October 29, 2013

a kingdom for the dragon slayer.

after i have roared, i did cry, a lot, and now i have moved on to inappropriate jokes and thoughts. if you are easily offended, you may want to skip this post. but then i don't know how you got here in the first place.
i am at the airport, trying to drink as many double g&ts before i board. i'm sitting here with my new pink memory foam pillow around my neck. my dad is having an emergency heart surgery and i'm flying home. whoopsie.
the surgeon is one of the best and he is close to my family. in fact back in the day he wanted to go out with me. i didn't want to for some silly reason or other i can't remember now. in fact i can, but i won't tell you for fear of someone yelling at me. ups.
my brother reckons if all goes well, i owe him a date after all. i agree and guess it's the modern day version of slaying a dragon for a girl.
on a more serious note i guess it is ideal worst case scenario. a personal mcdreamy for my dad. which doctor gives you his cell phone number and direct line to the theatre?
trying to pack when you to travel into the unknown, trying to keep the tears and the thoughts in check, is a tricky one. we all know that packing is a bitch at the best of times.
i'm wearing my leopard pants, not sure if this is appropriate. but then i will be at least easily recognizable as the 'daughter from africa'.
i thought about bringing my camera. after all i'm going to a city in germany i have never been too. can one do sightseeing on such occasion? i left it at home. iphone will have to do. i took my little blue backpack though. it reminds me of happier travel occasions.
i packed a small bag, the lady at the airport even asked me if i was sure i wanted to check it. yes, i am, i have shampoo. fuck. yes, you can buy shampoo in germany, but as i said packing is a bitch and i wasn't thinking clearly.

i had a lot more sarcastic and funny thoughts before i got here and started writing. now all i can do to not think about my dad is to wonder whether air france has really nice wine. they better.

October 28, 2013

i roar, not cry.

today i had planned a very happy post. a post about my lovely, first teaching-free weekend and the sunshine and the family gatherings and all that happy stuff. i even wanted to share lots of pictures of me and my sunburn. okay, fine, that is a lie as i didn’t get a sunburn didn’t take any pictures.

with or without the pictures, this post is so not happening now as i came home last night to find out that my dad instead of being released from hospital had to be moved back to the icu. then hell sort of broke loose inside of me and i went on a frantic phone spree to find out what had happened, what was happening now, and mainly if i had to book a flight back home immediately. i don’t know what to do in a situation like this. i have never been so worried for someone that close to me. i don’t know if that is something that you can ever learn or get used to somehow. and i realized that even though i know people who it has happened to and though i have read books about it and seen movies, nothing could have ever prepared me to how it feels first hand. how i felt like someone punched me in the stomach and knocked the wind out of me. i guess it’s the same with all grand things in life – you can empathize, but you actually don’t know anything until you have actually been there, done that. 

so yesterday i cried a lot, slept badly, and realized that while a crisis brings out the best in people, it also can bring out the worst in some. today i am not only scared and sad, but also seriously pissed off with certain self-righteous someones. but to be honest i am also being a complete asshole right now to anyone who doesn't have answers or too many or only the ones i don't want to hear, which is pretty much everybody. i roar and not in a good katy perry kind of way, but more in a 'seriously fuck off' kind of way. which i know is not fair at all, because everybody i roar at is just as scared as me and loves my dad just as much.

now i am going home to wait for news. since i feel utterly drained today i wish i was this person who would go do yoga and drink green juice to feel better, but alas, i am not that person. i am the person who eats rescue remedy pills like haribo, makes homemade pizza, and who stocks up on wine, because i realized yesterday that running out of wine in a crisis is a small crisis in itself.

in the midst of all of this i want to thank all of you who have offered me kind words, hugs, and understanding and prayers for my dad. it means the world to me to have people like you in my life; people who love and support me without questioning, because you know me, you know that i am scared, and you know i only roar so i don't cry.

October 23, 2013

why i do yoga. the truth.

i never walk out of a yoga classes feeling enlightened. i’m hoping for it to happen any day now, but so far it hasn’t. however i always feel a bit better than before. usually not a lot, but always a tiny bit. and that keeps me coming back. how many activities are there that make you truly, always feel a bit better? drinking? hangover! eating? feeling too full! run at the promenade? cape town wind! sex? no orgasm! a lot can get in the way of your activity of choice and feeling better afterwards. yoga to me is fool proof in that regard. but still, i am far from an angel. even after a blissful class, me not yelling at some idiot in a big white car on my way home is nothing short of a miracle. one time i was in fact so spaced out after a double class that i drove with my lights off, not noticing, but still managed to viciously swear at the person who pulled out of a parking in front of me, without indicating, because, well, as i eventually realized, they didn't see me.

