Life of Bear

Life of Bear – The Return of the Bear. Version 2.0

Phew. It’s been a long time since I wrote a blog post. I wonder if any of you still remember me (or even remotely care?)

Anyways, I feel obligated to explain my latest string of depressing Facebook status updates (and to promise that I won’t subject you to EMO BEAR again :).  Even if I write this post solely to myself, it will serve as vindication and true realisation of a new goal and hopefully my new future. Essentially I guess, once I publish this post and let the interwebs (and my 3 fans) know about it, one can assume there is no turning back….

Let’s start this blog off with a really great quote, which sums up my mindset right now:
“It’s impossible.” said pride. “It’s risky.” said experience. “It’s pointless.” said reason. “Give it a try.” whispered the heart.”

In a nutshell, the last 6months have been pretty dismal. Work, my desk, the ball and chain that lay beside it, the structured office hours and the ever-present spreadsheets have taken its toll. And yes, I will admit, this is an age-old issue, one that I have been wrestling with internally for years. I am not built for a 8-5 job, where I do not speak to anyone.  or move for 9 hours. I’ve always known this. And yet been content to settle.

But somehow, this time has been different. There has been an incredible sense of frustration and an overwhelming sense of desperation to escape, with an intensity that I have never experienced. The pressure to find myself was finally forced into becoming a reality. I had reached my breaking point. I could no longer sit on it for another five years, or tell myself that changing jobs would fix it…. it was time.

So I embarked on a journey. To discover, record, calculate and analyse what I love to do; and how I could translate this into a career that I love. A “job” that could give me what I needed out for a “career”. Which is a whole list of pre-determined things. Things that I want from my life. And those who know me will know that they have been carefully tabulated into a spreadsheet and cross-referenced with time lines…. 😉

And I’ve finally got it. I really think I do. And before I tell you, I know it’s maybe unrealistic. I am not naive. I know it’s going to be hard. I will probably be poor for awhile. I know that maybe I am not physically the best example of this. I know this.

But what I do know that I need to do THIS. So I’m putting all of you haters out my mind, TOTALLY not telling my dad until it’s too late (considering even buying my work email domain name… he’ll never know!), and I am going to give it a try.

Starting from next month, I am going to be completing my 2 year National Diploma in Specialised Fitness and Nutrition, via distance learning at ETA, while I continue my current job.  Essentially, after one year I will be a qualified Personal Trainer and in my second year, I will go on to specialised studies in pregnant ladies, morbid obesity, exercises for the adolescent and old people.  I will also complete additional modules in sports massage, nutrition for performance (like for training athletes), Pilates and yoga instruction.

In July 2012, I am hoping to pack in this full-time office stuff forever and start my own business, focusing on helping people achieve their fitness goals. I will start building a client base now already, while I complete my practical hours and hopefully will be able to get it going after I qualify in my first year and then continue my specialised studies in the 2nd.

It’s going to be an ASS lot of work, especially now with studying while working full-time plus practical hours, but I can do it. I want to do it. Health and wellness gets me so excited. Maybe it’s because I was so ill for so many years and the mere idea of health was such an unachievable ideal. I want to inspire others, the way I have been inspired by my Personal Trainer, by my own quest to be healthy and live life to the best of my ability. And while I know I am not the thinnest or most ripped person in the world, I can honestly say that I have struggled with my weight and fitness and my own illness demons – and truly believe I can pass this onto my clients as motivation. My long-term goal would be to open my own wellness studio, along with a biokineist, physiotherapist and dietician etc. all working under one room and helping each other a Wellness Private Practice.

I can’t believe that last time I felt so excited about something. I finally think , after YEARS of searching for it, I’ve found it – the thing that makes me tick, that I can do for “work” but really consider it for “fun.” The possibilities are endless, the hours will allow me time to do other things as well, like freelancing writing for health magazines, buy a Bootcamp Franchise etc.

