Home & Happy

It’s Thursday (I think) which means I have been home for three sleeps now. I still feel a little high.

I must admit, as much as I love my home (being the introverted little hobbit that I am) this time being home feels particularly good and I’m struggling to grasp why. Usually coming home has a little bit of sadness attached to it. A bit of oh-here-we-go-again let’s-get-back-to-reality kind of thing. I don’t know. The sad part is missing this time.

A week before we left for Thailand my pastor from Molteno (the man who has been at the head of my spiritual wellbeing for most of my life) came up to PE for a visit and he spent almost a whole day with me. I must admit: I spent most of that visit with tears pouring out of my face. Again, I can barely express why. I suppose this has been an exceptionally overwhelming year in almost every way. From considering massive changes like moving countries, to (still) trying to get to a point where stepmom and stepkids can happily co-exist in the same space, to heavy financial burdens made heavier by losing previously reliable clients, clients who just don’t pay, and an unfortunate drop in financial help as far as two of our children are concerned – this year has been a challenge.

Then, of course, Thailand started experiencing its crazy strict military coup and all sorts of things started to go as pear shaped as possible.

During week three of my vacation (aka: week two of hell-on-earth TEFL course) I sent my pastor a message which said something like this:

I don’t know if it counts as a miracle, but I hate teaching English so much that the degree thing is no longer a problem. I will never ever consider doing this as a career.

I also admitted that even though feeling this way is technically a disaster in the face of our plans, I am feeling quite content about it and not panicking at all.

He replied that peace in the midst of the unknown comes from God.

I have to wonder if that is what it is then: just peace.

I have absolutely no idea what we are going to do from here. We’ve talked about it a few times and the conversations have all branched off into quite extreme directions. I’m not even sure which ones were serious ideas…

But for now? For now I’m just going to enjoy this peace.

Later I might tell you all about why I think that TEFL (in Thailand at least) is a farce.

But for now? Peace.

I’m not even going to think about all the credit card payments I need to be making on a non-existent salary. That is future Nadine’s problem. Present Nadine is unpacking and playing with her kids.

Why I need to learn to speak Thai ASAP…

NO-I-DON-T-WANT-A-F--K-N-SUIT,-TUK-TUK-OR-MASSAGE-TopsIt occurs to me today that there is an increasing number of stuff that I need to be able to express while I am out and about in this country, and my inability to do so is creating a bit of a wobble for me.

One of the main reasons that I decided that English teaching is not for me is this: English is my thing. I love English. I love communication. Communication, in fact, is my superpower. And when you put me in a classroom full of people with whom I cannot communicate, I kind of feel as though I have been stripped of my superpower. This leads to unhappiness. And the whole point of anything really is to not be unhappy…

So…here I am in this country where my snark and sarcasm mean nothing. My ability to express myself means nothing. I cannot even so much as order more than one thing off of any menu without being almost 100% sure that the wrong thing is going to arrive at my table. I will then not be able to communicate the mistake because in Thai culture it is considered the height of bad manners to embarrass someone by pointing out their error… *sigh*

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Perspective… (Alternative title: Let’s not freak out just yet.)

Photo on 2014-10-08 at 9.10 AM

I’m sitting in the breakfast nook of the Holiday Park Hotel in Lamai Beach, Koh Samui at the moment, drinking coffee and talking to you, while there are 21 braver-than-I-am souls currently on their way to a school, whose name I can’t pronounce, in order to teach a (large) group of children to speak English. At the moment I can’t really remember ever being happier.

Pure relief is highly addictive…

Some of you may know that Ty and I are currently in Thailand. We’re into the third week of four and we are doing a TEFL course and trying to establish if we really really would like to move here for a while. Correction: Ty is doing a TEFL course. On Monday evening I tended my resignation for this course which I paid way too much money for because honestly – I just could not deal! (As a quick side note: Ty seems to be enjoying it and has said he can see himself doing this one day if we decide to still move here so at least there’s that! He’s on his own though!)

For the last ten months I have been so lost in preparing for this trip that not once did a very pertinent question did not occur to me: What if I hate it?

