27.12.13

And then there comes a stroke of genius.


When I read this, it made me feel that I could possibly really love the works of Mr Scott Fitzgerald.

I've mentioned before, I don't pretend to be a cultured, complex literary student.  I read Nancy Drew mysteries and Heartland in grade school... I've never been able to properly digest the old prose of Jane Austen or Charles Dickens.  Too many adjectives for one page, I say.

I watched Midnight in Paris, so I have this vision of what Scott Fitzgerald was like which is probably really inaccurate, but somehow, it frames my reference.  Old Sport.

But then this quote changed everything.  Beyond being mystified at the life of Gatsby or mildly entertained at Owen Wilson playing pretty much the same character that he has in every other movie I've encountered, its truth moved me.

I'm not too young to be a mother, nor is it too late for me to change career paths.  I've made my way down little rabbit trails that I didn't particularly like, and it takes such courage to turn around and go back and try again.  Because in turning around, in changing your mind, you're admitting that you might have gone the wrong way.  Or perhaps the courage is in hoping that there is always something better than what you thought you should have had.  Either way.

   "Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it"

   -Anne Shirley

So right now, on the 27th of December, we're all finding ways to improve ourselves by taking an underwater yoga class or opening a savings account; hoping to achieve financial freedom and an enviable figure by the time the turkeys go back on sale.

But the truth is all we have is today, and if we fail, tomorrow is always there to remind us that its never too early or too late to make a change for the better.

Have a sparkly New Years.  I'll be warming up with a hot cup of something and try to finish some knitting projects for this little peach.

My Resolution list:
- import a South African husband, specifically the one that belongs to me already.
- complete growing a tiny human.
- facilitate tiny human entering the world.
- keep her alive.
- keep me alive.
- be an industrious home-made maven.  (optional)




17.12.13

Oh. Oh. We're Half Way There?

Well my pretties, here it is.  We're half way there.  This peach and me.

I arrived safely and relatively without drama in my cold homeland... ok lies there was total drama all over.  

But first, the pictures.  Katrina Massey of Blue Bottle Photography and I reunite after she photographed our wedding photos two whole years ago!  I have so loved seeing how apparently pretty my little family can look through her particular lens.  Mostly though, this past while, I just missed my bestie.  We had almost two weeks of coffee, watching stupid talk shows and glorious baby shopping together.  It totally hit the spot.












So the draaaaaaaamaaaaaaaa

Step 1.  Guy next to me nearly gets kicked off the plane for being a drunken scary mess from Manchester.  (That was among the drivel that he was sputtering following his 8th miniature bottle of ick cheap wine)

Step 2.  British airways were total arse-faces to me on the next leg of my flight and gave me a middle seat when I pre-booked an aisle to help with the pregnant peeing-every-five-minutes routine.  They totally hassled me even when I tried to hang out inconspicuously at the back of the plane and cry myself out of existence whilst trying to stretch out my leg cramps.

Step 3.  Run out of gas 5 minutes from the airport to fly to my parents' place.  After filling the car by hand with a jerry-can, realise that the battery is dead.  Arrive to an airport security checkpoint smelling of gasoline and totally flustered.  

"Cross my heart I did not just make a bomb quick before coming here"

I would't have really said that.  Joking about bombs in an airport = invariably uncool.

Step 4.  Slip on the ice in - 30 weather for the exclusive purpose of breaking my elbow.  Inflicting pain and discomfort that can only be treated with tylenol on account of the offspring I currently house.

Step 5.  Luckily I never take drugs at all so tylenol kind of makes me high. xx

The End.

19.11.13

Exactly Two Years.

As I write this post, it it 1:50pm in the afternoon in Durban, South Africa.  Exactly two years ago I was standing in off-white, beaming my freshly whitened smile at this adorable guy in a really cool vest (waistcoat).  There were vines covering part of the window, so only a little bit of the persistent light could enter.  The light that managed to shine through mist and chilly air that hung that quiet day.

And that is what we are.  We are about soaking up the light that fights its way through tough times and tears and stupid weather.  Because in that light, I didn't see any mist or fog or anything.  I saw my very ideal.  My goal.  My epicentre. Finally, all our hard work paid off and we survived and nobody could make us stay apart ever again.

