Naturally Different

On the brink of my own marriage, an upcoming wedding and my happily ever after with the man of my dreams I do have to take a moment to consider what this all means.

Marriage is a decision we have taken into consideration after years of living together and loving each other. Marriage is what my significant other and I are deciding on together. It took a lot of courage for him to ask me on our first date and, by the way he was shaking afterwards, a ton more courage for him to ask me to be his soul mate. First and foremost we believe in equality, only yesterday I said I would follow him if he has to move for his career because I love him, I am there for him and as his fiancée will always encourage him. He corrected me and said it is not me following him but us going together. We are a team, we are one, we accept each other’s faults and do not judge each other on them because honestly I am not perfect and neither is he but we are wonderful for each other.

Now, if anyone knows how we work as a couple knows that we have a very creative and sometimes alternative lifestyle. We explore all options within reason between the two of us and have never felt awkward to say exactly how we feel or to ask for something different or new. Our relationship  is perfect for us, many people will look at us and wonder how our relationship works, and honestly it’s not up to them to worry, it is only up to us. My man and I often look at situations in life observantly and in an introverted manner. We are the quiet ones who are also the creative ones who, rarely, but still do perk up and explode with comebacks of comical genius. This is not to say we are boring in any way, not at all, we just prefer one-on-one conversation on a more intellectual level or technical or psychological or scientific levels. As many couples are one or the other I rule with my heart and he rules with his head. We are adventurous, forever young at heart and both have a very witty and at times dark sense of humour.

Natural to us is him out on a boys’ night where I make sure he has eaten something, made sure his phone is charged, checked to see where he’s going to start off the night in case I need him I know where to find him and to give him endless love when he comes home with the drunken munchies with a few too many MacDonald’s burgers in tow.

Natural to us is me on a ladies’ night where I we may end up at a club, he checks in to tell me he loves me and asks if he needs to call me a cab at the end of the night. When I arrive home he often has a chocolate waiting for me and we cuddle as the room spins for me.

Natural to us is getting home on a Friday afternoon with no plans and deciding on the spot, even with a coin toss what our night has in store for us. We end up at dinner at a restaurant we hadn’t tried before, trying a new liqueur or bottle of red. We have endless conversations and often are so engrossed we take ages to order food and drinks. We are spontaneity.

Natural is not scorning, snooping or mistrust. Many people think this is how to find out things about your partner, not us, we retract from criticism and argumentative nature. We have never spoken badly, sworn at or belittled each other. We will never set each other up for failure, we only have each other and our combined best interests at heart.

Natural to us is me, his future wife waking up with the sun on weekends, ensuring the house is clean and errands run, food prepared and coffee brewing. He wakes around noon and we sit over a good cup of coffee discussing what our weekend holds. I enjoy the role of the 21st century Stepford Wife. I willingly wash, cook and clean and he does not take advantage of that, he accepts and enjoys my ways. This allows me to be who I am when I am at home and out with friends. I let him be exactly who he wants to be because that person he is, is the person I fell in love with all those years ago, knowing he is stubborn, cool and calm and headstrong I love him still. He fell in love with an overly emotional, enthusiastic, ball of positivity. We have commonality where we are dreamers, we see the best in our peers and are extremely loyal.1463693_10154457165140537_8100168419924906853_n

We will move into the next stage in our life with such excitement and zest. We will always have each other as pillars of strength and someone to talk to when we need advice, calming down, love or just a genuine response when we need to talk. I can already see him being more interactive and loving towards me in situations, where before he was fairly neutral or he thought with his head, he is now thinking more with his heart, he is in love with me. I am in love with him and it feels absolutely amazing. Our love is our own, if people question it I can answer with a confident, “no one on the outside will ever know exactly how a relationship between two people work, only those two involved.” I take that line and ensure I am not a statistic who judges other’s relationships either, however if it is truly evident that the relationship is not working or one or both of the parties involved are truly unhappy I am also a friend who can raise my hand as an indication that I am there for my friends, of course I do not encroach, I simply make it known that I will be there at any point for the people I love.

