Getting to know me

Conversation Babushka

Look who’s back! Back again! … With a new resolution. 

To write more consistently and I plan on achieving this by writing more often and shorter pieces at a time. 

Today Nathan and I are headed on a little breakaway for the week … before getting back to the grind next week. 

On the way to our first destination, we are listening to ‘Chatter’ by Ethan Kross, an American psychologist. It is an extremely interesting book on how to harness your inner voice. He describes the role of each person’s religion, culture and familial history as “Russian nesting dolls of mental conversation”. 

I love this quote for a few reasons: 

  • I love babushkas! 
  • I often find my inner voice sounding like the people most important to me – especially in times of crisis or stress. 
  • I imagine my conversation babushka as my inner voice, inside my mother’s inner voice with hints of my husband, aunts and sisters, inside her mother’s inner voice, inside her grandmother’s inner voice – and that’s mighty fun to imagine. 

My inner voice and imagination has always been very active and the ‘chatter’ referenced in the title is the negative self-talk that can easily render us unable to complete necessary executive functions. 

I’m hoping to learn how to quiet my own chatter to focus more on the imaginative and peaceful inner voice of my conversation babushka. 

Getting to know me

Year of Joy

27 August 1984

At approximately 09:10 on a rainy Monday morning a raven-haired baby girl with chocolate-brown eyes entered the world.

She turned into a shy (towards strangers) little girl who loved books, Barbies and bonding with friends and family members. She loved to play school with her dolls and teaching them the ways of the world.

Fast forward 36 years and I am still shy towards strangers but at times can have verbal diarrhea with those closest to me. I still love reading and I have been teaching for 10 years.

These days I spend my time thinking up fun activities for my class, making apparatus and necessities for work and working on new blog posts and social media content.

In my spare time I enjoy spending quality time with my amazing husband, fun-loving sisters, awesome friends and our 3 beautiful cats.

This year I am especially excited to celebrate my birthday because I feel like I have done a lot of work on myself, this past year especially. I’m planning on living this next year of life to the max and doing only things that bring me joy.

To 36! May it bring me as much joy as 30 did!

Getting to know me

With the right glasses, a girl can conquer the world!

I can remember the first eye test I had as if it was yesterday. Not so much the test itself, but the day it happened. It happened in the winter school holidays. My mom had noticed that I was starting to sit closer and closer to the television at home; and I was also writing the wrong words and numbers from the board in school, even though I was sitting right in front of the class. 

I remember putting the glasses on for the first time, and for any Grey’s Anatomy fans out there, Erica Hahn’s description of putting glasses on the first time, is on point! My first pair of glasses was very Harry Potter-esque. (Long before he was my favourite character). Round, with a gold frame and rainbow splotches around the lenses. At the time, I didn’t need to wear glasses permanently, but I loved being able to see clearly. 

Next, I was pretty in pink. A light pink frame with pink, white and purple splotches around the lenses. These first 2 pairs of glasses I wore in primary (middle) school and were more a bit more childlike and expressive. During this time, I didn’t always love wearing glasses. I was one of the first people in my class that needed glasses and this lead to teasing and name calling, which i will admit hurt quite a lot at the time. 

I think that this strengthened my ultimate bond with the glasses as part of me. I enjoyed having something that not everyone needed or wanted. After the colourful glasses I moved to a very plain, thin black frame that was ultimately not the best choice, considering the thickness of my lenses. I stuck with these for twice as long as the others, because for one test, I opted for contact lenses instead of new frames. I remember this test clearly as well, because of the length of time it took me to master sticking my finger in my eye. I started wearing the lenses to school dances, birthday parties etc; but still wore my glasses to school and every other normal day. 

After wearing the plain frames for 4 years, I was ready for a change. To be honest with you, the frames that I had over the next 5 – 10 years are a bit of a blur to me. They clearly didn’t stand out much, or I would remember them more clearly, oops. 

The next glasses I remember being excited about was a beautiful black and blue pair that I got in 2015. They were black with a fine red line on the outside and the inside of the ear pieces were turquoise blue. I loved the hidden splash of colour. After them I had a lovely purple and green pair, it sounds crazy, but they were a perfect blend of the 2 colours. 

My favourite favourite glasses were my blue ones! They are 2 shades of blue, with little raindrops on the sides. I am still considering whether I should put my new prescription in them as I love them so much. 

Because of the name calling and teasing, I made glasses a bigger part of me. So much so, that my mom and husband basically had to persuade me to wear contacts for the wedding. I was adamant I wanted to wear my glasses. As I have gotten older, I find myself wanting to be more expressive with my glasses.

