainspotting”. “Porno” is an absolutely fascinating read! I simply can’t put it down.
I’ve also got the following books lined up:
Photo taken at Excelsior Wine Farm in Robertson.
It’s June and I don’t have any travel plans for the rest of the year. This year has been great – adventure wise. I’ve spent a couple of weeks in India, gorging on fresh fruit juice and curry, ziplining from a fort and crying at the sight of the Taj Mahal. I’ve spent a few days in Joburg with friends, watching Joss Stone perform live and feeding giraffes. There was Cameroon on someone else’s dime. And there was sunshine and bike rides in Durban.
It’s June now and I don’t have any other trips planned. A friend asked me to consider a roadtrip to Grahamstown. I shut her down before she could put forth her argument. I am broke. I’d just managed to pay off my credit card debt (or more accurately I’d finally reimbursed my brother, who’d paid off my debt). And I wasn’t planning to get back into debt, especially not for a local trip to a small town.
Besides I have other plans. There’s a bookcase that needs purchasing. (I’ve concluded that my current system of discarding novels beneath my bed, no longer works.) There’s also a coffee table, vacuum cleaner, ironing board, juicer and washing machine that’s needed. BUT these items will have to wait. Instead of being a responsible adult (how boring) and purchasing the necessities, I will be scurrying away money for my next big adventure.
At present, I’m still undecided as to where to go. There’s Malawi, whose images of its lake have left me breathless. There’s Ecuador, my lifelong dream, with its volcanoes and lush forests. There’s Turkey with its hot air balloons and cave dwellings. And there’s my 19 days of leave that needs to be spent. So I have the time and I have options, I just need the funds. (I am totally willing to sell a kidney to raise the funds. Not necessarily MY kidney. Ahem.)
So until I’ve accumulated enough moola, I will remain here. I will remain content. I will focus my attention and energy on becoming a better runner, cook and person. No, scratch that. That “better person” thing sounds like way too much work. I’ll just stick with running and baking.
A few days ago, I pierced my nose. It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for years now, but have never had the courage to attempt. It wasn’t so much the fear of pain that prevented me from asking (and paying) a complete stranger to puncture my facial cartilage, as much is it was the fear of something going wrong – scarring, infection etc.
On Saturday, I decided to stop being a pussy and marched my ass over to the piercing parlour. I chose a TINY, sapphire-coloured stud to adorn my face. The ring is so tiny that my brother first assumed it was glitter. My dad was no Sherlock Holmes either.
Me: Do you notice something different about me?
Dad: You’re really pretty?
Me: Try again.
Dad: Your hair is really nice?
Me: No. My nose!
Dad: It’s really big today?
After selecting my jewellery, I took a seat and waited. Fear and panic started to rise. Fear and panic did not subside when the piercing artist (?) informed me that he would be with me shortly. The previous customer was just taking a little “nap”. Upon further questioning it was revealed that “nap” is code for “passing out”. And hadn’t I ever heard of people fainting in piercing parlours?
No, no I had never heard of people fainting in piercing parlours! I didn’t know that this was a common occurrence! I didn’t know that this was a concern! If I did, I wouldn’t be standing here right now!
But I’d already handed over R200 and wasn’t prepared to forfeit the cash. So I sat down. I closed my eyes, breathed in and let a complete stranger puncture my facial cartilage. And when it was all done I rejoiced. I’d never felt as beautiful or brave as I’d done that day (and I’ve skydived).
Yesterday I completed my fourth Two Oceans half-marathon. And I did it in 2:10:04! That’s my official time. Enter rant. Considering that it took me an entire minute to simply reach the start line, I really think that I deserve the right to claim that I finished it in 2:09.
2:10 wasn’t my goal. I was hoping for 2:06, but I am happy with my results nevertheless. I am happy for several reasons.
• 2:10 is a NINE minute improvement on my best Two Oceans time. (In 2013 I completed the route in 2:19.) That’s an effing huge improvement.
• 2:10 is also pretty damn close to my PB. (I think my current PB is 2:08 or 2:09.) And if I can run 2:10 on such a difficult course, then 2:06 is well within my grasp. It’s so close I can actually taste it.
• I was mere seconds behind teammates who annihilate me at each and every race.
Anyway, other highlights and lowlights of the race:
• I lost my very first toenail. I say this with pride. I feel like now I can actually call myself a runner.
• A friend collapsed mere metres from the finish line. She had to be carried across the line by four gentlemen. Upon gaining consciousness the first thing she asked was, “Where is my medal?”
• I love this race. I love standing on the side-lines, watching people cross the finish line. I love the expressions on their faces. Triumph, determination, exhaustion, pain, pride. I love it.