This type of reminiscing is, frankly, really quite ironic; given the current circumstances.  In a few days we part ways geographically for a short while.  Our hugs and kisses will temporarily be 'I love you' and 'I miss you' with a one to five second delay over Skype.  Our goodnights and good mornings will be timezones apart.  Sigh.  I can do this.

But today were still both breathing the same humid air in this sub-tropical climate.  And today we celebrate our second (and final) year as just us two.

In this past year, I have learned so much about myself.  What makes me the worst candidate to be someone's wife.  I suck at cleaning and cooking regularly.  I don't earn a large or consistent income.  I can tend to be easily offended and I dearly love to have a good fight.  Confrontation in general... that gets my blood pumping.

Obviously in the process of discovering all my faults, I was able to multitask and point out the less-than-ideal parts of my partner.  You know, in the spirit of being thorough.

Its after I take inventory of all the junk, it somehow makes me appreciate our bond.  Because there is no explanation for it.  How did we fall in love?  I don't know.  I recognised something about Reece that I absolutely could not imagine living without.  It shows up as a different quality every day.  My heart hurts to leave him, even just for a little while.  Even for the best.

I love this guy.  I'm so proud of all he's accomplished, how he's grown and who he is becoming.

My little girl is the luckiest in the world to have such a pops.  Can't wait for her to meet him :)

Happy 2 Year Anniversary to us.

18.11.13

Saying Goodbye.

Well, things are finally coming full circle.  This week I leave Durban to spend a few hours in London with a dear friend and then on to Vancouver.  From there its a train, bus, and ferry ride to glorious Victoria!

About a year and a half ago, close to the beginning of my blogging quest, I made the proud announcement that our tight little family of two was relocating to a place I love to call home.  My Canadian roots tingled with delight.

The road was not easy, nor was it well paved.  Many days of stress, procrastination, printing photos, desperately recovering emails, skype records... the list goes on.  We needed to prove to the Canadians, the suspicious Canadians, that our love is true and real.  They wanted to know everything we've done in the last 7 years and what we plan to do for the next 15.  Maybe not 15... but it felt like we were under the microscope BIG time.  I spent so many nights afraid that it would never happen.  That I would be in limbo forever.

But that pee stick changed everything.  Suddenly we couldn't just float in no man's land waiting anymore.  Our baby's future was unknown.  Where would she be born?  When would we leave?  What documentation would be needed if she was born in South Africa?  Could she still be my little Canadian bundle of rolls and gurgley giggles?

I discovered that if she was born here, we would basically have to start another application process to obtain her Canadian status before we brought her out of the country.  Which would be like repeating the last year and a half all over again.

Oh but by the mercy of that which pulls all of the strings, Reece got confirmation of his visa being finished a few weeks ago.  His passport is waiting for collection probably even as I type this.

The wait is over.  I'm flying back to fulfil my waiting period to get back onto the medical scheme, and Reece is staying here for a few months to tie up loose ends with work.

It breaks my heart to peel myself away from my love for all that time, but this is our journey and perhaps I need to learn something from it.  Again.  You would think after doing nearly two years combined of desperate, soul-destroying long distance I would have gleaned all the wisdom I could possibly have from the 'distance makes the heart grow fonder' thing.

But I'm open.  I'm patiently putting one foot in front of the other.

Then there is the part where I say goodbye to my life here.  The life forged through some of the worst years of my life, but also the best.  

I had a farewell party on Friday night so I could see my people before things got busy and I was frantic with the emotional reality that always sets in as the week swiftly melts before my very eyes and suddenly I'm on my way to the airport.  It was so delightful to say goodbye among dear people, delicious food and drink.  To celebrate how much fun we've had.

The momentum behind the push of this last week is something profound.  Like suddenly the bottom of a plane opens and there is nothing left to do but the jump.

There is no time to process the ascent, the harness, the plane.  Its all a blur from that white noise of nothingness below, the flight, and that relief when its finally over and I'm in one piece.

I try my best to stay mindful and calm during this time.  Because it grips my heart cold.  I need to just think about the jump.  To meditate on what lies ahead and respect what has brought me here.  Why I'm doing this.  Because people come and go.  And there are always more people.  The good ones won't be replaced, but new good ones will be added to fill the everyday void that they once held.