Our differences, our similarities and our drive to seek out what is new, exciting and different will constantly motivate and positively feed our relationship. No one ever expects us to do “the done thing” or mainstream or follow trends, culture or society. We do as we please and it pleases us very much.

Distractions

I am living in 2014 yet sometimes I feel that my thoughts, ideals and methods are still a few decades back, or rather a few generations.

Like everyone I know around my age I own technical devices, a phone, laptop etc. This has become, dare I say it, an essential part to everyone’s daily life and in turn, daily distractions. I have a particular routine when I wake up. I am always up with the sun and take that time to check my Facebook, my Instagram and both my email accounts. While I boil the kettle for my coffee I check Candy Crush Saga and see if I have any WhatsApp messages. This is all before my other half wakes up! I sit at my desk around 8am. Check a multitude of social sites on my PC and again check Facebook. If I were to count the minutes and hours I spend on social media and checking games I would be astonished I am sure. I am also sure there is an app for monitoring that, pun duly intended. I have gotten to the stage where I leave my phone in my bag sometimes, in order to stop myself taking photographs and checking what’s going on online. I have even said to myself a few times when experiencing something new that I don’t actually want to take a photograph of it, I want to enjoy it in this moment alone and if I want to do it again, I won’t look at the picture, I will go back and do it again!

I look around at how a screen has become a gateway to an entire world that never existed before. One where I am a major culprit of photographing my food, with the ever-embarrassment of the flash against the white plate and fellow patrons in the restaurant thinking we have an indoor lightening storm! I take selfies, often with much retrospective thoughts where I wonder which side of the narcissistic wall I am on, am I confident in myself and therefore take a photograph, am I bragging about what, who or where I am or is this a poor excuse of, ” look at me, look at me”, going on where anyone who sees it will roll their eyes as they scroll through my posts to another person’s. I often try compare instant gratification of today to good things come to those who wait of yesteryear. Where a photograph was on a film camera, you waited ages to see the actual picture, you paid for everything you took and you always had a hard copy of it. Nowadays I take more photos of my cat than there ever were of me as a child and I was the first grandchild and child in the family!

Games and sites where you find out useless information, or only barely interesting information and images are the bane of my existence and at the same time, my addiction. I sincerely wish that games for devices never existed. It is the, as I wake up, just before I go to bed, real conversation blocker, get out of awkward silences that bother me so much. You are not only making yourself so very antisocial, you are being rude even if you are not the only person on your device in that room, you are taking away the importance of face-to-face conversation and, really, you do not need this in your life. It has no substance, it will not get your body fit, it will not increase your knowledge, it will not clean your house, it will not make dinner and it will certainly not get you that promotion at work. If I spent the same amount of time I do on useless sites on my writing, sewing, painting, jogging around the block, meeting friends for coffee or even reading a book (a real one with pages!) I would be more accomplished, also more fit by now.

Sometimes I look forward to power outages, a time to talk to my other half, even though he is in throes of frustration over the lack of power on the tablet and no access to his PC (note: I am engaged to an online gamer, web designer, web developer, graphic designer, programmer, photographer, troll the internet for hours amazing man). This is the time to go for a walk because you can’t watch the latest episode in the series, to make a braai and have dinner straight off the fire, not only will this be a social bonding experience, you have your light and heat you require and great flame grilled food for dinner. Be intimate with the person you love, some things are more fun in the dark. I now know why families were much larger a few generations ago, yes the cost of living was different but instead of updating their Facebook they were actually having sex.

