How Are You…As A Person?

I just got asked that. By a friend. On WhatsApp. After the usual generic greetings that often elicit varying degrees of answers (from both parties), all bordering between half truths and lukewarm lies, he asked me this probing question. Too probing for his nature actually, which made me smile. The tables had turned and I was the unwilling participant behind the HD screen typing away vague statements and fake emoticons that do not truly mimic my true facial expression. I smiled when I realised that I had rubbed off on him – just a little. But, as they say, that’s a story for another day.

Upon reading that question, my mind descended down a rabbit hole, analysing, conjuring, dreaming.  How am I really…as a person? Well, I am tired. Tired of life, of friends that don’t add value; of family that remains broken; of trials that never cease. I am exhausted, of reminding myself that it’ll be all right; and that perseverance produces character; or that people don’t always mean to disappoint. I am tired of this world in general. But I am grateful.

Grateful for life, for breath. For food and shelter. That’s something that another friend reminded me via this very useful tool called WhatsApp. No matter what we’re going through, we should be grateful. “Imagine life on an empty stomach” he said. And I knew he was right. Because I have food, a home, and an education and so much more than so many in this world. And so, I am tired but grateful. It’s cliché I know but what can one do? After all, he asked and I answered.

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You get the idea…

Till next time,

Linet

3 reasons why I realised I don’t need to apologise to anyone for anything I do

I am currently going through a very big change in my life. As in, dropped-out-of-university-A-moved-to-university-B-and-changed-my-degree big.

Naturally, with such a change comes doubts, fears, worries and moments of sheer panic that make you want to curl up in a ball and hide in a very dark corner. Okay, maybe not a dark corner –  a bed would do just fine.

But seriously, I have been through a roller coaster of emotions in approximately 3 months. It has been exhausting, and damn near vomit inducing, with a touch of humour thrown in. It was particularly funny when one minute I was happy then I’d remember that I had some serious decisions to make about my future and I’d immediately break into a cold sweat.

Now, I am currently pursuing a Bachelors of Commerce, coming from a Bachelors of Engineering degree, at a university very close to home. I am assaulted greeted by the warm faces of my family every day and I admit, this isn’t as bad I imagined it would be (living at home, that is).

Now that the ordeal is over and I am forging this new path in my life, I find that I have to explain to the people around me why a) I am still home and haven’t flown the coop to Universirty A, and b) Why I decided to leave an incredibly prestigious degree choice when “I could have any job I wanted if I graduate with an engineering degree”.

When I reply with “I realised I didn’t want to do Engineering any more” or “I want something different with my life” I am totally taken aback by the look of short circuits going off in said person’s brain.

It took me a while before I learned to control the urge of immediately launching into a lecture of how even an engineering graduate is not guaranteed job security and besides, shouldn’t we study what we want to do and not what will get us a job? I have now come to the following three revelations that I wish I didn’t have to go through an early-life crisis to learn. However, it’s better late than never right?

1. I need to make choices for myself

I realise that from a lot of people’s point of view, it doesn’t seem like the right decision to make right now BUT it’s the right decision for me.

2. Passion trumps logic

The truth is, I am not cut out to be an engineer (or anything in the science related field for that matter). It doesn’t mean that I can’t be one if I sacrificed a heard of goats to an obscure deity tried hard enough. But honestly, I am more inclined to the none analytical sciences. I own a blog for crying out loud! What engineering student do you know that owns a blog? (I realise that I am heavily stereotyping engineering students but work with me here)

3. The future is never certain so why worry about it so much

This was the biggest point that really drove home after a whole lot of hair pulling and hyperventilating. I have my ENTIRE life ahead of me and that’s what matters. I am ready to put the past behind and work towards what I can change – my future.

So I took a couple of U-turns, got lost for a bit and stopped for a doughnut. Sue me.

So I took a couple of U-turns, got lost for a bit and stopped for a doughnut. Sue me.

Till next time,

Linet

The afternoon I pretended I was a professional photographer

I was out and about on the town the other day. It was a beautiful afternoon – the sky was blue, the sun warm overhead, and the metaphorical birds sang. I was walking home from running errands around town and I swear I was seeing the world through happy goggles. Everything seemed stunning, breathtaking, profound even.

Armed with nothing but my Blackberry, I decided to make like a tourist and snap shots of the things that made me stop and stare for a while.

I think it’s an understatement when I say the pictures turned out horrible. However, you gotta love the internet and this fancy new word every one seems to be using – technology.  Two words my friend: photo editor!