Because the momentum of life is so beautiful.  The new and fresh is as exciting as it is terrifying.

I can't help but move forward.  To leave the past behind.  The people in my past who I still love are what make reminiscing sweet.  They decorate my life's story in a way that I couldn't have curated myself.

The two people I take with me, my present and my joy are my daughter and my Reece.

I just can't imagine them not being part of my now.  My current story.

So here is to goodbye.  Even if it is for ever, doesn't mean it wasn't completely life changing.





15.11.13

Pink or Blue? Really?

photo via pinterest (if anyone knows who took it, by all means, enlighten me)


Someone made this statement to me upon discovering that we're having a baby girl:

"She's going to be so cute, dressed up in princess outfits and tiaras!"

to which I said:
"I probably won't be dressing her up in any princess outfits unless she asks."

I received this reply/question:

"Well, what will you make for her first birthday cake?"

Sigh.

So, I'm quite passionate when it comes to gender stereotyping.  I think society places us all in boxes that are really quite small, uncomfortable and it starts from the moment we gasp that first breath of oxygen in the form of a roaring cry.  "It's a boy" or "It's a girl"

From that moment we are defined and confined to the structure laid out for us by our culture.

The western society, to which my family belongs, is obviously no exception.

If that moment of birth reveals a little boy, we immediately think blue jeans and sneakers.  Sports and cowboys.

When the cry belongs to a baby girl, its all princesses in pink.  Kittens in bows and sparkles.

I knew a great variety of little girls during my time as a youngster as a result of moving so much.  Not all of them were obsessed with barbies and wearing tiaras.  A lot of girls I knew were more serious about sports than some boys I knew.  And they were better at them as well.

When I was a kid, I loved to watch my dad build things.  I constantly wanted to change my room around and paint the walls and perform any type of home improvement projects that could be permitted in a rented home.  He loved explaining to me how to do things and what drills and saws were good for what (safety always first!).  It was a great part of our relationship.

But when I was in grade 8 and we all took our one elective class:  either home economics or shop.

The boys were allocated to technical drawing desks and the girls to the kitchens and sewing machines.  Don't get me wrong.  I wasn't interested in being in a class full of boys teasing me only to learn basic tool functions that my dad had already taught me.  I loved to cook and sew. But in the back of my mind, I always wondered why we were automatically divided that way?  What if I had really wanted to take shop instead of home ec?  What if I had no interest in sewing but the idea of making a birdhouse fascinated the socks right off my feet?

And the boys?  What about the guys who were mesmerised by a sewing machine and the thought of constructing a bag or a pair of boxer shorts to their own design specifications thrilled them?  Or the ones that could whip up a delicious stuffed roast chicken before setting foot in junior high?  What if they too wanted to learn the intricacies of baked alaska and caramelised onions?

Because there are some amazing female carpenters out there, and male fashion designers are EVERYWHERE.  And we celebrate this.  We think its great that they stuck to what they loved and became who and what they wanted.

I say, why should it be so difficult?  Why must it be an alternative choice for my son to want to design ladies footwear or for my little daughter to want to play with pretend drills and saws and wrenches instead of barbie dolls and nail polish?

It all starts with that simple dichotomy.  Pink or Blue?  Because when we find out the sex of our babies we immediately place them in a box.

How many times have you heard a woman say "I know a lot about sports because my dad wanted a boy"

How sad is that?  Why can't fathers teach their daughters how to play sports or tie nautical knots because its just a great way to spend time together?  Not because he secretly felt he was missing out because his child is a female, but because sharing who we are with each other, no matter what, is so necessary for that parental bond to be formed.  Why can't mothers teach their little boys how to make pancakes and scrambled eggs? Or how to take care of a potted plant?  Or better yet, the reverse.

Some dads do all the cooking and some moms build a desk with the swiftness of Ty Pennington on the last day of Extreme Makeover.  I fully support this.

So what I'm trying to communicate in probably far too many words is this:  For my little girl's first birthday maybe I'll make her a sailboat cake, or maybe it'll be a cat, or feathers and moccasins... or maybe it'll just be a delicious chocolate cake with plenty of icing made with love from mama.  After all, she's just going to destroy it.