If I could have it my way the internet would be a proper search engine of factual information and IMs – there to learn and to talk to those who are not in front of you. If only I could have these two things, without the pages and pages of ridiculous commenting, the stupid posts people put up, share, favourite, like, etc. Without telling the world what they ate for breakfast, how awful the traffic is (by the way, get off your phone while you are driving!) and way too many, “look at me look at me”, images the world would be a better place. We would enjoy conversations where we don’t know every moment of the other person’s day because we follow them online. I recently had three examples of this where I saw people I haven’t seen for a while and the very first words out of their mouths were to congratulate me on my engagement. It took away my excitement (and choice) of telling them. I didn’t get to express my happiness and show them my ring because they had already seen and liked it on Facebook. I am a culprit of this too. I live vicariously through Facebook and have some mean stalking skills. I know who you’re dating, who they used to date, where you work and I really shouldn’t know this info, this info took an hour of my life away where I could have just spoken about it to you, in person when we next meet. However, because I know you from A to Z already and the same for all of your besties, acquaintances and frenemies I really have nothing to say to you when I see you so I will probably bow my head once more and check my emails while you update your Instagram.

When the silver lining is so faint

As an adult who moved out of home going on five years ago now, on bad terms unfortunately, but quickly remedied I have hastily learnt how to be independent. I have enjoyed the many opportunities that have come across my way. Having said that working a full day in a corporate environment, studying full-time, maintaining and loving my relationship with my other half, running my household in respect of cooking, cleaning, laundry and groceries I quickly learnt how to be an adult as my family live quite far away.

Aspects that have changed for me from teenagehood to adulthood is things like conflict resolution and how to see the positive in a situation. Today is a mega example of that.

Early I awoke, 4:45 to be precise, knowing my kitten Watson had to be taken to the SPCA today to be sterilized. I already woke with a heavy heart because I knew he hadn’t been allowed food from 9:00 the previous night and knowing his first meow of the day is always for some kibble I knew I was letting him down and he would not understand why. By 8:00 I was in an Uber cab on my way to the SPCA, Watson in his cat carrier looking sad and nervous. We encountered traffic which would delay our day overall and end up costing more for the cab but that didn’t bother me. What bothered me was that I had left the house in a big mess in order to get the cat and myself out in time and mid-journey received an sms from the landlords saying that estate agents will be coming to see the house at 10:00. In a panic I had to reorganise my day, where I was going to stay at the SPCA all day and work on my laptop at the cafe there had now changed into a drop him off, go and clean the less than desirable house and later on fetch him after the procedure. Alright, new plan, I can do this.watson

On arrival at the animal hospital I go to the counter to check him in, on inspection of his papers (which I was proud that I remembered) they notice he had not had his July vaccinations. Panic stricken I explain that it was around the same time that his twin brother Holmes had been killed by the landlords dogs and I was in such a state that I completely forgot to take Watson, also, I had no idea how important those vaccines were when having a cat sterilized? Apparently very. The vet herself came out and advised that because of disease and this being an animal hospital he would have to go home. He would have to have his first set of vaccines again then the second set the following month and then come back to be neutered. At that point I cried a little, not intentional but at least they realised this was an innocent mistake and I now had put my precious kitten through scary car rides, no food, many loud dog noises and then we would have to go and do it again in a few months. Feeling down I then called another cab to come fetch me and Watson. On my way home the SPCA called me to say that it is okay actually, he can come and be sterilized now. As I was already on my way home to clean for the estate agents I said to them that I could not make it as this morning I was there and rearranged my day to make the 8:00 appointment, they also phoned us only on Saturday afternoon to tell us to come in on Monday. Arriving home with one very hungry kitten I decided to leave it for a few minutes before I fed him and start cleaning. Not even ten minutes later I receive another phone call from the SPCA to tell me that because he is from that very same SPCA they are not allowed to turn him away even if he is not up to date with his vaccines. Thankfully at this point they told me that they will send a driver right then to come fetch him. I was extremely grateful that I had not fed him as that would have added to all the confusion of the day. A kind gentleman came and fetched Watson and I cleaned the house in time for six inquisitive estate agents to come and look at my cottage. Not for selling purposes, no, just because my landlords are curious of the value of their house after renovations. This is the third time this year they have same day, sprung upon me that I will have strangers in my house for 30 seconds, the cleaning for that short length of time is barely worth it to me, my pride however, is.

