Inspire Me

Usually, I’m not one for inspirational quotes. Like those people on twitter who practically only tweet inspiring things? No, come on. You don’t come across as inspiring anymore, you come across as absolutely annoying. BUT – illustrate a quote beautifully and graphically, and I might be more inclined to listen. I just came across these illustrations by Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based illustrator Tang Yau Hoong, using the quotes by some famous people (the likes of Steve Jobbs and Mandela included) and I couldn’t not share them with you. I just love how the quote is used to effectively to portray these images. Love, love, love.

impossible tangyauhoong00 tangyauhoong01 tangyauhoong02 tangyauhoong03 tangyauhoong05 tangyauhoong06 unique(source)

 

A “stream of consciousness” life update.

It’s Friday morning, and a public holiday. I just woke up to the sounds of the TV from our incredibly deaf neighbours downstairs (a sound I definitely have not missed. I’m sitting at home, in pjs, in the lounge (in bed would have of course been preferable, but what can you do when you keep your laptop in the lounge). As a side note, I don’t remember when I last (or ever?) wrote up a blog post at home. Interesting.

We’re half way (almost) through Pesach on this side. I’ve written before about how I’ve never enjoyed Pesach: partly the seders (which includes going through the whole Haggadah, telling the story of the exodus – it gets kinda long), partly the ensuing hunger for 8 days straight as you struggle to find things to eat (as an example, we haven’t been able to find kosher for pesach cheese anywhere which sucks when it’s all you want on your matzah). I’m happy to report that for the first time ever, I had such enjoyable seders. My favourite was spent with a friend’s family, more friends, lots of Israeli’s and new faces. There was tons of singing and laughing, and the (further) realisation that some of the things us Jews do are a little cray (it’s much easier to realise when my friend invited her non-Jewish friend from university to join the Seder – apparently she loved it though!)

It’s the Easter weekend and there are plenty of my ex-Cape Tonian friends down. I had grand intentions to do a mass Kirstenbosch picnic, but the weather yesterday was funny and it said today would be too, so I never persued it. Naturally the weather this morning seems miserable and other admin-like plans have been made for the day. You know, gymming, shopping for essentials and the like.

There’s also Greg’s birthday coming up soon, so I need to organise/think up a good gift. The guy is 26. What do you give a guy?? I feel I’ve had this problem every year for the last four years, so I’m sure I’ll figure something out. We’ve been trying to think of what type of little party we could do… and then “little” becomes about 40 people that you are actually close to and cant not invite. Popular kid. I guess it’s the perks of being part of a bunch of little social circles.

I’m thinking I should end this off. It’s not the most interesting update, this whole “stream of consciousness” vibe isn’t usually how I write, but I kind of felt like it this morning. And who am I to deny myself the pleasure. To those travelling over the Easter weekend please drive safely (I’ve heard the roads are somewhat of a nightmare) and I hope you have a time that is filled with love, joy, and togetherness. To the yidden – moed tov, good shabbos and chag sameach 🙂

How I (stupidly) almost lost my cellphone.

I’ve been having problems with my little eyeballs recently, and I put it off for as long as Greg and my parents would allow. So I went to an opthamologist today (I don’t even know if I spelled that right) and was prescribed some eye drops (bringing my collection of eye drops to four different ones).

During lunch, off I went to the pharmacy at Gardens Centre. My colleague asked why I was going there when there was a pharmacy literally outside the door to our building. I didn’t even know it was there, which was kind of embarrassing to admit. I figured I’d go to Gardens Centre anyway, walk around and maybe find a birthday present for Greg.

Then I saw the pharmacy I knew was there, was, well, there no more. Back to Clicks, because they have a pharmacy. Score. The pharmacist was super nice, she looks at me and says “I think my daughter was at your wedding?” when the penny dropped, I told her what a fantastic girl she was and played some more Jewish geography (my brother and her older daughter were at school together). I figured even though I missioned out to the further pharmacy, I met someone nice and that I knew. Score.

I even walked out with some pretty nailpolish on sale. Score, again.

Until I got back to the office and couldn’t find my cellphone.

-100000000000000 points.

I’m not an irresponsible person. I emptied my bag. Emptied the packet with my Pesach lunch. Nothing. Off I went back to Clicks. I stood in the queue to the pharmacy again, and they said I hadn’t left it at the counter. I went to a lady at the tills who said it wasn’t there. I gave them my name and told them to call Greg if it came up, and sadly went out, back to work.

Until I found my phone in my back pocket.

Fool.

What are all those crazy things you’re doing? Well, Pesach is upon us.

I maintain that Pesach is one of the craziest Jewish holidays out there (don’t worry, there are others too!). If non-Jews knew the crazy things we did, well, they’d no doubt think we were whacked. I happen to sometimes think the same…

It’s been a crazy few days getting the flat ready and “Pesadick” ie ready for Pesach. We had to vacuum, remove, lock away and finish any food that contained leavened products, or really that weren’t specifically kosher for Pesach (nope, normal kosher food just isn’t enough this time round). We hosted 10 people for Shabbos dinner on Friday night so we really did the bulk of the cleaning (ie the kitchen) on Sunday. We cleaned surfaces, poured boiling water, cleaned around our stove tops with toothpicks, scrubbed and even covered our kitchen surfaces with plastic… I know, this stuff is crazy.