But eventually she will start gravitating towards things that make her heart sing.

If one year she asks for a pink princess cake with sparkles, I'll happily oblige and make the cutest, pinkest cake a little pink lover could ask for.  Maybe I have a little legally blond in my uterus.  Or maybe she just loves pink.

But maybe she's going to love nerdy stuff like bugs and computers, or want to push her physical abilities to their limits as a little soccer player.  I can't wait to find out.

So thats my rant on why I'm not going to stuff my little infant into princess costumes and pink hello kitty sneakers.

xx.





13.11.13

99% Certain that it's a...



This is it.  Reece and I are going to be the proud parents of a baby girl.

We went to the doctor's office at precisely quarter-to-ten Friday morning after I quickly downed a chocolate milk in leu of a balanced breakfast.

I nervously offered the OB my card and asked politely that if he did see the gender could he not mention it to us; just tick the appropriate box so we could open it at a later time.

Just to double check, when he affirmed that the gender was, in fact, apparent, I asked him how sure he was.  He just smiled very wide and said that the baby was in an excellent position and he was able to confirm all the indicators, so 99%.  (chocolate milk for breakfast seems to leave my little cutie pie feeling very liberated. *wink wink)

We left the doctor's office feeling giddy and mischievous, knowing that I had the answer to our question in my hands.  The little bit of suspense was perfect as we sat ourselves down in a really sweet restaurant for breakfast and gingerly opened the card.

It takes a few moments for news like that to sink in... and its so strange saying "her" and "she".  I'm not completely used to it even now.

So happy this week.

ps: I use the word 'peach' as a term of endearment and not a name choice.  Just in case that wasn't too clear.
  

7.11.13

16 weeks. Houston, we have movement!

Well, the name Houston isn't on our list, so don't think that was some clever, underhanded hint.  We're not sharing the final name decisions (we do, however, have them already) until baby birth day.


So I'm really disliking the part of being pregnant that consists of people moving between my face and my stomach, looking slightly perplexed during any given conversation.  Like a person would experience if they had just got breast implants, but cheap ones.  Like the kind where the surgeon puts in two different sizes.  And everyone is all... hmmmmmm.

Thankfully I had the delightful pleasure of having a stranger comment on my being pregnant.  Obviously this isn't acceptable for normal people to do.  But this guy was trying to sell me a croissant sandwich along with my iced coffee and I think he was grasping at any selling point he could.  

"I see there are two of you, are you sure you aren't hungry?"

Minus ten points on the scale of 'not embarrassing yourself as a human', but nice try buddy.  Also, it means that I don't just look like I buy the wrong clothes for my figure ;)

I thought I would really enjoy taking lots of pictures of the whole 'belly growing' process.  But the truth is, I dislike it a lot.  I've been avoiding taking any pictures of myself since Spain because 

a) I'm not doing anything interesting

b) Pasta belly just isn't a great look.  Baby or not.

Hopefully I'll get around to posting my comments about each week.  (Most of them are of the 'omg-what-the-*beep*-have-I-done' variety)

So far, I don't think there is much I would have done differently.  Except be more vigilant about exercise.  But then, when you feel like absolute horse manure its reeeeeeeeally hard to do anything but rewatch the first three seasons of Downton Abbey and hope its over soon.

Speaking of Downton... OMG its amazing.  Season 4.  I didn't think you could pull it off.  You're like white pants.  Cring-y in concept, but Michelle Dockery can pull you off FO-SHO.

OH PS:  Tomorrow morning is ultrasound morning!  Boy or Girl?  He or she?

WE SHALL SEE!  (perhaps... there is a chance that baby won't co-operate which I must emotionally prepare myself for because the hormones... oh the hormones)

So were planning things like this:


We shall give the doctor this little card I designed and politely ask him to not reveal the gender during the appointment but rather to go back to his desk and check the appropriate box.  Afterwards, were going to have brunch together somewhere lovely and look together.

I love the idea of a party and a cake and stuff, but we just don't have the time to administrate that right now with everything going on.  So I want something special but simple.

Then, I'll change the titles to my baby pin boards to indicate where my creative curative energies will go from now on. Check them out here: 

Right.  I'm off to kill time before tomorrow.  Can't wait!