I ended up spending the rest of my evening discovering the exciting world of online photo editing. Google hooked me up with this very-addictive-almost-drug-like thing called befunky.com. It was epic!

I shall let the pictures I took do all the talking from now on – all edited using the above mentioned website.

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Bushy brilliance

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The path on the way home. So much green 🙂

dont be afraid

I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw this tree. This quote popped in my head and right there in the middle of the street, I had an unbelievably profound moment.

There were lots more photos, all involving greenery, but I’d like not to completely expose my abysmal photography skills at the moment. The following are some great collages I had the pleasure of whiling away time at as well.

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And my personal favourite :)

And my personal favourite 🙂

Till next time,

Linet

The Beauty of Mandela Day

Although this post comes two days late, I still felt I had to share it with all of you.

On Thursday the 18th, the world celebrated Mandela Day, which was made even more poignant due to Mandela’s critical sate of health. For me, it was more that just doing 67 Minutes in service to others. It was about celebrating his legacy – one of courage, persistence, tolerance and forgiveness.

As a person who believes in continuously doing my part to help my community, I was ecstatic to take part in an event organised by the NPO I am part of, known as Ubunye (Unity) here at UCT. We, as a development agency and student society brought to campus, 40 students from a high school in the Khayelitsha township of Cape Town to tutor, mentor and engage them in relevant discussions in the form of debating.

This was different to what we do with them every week. We took them out of their community and brought them to ours. We created a link to UCT and to our culture, showing them that we’re not so far removed from their world. That UCT, tertiary education and access to computers on a daily basis is not something they are completely closed off to.

However, the highlight of the day was when we stood on the iconic Jammie Plaza, singing the South African national anthem, hand in hand in a symbol of unity and togetherness. In the spirit of tata Madiba, we were there for a common cause – to learn from and grow with each other, no matter our skin colour or history, for a better south Africa.

The beauty of a simple action like standing in a circle and holding hands overwhelmed me. My heart sang and my eyes watered – I felt that I had done something to better someone’s life that day.

I hope and pray that had a beautiful Mandela Day as did I. But more importantly, I hope that you found joy and satisfaction from being able to be of service to others in whatever small way. Finally, I implore you to make it more that 67 minutes. May you make it a habit to make a difference everyday.

Till next time,

Linet

If you’re interested in and would like to know more about Ubunye, and its projects, check out our facebook page: https://www​.facebook.com/ubunye.uct
Also, check out a video of what we did on Mandela Day: https://vimeo.com/70655138

Matthew Goniwe Memorial High School learners arrive at UCT

Matthew Goniwe Memorial High School learners arrive at UCT

Students learn some essential computer skills - for some, it was the first time using a computer.

Students learn some essential computer skills – for some, it was the first time using a computer.

“Sounds the call to come together, And united we shall stand” – South African national anthem

Home Is Where The Heart Is

I arrived home today for my mid semester vacation at around 2 15 pm. As I disembarked the plane, the sun shone brightly, sending rays of warmth that are unusual for this time of the year. It’s like the sun was smiling down at me, copying the expression on my face. As I wheeled my small green suitcase behind me, I could feel my excitement growing.

I would love to say I was met by my parents, brother, and sister, all grinning and waving as I came through the arrivals lounge but that is not the case. They have lives. My sister is going through what I just finished. Her end of semester exams are in full force right now and my arrival is more like a gift from heaven for her (less dishes for her to wash). My little brother on the other hand is occupied with primary school related activities – think rugby games and music lessons. I was picked up by my slightly late dad and that was more than enough for me 🙂

The hour long ride home from the airport was not fun though. Talking about my future is always something that I don’t welcome. Maybe it’s because I have no idea what path I want to take with my life after University. Right now my focus is on one thing: get this degree. However, that is proving to be quite a mission. I really need to dig down even deeper and find motivation to finish what I started. On the bright side, I’m learning an extremely valuable life lesson at UCT – how to get back up when life knocks me down. It’s been a rough 2 years and I’ve got two more to go and I really want to see this thing to the end.

So, after having a surprisingly soul bearing and completely honest conversation with my father, we pulled up in front of the gate. Then, my dad pulls out his gate keys, hands them to me and says “Well, you’re home now so you better start acting like it”. Translation, go open the gate. Some things never change 😀

I had actually never opened the gate before. New house, new discoveries 🙂
As I wrestled my luggage out the car, with the help of my dad, my sister walked out the house, knife in hand exclaiming, “fair warning, we’re not making you anything special for dinner!”. Just like that, the playful teasing and light banter began. I swear, my family is amazing at small talk! We can go for hours talking about the most random things, laughing and joking together. It’s quite beautiful.