I am so excited. For my first time in my life, I feel alive with possibility. With freedom. Something I never feel when I think about marketing… (erugh)

I am hoping once I start studying next month, knowing I am working each day towards my “out”; that this will make each day behind this desk more bearable. That each day behind this desk is essentially one more day closer to my freedom.

So there it is. You are free to your own opinions on whether it is right or wrong, if I can do it or I can’t. or if I should or shouldn’t. That’s cool. You are entitled to that. But the only opinion that currently has any merit at the moment is my heart. Not pride. Not experience. Not reason. Just my heart. (but your words of encouragement most welcome!)

So ya, let’s hold thumbs for no more depressing Facebook status’s! Apologies for all the emo-ness. It had to be done to get to this point I suppose.

Phew. Glad it’s out there now. So let’s get to it! (taking applications for fitness guinea pigs, anyone keen?)

lots of love,  Bear 2.0


Surfing Safari

The gloomy weather outside and general lack of creativity has caused my mind to wander back to the warm sunny days of Cape Town Summers past. Most particularly, one day back in December 2008, where I attempted to learn to surf. To be honest, I am surprised that my swiss-cheese mind can even recall such a care-free memory of yesteryear – at the moment, my mind seems to be weighed down with grown up concerns like kitty-cat medical aid, how can I continue to look busy at work for 8 hours a day and how I’ll never really forgive my parents for forbidding me to go and pick apples on a Kibbutz in Israel (in all fairness, the holy war was kinda at its peak back then) but yet, I found myself recalling the smell of the Muzienberg beach on a Sunday afternoon (the air rife with the smell of seaweed and family-sized buckets of KFC) and the encumbering experience of having sand and sea water blown backwards through your sinus cavities – ah memories.

The feel of the warm sand beneath your toes, that excruciating pain when you snag your skin in the wetsuit zipper and the feeling of doing a underwater somersault while the powerful sea current treats you like a toy boat in a storm – it’s all pretty damn unbeatable. But the best thing about surfing is when you manage to stand up on the board, control the wave and ride it to the end of its furl, to be greeted by your cheering fans.

<I assume this must be the best thing about surfing. I never quite got past the pathetically scrambling to lie on the board properly (size C boobs are a bit of an encumberment when it comes to lying flat on a surfboard – throw in some sticky wax and you have a right party).

I’m glad that I savoured the memory of learning to surf because to be perfectly honest, it’s highly unlikely I will ever really learn how to do it again – these recent shark attacks have make me rather uneasy about being in the water (almost feel like it would be shooting fish in a barrel – excuse the bad pun!). But let me tell you – when you wear contact lens and your vision is a tad distorted after taking a salty tumble, an innocent blurry rock and a good dose of blind paranoia (that was another clever pun by the way!) can quickly lead to an embarrassing situation. <they may call me the chick who cried “shark”>.


I resolve this Summer of ’10 to get up at least once on the board. and make it to the end of the beach. I’ll keep you posted.


Introducing the ginja ninja :D

I have a new child. And he’s a gorgeous ginja ninja 😀

I must be honest and confess upfront that I have never been a cat person. Cat’s always seemed snobby and too independent for a dog lover like me. I didn’t want to spend vast amounts of money on an animal that I only saw at dinner time, before he ran away to kill something (and then the next time you see him, he’s brought it back – yuk).

But, it would be cruel to keep a doggy in the place where we live now (small garden) and to be a good dog owner requires much more of a commitment than cats (think – walking it every day (in the rain)); but life without a pet has just been to empty – so enter – the ginja ninja.

Basic points; his name is Scooter (he likes to “scoot” all over the house, up and down the stairs – it’s also a derivative of “Doug’s” friend Skeeter, that use to go “skeet skeet” – ha ha.); he loves cuddles, sleeping on the couch and purrs like a tractor! <really. It sounds like a helicopter is taking off once he’s had his pats of love>

I have spent a good part equivalent to the GNP of a small country on cat toys and equipment; think scratching posts (plural); an electronic water fountain (worth every penny); beds in all shapes a forms (yet he still wants to sleep in the free cardboard wine box <this dude has taste>). My latest procurement is a huge spider thing that you stick to the window – it has bells on its 8 legs *jingle jingle*

He already knows how to use the litter box (plus); hang on the curtains (not so much a plus) and love you unconditionally. He also already knows that the spot in between myself and fish in the bed is the “bestest” place in the house. He seems to like watching Grey’s Anatomy and Gordan Ramsey, but hates the sound of my electric toothbrush and the dishwasher when it finishes its cycle.

