Cape town

There is no time to waste

It took me a long time to realise that we don’t have much time. And even less so, time to waste.

In my past four months living in The Netherlands, there has been a sense of urgency to see as much as possible in my time there. To cycle to cool places every day. To catch the bus to amazing events. To spend all night dancing. To meet as many people as I can… It’s a desire to experience anything and everything I possibly can in the limited time that I’m there.

And it has changed the way I perceive the value of time.

My one week back in South Africa for Christmas has taught me much the same thing. I only had 6 days in which to reconnect with my people. With my car. With my way of life here. With my country. I was unable to spend even just one moment doing nothing or going nowhere. I had to see my mountain. Feel my ocean. Drink my wine. Laugh with my people.

It has allowed me to see that I do not have the time to spend any of my days doing nothing. Or to spend any of them doing things that don’t allow either for growth or a sense of fulfillment. I do not have time to waste on any trivial pursuits or a life not lived with the unapologetic intention to make every moment mean something. I do not have time to sit on my ass doing nothing. There are places to see and people to meet. Music to make. Books to read. Sights to see. Memories to make. Get up and go do things that make your days worthy of crawling out of bed in the morning.

I do not have time to pine over things from the past that didn’t quite work out the way I’d hoped they would. It’s done and its effect on my present should be only to have learnt valuable lessons and to have grown stronger and more resilient to the universe and the punches it throws.

I do not have time to spend time with people who are not my kind of people. It took me a while to learn that you really can choose your friends. But it took me an even longer while to learn that your friends sometimes choose you as well. So to be yourself and the best version of who that is at all times is of vital importance in having the right people choose you as a friend.

I do not have the time to disagree with you over set opinions and dogmas. There are some things in life that are by all means worth discussing, but much less worth picking a fight over. Tolerance for the beliefs of others, for their ideas and for their choices in life is a sign of respect that not many people ever show. We’re so invested in how we live and what we believe is right that we become ignorant towards the right of others to believe their own things.

Be open. Be tolerant.

I do not have time to not be present. The past couple of months living abroad have added a freaky little twist to many of my friendships back in SA. My need to soak up every moment has pulled me away from my cellphone and my computer to such an extent that people have begun to think I have forgotten our friendship.

I really haven’t.

I see my people in everything I experience.

I see my crazy friends with their infectious laughter in every foreign smile. And I see the big blue eyes of my friends near the ocean every time the blue skies reflect in the canals of Amsterdam.

I am reminded of my family every time “o ek wil huistoe gaan na mamma toe” loops on the local bar’s speakers.

I think about all of my favourites all of the time. And it sometimes even feels like they’re right there with me experiencing every epic moment, becoming part of all the new memories I make.

So here’s to an exciting 2016 in Dutchland! Remembering all the ones I leave behind. And embracing all the ones I am yet to meet.

Tot straks, bitches!

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Home is where you least expect it

Watch on YouTube if you can…

We all leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place. We stay there. Even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there. We travel to ourselves when we go to a place where we have covered a stretch of our lives. No matter how brief it may have been.

– Pascal Mercier, Night Train To Lisbon

SA flag

This is why I love South Africa

A friend of mine recently had an argument with another friend while trying to justify getting a tattoo that signifies South Africa. This argument resulted in my friend writing up this brilliant and pride-inducing piece of nostalgic genius that I have stolen (with permission) to publish here:

What I love about South Africa

south africa cape town

South Africa has every climate and landscape. Deserts, mountains, snow, Mediterranean, rain forest, grassland, bushveld, sea; the warm sea and the cold sea, the coastline and its changeability. It has the sun and it has caves, streams, cliffs, kloofs, and wide open spaces to be explored or left unexplored. It has the Yellow Wood, the Strelitzia, the Varkoor, the Milkwood, Proteas, Acacias and the SA pine. Here you can find a unique, scary, diverse, beautiful wildlife. The blue crane, the big five, the great white, the sunbird and the bumble bee, the parktown prawn (“the what?” says the Cape Townian), blêrrie baboons and the rhino. For now.

rugby fanSouth Africans YOLO and have FOMO and are adventurous even when they pretend they aren’t. There’s corruption and everyone complains and always expects more. We always think the grass is greener than our own. South Africans are resourceful but lazy, approachable and friendly and completely obsessed with sport.

We have braais and our own slang lingo and say “I don’t have an accent, boet.” We have chilled out hippies and hipsters on longboards, jocks and materialistic poppies & dollies wearing too much make-up, surfer dudes and overachievers, the career man and the full-time mom. SA has cultures, diversity, different languages, opportunity.

Gogos, Oumas, Nanas, Grannies. We have Zebra & Giraffe, The Soweto String Quartet, Mango Groove, The Parlotones, Jack Parow, Desmond and the Tutus, Mzekezeke and Mandoza, DJs Fresh, Euphonik and Naaldekoker and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. There are gorgeous babes and okes with stiff necks and Imaginary Lat Syndrome (Chronic Invisible Underarm Watermelon).