And I do. I hate it so much that not doing it right now has been the most insane source of happiness. I almost feel bad for the others because they are all having a miserable time of it as well (something which the course administrators seem to find baffling…ok then….) but my guilt is most definitely being overshadowed by relief.

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Underwater Selfies

I just kind of felt the need to share my absolute love for my new camera with everyone. My God it’s been a long time since I’ve had so much fun. And I’m so glad I married my husband. Spending time with his is the best. Our trip so far has been awesome! I can’t wait to use this camera while snorkelling! I’m SO glad we were lucky enough to find it!!

P9220105 P9220107 P9220152 P9220154

Suddenly….the Husband….

Hello to the three folks who read my blog from time to time!

This message is coming to you from my hotel room where I should be taking a mid-morning nap in an attempt to be well rested for our over-night bus ride to Koh Samui later. The husband has gone off in search of a giant swing that has Hindu origins (it’s close by) but I stayed behind because I need a break from touristing and because yesterday I had a yogurt that has somehow made me feel a bit off for the last 12 (18?) hours or so. Blegh. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t yogurt so much as it was a yogurt-like substance. I may have to stay away from dairy products for a while….

So, anyway. After admitting that I am taking a break from the bustling information overload that is Facebookland, I discovered that my husband has been sharing our daily photo downloads from my computer on (you guessed it) my very own Facebook wall. Boundaries… Apparently in marriage there are none. Anyway – I hope you all enjoyed those ten thousuand selfies that are of no consequence to anyone but the two people in them. I shall make an effort to squash my OCD need to make sure I haven’t “ignored” anyone’s comments in that regard.

Ag…buggerit… Let me pop in to say hi :)

Bangkok by Tuktuk

P9210036Have you ever slept for 15 hours without being sick? Gosh! On Saturday night I passed out at 6pm (Thai time) and woke up the next morning at nine. We nearly missed our free breakfast!

Of course that wasn’t supposed to happen. We weren’t supposed to be quite so exhausted on Saturday night. We were supposed to arrive at our hotel on Saturday at lunch time, and then rest a little. You know? I possess about as much spontaneity as a tree, so when we hopped onto a tuk tuk offering us a ride to a couple of temples instead of just grabbing something to eat and then heading back to our hotel room to rest after a sleep-less flight I must admit I was quite surprised with myself.

It didn’t take long to realise that when there are only two people in your travelling party, mastering the “selfie” becomes quite important. Luckily Tyrone sucks at it way less than I do so we managed to get a few pics with both of us.

An Almost Facebookless Holiday

20140924_123209I’m sitting on a sun chair right now, being moaned at by my husband for posing for the photograph he is trying to take of me with my pineapple shake in hand. I think he likes the weird glass…. After three days of go-go-go, we’re relaxing by the pool with our books and some drinks. Being a tourist is hard work – especially if you’re like me and tend to spend most of your life on your well-cushioned bum in front of the computer. I should really take up something more active as a profession… Like tour guiding. Those folks are active! And super fit!

You may have noticed that I’ve been a bit scarce on the social media scene.  That’s not because my poor exhibitionist ass can’t figure out how to use the wi-fi. No, folks, I’m taking a well-deserved break from Facebookland. Why?

Well, because:

a.) Doctor Who spoilers

b.) Humans

I am quite enjoying living in this strange little world where I have absolutely no idea what is going on around me. Nothing anyone says makes sense – even if what is being said is said in English. I really like it. I don’t have to listen to/read a thousand opinions on the Oscar trial (yawn) or absorb all the new Nkandla hate. I can miss out on a couple of celebrity scandals for a while. And let go of the Koh Tao murders that were absorbing my psyche for a while. When I suggested a sabbatical from FB to my husband he was very keen, but he has caved the way a tourist should, I suppose, and hasn’t been able to resist pic sharing and the like. I kind of miss writing a little (and realize now how much effing around on FB “feels” like writing and therefore often takes the place of actual functional writing – gah!) so I may post on here from time to time. That way I get to kind of keep in touch but run way less of a risk of getting lost in an ever-consuming Facebook hole.