I’ve become a crazy cat lady and have brought him a little lead (ha ha). Don’t laugh – this is so I can take him out into the garden (so he can get used to it without running away); and for trips to the vet (first big day tomorrow).

He was found under the Wetton train station and would have been put to sleep unless Fish and I adopted him. To put this into perspective, on the weekend that we adopted him, 100 animals were adopted out. This sounds like a lot – but over 800 were brought in and abandoned. The scale is grossly out of proportion.

This is something I feel very strongly about and will fight you until I am blue in the face with you about. Sterilise your pets dammit. NO animals actually enjoys giving birth – it’s cruel. Don’t go to breeders and rather get your animals from rescue shelters. Scooter is so beautiful, he has the markings of a pedigree red tabby and is in perfect condition and health – there is NO NEED TO GO TO A BREEDER. There are so many beautiful animals that need homes – don’t support private breeders – by going to them and giving them your money, you are only supporting the death of hundreds of other animals. It’s the hard, cold truth – no matter how much you want to justify your pedigree to me.

I coincidentally, also feel this way about having children 😉

Our little family is now; 1 bear + 1 fish + 1 cat = 1 farm (not quite, but in our 2 bedroom townhouse, it sometimes feels like a farm).  However, the three of us are still quieter than the horrid children next door. I’ll take my little family over theirs – any day!

I’ll get some pictures up soon. Xxx

Twilight: New Moon – an unbiased adult review (NOT)

Last night I had the displeasure of watching Twilight 2 (or whatever it’s called: New Moon). God, that was 2hrs13mins of my life I will never get back. Fish tried to convince me that it HAS to be better than the first.

And yes what…….?
The movie sucked. Yup. It was so bad, that I am not even going to waste time writing about it – that’s how bad it was.

Instead, I am going to unearth an email that I wrote to my friends after I watched the FIRST Twilight. Because that is all this franchise is worth – recycled emails.

04 April 2009

Dear Friends,

Twilight, the movie EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU GIRLS told me was absolutely brilliant….in fact, wait…! I present you the quotes:

Oh my gosh, Twilight is so good.  I will watch it again with you if you want.  Something so hot about this man – he falls in love with someone who he also wants to kill cos he wants her so much – so bad-ass, cos he cant lose control with her……imagine the tension!!

(insert pictures of Edward Cullen which were making Mazzles drool)

I lent the first one to Lopz for SA and she gave it to Mazzles when she got there to read. It is great fun and YES watch then movie! Watch the movie first and then read the book, probably better that way.

Lopz, you had the book in your paw when you were here on SA shores. Nuff said.


So after all these glowing reviews, I was obviously completely elated when Fish and I went to the DVD store last night and there was ONE LAST copy available. Man, I was so excited. Even Fish was getting rather excited as I explained to him the build up and the hype over this movie.

So, we go home with a packet of prawn cocktail chips from Woolies and order pizza and open up a bottle of Buiten….

My god. It was an absolute abortion. I truly cannot remember the last time I saw such a mind numbly boring movie.