• I also love how this race brings out compassion in strangers. I loved seeing people drag complete strangers across the finish line. Yesterday, with less than a minute left to cut-off, my brother-in-law’s brother jumped over the barrier separating supporters from runners, and he dragged/shoved a 70 year old woman across the finish line. Apparently she’d missed the cut-off last year by 8 seconds!
• I look at people who run the Two Oceans Ultra and think they’re insane. And yet, I can’t stop wanting that so badly. I am actually thinking of attempting a marathon again. Surely this year I can complete it in 5 hours, right?
A few days ago, I and a few friends flew down to Johannesburg to attend a Joss Stone concert. Yes, we spent thousands of rands in plane tickets JUST to attend a concert. Aren’t we extravagant?
Joss Stone was brilliant. Her voice was so pure. And powerful. Not only is she a brilliant performer, but she’s also REALLY likable. I feel weird about saying that about someone I’ve never actually met before. But she handed out white roses to audience members, clambered down from the stage to dance with her fans, AND gave her bracelet to a girl in the audience. She also invited everyone down to the front of the stage (considering that we’d purchased nosebleed seats this was quite a treat).
While in Johannesburg, we also managed to check out the Lion Park. Here are some of the photos I’d taken.
I bitch and moan about my neighbourhood a LOT. I joke about how I don’t need to pay R400 to participate in an obstacle course. Every day that I run through my neighbourhood I have to side-step a beggar, vendor or prostitute. And it is true. There ARE a lot of beggars, vendors and prostitutes in my street. On two occasions I’ve nearly tripped over a beggar dozing in the doorway.
But this doesn’t mean that I don’t love my apartment. Every time I step through my front door and see the two palm trees off to the side, I am thankful. Every time I sit on the balcony and watch the sunset (which isn’t often enough), I am thankful.
Yesterday, I opted to surf instead of pounding the street for a couple of hours. (Note: My idea of a short run is 1 hour. I am hoping to one day run the Victoria Falls Marathon in under 5 hours.)
While in the water, one of the many surf coaches at Muizenberg instructed me to “Get out.” I thought it a rather strange way to proposition a woman, until he explained that he’d seen a fin in the water. My reaction to the news wasn’t panic and fear. I’m afraid of rejection and intimacy, but sharks? Nope. Instead of fear, I reacted to the news with dismay and reluctantly left the water. (I was back in the water 5 minutes later when I’d decided that the coach probably just had an overactive imagination.)
I am currently reading “The hundred-year-old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared” by Jonas Jonasson. My favourite lines from the novel are:
“Allan Karlsson’s father was both considerate and angry. He was considerate with his family; he was angry with society in general and with everybody who could be thought of as representing that society. Finer folk disapproved of him, dating back to the time he stood on the square in Flen and advocated the use of contraceptives. For his offence he was fined ten crowns, and relieved of the need to worry about the topic any further since Allan’s mother out of pure shame decided to ban any further entry to her person.”
A few days ago, I ran 30 in 3:19. That’s a new personal best (PB) – five minutes off my previous time. I’ve yet to achieve a new PB for a 21km. My current PB for 21km stands at 2:08, which was achieved many moons ago.
Lately, my days have been consumed with work, running, binge watching “House of Cards” (Kevin Spacey is so good) and chatting to the occasional cute boy.
Recent Whatsapp conversation with Fahiema:
Me: I just chatted to a cute boy. Two minutes after talking to him I realised that I had avocado all over my face.
Fahiema: LOL! What’s wrong with him? Totally an invitation for him to come and lick the avocado off your face, right?
Anyway, here’s a recent photo I took at Oblivion, which is one of my all-time favourite hangouts.
Oh and if you have the time, you should totally check out the “I, too, am Harvard” photo campaign. The campaign tries to highlight the voices of black students at Harvard.
I’m currently rereading, To Kill a Mockingbird. This must be the eighth time that I’m reading this book, and EVERY time I read the book I end up in tears.
One of my favourite moments takes place right after Tom Robinson, a black man is wrongly convicted of raping a white woman. Jem a 12 year old starts crying and has the following conversation with his father, Atticus.
‘Atticus -‘ said Jem bleakly.
He turned in the doorway. ‘What, son?’
‘How could they do it, how could they?’
‘I don’t know, but they did it. They’ve done it before and they did it tonight and they’ll do it again and when they do it – seems that only children weep. Good night.’
I’ve been back home (Cape Town) for less than a month and I’ve already planned my next two adventures. The first adventure on the agenda is a trip to Joburg. A few girlfriends and I are planning to attend a concert there. Plane, train AND concert tickets have already been purchased. Yes, that’s right, we’ve purchased TRAIN tickets from Cape Town to Joburg. That’s a 26 hour journey!
The second adventure on the agenda is a family trip to Durban. I an’t wait to cycle along the Durban beach front.