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Showing posts from December, 2011

south coast holiday

It is finally summer holiday, which means I have just over 2 weeks off from work! It is customary in South Africa for offices to close for at least two weeks at Christmas time, which I have to say is a tradition I could certainly get used to quite easily. To kick off the holiday, Andrew and I spent two days with family in the lovely seaside town of Hermanus. Hermanus is about a 90 minute drive from Cape Town, on the south coast of the Western Cape. Luckily, part of what that means is that Hermanus' water is part of the Indian Ocean, and the sea is a almost ten degrees warmer than the Atlantic waters of the beautiful-but-frigid Clifton beaches in Cape Town.

We were lucky enough to stay at The Marine Hotel, one of country's Relais & Chateaux five star hotels. What a treat! The hotel was beautiful inside and out, and the service was superb. I can certainly see the appeal of these luxurious locales! It was a truly lovely weekend - relaxing by the pool, eating calamari and mus…

geez, louise

If my math skills serve me correctly, Louise will have just landed at the Washington Dulles airport after a long (read: 20+ hours) trip home from Cape Town. What a very strange thing to have her gone. Louise was the first person I met when I arrived at the SDI offices back in July. In fact, she was probably one of the first new people I met upon my arrival back in Cape Town. It was not long before I came to understand that there are a few things which are particularly close to this SA-Brit-American gal's heart: 1) humor, 2) strong, amazing women, 3) justice, 4) sushi, Thai food, Chai tea and coffee and 5) her family, and Cam. Unfortunately, she could not find ALL of these things here in Cape Town, and chose to move back to the good ol' USA in order to be within arm's reach of #5 on the list.

In any case, I am so glad that Louise chose to stick around for as long as she did. We became fast friends, and I am going to miss her smiling face every day! Not to mention having a …

lessons from a two year old

On Saturday, my brother-in-law, his wife and their almost-two-year-old son arrived from the UK. We have not all been together since before Calvin was born, so it was really a treat to spend Sunday at the in-laws' house lounging around in the sun, eating grilled meat and salads and watching Calvin get acquainted with the dogs, South Africa and Andrew and I. He's such a cutie, of course! 
Spending the day with Calvin reminded me just how amazingly uninhibited little kids are. They don't hesitate to express whatever emotion they are feeling, no matter how irrational or dramatic. Of course, to a certain extent we have to grow out of this in order to carry on in the world. But I also think it is something we can learn from. Why cover up fear with shame, rather than just acknowledge it and learn to walk through it? The same goes for sadness, pain or joy. Why do we minimize or cover these emotions with shame, as though we have no right to them? Perhaps I'll have to spend a b…

blue route

Yesterday I had the pleasure of venturing around Cape Town atop a double-decker bus. As a holiday treat, a bunch of colleagues and myself took a CitySightSeeing bus tour from the V&A Waterfront, passed the historic neighborhood of District Six, to our first stop at Kirstenbosch Gardens
Although it was overcast and there was a light mist in the air, the gardens were beautiful. They are nestled on the slopes of Table Mountain and are full of all sorts of flora indigenous to Southern Africa. We didn't have a ton of time, but we did get to check out a temporary exhibit titled "Untamed" that explores the relationship between man and wilderness through sculpture and poetry. The exhibit is a collaborative effort between sculptor Dylan Lewis, architect Enrico Daffonchio and psychologist Ian McCallum, and is well worth checking out.
From Kirstenbosch, we boarded the bus and made our way to Groot Constantia, a sprawling wine farm that is one of the oldest in the Western Cape…

working with winnie

As some of you might know,  I moved to Cape Town to start a job. That job is as a "research & documentation officer" with an organization called Shack/Slum Dwellers International, a global network of organized urban poor communities working to improve their quality of living through savings, enumerations, mapping, upgrading and partnerships. So, my daily routine can include anything from writing blog posts for our blog, to last minute trips to Africa, Asia and Latin America, to minute-taking at a marathon week of meetings with donors and government ministers, to visiting with community members in the various informal settlements across Cape Town, to rearranging our entire website, to... site visits with Winnie Madikizela Mandela. Yesterday was one of the latter. One of the South African community leaders, Patrick Magebhula Hunsley, serves on a Ministerial Task Team headed by Ms. Mandela. The Team came into being in response to the Makhaza toilet scandal a while back, an…

summer sunday

Starting the day at Melissa's on Kloof St., lazing about at Clifton 4th Beach in the afternoon, and ending the day with a Parma ham, arugula, pear and Roquefort pizza at Da Vinci's makes for quite the lovely early summer Sunday in the beautiful Mother City.

I have noticed over the course of my many trips to Cape Town that at most Cape Town coffee shops, an iced coffee is a blended ice+coffee drink that often also consists of ice cream and/or whipped cream. So, more like a coffee milkshake. But Melissa's Food Shop is one of the few places where you can actually get an iced coffee that equals ice + coffee + milk + your choice of sweetener. A few other places I have come across these rare delicacies include Bread, Milk & Honey and &Union.

One of the things you learn quickly in Cape Town is that weekends are about relaxing. Shops close around noon on Saturdays, and are closed entirely on Sundays, so errands are essentially out of the question, which is great. Basicall…

groot constantia

Yesterday I had the pleasant task of scouting out Simon's Restaurant at Groot Constantia wine farm, nestled on the lush slopes of Table Mountain. Beautiful, to say the least. We are headed there next week for our office's Christmas lunch... More photos to come! 

south africa, c. 2006

South Africa (film shots). 2006. Hidden treasure!

not so little anymore

Today is my beautiful little sister Alexandra's 24th birthday. I am so, so blessed to have such an amazing woman in my life as not only my dear sister, but my best friend. Of course I miss her terribly, and on special days like today, I spend even more time thinking about all the fun we will have when she comes to visit in February!  So grateful for the postal service (for getting her card to her on time!) and phones (so that I could sing her happy birthday!)

Happy Birthday, Zandy! I love you so!