In passing after the agents left I said to my landlord how I was not up to date with vaccines and therefore had to bring Watson back home and he’s gone there again and is to be fetched at 3:00 that same afternoon. Upon saying this she said her children are not attending their German lessons that afternoon and would actually like to go to the SPCA to play with all the animals and all of us can go fetch Watson together. Relief finally settled in. It took me at least an hour of calming myself down and apparently stress eating to realise that today had actually turned out better than it ever would have. I was going to Uber to the SPCA and Uber back either way even if I did not have to come home to tidy up. I would have initially spent the entire day there, buying coffee and snacks from the cafe and working on my laptop, I had no idea if they had wifi or not and that does make a drastic difference to my day. I came back home, cleaned up, which is great because now tonight I can look after Watson more closely and not have to spend time sweeping and the like. Then later on I get to go in the car with the landlords, not pay a cab and get my baby cat. A catastrophe all corrected by the good heart of my landlord. I am grateful and in future will remember all vaccines, on time!

August Love


10483079_10154448138340537_5194768432931161428_oAugust is always  a busy month. It includes some of my closest friends and families birthdays, my other half and myself celebrate our annual anniversary and this year to make it more exciting we were attending a friend’s wedding, a friend visiting from Dubai, a holiday to Nottingham Road and my sister visiting.

So jam-packed with fun-filled, food filled events that I knew August meant I would put on at least five kilograms willingly. August ended up being even more special. He proposed.

Thursday 7 August I received a link to site that I had to decode in order to see what he was telling me, this was the link: http://bit.ly/ONEoiLZEROKY and I had to change the URL  in order to see this, http://sd.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/i/keep-calm-its-my-day-off-tomorrow-3.png. After a few minutes I felt very smart as I figured out that he had taken the following day, our five years, off work. That night after coming home from gym I walk through the door to see a childlike grin on his face, he’s holding back giggles and a big smile. I pestered him for a little, I kept asking if something in our house had changed and as I am often unobservant when I am tired, but there was nothing not to notice. Eventually I get the response I am looking for, he has planned a weekend away for us. Naturally my first instinct is to ask if we can bring our kitten with and he chuckles to himself and hands me two plane tickets, we were leaving for Cape Town the following morning!

By the time I registered that we were going on a holiday the next morning it was after 8pm. He had organised for his sister to feed  Watson our kitten while we were away for three days and now we had to tidy up the house so it was presentable for when she visits Watson. All of a sudden it was 11:30, we had ordered take out for dinner as sheer excitement prevented me from peeling the potatoes that were intended for that night’s cottage pie. I had also decided to celebrate on my own and three glasses of wine later, a spotless floor and bags half packed I was ready to sit down and relax. Sleep did not come easily. I had slept for three hours before I awoke in anticipation. 02:30 on the dot. I was meant to only wake by 04:30 so I had enough time to wash my hair before we left the house at 05:15 to get to the airport. I did wake up slightly hung over and zombie-like due to my severe lack of sleep and gigantic excitement.

We arrive at the airport, it’s still dark and I wonder if in three day’s time we will be able to find our car again. My tech savvy love had downloaded the app for the airline we were flying and checked in online and didn’t require any boarding pass when we were getting on the plane because the app had QR codes instead. Fancy. We had a very comfortable two hour flight from 06:45 to just before 9am and arrived in the wind wrapped city of Cape Town. From visiting my family in Cape Town at least three times a year I knew the drill was, as soon as I walk out of domestic arrivals to stand strong so my sister does not bowl both myself and my luggage over with exuberant hugs and kisses. Standing at the ready she was nowhere in sight. Feeling slightly upset that I was not bowled over he told me we would be hiring a car instead!