So yeah…. Don’t bother commenting on the FB link to this post which will automatically pop up on my wall in a little while. If you do, I will either not read it, or if I do manage to find it after a month-long holiday, I will know that you didn’t read the post at all.

I hope all of you are well. From sunny Bangkok I wish you all health and happiness!

I think I’ll have a watermelon shake next….

A little Bit in Love

Heehee I keep playing this video over and over. I’m in love with the spunkiness of this girl and I want her wardrobe – especially the tiny green frock with the white tights and yellow cardigan — so cute! Thought I’d share it just for fun :)

It Was Life Who Failed You

rwI watched Jack last night with the kids and then binge watched The Crazy Ones again while I waited for my husband to get home from his cricket match. He then crawled into bed with me and binge watched it too. Until way later than he should have.

During the releasing of the ducklings scene on one of the earlier episodes of The Crazy Ones I suddenly thought it’s weird that I don’t feel sad watching this. I had kind of expected to. But I could still laugh. I guess that’s where the world as a whole is kind of lucky. We didn’t lose a husband or a father or a friend. We lost an icon. And we only need a television set to revisit him. We can, if we wish, simply pretend.

I won’t pretend to be an expert on suicide or depression. I won’t pretend to understand fully. I think personally I am very much inclined towards possibly serious depression and anxiety from time to time (ok fine — all the time). Being a hyper-sensitive person in a world that seems to have collectively learned how to be cold has its challenges. I hope that if it ever gets really bad that I might be brave enough to ask for help, though to be honest I probably won’t.

The thing is: life feels really long sometimes. We all love to yell “carpe diem” and wax on poetically about how we need to use every moment. Am I the only one who feels like it’s a bit of a farce? Now and then I catch myself thinking “Another 40 years of this? Really?” None of us actually asked to be here. And yet here we are. Here we are loving people who have the power to hurt us in every conceivable way. We’re going through the tedious motions of what is expected – living impossibly busy but often empty lives. Sometimes we start the day with little more than the goal of getting through to the other side of it. Our friends get cancer and they die. We lose people constantly – to accidents, to suicide, to murder. Daily we are bombarded with just how fucking crap it is to actually exist. I’ve just this minute seen a photograph of dead children covered in blood. We’ve got Christians and Muslims killing each other. We’ve got human trafficking. Rape culture. Ignorance. Oppression. Homophobia. Racism. Slut shaming. Fat shaming. Misogyny. Bullshit. We’ve got factory farming which is literally (yes literally) worse than anything your mind will allow you to imagine. We’ve got the homeless on our streets and we’ve got governments who are making their already difficult lives even harder. We’ve got people stealing our pets and using them as bait for dog fighting. We’ve got high jackers dragging four year old boys to their deaths (I couldn’t even type that without my breath catching and now there are tears pouring down my face). We deal with permanent powerlessness when it comes to the things that hurt our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Not only do we have to somehow manage our own baggage, but add a spouse and children to your life and guess how much the baggage grows!

I’m not saying that depression isn’t real – of course it is. But fucking hell life sucks enough without it! Add depression on top of “just life”? Bloody hell! Yes, enjoying all the little things can make a huge difference….but….but there’s always a but. I should feel grateful that my children are not being bombed in Gaza. And I am. But how do I not mourn for those who are? How do I not feel guilty for having what others do not? I am grateful to know that my family loves me. But how do I not mourn for children who do not have that for themselves? Sometimes all I want is peace from the thoughts and life that seems to so fully consume me, as if it is gnawing at my very bones and digesting my entire essence. I cannot be the only one.

Here we are in an age where we are so connected to each other, and yet how many of us feel like these tools that were meant to bring us together have only made us more disconnected from our own lives? This massive disconnection from self is crippling. It is exhausting. It is overwhelming. It can be worked on, yes. But it takes work. Something more to make you feel like you might be failing. Being “ok” does not come nearly as easily as being “not ok” does. It is the joke of The Universe. It is why we need to constantly feed ourselves with all sorts of things to keep afloat. Be it art or literature or entertainment. Or food or booze or drugs. Be it hanging around people whose views uplift you. And even then, all that “filling” guarantees nothing because sometimes there’s just a hole in the bag…

I saw someone say today that perhaps if Robin Williams had known how much he was loved he would still be alive today. That’s a kind of sweet (sad?) thought, but I don’t think that it’s necessarily true.