The night before Pesach one needs to do Bedikat Chametz (chametz, is what we call any of that leavened food, bread, and not-for-Pesach food that we need to get rid of). This literally means searching for chametz. It involved wrapping some bread in foil (which had to obviously be done outside as we weren’t allowed any crumbs inside having already cleaned!), hiding it in the house and subsequently searching for it… by candle light and with a feather (or in our case – if you don’t have a feather, use a feather duster). Kind of like an Easter Egg hunt, but not as fun or delicious. But it’s strangely cool, and one of the pre-Pesach things I kinda like.

Monday and Tuesday nights we hold Pesach seders, where we retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt, which is like one of the single most important events in (Biblical?) Jewish history. We recount our days of slavery and the miracles that got us out of there (Those 10 plagues?), you know, like in Prince of Egypt (except apparently that’s not entirely accurate. Oh and that cool song at the end – no, not Miracles, but we actually sing that too. Well, I think it’s cool).

Aside for retelling the story, which we read from a book called a Hagaddah, we are encouraged to ask questions – WHY? The night begins with a song (traditionally sung by the youngest in attendance) which goes “Why is this night different from all other nights?” (except, in Hebrew). Well, if you saw some of the things we did, you’d also be asking questions.

Why do we have to eat matzah? Why do we dip eggs in salt water? Why do we drink 4 cups of wine (if only this were more fun than it sounded)? Why do we lean to the left? What are all these weird things on the seder plate? Why do we have to wait so long til we eat? (OK, that’s one of my own questions) Why, why, why.

Usually, I hate Pesach. I don’t like matzah, or being hungry, or long boring seders. These days I specifically hate taking off work. But I think this year is going to be a nice one. We’ve had some hectic, cramped and impersonal seders in the last few years so I’m very happy to be spending it at home and with loads of our friends. Friends really make everything more barable.

So to all the Jews out there, have a Chag Pesach Kasher ve’Sameach* and to everyone else out there, I hope you have a little insight into some of the (cool? And) crazy stuff we get up to.

*sidenote: Sameach is pronounced sa-mei-agh (like Arikaans gutteral g sound). Yet whenever I read this word I read it in my head as sa-meach, rhyming with peach. I laugh every time at myself.

 

Jew-spotting and being “part of a clan”.

When you go somewhere regularly enough, you begin to notice those, well, “regulars”. The people who go to a particular location at the same or similar time to you. We go to gym every day after work and have begun to notice some regulars of our own: the girl who does her lunges across the gym floor, the girl doing insane moves with her trainer, that guy who tries to lift weights that are way too heavy for him (as can be seen my his grimaced face and subsequent “sex noises”). So I guess we “know” (read: recognise) some people.

It seems that some people recognise us too, especially at gym in our “Jewish” attire. I suppose you could spot as us Jews a mile away if you knew what to look for. I cover my hair with pretty headscarves, and Greg wears a yarmulka/yarmi/kippa. We wear these “head coverings” to gym, which has led to some recognition of us as Jews and gotten some comments before. Well, not quite comments, more like sparked conversation.

Greg once got asked his opinion by an old man on the Israeli elections (or something Israel related). I was once asked what it’s like to gym in a sheitel (these are human hair wigs, which I do not own, yet many women use to cover their hair. This woman obviously confused a sheitel with a scarf), we then played a game of Jewish Geography (as Jews do, because naturally you should know someone who knows someone that you know) and landed up that I go to the same Shul (Synangogue) as her sister.

Yesterday as we were about to get on the spinning machines for a bit of a cycle I hear a very excited “Shalom!” next to me. I assumed it was someone I knew and turned around to see who it was. I didn’t know this lady, but she was very excited to talk to us. She said she sees us every day at the gym together, and even said to her trainer the other day “See them? Those are part of my clan!” She asked where we daven (pray/the synagogue we go to) and told us fervently how much she loves the Rabbi at her shul. It was a lovely little conversation, we wished her a happy Pesach and carried on with our gym workout.

I guess it’s kinda nice to be “part of a clan”.

It seems as though winter is coming.

It’s only mid-March and the days are sporadically starting to feel like Winter. Cooler evenings, odd days of rain and lots more cloud coverage. I don’t have a huge problem with Winter, but I do prefer sunshine and doing things outdoors like walks on the promenade and picnics at Kirstenbosch.

But Winter has it’s perks. While I may spend most of my time in the office, there are some wintery activities I am looking forward too:

1. Winter Clothes

winter

Coats, and boots (mental reminder to buy a new pair), and socks, and scarves, and stockings and general warmness. There’s nothing like feeling so cosy. I guess you could (kind of, but not quite) equate it to the feeling of the sun’s warmth on your skin (but not quite, of course). I don’t like to wear too many layers, as I don’t pull off the “chunky” look too well.

2. Soup

winter_soup

Butternut. Mushroom. Vegetable. Split Pea. Anything with barley… And lots, and lots, and lots of it. Yum.

3. Lazy days in bed/on the couch watching movies/series.

winter_watching_series

With a compulsory blankets of course. And popcorn. Or soup.

4. Winter pyjamas

Maybe this is just because I have a favourite pair that my friend gave me from Australia. The prettiest pair of Peter Alexander pjs with a New York theme (as we’d just come back from a trip there). Oh, this does of course extend to gowns as well – we got a Mr & Mrs set as an engagement gift. It was possibly one of the best ones.

While this is all I felt like doing all morning, Cape Town in it’s very typical style, has cleared the rains and the clouds have started to lift. The sky is still gray, and it looks a little windy from the view of my work window… so it looks like Winter is coming.