and those are the better days. on day like today when i am overall irritated it starts in class. sometimes i scold myself for thinking mean thoughts about my fellow yogis. sometimes i am in such bad mood that i high five myself. today i used these thoughts to keep myself entertained before i could do so with a bottle of red.
i still think it would be great if my studio offered wine, so i don't have to scramble and try to get to spar before class. also it would spare me the choice of hiding my bottle because it makes me feel like a bad yogi or leaving it in my car, making me anxious someone will steal it while i pretend i'm a good yogi. so making wine acceptable and available at yoga studios would just really help this dilemma.

so i arrive, wine hidden in bag, and wait for the studio to open up. like the lemmings we follow one person upstairs with no better argument than he went up and so we thought it okay to follow. well, once upstairs we learn it wasn't okay. apparently the studio wasn't ready for our un-sweaty bodies yet and also, can we please be quiet. we are all inside already and on our mats, so that is crying over spilled soy milk, but i can get on board with the being quiet part.

of course the two girls who put their mats down next to me and haven't been here when the be quiet! speech was given. and so they talk and chat and annoy me greatly. but of course i, hating confrontation as per usual and even if it is just in form of a shhhhh, don’t say anything. i just continue to be annoyed. after maybe five minutes i am ready to get over myself and say something, but then i talk myself out of it, because saying something that long after they started talking, is just silly. i don’t want them to think me a cow. why i care what they think of me i don’t know. i decide to breathe and close off my ears from the inside.

now i’m fine. that is till i look at the girl's toes and realize she has one really crusty toe. she must have stabbed it. and while i know that this is not her fault, it still grosses me out. also, her nail polish is turquoise and that is not very nice in combination with the crusty toe. i am going into downward facing dog and realize that my toe nail polish is peeling off badly. for a moment i can relate to her and her crusty toe, but then i compare colors and decide that though mine is peeling, the color is just spot on whereas the prettiest part of her crusty toe is still turquois.

a girl walks in with black eyeliner and mascara. may i remind you that we are doing hot yoga? the last time someone walked into my class with black eyeliner and mascara, i gave her my eye makeup remover before she could put her mat down. nobody likes a raccoon.

next is a girl with a black leather jacket over her yoga clothes. now i’m just confused.

that is, until a girl with a white tank top and no bra walks in. i think her boobs, while perky, are slightly too big for no bra, but that may be up for discussion. however white top no bra in a hot yoga class seems to be asking for it. i remind myself that i seem to be the only really freakish girl who sweats like the sweaty guys, so maybe i need to back off white tank top no bra girl. maybe she really is one of these people who just glow after a hot yoga class.

now i’m feeling envious. it seems so unfair that some people glow while i drip.

luckily there is no model in the room today, checking her cell phone before/during class for that very important casting call back.

some guys really should wax their back. then again, i should have shaved my legs or worn leggings.

a guy walks in and he looks like prince charming. another guy follows and he looks like a hot brazilian. all is good with the world again.

the girl's toe seems to becoming closer to my mat while the teacher has us in plank. eeek. i usually like this teacher. today i think i must have been sleep-yoga-ing the last few classes, because she is no fun whatsoever. more plank and now we are supposed to lift a leg too. i don’t know why she is being so mean. then she says yoga teaches us to let go of our shit. and yes, she is using the word shit. i like her again and she is right.

when i leave, i smile. hot brazilian guy is nowhere to be seen and i'm dripping, but still...life, again, is just a little bit better after yoga.  

October 22, 2013

And this is what you missed - weekend edition.

This weekend or actually the past few days were quite emotional. It started with my Mum calling me to tell that my Dad had to go to hospital last Thursday. He is a bit better, but still not well and I am worried for him. And not that I needed any more confirmation that my decision to move back home is right, but him being unwell was definitely the cherry on top, a negative cherry if there is such a thing. I need to be closer when stuff like this happens, for myself and for my family.

Now he is contemplating whether he should even come to South Africa and I had to convince him to at least wait to make a final decision until he is better and out of the hospital. I reminded him not only of the sun, the wine, and our Test Kitchen reservation, but also painted a picture of him sitting in the shadow of a pomegranate tree in the garden of the lovely guesthouse I have found him, playing bridge. This was shut down with his objection that he is coming without his bridge partner and cannot play on his own. So if anybody knows a bridge playing lady in Cape Town who might be keen to team up with my Dad, let me know, so I have the best of all arguments at hand for him to get better and to come down here as planned.