Once I stepped into the house, it was mayhem! I barely had time to walk into my bedroom when my brother hugged/tackled me onto the bed. What a greeting! 😀 He plays rugby and I have a feeling there’s more of those to come during my time home.

As the noise escalated and the hugs went around multiple times, I found myself taking off my shoes and settling down for an update on the latest news and gossip from extended family and friends. My mom gabbed away as she rolled chapati expertly while my sister sat on the kitchen counter periodically contributing to the stories. My brother went off to play some sort of computer game like any normal 11 year old. Once in a while he’d walk in to excitedly show me something – like how he had grown about 4 cm in 1 month and how he could make music with water and a wine glass. Then he would disappear again.

As I sat there, joking, laughing and mercilessly teasing my sister, I felt my troubles seep away. The tension of exams, the worries of assignments, projects and GPA were momentarily forgotten. In that moment, I was content. My heart sang and my eyes danced with laughter. In that moment I was happy 🙂

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I love my family 🙂 I really do. They are not perfect and at times I really wish certain things were different. However, I undoubtedly and unequivocally love these people. And, it’s in these little moments, those spent sitting on kitchen counter tops or lounging on the bed that I remember that.

Till next time,

Linet

This is how much I love my family, especially my little brother :)

This is how much I love my family, especially my little brother 🙂

Conquering 2013

Its been nine days into the new year and already it feels like 2012 is so far behind. In truth, it’s probably due to the fact that alot has happened in the past two weeks of my life. My family moved countries. Yes, countries!
The biggest thing about moving long distance is the packing. Everything had to be packed well. Breakables had to be wrapped and labelled, beds had top be dismantled, boxes had to be sealed and labelled; it’s a long process.
What I ended up realising was that I had sooooo much stuff! I’m an eternal optimist. If something breaks I keep it to fix or make something new out of it. If I really like something, I’ll keep it for the memories. I’m a horder. Dont get me wrong, I’m not surrounded by clutter, I just keep stuff neatly packed away until I come across it later on.

I had to learn to declutter my life. I had to let go of clothes I didn’t wear anymore or didn’t fit. I had to throw away the necklace beads and patches of clothes and old belts that I wanted to make something new out of. Lets face it, I’m no DIY expert 😀
Its something that when I reflect on, I can use daily.

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The Hidden Message In The Chronicles Of Narnia

I’m sure you are aware of all the talk about hidden messages in movies and music usually to do with the Illuminati or something along those lines. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard of a differinent kind of message hidden in the popular children’s story, The Chronicles Of Narnia by C. S. Lewis.

Apparently, Lewis was a devoted Christian and therefore told the gospel through his writing. For example, the story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ; this can be seen when the resident hero and magnificent lion of Narnia, Aslan decides to go to the evil queen and give up his life (in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe). Later on, to the delight of many viewers, my self included, Aslan comes back to life! Another great example is in the sequel movie, Prince Caspian, when much to the chagrin of the others, Lucy kept insisting that she could see Aslan. When Aslan finally shows up, Lucy excitedly says “I knew I saw you Aslan!”. Aslan replies, “then why didn’t you come to me?” to which Lucy says, “because of the others”. Aslan then so wisely replies “and why should the others stop you from coming to me?”
Another instance is in one of the seven books that make up The Chronicles Of Narnia, The Magicians Nephew, which is about the creation of Narnia. In the book, Lewis writes about how Aslan sang Narnia into existence; in the Bible, it is written that God spoke the world into existence.
If you want to find out more about this issue, which I personally do, google it! 🙂

Where did I find all this out? On the 23 hour bus ride I’m currently on. (Yes, I said 23 hours). I’m the way home for christmas (after foolishly deciding to do summer term lol), and I met a friendly guy who shared this interesting story with me 🙂 Not only that, but I also met this great girl who gladly shared her biscuits and chatted away with me about hair, make up and music.

Its been approximately 12 hours since I started this journey and I’m tired and hungry. But, there’s two things I’ve learnt from this trip:

1. God can communicate with you anywhere and through anyone. (Like I feel like he is with me through my conversations and interactions with friendly guy :D)
2. There’s some really nice people in this world. Sometimes its easy to think that the world is a horrible place when innocent children are being killed and poverty and suffering is rampant. However, like I said, there still are some decent people left out there who will gladly show you some kindness 🙂

Till next time,

Linet