Thursday, February 25, 2021

flu, but not THAT flu

Honestly, what kind of loser gets a different flu during a flu pandemic?

Me.

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The beaches finally opened, earlier than expected on the 2nd of Feb. And as if the gods had decided to  finally cut us some slack it was the most magnificent summers day. We swam twice!

And twice more that week - long luxurious swims in which the ocean embraced us like a long-lost lover and we couldn't bring ourselves to leave (you say goodbye first, no you say goodbye first) until we finally returned to land with shriveled toes and water-logged ears.

That Saturday we spent at one of our favourite places on earth - swimming and picnicking with my parents (all outdoors) and friends. It was a magical summery day and one of those rare moments in which everything felt peaceful and okay, just for a minute.

And then the next morning - sick.

Fever, chills, body ache, headaches. Restless sweaty nights and fevered dreams, concerns about having infected my parents and the girls not being able to start long-awaited school. The dreaded nasal swab, the wait, a negative Covid test. Wtf?

Help from friends to get the last minute school prep done, infinite patience and care from my lovely husband, long horrible disjointed nights and tedious days moving from bed to couch to bed.

A full week of fevers, another full week of recovery, a gradual return to functionality... I still need an afternoon lie-down, I still can't fathom exercising, or drinking wine, I still get dizzy standing up too fast. Vit B jabs in the butt ('You don't have any extra vaccines lying around do you?' ha ha joke to the clinic sister who's probably heard it many times already). 

That one magical week of summer has gained almost fantasy status in my memory. The weather is icky now and the sea rough and cold. But the summer is not over, good weather and more swims lie ahead.

I just... really can't believe that wasn't Covid? Antibody testing in a couple of weeks I think...

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

a swim in the sea

Of all the incredible things happening in our lives at the moment - curfew, alcohol ban, academic year delays, mandatory masks (all currently extended until mid February) - the most incredulous must be that a swim, in the sea, in mid summer, is illegal - and a blog-worthy event.


The conditions weren't optimum. In 'normal' times we might have reconsidered.
Foamy, cold, big swell out to sea pushing the current vigorously in and out. A little overcast, a brisk breeze, rumours of blue bottles.

But having walked in, down sandy paths worn in by abalone poachers through high dune brush - quietly past the house of the man renown for calling the cops, quickly past the place where snakes have been frequently spotted - down a long dune, through a hole in the barb-wire fence, finally out on to the beautiful coast path, finally out of sight of the town.
Having walked in, and longed for this for so many weeks, we didn't hesitate.

Gasping at the cold, shoo'ing the foam ahead of us to try and look out for rocks, shrieking at unseen kelp brushing up against our legs, and then we were in.

And it was...profound.

And for all the reasons listed above, I think it was the best swim of my life.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

careful what you wish for

 I will not let this year turn without a final word here. But where to start?

I don't feel I've done enough to document it - as in, historically. So fundamental an experience will no doubt require much reflection, stories for the rest of our lives. I'd really like to have a timeline of events to reference back to. Time itself has had such a weird quality - no real benchmarks or junctures, just the Long Weirdness ...

There were important dates - the WHO declared Covid-19 a global pandemic on Stella's 10th birthday.

Frieda was the first grade back at school, 1 June. She was also the first of us (and to date, the only) to have a Covid test, in mid November - negative.

Stella went back 6 weeks later, on Charl's birthday. in July. We joked that a morning home with no kids was the best gift ever ha ha.

Who can remember the day we got 'released' from hard lockdown and allowed to exercise outside the home, for a mere 3 hours from 6am (still in total darkness) to 9am, the streets around our house packed with grumpy and nervous people, no one making eye contact.

Our first legal walk at the beach in the middle of the day (still unclear if we were allowed ON the sand).

My birthday 'party' of 4, sitting on camp stools far apart in our driveway, drinking revolting black market wine and getting a big fright when we thought we'd missed the 8pm curfew - we hadn't.

Distributing rolling tobacco illegally for a friend, one of her customers a hairdresser, working under cover. Smuggling wine wrapped up in our overnight bags all the way to Calitzdorp when we were allowed to travel again, but booze was still verboten.