It was bad for MANY MANY reasons; this being:

  • He is NOT hot. In fact, I would go far as to say that he looks like a white sheet covered in Maybelline face powder. With eyebrows that are a likened to furry caterpillars. Shame on you Maz (and the rest of the entire tween population who seems obsessed with this man). Gollum with eyebrows.
  • It was not realistic. Yes, I actually can get past the fact that an entire family of vampires has gone unnoticed eating dogs in town of less than 3,000 people (despite the fact that it sounds like lightening when they play baseball – imagine what happens when they have too much curry for dinner and they fart? But HEY) …
  • but I mean, this chick (who is perpetually emo and miserable the ENTIRE movie and seriously needed some pink lippy to brighten up her face) – she meets this guy in Biology, he gives her a funny look and the next thing she’s chasing after him saying she’ll be with him forever and wants to be vampire. SERIOUSLY> they like, knew each other for about 5mins and she’s spouting all this crap. There was no character development at all! I didn’t care if she got crushed by that $700,000 HUMV that that 15 year old was driving.
  • There was NO MUSIC during the entire movie. Once, once there was music in the background when they were trying on prom dresses in town, but that was it. Otherwise, you could have heard a vampire fart (although, see point 2, you would realise that a vampire farting would logically technically be very loud)
  • There was no violence. None. Like, the rouge vampires attack people and it’s all blurry. No blood. And then they had that stand-off on the baseball field – WHY WHY (for petes sake we are now 01h45mins into the movie and pretty much NOTHING has actually happened) can’t there be at least a punch thrown or something to liven it up? Oh no, the vampires have a nice civil talk and go their separate ways.
  • It was not true to vampire lore – EVERYONE knows that vampires turn to dust in the sun (they don’t glow like gold) and you can’t see their reflection in mirrors!! (hence the finale in the ballet school was completely unrealistic) This totally pissed me off because vampire lore facts must remain just that – facts.
  • In the most exciting part of the movie (if one could call it that) when the Hunter / Tracker / James / whatever the f*ck his name was / tracks down the emo girl in the ballet school and the sister rips off his head… I fell asleep. Yes. 7:45pm people and I was out. Fish woke me up to see the end with the prom and stuff and ya, it sucked donkey’s balls.

It was putrid. We were disappointed. In fact, we only kept watching because it was like a morbid fascination with a traffic accident. You hope you are going to see something gross. But no.

Maybe the book is better though?

But eurgh. No thanks. Eurgh.

Seriously guys, I feel like you each own me R7.50 to cover the cost of renting that DVD.


That is all

No f*ing way am I going to watch the 3rd!


Act-uaries Snack-uaries

I wish had something interesting to write about on my blog, but I really don’t. Currently my life is consumed by the most boring (yet elite) topic know to man. Yup, actuarial science. For work , I am helping organise a international gathering of actuaries from all over the world. Close to 2000 of ‘em. I just wish I understood what they were speaking about half the time.

I mean, do any of you know what “Notes on Considering the Hidden Asset or Contribution Asset” or “under Developing International Financial Reporting Standards” honestly means? I don’t. I wish I did. I would probably make more money. I also would not have to nod my head enthusiastically during sessions.

So ya, life has not been very exciting, work has been exhausting and my social life (and therefore my fun, life experiences on my blog) has suffered deeply. However, all will be over in 2 weeks time and life will return to normal soon.

My god, I really can’t think of anything to say. I think the finance and statistics and scholastic programming have finally gotten to me.  See case in point of rhyming heading. I called them “snack-uaries” because getting through the past few months has required jelly beans by the ton.

On a side note, I believe that the annoying loud-sexed neighbours have moved out/been evicted/taken their tik lab elsewhere. The dog is mysteriously quiet (possibly presumed dead); the screaming child noises have subsided and the suspicious moving of heavy objects at 5am appears to have dwindled. I would like to believe they have quietly moved on to annony neighbours elsewhere, however Fish is convinced they are on the run from the eyes of the law. Or they inhaled too much product and they all have perished inside the house. Which explains the uncharacteristic peace. I’ll keep you posted for any weird smells wafting over the wall.

Noisy Neigh(bears) Part 2

On Monday night at 23h30, the Grammy’s paid tribute to Michael Jackonson. They played Earth Song  for about 3mins and everyone cried.

I don’t have a TV and I went to bed on Monday at 21h30. So how do I know this?