Then I ran into the friend who hasn’t spoken to me in over 5 weeks not once but twice (!!) over the weekend. I guess it was to be expected as we move in the same circles, but it was uncomfortable nonetheless. Running into an ex friend you are not over yet is as eeeek as running into an ex-boyfriend you are still attached to. He smiled a bit too brightly when he said hi and I was trying to seem aloof and hide the hurt in my eyes.

On Sunday afternoon I got ready to drive to class when I saw that my driver’s side window had been smashed. Second time in a month, in broad daylight, nothing stolen.
I was livid. I still am when I think about it. Honestly someone who steals because he/she is hungry and has nothing is something I get. It’s not right, but I get it. Someone who destroys someone else’s stuff for no good reason whatsoever is simply an asshole. When they asked me at Glassfit to check a box and say what happened to the window the options read:

Stone throw
Break in
Smash and Grab

I asked where I could check the box for asshole. The clerk was laughing, but I was dead serious. Nothing I can do about it now, but rely on the fact, well for me it is a fact, that karma sees everything.

I drove to class in the wind with no window, arrived late, still upset, only to realize that I had packed my bikini bottom instead of my top. Bleh.
Then I walked into the studio filled with 35 people, one of the biggest crowds I have taught, and had the most amazing class ever.

And just like this all was good with my world again and that I am grateful for.

October 17, 2013

what pastaholic ate for breakfast.

i recently wrote a story for the travelettes about ha long bay. i mention that one of the main reasons why i decided on vietnam was because i love fresh spring rolls so much and wanted to eat as many as i could. and no, before you care to correct me, nobody calls them summer rolls there. pastaholic me however was thinking about pho before going there and got ridiculously excited by the idea of travelling to a country where it was perfectly acceptable to have pasta for breakfast. not even in rome did i eat pasta for breakfast, though i should have and next time i go, i totally will. and while i am very well aware of the difference between noodles and pasta, i was still excited and looking forward to 'pasta for breakfast'.
in case you don’t know what pho is – pho is a broth with rice noodles, usually served with chicken or beef, and notoriously mispronounced by foreigners who end up ordering a hooker for breakfast. i tried my best not to, but i also think that the vietnamese are used to the stupid westerners now and have learned to differentiate if someone is hungry for one or the other.

so we arrived and i ate pho. i ate pho on my first night in vietnam, i ate it at pho 2000 where clinton ate his pho, and at 6.30am after getting off a night train in nha trang with a dodgy stomach at a little side street cafe, barely avoiding pigs feet and blood sausage in my bowl. so i think i ate my way around and really gave it a fair chance. but in the end i realized again, because i kind of knew that already, that i am not a soup/broth fan. it doesn't get me excited at all, ever. unless it’s lobster broth, but even then i would prefer the actual lobster. but i didn't make a big deal out of broth dislike, i just started to eat only the noodles, the chicken, and at pho 2000 the funny, round mushrooms that looked like exploding shrooms from mario brothers, but that were actually super delicious. this was an okay solution for me, but i always felt a bit bad for leaving all the broth. it felt like i was insulting the chef's pho by not eating the broth.

the other thing that i realized is that eating noodle soup for breakfast is freaking weird. i really don’t want to sound like a horrible tourist here and i don’t think that my breakfast choices are making the world a better place, but for my palate noodle soup was weird. i thought i was going to be in heaven, being allowed to have noodles all day long, but for breakfast my stomach was like “what the heck? ever heard about eggs? ever heard about a croissant? a dry piece of baguette?”. it got very confused by my repeated attempts to feed it noodles at 7am, something it had clearly marked and stored away under lunch and dinner and after midnight snack foods.
then came the morning when we arrived in hanoi. again we had gotten off a night train which for a change hadn't arrived earlier, hurrah, but nobody had woken us up and so we had to get up, get our luggage, and get off the train in less than 5 minutes. then we had to walk to our hotel for about 10 minutes, backpacks and all, through grey morning streets and high humidity. at our hotel we couldn't check in yet, so we freshened up in the bathrooms, and went off to find some breakfast. even in busy hanoi not an easy task this early in the morning and at least the eggs benedict were still fast asleep. we went to a little corner cafe to have a coffee first and wait for the breakfast place to open.

my stomach was still dodgy, but i decided to ignore it and have an iced coffee with condensed milk. why anyone would drink coffee without condensed milk ever is beyond me and since i knew my days in vietnam were numbered i went for it. eventually more places opened and we had the choice of ordering pho from the stall next to the cafe or to have said eggs benedict for breakfast. my stomach and my wallet both decided that a little chicken noodle broth would be gentler for every party involved. i asked tam, our one vietnamese in the group, to order me a bowl. he did and in return i didn't growl at him when he wanted to take my picture eating pho. which i think says a lot about how mellow i am on holiday, because let’s repeat:
it was before 8am.
i was not feeling well.

implied that i wasn't wearing any make-up and that i don't like to have my picture taken in general. i think i was temporarily mollified though by my pho and by tam's camera, which is a fancy one in a cool, old school cover. and in the end i must admit i quite like it the picture. blame the filter, i blame the pho. the vietnamese seem to have it right – pho in the morning is good for you.

