Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Daddy

He would've been 55 today and I often wonder how things would've been different if he was still alive....

...but instead of focusing on "what if's", I rather concentrate on what was....

....and one thing is for certain, he was the best daddy any girl could ask for!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Perfectly printed

Maybe it's because.....

...they're French....

...they're in my favorite color combination...


... just because they are so cute..


I really love these prints by Love Sugar Designs

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Don't you just........


 this house by blogger Jutta from kootutmurut?

I DO!!!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dame Westwood

I would hardly call myself a fashionista ...
....but I've always had a little crush on Vivienne Westwood's work......

I love that she use to be a primary school teacher before she started her own shop, sewing clothes in the back of the store....

....and I love her heart jacket.....

...and Lady Dragon heart shoes!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bye bye Truchen!!!

The saddest day of my entire year was the day that I had to say goodbye to my kiddos at school!!!
I dreaded it for weeks and woke up with a knot in stomach the day I actually had to do it.
It ended up not being so bad.

In between all the tears, we managed to find some time for...

..lots of "posed" photographs...

...a final game of Uno (thanks Jillers).....

....group hugs....

..."love declarations"...

...some goodbye cake....

...and an awesome award ceremony.

What an awesome privilage to have been part of their lifes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


They say that you get two types of people in this world....

....cat people and dog people....

I am, without a doubt, a cat person.

I've always loved cats from as long as I can remember.
Unfortunately my family never shared my enthusiasm.
My father was terribly allergic to cats and my mother and sister just didn't like them....well, that was untill Vally came into our lives....

About a month ago, during a beach holiday, little Valley Cat just pitched up on the doorstep of the beach house were my sister visited. Not wanting to encourage him, they ignored the kitten, thinking it was somebody elses cat....but the next morning, the cutie was still there. Unsure what to do, my  sister took him to the nearest vet but the vet informed her that should nobody come and collect him in the next few days, they would have to put him to sleep. And so the former cat-hater turned into the biggest cat-lover I know!!!

Well, we kind of share that title now!!

(Oh, and if you are wondering about the name,  lil' sis is studying fashion design and it's very fashionable to name your cat after your favorite designer!:-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Beautiful braids

Some people might find this strange but my mother brushed and tied my hair until I went to 8th grade.
I loved it.
I still love it when people brush my hair!
I find it very soothing and sometimes I go to the hair salon for a wash only, just so that somebody else would work with my hair. I usually relax completely and fall asleep.

A few days ago I paged through a  magazine and saw this lovely picture of a bride that braided her hair.
I loved it so much  and told my mother how I would like to do that for my own "wedding hair"... someday.
My mom then gave it a try and except for the fact that it felt so good....

....the result was quite pretty too.....
(for a first try)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Very bad blogger

I have to confess (although all of  you probably know this already) that I've been a very bad blogger!
I've been back home for more than a month now (wow, I really cant believe it) but I still feel like my feet havent touched ground yet.

I do have allot to blog about though!

You might've noticed some posts about Vietnam?! Well, about that.... during my year in Korea I ever so often send some "news letters" back home about my experiences. Family and friends loved it so much and after my trip to China I started this habit to write about all my travels. I'v e just started writing about my Vietnamese trip so I will post these on the blog as I write them. But you can also look forward to some (very belated) posts about:

* Teary goodbye's and an awesome farewell party with my kiddos at school
* Our new addition to the family
* Gifts in the mail
* Christmas in February
* Why I love the circus!!!!
* Photo posts of Vietnam and Hong
* Pretty polaroids
* Beautiful braids

Oh, and I promise to be a good blogger from now on :-)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Very Vietnamese Adventure Part 2

I have to confess that it was only AFTER I booked and paid my plane ticket, that I informed my mother about my plans to backpack through Vietnam…..solo. Mommy dearest didn’t like it all that much but to be fair, I didn’t have much of a choice! With less than two (very busy winter camp) weeks to plan a trip , a plane ticket costing a bit more than I bargained for and a “peak season” monster threatening to munch up the remainder of my meager salary, backpacking seemed like the best alternative.

Secretly I was jumping with joy!!! Ever since reading “Fried Egg with Chopsticks” by …. I’ve dreamt about backpacking through Asia. Idealized dreams, I should add, of trekking through jungles and sailing through sees with nothing but a backpack and the wind in my hair. I didn’t realize that backpacking also meant cold showers (if you were lucky to have a shower at all), filthy sheets, street food and primitive public transport systems. But having done the whole 3 star hotel, air-conditioned bus, organized tour adventure, I wanted to get “down and dirty”. And dirty I most definitely did!