Well, because when the Grammy’s started to play the MJ Earth Song Montage, my hippy (ex) Lesbo neighbours (I say ex because the man has been around for 2 weeks, no sign of sleep-over girl for ages – she must be back on men) turned out their TV and CRIED so damn loudly that they actually WOKE ME UP. Through the damn walls. I had already been sleeping fo 2 and 1/2 hours and their loud crying and wailing to Earth Song physically made me awake from my slumber.

I mean, I LOVE MJ, but people please – if you are waking up others through the walls, you seriously need counselling. Or lay off the tik that I reckon you make and sell (and smoke).

I seriously need ways to get these damn people evicted! Thoughts, suggestions – anyone?

Caving – Bear Style

In the spirit of the new year, I have tried to embrace new things, do something everyday that scares you (like drink full cream milk)….blah blah all that new year resolution stuff that you tend to forget about by February (which is today! oh yay!)

Last weekend, I really had the chance to push myself out there. We went caving. I  am EXTREMELY claustrophobic, arachnophobic and ophidiophobic (fear of snakes – don’t worry I had to google that one!). So the idea of climbing into a dark, small hole, where snakes and spiders are almost guaranteed to be setting up house, was clearly a challenge for me.

The hike started at Echo Valley in Kalk Bay and you basically walk uphill for about 60mins until you get to Boomslang Cave (yes, that is the ACTUAL name of the cave, forgive me for not immediately diving into a cave named after a poisonous, lethal snake).

We reach the cave and the entrance is probably the size of a mini-bar (usually refer things in terms of alcohol related metaphors). Seriously. Panic ensues.

All the other girls bravely venture into the dark. Most of the boys were too scared to go inside. I don’t know how to interperupt this – the men were either extremely intelligent, or the women were exceptionally stupid. Either way, I couldn’t sit outside and NOT go in after climbing uphill for an hour. So I adjusted my headlight (so RAD, I felt like a miner) and entered the cave, following the glow of Mazzle’s white sneakers… (not so white anymore).

my god it was dark. and cold. like the kind of cool, soily smell where you know snakes are sleeping/spiders spinning webs to catch their prey of unsuspecting hikers/people leave bodies to rot because no one will find them.

The mini-bar entrance turned out to be quite large compared to the tiny tunnel up ahead. I would compare this to a champagne flute. One had to literally drop to ones stomach and belly-crawl across the floor. All I could envision was the stone caving (ha ha funny pun) in around me, forever burying me in a cave with bugs. aaaaaargh. getting the heeby geeby’s just thinking about it!

But.. after about 20m’s, the tunnel opened up to the AWESOME big cave. it was SO COOL and I was feeling rather chuffed with myself. It turns out the cave went on for miles underground, with us spending about an hour inside, just exploring different caverns and tunnels, winding in and out.It was pitch dark and at one point, we turned off our torches and just enjoyed the silence of the cave (cue: drip, drip, scuffle, scuffle OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT TURN THE LIGHT BACK ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) .

We came out on the other side of the mountain and gazed down on Fish Hoek from above. Someone made a reference to the Land Before Time. We all laughed. It was magic.

Really great day out, good excercise and a personal challenge to myself – all met within one afternoon. Topped off by 3 HUGE beers at the Brass Bell afterwards. Another perfect day in the Life of Bear.


Un(bear)able Neigh(bear)s

Hello there all of you in the digi-realm we call the world wide web. Sorry about the heading, got carried away by all the bear-possible puns.

Sorry I have been scarce – we move house and I have yet to sort out a 3G card. The mere thought of having to make contact with those baboons at Vodacom sends me into convulsions; so I would rather go without internet than endure the administrative hell it would entail. But thank you for all your “where are you” emails – that means so much to me!!

In hindsight, it actually is pretty cool not having the internet at home – it means I do something other than Facebook. Like read. Quite novel really. Sometimes I feel like I am back in time to the days of Dr Quin and Selley, reading my manuscript by candlelight… ok, it’s not really like this. Usually I give up reading after 30mins and start watching re-runs of That 70’s show. (pretty cool flashback actually. Eric and Donna and that foreign kid were well groovy).