My sister and mom knew we were coming to Cape Town that weekend. No one knew he was going to propose though. We arrived around 10am to where my sister waitresses to have the hugs and kisses catch up that we missed at the airport. My mom joined us shortly after 12 and mom, him and I had a delicious burger, chips and milkshake lunch at Hudson’s. During our lunch, served to us by my sister of course he was being quiet and sneaky once more. He kept showing pictures to my family on his phone, but not to me. After our lunch and a glass of wine he says we are going now to where we are staying that weekend, again, another surprise, I thought we would stay by family. The GPS lady can drive one crazy on a regular basis but if you don’t know your anniversary/holiday destination and the driver keeps smiling because he has planned this so secretively and so well, she can get rather annoying. I hear, “in 200m you will have arrived at your destination”, and my heart flutters. Firstly we were in Camps Bay, a breathtakingly gorgeous part of Cape Town, and secondly we had driven to the highest road there so the sparkling ocean views were absolutely picturesque.

We pulled up outside of a guest house called Atlantic Gold, a warm welcoming reception area and Nespresso coffee on hand was the perfect atmosphere. We were staying in the Sapphire Room, one of six at the guest house. We were on the top floor. Walking up the stairs I walked into our room first and literally gasped at the gorgeous view we had, just for us. Our large room had a beautiful bed, small dining area, kitchenette and tv. To our right, in the bedroom still, was a round hot tub, it was majestic. We had an en-suite bathroom with views of The Twelve Apostle mountains and bathrobes, of course. From our bed we had a gigantic balcony, with AstroTurf flooring and a massive round lounging chair and table and chairs to sit on too. This balcony with ocean views was completely in view when you laid on the bed because of the wall to wall glass doors. Spectacular.10582901_10154448149955537_5656941628214970413_o

We made ourselves comfortable, changed into more summery clothing and took in the view from the balcony, that afternoon we decided to get a few things for breakfast the next day and drove around Camps Bay for a while. What a beautiful area, if only we had champagne to complete the scene.

He had made early dinner reservations due to our ridiculously early start to the day. 6pm we arrived at our dinner location, The Round House. Welcomed by the staff we were taken into the building with outstanding views. We received a personalised menu with our names at the top, congratulating us on our anniversary. We were the first to arrive and I preferred that as it gave the waiters, maitre d’ and sommelier a lot of time to talk to us. We opted for the four course dinner with wine pairing. This was fine dining at its best and I was dressed like I was going to a steakhouse. On top of and in between the four courses we received appetizers, artisan breads with fragranced butters and a pre-dessert and post-dessert. We also had a drink beforehand when choosing which menu we were going to eat from. So very full from the biggest and most delicious variety of food I have ever experienced, we floated out of there in a cosy, boozy bubble of happiness. Arriving back at our guesthouse I was still so engulfed with endorphins and happy thoughts that all we could manage to do was cuddle on our balcony lounger, myself in a bathrobe of course, and watch the ocean. It was getting a bit cold, so we decided to go inside, I was following him inside when while still on the balcony he turned around, he held me and hugged me tightly, holding my hands and looking me in the eyes he said, “Nicole you are the love of my life, I just have one more thing to ask you”, he then got down on one knee, held out a small black box, opened it, and asked, “will you marry me?” Elation! Yes was my answer, he placed the ring on my left finger, a perfect fit, he got up and hugged me, we were both shaking with excitement! At that point he magically pulled a bottle of champagne out the fridge and had to explain how hard it was to not mention he had brought it all the way from Durban when I was so insistent on having a glass and said at least fifty times that that’s what would have completed our view that afternoon when we arrived at Atlantic Gold. Champagne, bathrobe, tears streaming down my face, the widest smile I have ever had, a diamond and white gold engagement ring and now my very own fiancé!