Except for an online reservation at “hostelworld.com” that my darling friend Jill (who is quite the expert and budget travel) helped me with and a few scribbles in my secondhand “Lonely Planet”, I honestly didn’t do much planning for this trip. I have to warn you though; please don’t try this at home! If I’ve learned one thing from this Vietnam excursion, it is that a little bit of planning – even if it’s just a tiny bit (like checking the weather forecast) – is advisable. But through experience comes wisdom, they say. And since we are busy confessing, I might as well add that “planning” has never been my forte. I much prefer to jump on fate’s back and hold on for dear life. Much more exciting that way, I dare say. It is when fate turns around and bites you in the backside that things get a bit messy though. But still peacefully unaware of the “bites” that awaited me, I packed my small backpack with the bare necessities – 4 dresses because it is ALWAYS summer in Vietnam, 2 pairs of shoes, a swimsuit, towel and sunglasses, wallet, camera and one of those small travel toiletry kits that you take on the plane. For a heavy packer like me this was quite an achievement and I was rather proud of myself (I am definitely the first in my family that could achieve this). Later I would realize that I still over-packed - I never even touched the swimsuit ….or the 4 dresses …or my sunglasses and sandals.
Wild with excitement, I was still huddled in my thick winter coat and jeans when I got into a taxi at Hanoi airport. Because it was freezing cold winter in Korea and I would spend a night in Hong Kong on my way back from Vietnam, I thought it wise to take a coat along. Very wise indeed, because “bite” number one was about to happen….and not just any “bite”, but something close to frostbite. As a firm believer of “first impressions last” I was contemplating the logic of choosing the ugliest part of the city as the airport spot when I noticed the thick gray cloud of “pollution” hanging over Hanoi. I just felt the first tinges of buyers/travelers regret when I noticed that the taxi driver was wearing a thick coat …and so were the thousands of motorcyclists crisscrossing the highway in front of us. It took a few moments before it dawned on me that the grey clouds were not the result of pollution, but in fact winter. It couldn’t be!!!! Frantically I searched for my Lonely Planet – it was in the Lonely Planet that I read that this “always summer in Vietnam” – before I realized that I left it on my bedside table the previous night. With only the warm clothes on my back and zero guidelines for travelling in Vietnam, the “tinges” of regret turned into full swing remorse and terror. Did I really choose wintry Vietnam over the sunshine and beaches in Thailand? This couldn’t be!!! Disbelieving and filled with despair, I huddled myself even tighter in my thick coat – for the next few days this coat and I would most certainly challenge each other’s boundaries. When I said I wanted to get “down and dirty”, I had no idea…..

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Very Vietnam Adventure - Part 1

I was a mere 9 years old when I got asked out on my first date. The mini Casanova sat next to me in third grade class and wooed me with fruit scented colour pens, animal postcards and a baby photo of himself. But I wasn’t easily charmed and after three unsuccessful attempts and a warning that my mother would never allow it, Casanova decided to take matters in his own hands and got his mother to phone mine about a date. A week later, the three of us (Casanova,his mother and I ) sat in a dark cinema, sharing a box of popcorn and holding each others tiny, salty hands. The relationship didn’t end up with a “happy ever after” though. In fourth grade Casanova and I had a dramatic break time break-up after my best friend and I decided that he cheated on me (we just discovered “Days of our Lives”) with a girl called Nadine. A little less than 20 years later, Carl Gustav van der Merwe would’ve been long forgotten, was it not for the baby photo and little “sal jy met my kys JA/NEE” note that my mother kept in my school album. But the one thing that stuck with me about my first date, is the movie we went to go see that day….FORREST GUMP.

Now for some “Forrest Gump” was just a movie but to me “Forest Gump” was much, much more. With a mother who was very strict about TV, Forest Gump was a introduction to a whole new world….a world of hippies and disco, Joan Baez and Credence Clearwater Revival and most importantly a world of green jungles, rice paddies and war. There in the darkness of the East Rand Mall Cinema, a fascination for Vientnam was born that would lie dormant for years to come.

Time passed and life went on and eventually I developed an even stronger fascination for a country with cherry blossoms and geisha’s. I dreamt about tea ceremonies and kimonos and promised myself that I would pay the “Land of the Rising Sun” a little visit as soon as I sat foot on Asian soil. I was so serious about Japan that I even asked to be placed at a school in the middle of the dockyards just so that I could be closer to the Fukioka ferry line. Fate had other plans though. Little did I know that Japan was not only ridiculously expensive (a weekend in Japan could easily gobble up an entire months paycheck) but also quite similar to Korea. Not that I minded much, I really love Korea, but the problem with these fast developing Asian countries are that although they are wonderful and interesting, the authentic traditional elements that I like so much, are buried under a thick layer of Americanism. Having had enough of the designer- label obsessed, Starbucks sipping, i-Phone fondling masses, I was craving something more authentic. I wanted to see what “poor” Asia looks like!!! Suddenly the childhood crush was woken from its peaceful sleep and it all made sense - what better place to experience “poor Asia” than the war torn, culturally proud Vietnam that I fell in love with so long,long ago. When I learned that Hanoi, with its cobbled streets, French colonial architecture and street café’s was called the “Paris of Asia” I was even more convinced that Vietnam was just the place for me. There was only one last problem….I discovered that I was pretty “poor” myself when I realized that my vacation fell in “peak season”.
Now, “peak season” is not all that bad you might say?! And perhaps you are right. But one thing that I’ve learned is that you pay a lot of extra money for supposedly “good” weather. Plane ticket prices sky rockets and you could easily fork out more than double for accommodation. Not to mention the influx of tourists! I wasn’t convinced that I wanted to break the bank but oooh, the “Paris of Asia”….?!?!

So there I was, sitting on a shaggy carpet in my friend Jill’s apartment, complaining about my money versus “live in the moment” predicament, when her boyfriend Aaron gave me the best advice…

“Rather regret the things you did, than the things you wanted but didn’t do”

The next day I paid the travel agent a little visit!!!

It was Forrest Gump that said “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you might get”. From what I could gather, my next “chocolate” was going to have a fishy, Vietnamese flavor to it....