I know I owe you all at least 3 posts on the exciting lives of my new neighbours. Basically we live in this double-story townhouse, with windows that over look into the courtyards of those next to us. It’s like glorified reality TV. I just sit at my window with some rice-cakes and watch the show. Jeff Probst would love to get his Survivor cams into these people and win that Emmy. Let’s break it down:

1) on the right hand side of us, lives someone I akin to Adolf Frizel. He lives alone. He works from home.  He has not contact with the outside world. He never leaves the house. Ever. Ok, the three times in 4 months that I have seen him leave, he goes out for 6 minutes (to the 7 eleven across the road) and the comes straight back again. Fish says it’s so that his child prisoners in the basement don’t escape. He has large strange, human-shaped bumps in his very over-grown garden that could be bodies. Of the three times I have seen him, he always wears the same stained jacket and has a bad comb-over. He talks to his mother loudly on the phone. I am tempted to steal his mail, get his full name and google him. But I am terrified of what I might find.

The other day he had what looked like a hooker sitting outside his house for 9 hours. She just wouldn’t leave. He then tried to get Fish inside his house to explain the situation. Fish is too afraid to go inside. And he’s a big 6 foot guy. “Friz” also has a strange liking to MSN and will chat online all night.. 3am kinda stuff. I know this because the “BING BONG” noise that MSN makes when you get a chat notification comes thundering through my walls at 3am on a regular basis. At least he is a popular guy. Although I cannot distract myself from the thought that he might be chatting to under-age children on the internet…. creepy.

2) on the left hand side, lives the Manson family. Or something like it. Basically there were 2 lesbians and a little girl. (Currently there is a man living there sometimes as-well but we will get to that later). One lesbian has a job and a car and takes the other lesbian’s kid to school. The other lesbian sits in the garden and carves things out of wood. Usually at 5am or so. I don’t know, it’s weird. It wakes me up. In addition to making money by selling pieces of wood, I think they supplement their income by making tik in their lounge, because I hear them shuffling and moving (what sounds like glass beakers) around all night, non stop. Then someone showers at 4am or so. It’s all very strange.  SIDE NOTE: The one with the job has an annoying barking dog called Rory. Who calls a dog Rory?

The reason I know so much about these people, is that they have screaming loud fights in the middle of the night. One night I was awoken to “well, you don’t have a job or a car and I work my ass off to pay for you and your f*ing child to live here.” See, I am not making this stuff up!

Anyways, so after the huge fight about money, the woman with the car left. Leaving the one with no job (apart from the tik factory) to make a plan. Apparently the plan was inviting her ex-husband back into the picture. I know this because they once had REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY loud sex. It was very awkward, but I kinda of thought that this poor woman had not done it with a man for a while, so I’ll let her loud excitement slide.  However, these two are so often on-again/off-again, I once awoke to the sounds of “Mark, get the F*ck out of my house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and she threw all his stuff on the pavement at 2am on New Years Day. Fun times.

It now appears that she is dating BOTH of them. With both of them popping around for sleep-overs from time-to-time. (i know this because I recognise their cars).  However, we might have bust this arrangement up for her, because we had a braai and were making some noise and the her girlfriend (clearly it was her night to sleep over) yelled out the window for us to shut the f*ck up. To which Fish replied – “ya, well we have to listen to you have loud sex all the time.” Silence. I think we just broke it to the one girlfriend that her girlfriend is seeing someone else. A big hulking man called Mark that makes her girlfriend scream in pleasure. Either way, I am quite stoked because since this incident, they have been rather quiet since then.

More exciting shenanigans about my neighbours to follow soon! (I forgot how fun this was!)

You know you love me


Things that I love – Part 300

big wide open peaceful spaces

I love this picture. Look how thin I look (ha ha). You can click on it to look at it better.

This picture was taken off Mboye Island, off Dar. It is part of a marine reserve and the island was completely deserted except for the 6 of us! wow. such an awesome experience.

Look at the beautiful clean blue water.  Stunning. We actually saw dolphins jump right out of it! wow. This photo just captures the meaning of the word, Dar es Salaam – “haven of peace.”