October 10, 2013

about leaving, yoga, and a slimy toe.

i just squirted liquid soap that someone had made more liquid by adding water all over me and my left big toe. i tried to rub the soap off, but ended up washing my toe and my flip flop in the process. i don’t think i have done a very good job with getting the soap off because both toe and flip flop still feel very slimy. slimy in a good way of course, because it is soapy slime, but still… also it has now spread from my toe to the rest of my foot so it’s sliding around on/in the flip flop.
anyhow what is going on in your life?
other than having a too clean toe right now life has been really good lately. ever since the big news is out of the bag – can i still say this even though it's not a cat? - i have a newfound excitement for everything. an excitement for life, the future, myself. i’m feeling very bubbly on the inside. i am even doing vinyasa classes, if you believe it, these days. if you know me, you understand that this is a big deal. i do bikram and in bikram you stand still, which i like and which i am quite good at most days. that sounds more dreadful now than it is, because i firmly believe that people need to stand still more often and just be and breathe. in my case however i feel like i now need to literally go with that flow i have found and move and jump around and do. the thinking is done, now it is all about doing and it feels really, really good to get moving, on and off my yoga mat.
last night i had a dream of how i was back in hamburg and my brother told me that he was moving to new york for work. i can’t tell you how upset i was about this and i had to try my hardest to put on a brave face for him and be supportive of his decision. when i woke up and realized it was only a dream i was very, very relieved. part of the excitement of moving to hamburg is that i will be closer to my brother and my nephew. at the same time it really gave me an appreciation of how the people here, who love and cherish me, must feel that i am moving away. i never really thought much about that before to be honest. i was always the one moving countries, even continents, leaving it all behind when only the idea of staying became harder than the idea of leaving. but leaving was still always hard and it will be again. but with that in mind i never really thought about the people that i am leaving behind and that, without tooting my own horn, it might be really hard for them too.
till i had this dream and i was in the reverse position.
as it is i am unashamed selfishly glad that my brother is staying put for the time being. and i am so grateful for people that love me enough that they will miss me. i will miss you too! when the subject comes up with my boss or thekla and they both look at me with puss in boots eyes, i already almost cry. so no, actually i take it back; being the one that is leaving makes it double as hard.
but as i still smile while i’m writing this, i know i have made the right decision and that feeling makes it all alright. well, sort of…

October 3, 2013

the news.

i’m telling you my news today. you may or may not care and that is entirely up to you, but i am quite excited.

i told my uncle last night and he was sort of the last hurdle beloved that i had to tell in person before putting it in writing. if i haven’t told you in person, please don’t be upset with me, it doesn’t mean that i don’t love you, it simply means that i am less scared of you than i am of my uncle. i was very scared he would yell at me. or even worse not speak to me at all. so before i started telling him, i made him promise.

me: promise that regardless of what i tell you now that you will not not speak to me anymore.
uncle: who are you marrying?
uncle: are you marrying insert name of hated ex-boyfriend here?
me: noooo!
uncle: okay, then i promise.

here is the big news: i am moving to hamburg next year.


there i said it. i wrote it. it’s on the internet. which is the 21st century version of putting something in stone, isn’t it?

you ask why? of course you do. here you go:

faq as to why annika is leaving beautiful, sunny cape town and moving to hamburg which is known more for its fish rolls and drizzling rain. (not that there is anything wrong with fish rolls!)

q: when did you make this decision?
a: three and a half weeks ago after a sunday afternoon nap dream about hamburg.

q: is that when you make your important decisions? after a nap?
a: the value of naps is completely underrated. i believe in their powers and make most of my important decisions either during nap time or when i’m in the shower. restaurants should come with beds or showers, because it takes me forever to decide what i want to order.

q: but don’t you like cape town?
a: i love cape town! but sometimes love is not enough.

q: didn’t you always say that cape town was your home?
a: i did say that, but in the end it actually isn’t my home. i can’t even say drol in die drinkwater properly and i don’t like rugby. i also got into an argument once with an ex when he wanted to buy a small braai and put it on my balcony. i thought that was silly as i have a perfectly fine stove and good frying pans.