I need to say here that I promise I am not going to commit suicide. I gave up my right to do so the day a second blue line showed up on my pregnancy test. But the thing is….so often I find myself tired of being alive. And that is not a reflection on my family or my friends or any sort of lack of love. I know I am loved and I am blessed in that regard. I also have an extraordinary amount of love for others. That in itself can be debilitating, though I admit that loving my son brings with it a certain flicker of hopefulness.

But love is not a cure for life. It may act as a soothing balm from time to time, but the magic of love is limited. There is no cure for life except to get to the other side of it. I may never choose to hurry that process by my own hand, but I sure as hell will never judge someone who made that very real choice for themselves.

So to Robin Williams I can only say this: I know that we the public did not fail you in our love for you. I know that your family did not fail you. I know that your friends did not fail you. And I know that you did not fail yourself.

It was Life who failed you. It is, after all, what Life is best at.

Rest in Peace, dear friend. You will be missed, and always loved. You may not have been your own reason to keep going, but I think in a very big way you have given many many others a reason to get through just one more day.

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July Photo Challenge #6:Love is…

Love Is

 

Kid could not be more in love with this dog….

 

July Photo Challenge #5: Front Door

Front Door

 

This feng shui fuck is my front door. A really rainy winter caused a bit of havoc with the wood, which expanded and contracted and then broke the glass. Add a lot of opening and closing (read:slamming) of said door and you’ve got this mess. I’ve recently convinced myself that if I get it fixed a lot of other shit will kind of fall into place. Unfortunately the quote to fix it was over 4k.

July Photo Challenge #4: Patriotism

Patriotism

 

I used to think that I was a pretty patriotic person. I’m American as well as South African, and I always kind of thought I had that “patriotic love” for both countries. I don’t though. That’s not to say that I don’t love my country (or countries) it’s just that I don’t really want to see myself as a die-hard South African or a die-hard American. I certainly don’t wear stars or stripes and I don’t do the green and gold thing. I love my countries. But I am a citizen of the world. OR at the very least I want to be. My fandoms, however….*sigh*….those I have a lot of die-hard feelings about. Harry and The Doctor (who I sadly could not photograph) will have my undying love and affection forever.

July Photo Challenge #3: Something Old

Something Old

 

This broken bunny has been around for as long as I can remember. To be quite honest I’m not even 100% sure that it is mine. I just found her amongst my printers tray things the other day and thought, “gosh this thing has been around forever.” And then I thought, “Did I steal this from my mom?”

Challenging

So I’ve learned of late that creativity challenges are possibly not for me. I’ve done a lot of dreaming about what I’d like to be writing about and photographing, and felt a lot of resentment and annoyance when thinking about the stuff I am meant to be doing for “challenges”. Blegh. Kind of counter-productive.

So…the writing challenge I am definitely skipping. But yay for getting to share about my boob habits and some of my favourite words….right? At the moment it all feels creatively irrelevant to me. PLEASE  don’t get me wrong – these kinds of things can be magical for one’s creativity sometimes. I like these sorts of things usually because they kind of remind you about yourself…which is something that needs doing from time-to-time. Writing challenges ask after your fears, your appreciations, your thoughts, plans, dreams. These are often good things to think about, especially if you’re usually too chaotic to give them any time. Sometimes a writer’s challenge which seems to be about one thing, will inadvertently teach you a whole other lesson. In my real life I live in a buzzy onslaught of thoughts that I should be getting down though. Attention must be given to those things which breed excitement. Attention must be given to the things which arrive at the right time.

As for photography challenges? I should really make an effort on those. For one: I’ve gotten my kids to do the July Challenge with me. At the moment they are winning!! So I will need to catch up lest I be shown up. Their energy makes me kind of excited about it. I also need the creativity nudge in this department because let’s face it: so far my new hobby has me taking a thousand pictures of my kid. It is time to move on from that comfort zone a bit.

Although…I do admit that Noah is probably going to feature a lot in this challenge as well anyway…