Purty. I feel relaxed just looking at it and remembering the warm water and colourful fish.

Final Days of Dar

Final Days
Outwit, outplay, outlast

Well, even though it seems like it, the whole experience to Dar es Salaam was not ALL bad.

I have started receiving emails from delegates who complimented me on the “serene” atmosphere of the conference (clearly having all the conference organisers sweating buckets and breathing red in the face is classified as serene in Dar..) and the general overall consensus is the conference was a success, despite our shipment being pilfered, the rats stealing delegate’s food off their plates  (ok, I made that one up….) and the general unavoidable mishaps. I think my mind may have blocked it all out and now I only remember the good things, kind of like PTSD…

Good times included the discovery that I actually like beer. I never have before. But when in Dar, there was not much else to drink… and man, did I need an alcoholic beverage! So I have sampled my fair share of Tusker and Kilimanjaro beer (available in 500ml; no ice). Pretty good. Nice to have a whole new range of beverages to sample..

I also got to spend time with my assistant Charlotte, who has been interning here in SA for 8 months. She leaves next week and I am really going to miss her. She had such a positive impact on our office and was lots of fun – in Dar, the night the conference ended, we raced into the hotel pool in the middle of the night and jumped in with all our clothes! Just because 😉

We also spent a long, lazy afternoon in the warm Indian Ocean looking for shells. The tide goes out so far that you can walk out for a kilometre and still not get deeper than your knees. But it was a great experience – sitting in the warm (like bathwater) blue, tropical water for over 2 hours, looking for shells on the seabed and allowing our minds to decompress the experience of the past stressful week. We all ended up finding sand-dollars and cowries, which should I have the energy one day, I will make into a bracelet.

Saturday night saw the whole conference team getting completely plastered on local beer at the hotel beach party, subsequently hijacking the DJ box with our own conference AV equipment and showing Charlotte how to lang-arm-sokkie-sokkie to classic SA hits like my-rooi-rok-bokkie! All the South African’s in the hotel came out of the hotel for a bit of a local jol! It was a pretty surreal experience to be rocking out to Bryan Adam’s “Summer of 69” right on the beach, the sand between my toes and looking up unfamiliar stars (skyline is very different from here at night).

Sunday saw our departure from Dar, but not before a quick trip to the marine park by boat for a few hours of snorkelling. Again, warm, clear blue water, palm trees, hammocks – two dolphins even made an appear to round off the truly stereotypical  island paradise!  We spent the morning on a deserted , protected island and snorkelled amongst some of the most beautiful and colourful fish I have ever seen in my life. It was a lovely ending to a very stressful experience!

And most importantly, I also got to see a place that was different to my home and appreciate how lekker South Africa and our people really are! After being bombarded by rude African delegates, harassed at the Dar airport by officials that clearly just wanted to upset the blonde bird, offering my passport at SA border control was the best experience of my life. Guys, SA has its moments for sure, but wow I live in a great country – with people who are friendly (most of them); with a strong cultural heritage that is unmatched and who just emit such a positive feeling it’s hard to contain!

Pretty much my feelings for SA are summed up in this moment I experienced at the OR Thambo Vida E…

After 9 days of putting up with (what I felt) was solid, rude, aggressive and unfriendly African behaviour, I wearily trudged to Vida E while waiting for my flight to board. I was standing at the counter, about to place my order when the barista shot me the most amazing smile and asked me where I was coming/going. Lord, the first friendly stranger in days! He listened to my whole palaver with hysterics, got the whole Vida Team to sing a special African song to me and then made my latte with a little cinnamon heart in the foam and gave me an extra Lindt chocolate.  I was actually so emotional I burst into tears.

That is why I love South Africa. The people. Ya, some of the suck and spoil it for the rest of us, but I can safely say that after spending 9 days, away from home, with 738 people from different African countries – there is no place like my home 😉 and no, wearing a cowboy hat does NOT make you feel like Jeff Probst and it will NOT make the African survivor experience any better.

Glad to be back (and also to have hot water)

Love bear