I love to love Cape Town with its mountains and sea, wine, acceptance and how everyone’s convinced that it’s better. I love to hate Joburg with its mine dumps, crime, sheer size, cost, poverty and pollution.

Bloem thinks it’s a big city but it’s just cold and full of Dutchmen (said with the utmost affection).

durban cultureThe only thing Kimberley has is a hole.

Durban with its souties and Zulus, the stuffy humidity and warm water.

And PE and East London. Little unsung treasures nobody knows about but really should.

We chat about what an amazing man Nelson Mandela was and Desmond Tutu still is. We laugh at clichéd Trevor Noah jokes and gossip about the Oscar Pistorius scandal. We see Charlize Theron and Chad le Clos’ “unbelievable” dad on TV. And try to fathom why Elon Musk and Roger Federer would not want to claim South Africa as their own.

– Alberto Falanga

This is South Africa. There’s no way to deny its beauty. Its individuality. Its splendour. Its awe. Its diversity. Its language. Its voice. Its echo.

This is where I live.

This is South Africa.

SA flag

Train travel

There are no coincidences

My 2013 New Year’s Eve was spent jamming to Pit Bull in an Italian Postal Warehouse in Milan. The night became a patched memory that led to me walking around with bare arms in the height of winter. This in turn led to an extended sick spree over the next 3 days which I bravely overcame with an adventurous trip to the capital city. I packed my bags and my meds and headed to Rome to fulfil my life-long desire of seeing the ancient relics with my own eyes.

party

On the 4th of Jan 2013, I threw one euro over my left shoulder into the Trivia Fountain and, instead of making a wish, made a declaration. 2013 would be my year. I would meet and keep great friends. I would prove that I was capable of independence. I would live it believing in myself. In my talents. In my dreams. In my beliefs. And believing that my beliefs would carry me towards amazing things.

Here’s a little overview of how 2013 has easily been one of the greatest successes in the history of Lelanie:

  • I got my first job.
  • I quit my first job.
  • I ran back to Italy for love. Though love often goes lost, any instance of it is a little gift from the heavens to remind us that we are worthy of sacrifice and deserve to be treated as kings.
  • I spent my European summer on the shores of Lake Como and Liguria reading English classics that taught me that there is no such thing as coincidence. That every instance of life is part of a vast plan. And that every second we endure on Earth is one that affects the next and leads us to the realisation that we are part of a larger cosmos of meaning and are all intricately connected in this infinite cycle of life.
  • I came back to South Africa and got my second job which has led to a permanent position at one of the leading global advertising agencies in the world. I spend my days writing about things that matter, things that I care about, and things that make people laugh enough to make their days seem a bit brighter. Most importantly, I spend my days doing what I love most in life – writing.

And all of this came from that one moment when I made a truce to myself that I would make this the best year yet. That I would tackle the heartaches and the disappointments and fight until I get where I know I can be.

I spent my last Christmas eating reindeer in Oliva Gessi, Pavia, Italy, with my Italian replacement family. I drank sparkling wine in Bascape with my replacement cousins and spent a good couple of days dodging snow on the ski slopes of San Sicario. I battled the cold with hot chocolate and a frequent shot of grappa in my coffee. And flamed sugar cubes soaked in alcohol.

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Right now we’re planning our Christmas Eve dinner in Cape Town while sipping on Castle Lite next to the swimming pool. I don’t know who you thank for the great things that happen in your life, but I have had many prayers protecting mine and the only person I can thank is the Man who I will be celebrating on Christmas day. Buon Natale. Geseënde Kersfees. iMerri Krismisi. 2013, out.

sunset from lion's head

Cape Town to Namibia – 4147km in 7 days

Often in life, I am overwhelmed by this strange wave of excitement. It’s as if it enters through my eyes and travels through my veins to make my fingertips tickle. It’s a toe-curling bum-tickling joy that hits me like a caffeine trip. Makes me smile. Makes me want to live. Makes me yearn to run up mountains. Swim in the ocean. Eat a zebra.

Two weeks ago, my sister, who had been living in the Cayman Islands for 15 months, finally returned home, just a couple of days before I came back from Italy. It would be less than a week before she had to leave again to travel to Windhoek for a friend’s wedding. By car? Roadtrip? Cross-country roadtrip? I invited myself. I also accidentally got invited to the wedding in the end. Visited our long-lost cousin in Swakopmund. Saw my gran.  Ate too much biltong. Drank my fair share of wine. And Tafel Lager. And Jägermeister…

I saw the sun set over the desert. Discovered the source of a rainbow. Crossed the Tropic of Capricorn. Recreated my mother’s wedding photo in the Windhoek Botanical Gardens. Laughed ‘til my guts hurt. Reconnected with family. Crawled up Dune 7. Almost rode a camel.