That disastrous 'girls weekend' in Calitzdorp which we thought would be our salvation and was instead a comic tragedy.

A weekend in the Cederberg with my parents which literally saved our souls, and our relationship with one another.

And inspired by that newfound feeling of adventuring together, a sneaky spontaneous 8 day holiday through some beautiful country, to visit with elephants and find all the inspiration, optimism and peaceful transience we'd been missing for so many months.



Then just a few weeks ago, as the dreaded Second Wave rose up in the background, a careful but joyous and largely outdoor few days away with friends - the mountains and river and company a balm to our exhausted, end of year (x1000 like all things 2020) hearts and bodies.

Christmas spent alone - just like last year when we thought the concept so novel and cute - my parents in isolation after possible exposure (it seems they've luckily dodged it), brothers scattered to family bubbles not our own.

But we got kittens! A long-awaited request from the girls, a source of some anxiety for me, an ongoing slow introduction to the dogs continues... but how completely impossible is it to feel gloomy in the company of kittens? We LOVE them.
















Now we're back in lockdown. Two weeks from today of no alcohol sales, 9pm curfew, no gatherings, and worst of all - no beaches. No beaches, no rivers, no parks and no waterways. No knowing if two weeks means two weeks or more weeks or... no one knows.

But I do know one thing, after this heinous and deeply weird year, I am so proud of my lockdown crew. Consistently we've amazed each other with our resilience and perseverance. We've laughed, and kept the home fires burning and remained, mostly, loving and kind. We've allowed each other space to have our moments - to be weaker or stronger - to wallow in sadness or frivolous hysteria. I'm proud of us.

At the beginning of this year we said we wanted to spend lots of time with the girls. To that I say, careful what you wish for.

Please, no one let me write a post like this for 2021 okay?

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

it's in the memes

As per usual I've delayed posting here so long that the mood has changed, the moment past, and now the content no longer seems as relevant.
BUT, having collected and archived and uploaded the very best of Covid memes weeks ago I'm determined to slip this post in.

Covid-19 has not gone away, especially not in this country or indeed this city. Our province of the Western Cape is currently the epicentre of the pandemic in South Africa, and has been for a while.

As with many of my plans for 2020, my intention to wean off memes this year was chucked out the window with the arrival of the Corona virus. In fact it feels like memes have really come into their own.
My criticism of the meme-life (that they are a lazy way of expressing emotions/thoughts/opinions - circulating others thoughts rather than examining and developing your own) are the exact reason they've been so valuable these last few months. So many of our emotions and thoughts have felt too complex to really articulate, too overwhelming or confusing - so when presented with a few words or an image which succinctly jumps straight to the heart of how we're feeling, often making us laugh at the same time - it's been hugely satisfying.

Here are a selection of my BEST - funny, thoughtful, heart-breaking, I need to record this for perpetuity. I wish I had the appropriate credits for each, but I don't.

File Name: General Funny











This one though - kinda more terrifying than funny.



File Name: Children & Homeschooling




I loved this one above though - I do think (hope!) our kids will remember this as a time of great togetherness.




File Name: The Mentals
Shew, the emotional rollercoaster was rough. I say was as I feel way more stable these days - is it acceptance? If nothing else we've learnt how adaptive we can be (kind of good to know we can still do this), but how much of the emotional stability is a return to some sort of 'normality' (because let's face it, nothing is normal) or general acceptance of the 'new' normal? Sometimes I also wonder if I'm not just more numbed these days - a kind of shutdown? Who knows...







File Name: Pets AKA the Great Salvation AKA thank goodness for these guys







File Name: Conspiracy Theories
(could also be filed under General Funny because WTF with these idiots)




File Name: Learnings
This is beautiful


File Name: Relationships



Their joke every time I came back from the grocery store.



Low key for real, as the kids would say.

File Name: South Africa specific
Morning rush hour traffic the first day of lock down: there was none.


Lock down extension.


Even the Sign Language Interpreter horrified.



When we finally got an exercise slot: 6-9am.




All the bitching about not being able to surf or drink when thousands were starving.

File name: For Serious

















My god it's been the weirdest, weirdest time.