I now have a fresh pair of purple glasses with beautiful cut outs on the ear pieces. At the end of this month, I will turn 36. I have been wearing glasses since I was 9 years old. They are as much a part of me as brown hair and brown eyes. You can take the glasses from the girl. But you can’t take the love of glasses out of the girl!

Getting to know me

“And how do you know when to let go? Where does the good go?”

Sometimes it is difficult to know when to give up on something. You have invested time, energy, money into it and you are not reaping the rewards of it, but you feel that you should stick with it.

This has been me the last few months. Lockdown should have been the perfect time for me to focus on my part-time studies. However, the more I tried, the less motivated I was to do it. The uncertainty of lockdown coupled with my anxiety over Covid and Lupus accompanied with the uncertainty of when I would return to work as well as when my learners would return, made it a struggle for me to concentrate on writing a grocery list, never mind the debilitating difficulty of writing an academic essay.

During Lockdown I decided to drop half the subjects I had registered for in the hopes that it would help me focus more energy and attention on the remaining subjects. This proved helpful, but it wasn’t enough. I felt anxious every time I saw an assignment deadline creeping up and the closer it came, the less I was able to concentrate on the work.

In the past few weeks, I have found my voice at work, which has been an enormously empowering experience for me. This has helped me to realise I should be focusing my attention and care on the things that bring me joy.

Most of my joy at the moment comes from spending time with my husband and cats, House Party with my mom and sisters and the admin aspects of my teaching job.

I also realised that I need face-to-face input from lectures, lecturers and peers. Even though I am an introvert, my biggest struggle with online studies was having to work through the curriculum on my own. Knowing this is also empowering, as the next time that I attempt part-time studies, I will find a similar course that offers classes to help me with interactions.

The silver lining to this cloud is that this blog is definitely making a comeback from this post onwards!

Watch this space!

Getting to know me

Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs…

Hi everyone! This is just a quick post to update you on my journey.

I am starting part-time studies in a few days and my field of study is very near and dear to my heart. I want to give this my best shot at succeeding and give it 100%.

I will be studying Library and Information Sciences and this is a subject that I have always been interested in and I would love to learn more about it and eventually make it a new career path.

For this reason I have decided to temporarily put this blog on the back burner. I will still be posting daily hashtags, but my next full-length post will be during the upcoming March South African school holidays.

Thank you for your support thus far and I’m looking forward to posting again in March!

Getting to know me

What do we do for fun? We bake!

I have always had a special relationship with baked goods and cakes. My first memory of a birthday cake, was a clown with NikNaks hair and I think that was where the love began.

My serious interest in baking started shortly after I started working in 2010. At first, I kept it easy with just normal chocolate cakes and cupcakes. Thereafter, I became more adventurous with chocolate ganache, fondant and edible glitter. Turns out the glitter isn’t edible after all, who knew? 🤷🏻‍♀️

At the time my baking was centered around my immediate family’s birthdays, Pinterest and real-life inspirations. One of these inspirations is my aunt, who is like a sister to me and who is a prolific baker in her own right.

I absolutely love to bake cupcakes. It is therapeutic for me to ice each one and if I want to practice piping – im horrendous at it; it is the best way to do it. You might disagree. My mom reckons they are too much work. Why bake 24 small ones and ice each one individually if you can just bake one big one?

I especially enjoyed baking cakes or cupcakes for my sisters’ birthdays. As my confidence grew, their ideas and expectations became more wild and I always did my best to live up to it!

Baking will always be one of my favourite things to do to relax and my husband and I enjoy baking together now. We sometimes have very strong, differing opinions of how things should be done, but that is how we learn.

Please let me know if you also enjoy baking or cooking. If not, please let me know what a favourite, therapeutic hobby is for you.

Getting to know me

I Want To Hold Your Hand!

I recently read the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Reading this book gave me a deeper understanding of myself and how I show love and want to receive love.

My Love Language is physical touch and holding hands with my husband makes me feel more loved and in love in return.

I enjoy playing with his hair, stroking our cats when they are sitting on my lap, playing with my sisters’ hair if they are sitting next to me on the couch (and they let me).

Recently I realised that this is something I do subconsciously. When my mind is wandering and I am not focusing on anything in particular, or even whilst reading a book.

There are different ways of demonstrating your love through your hands:

Sisters holding hands.
High – Fives
Romantically with your partner.