Saturday we decided to invite my sister and her boyfriend over to our guest house and surprise them with our good news, then, I received the bowl me over hugs and kisses from her! We went to have brunch at Caprice in Camps Bay and to celebrate we may have had a tequila or two. We went straight from Caprice to Kalk Bay to meet my mom, my aunt, three cousins and my cousin’s girlfriend and again we were able to tell our loved ones in person that we were engaged. As soon as my mom knew, it was time to go FBO (Facebook Official) and by the time we had finished celebratory drinks with the family at The Brass Bell my phone battery had died due to comments, likes and well wishes from all our friends and family back in Durban. Rushing back to the other side of Cape Town we were going to Rick’s Cafe for delicious tapas for dinner with my fiancé’s best friend from Cape Town and his other half who became his fiancée earlier this year. My mom joined us for dinner as this is one of our favourite spots in Cape Town, it did not disappoint! We drove back to Atlantic Gold which was thankfully close to Rick’s Cafe and only then did I check my laptop for all the wishes and love on Facebook. Sunday morning we awoke quite early, packed up and checked out. We went passed Hudson’s again to say one more goodbye to my sister, we had a bit of time before we had to make our way to the airport so of course we decided on a quick trip to Newlands Forest, absolutely gorgeous, if we could have gotten married right then right there in the beautiful surroundings we definitely would have! Mom wanted one last goodbye too and we went to Barrister’s in Newlands for lunch, a winner of R45 lunch specials every day was certainly the way to go and we left with full tummies and warm hugs. We flew back to Durban Sunday evening with the supermoon riding alongside us and arrived home to a bouquet of flowers, chocolate, champagne, strawberries and a beautiful card from my love’s sister.

 

http://www.atlanticgold.co.za/sapphire

http://theroundhouserestaurant.com/

http://www.theburgerjoint.co.za/

http://www.brassbell.co.za/wmenu.php

http://www.rickscafe.co.za/

http://www.barristersgrill.co.za/

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You’ll always be important

I have just read a beautiful post on Facebook about Dads and Daughters (http://www.fromdatestodiapers.com/50-rules-for-dads-of-daughters) and I am crying uncontrollably. For a few reasons. For the beautiful gestures that the list includes. For how I did not get to do a lot of them with my dad. For the fact that my younger sister did even less of them with our dad. For the fact that my mom took charge and made sure we still got to experience a lot of these special moments and milestones with her! 

Our father passed away December 1997. Days before Christmas, my sister’s fifth birthday and my ninth birthday. That was an extremely tough time for our mom but she still brought us up, with the help of her mom, who became our second mom and we loved her so. Still sent us to great schools and encouraged us both to go to university, we were always dressed immaculately, they made sure we always had food, food to share and sharing was the Number One rule in our house. Share with your friends, peers, neighbours and everyone you meet actually. We learnt a lot from our women-strong household. Father’s Day was renamed Second Mother’s Day in our home and if one could see love as a colour our house would be a rainbow! I missed out on time with my dad, a father figure in general and actually males all round due to our convent school upbringing but we had it better. We had those milestones and so much more. We would rough it out in mud and sand and come home as dirty as the naughtiest boy in the neighbourhood. We were the loudest household and had the most sweets so evidently the most popular household too. Pasta for breakfast on the weekend was the normal standard and if you wanted a second bowl of ice-cream after dinner, live a little, have that second bowl. Yes, I was quite a chubby child but I think back and reminisce of Disney movies we would watch, in my mom’s king size bed with six friends, all eating ice-cream or cake that mom had just baked for us. Falling asleep on our trampoline counting stars and attempting to jump off the roof to the trampoline to see who could bounce highest. We were boisterous and it was great. I do not always call myself a lady and I am totally fine with that. I am not even sure what my household would have ended up like if we had our dad there but I know I am eternally grateful for what we did have. Would we have been allowed pasta for breakfast?

La Maison

la maisonSaturday, the day of rest for a lot of us, the day to sleep in. After a bit of confusion, waking up and getting ready for the day at 06:15 then later being told I was going for coffee at 10:30 and not 07:00 I thankfully managed to fall back asleep. Hogwarts-styled dreams filled my subconscious all the way to exactly 10:15. I woke up and literally had to put shoes on and meet my best friend outside. I love my internal alarm clock, it’s one up from a body clock. I wake up on time, all the time. I haven’t quite figured out how this works though. Continue reading

Captured!

Captured!

Photo taken by my boyfriend at my best friend’s wedding on 10 May 2014 in Ballito, I was privileged to be one of her bridesmaids and certainly partied the night away with some truly outstanding humans!