q: during your last christmas holiday in germany you were not only sick, but also depressed – how will you manage?
a: that’s why i’m planning to move in summer, so i can ease into it. also i will tell my dad to make something else than oily beans for christmas lunch so i won’t get sick again.

q: still…why are you moving?
a: besides the nap dream? i read this lovely story from natasha. she had just gotten robbed in her sleep and could still find such comfort in the fact that she is south african and how she loves her country, her home. i thought that was beautiful, but i realized when it comes to south africa i can’t relate.

q: have you tried?
a: yes, i have tried a lot. for six years in fact. but it has been hard, so now i want to live in a place where maybe relating for me is a bit easier.

q: what are you going to do in germany?
a: besides dancing a whole night on the reeperbahn and eating a fish roll for breakfast? okay, in no order of importance:
play uno with my nephew.
have my brother cook me dinner.
meet marie’s baby girl.
play with marie’s baby girl.
fly to paris for a weekend to eat all the macarons at ladurée.
bring back more macarons to eat with julia.
actually, scratch that.
i’d fly to paris with julia and eat all the macarons at ladurée together.
eat joey’s pizza and paint my nails red with xenia.
do bikram yoga every day.
be home for my dad’s birthday and finally clean up the attic.
have carnival in cologne again.
get an awesome job. or work freelance. or start my own business. just because i can.
drink rhubarb juice. with the good aldi champagne.
have my mum make me the original poor man’s meal.
finally fly with ryanair. to barcelona and rome and morocco and london (ash!!!).
shop at cos. and buy some prada shoes.

the list could go on and on.

q: but won’t you miss cape town?
a: i will miss cape town terribly. and if i were to put together a list of things i love and like doing here it would be just as long.

q: then why do you go?
a: you have asked that before. i am simply a bit stuck here. i need a new adventure.

q: i don’t like it.
a: that’s not a question and you don’t have to like it. everybody who is important to me likes it or at least understands and supports my decision.

guys, if you think this was a weird post you are probably right and i apologize. i can’t really put it all into one coherent string of thoughts yet, at least not in writing. as i have mentioned before my head is swimming these days with the magnitude of my decision and how i will make it all happen and how much i will miss cape town and the questions of am i freaking crazy? and should i take my pizza shovel with? go around in my head. so that is why this post is what it is and the answers to those last questions are probably yes and yes. i will leave as such for now.

October 1, 2013

orange. friendship. silence.

i’m doing it again and sharing a very random picture with you. actually it is not so random as the travelettes are doing another instagram challenge and this time it is all about autumn. tricky one for me as we finally had the first visit of summer and getting cold and cosy is the last thing on my mind. but nevertheless i wanted to show that cape town can do fall colours as well, so here is my version of turning orange.

since last week i have come, again, to the conclusion that happiness and contentment really is something that doesn’t magically happen just because the sun is out. though it helps, it is an active process, something i knew before, but needed to remind myself of. so i am working on it and life is not as bad as my last post may have sounded. a lot of people seemed a bit worried about me. thanks for caring and the giraffe pictures!

however one comment on my last post really made me think. i mentioned how i felt i was losing a friend and how he hadn’t been in touch to resolve an issue i was having with him. a girl commented how she had also lost of a friend, not because of text massages, but because he died as she wrote. boom. that hit me in the stomach. it made me incredibly sad for her and it made me think. think about the whole situation from with my friend all angles again. i questioned myself if i had just written carelessly, giving the impression i didn’t speak to my friend because of some silly, unanswered text messages, or had i been carelessly with my friendship?

fortunately, i guess, i can say that no, i might be careless with my spelling at times, but i have not been careless with my friendship. in fact i don’t think i have ever been careless with a friendship. sometimes friendships have just come to an end without it being anyone’s fault and i have accepted that. and if there is an issue, i will say something. i will fight for my friend and if necessary i will fight with a friend to resolve things. i know that i am loyal and once something is resolved i don’t hold grudges. i am not someone to lose a friend over unanswered text massages, but i have also realized that eventually it all goes both ways and at some point a friend needs to call you back and acknowledge you and even argue with you.
i had previous relationship with boyfriends not talking, turning into an ice block of silence when there was an issue. i hated it and would do the opposite – yell and scream and cry. which admittedly wasn’t ideal either, but silence…ugh, silence drives me up the walls in any relationship when something needs to be sorted out and spoken about. why are we so afraid to argue with people that we love? surely silence will break any friendship, any relationship much faster than any honest words we could say to each other? to speak or not to speak should that really be a question?
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