My favourites are hugs, high-fives and holding Nathan’s hand. Holding hands with my husband specifically is my favourite part of my love language. It makes me feel connected to him at all times and in all things.

It is a highly valued, unspoken bond between us that I don’t ever want to break.

School · Work

Back to School … Back to Reality!

I need to get my head in the game. The teaching game. School starts today and after a 4 month break, I’m a little rusty. I have two days before learners arrive and I am in full preparation mode.

Grade 1 takes quite a bit of mental preparation and planning to ensure that everyone makes it through the first week unscathed. Some learners are coming to school for the very first time and need comfort from the teacher. Other learners are back after a nice holiday and looking to connect with Grade R friends. Parents also need reassurance that I will take care of their babies as my own and let no harm befall them. It takes the learners and the parents a few days to weeks to learn to trust me. But trust me, they always do.

That is the reward in grade 1. Seeing the learners come out of their shells and learn to trust me and themselves. Watching their development throughout the year is also very satisfying, especially where reading and writing is concerned. Their abilities to read full stories at the end of the year always surprises and astounds me.

Because of these big leaps they make, I have to bring my A-game every day, all day. I need to make sure my daily planning is on point and that I keep up with them, and not hold them back. To ensure that I am able to do this, I will be enlisting the help of my trusty Hogwarts planner to ensure that we are fully equipped for what each day offers. Being prepared on paper helps me to be better prepared mentally and physically and this will help me be a better teacher and support for my learners and parents.

I am looking forward to what 2020 holds for me in Grade 1 and I’m looking forward to going back to work. I hope you also have a good year and that your work is fulfilling to you.

Getting to know me

2020 … What happens next?

During the last week of 2019, I spent much time reflecting on what I want my new year to look like. This has helped me work on objectives for this year that I will be putting all my efforts in to.

I realized in 2019 that I put a lot of focus on ideas and situations that impacted me negatively. This year I will be working hard to maintain a routine of meditation and yoga to help me notice slight changes in my surroundings and mood. I’m hoping this will help me to halt negativity and depression in its tracks.

My relationships are what keep me grounded in times of distress and turmoil. I want to build on my current relationships, especially to strengthen the foundations with my husband, sisters and bestie. These are the people that help to bring me back from the brink and they have helped me more in 2019 than even they know. 2020 is the year I look after them!

I want to spend my free time doing activities I enjoy and focusing on my part-time studies. I will be studying Library and Information Science next year. This is a childhood dream come true for me, as I have always loved reading and books. When I have completed this course, I look forward to spending more time between my favourite authors and characters.

Another key focus area for me will be weight loss and exercise. I enjoy running and HIIT training and will be trying a new approach to ensure that I can reach my fitness goals. It combines my love of colouring with my desire to be more active.

For the first time, I am actively looking forward to what this year holds. I am excited about possible changes in my life, no matter how big or small.

I am ready for you 2020, so BRING IT ON!

Getting to know me

2019 … The Year That I Needed.

At the start of every new year, everybody is so eager for reinvention. New year, new you; New Year’s Resolutions that fade by February and making all sorts of promises to yourself and anyone willing to listen that are outrageously difficult to maintain.

Like many other people, I started this year with one goal that felt achievable: post one photo a day for 365 days of the year. While the school holidays were still going, it was easy. I had plenty of time to take photos, edit them, add captions and post daily. By February I was still taking photos daily, but posted them in batches of 3 or 4 days. By the time school closed in March, I had all but forgotten my daily post.

There are many reasons for slowing down and eventually giving up. Looking back, this is not a year that I want to have a lot of evidence of. In so many ways, this was a truly awful year. One that I do not wish to repeat and wouldn’t wish on my enemies – not that I have any. I was just existing for much of the year. Walking through the world in a haze of depression and anxiety, going through the motions.

By August, I realised I needed professional help. With the help of my psychologist, my Lupus was diagnosed and I started with treatment for it. At the same time I started treatment for my depression. I have spent the past four months healing and working through my depression with the help of medication, meditation, exercise and reading. I have made discoveries about myself and my life choices and actions that have helped me grow as a person and to love myself more.

It was not an easy or enjoyable journey. At times, more awkward and uncomfortable than I wanted to admit or go through, but it was necessary. The world I was trying to stay afloat in, wasn’t allowing me time to reflect and learn from past mistakes. Life was going at 100mph and I was always trying to play catch up.

I needed these last four months to take a few steps back, reflect on what was important and how to proceed in 2020. Next year will not see a new me, but a me that knows what I need to be fulfilled and happy.