Tuesday, August 30, 2011

10-year Reunion: Gala Dinner

Thursday, August 18 2011 - Gala Dinner at the EL Golf Club. This was the first event of our reunion weekend. I arrived with 3 school friends and the first couple of hours were spent mingling. There were quite a few reunion groups at this event - even a 50-year reunion group!

Mayuri, Bavika, Poonam & I

Telana & Me
Some teachers I met that night - Mrs Forward (who taught us in primary school), Ms Winkelmann (Afrikaans), Mrs Thorne (Maths), Mrs Felton (English & matric), Miss Rose (History) and - our headmaster, Mr Nel!

Legendary English (and matric) teacher, Mrs Felton
Miss Rose (History teacher) in the background
To be very honest, I think I was at a loss for words when I met Mrs Felton and Miss Rose.  Hands down, they were (are) two of the best teachers at Clarendon High School and I feel absolutely honoured to have been taught by them both.

Carolyn, Tania & Thandi

With sweet Carolyn
I've kept in touch with many school friends over the years, but seeing each other face to face was completely different. It was especially lovely seeing Natalie who coincided her vacation from New Zealand to be with us :)

Mr Nel (headmaster)

I went home that evening feeling quite excited about the following morning - Founder's Day assembly at school! 

10-year Reunion: The Build Up

I think it was in April when I found myself part of the group that was to organize our 10-year high school reunion weekend. There would be a series of events, starting on Thursday evening with a Gala Dinner hosted by the Old Girls Guild at the East London Golf Club. On Friday morning we'd meet at school for the Founder's Day assembly. Friday evening would be a "Girls Night", Saturday afternoon would be a family picnic and on Sunday we'd wrap up with a breakfast. I was asked to organize the event on Friday evening.

I was very fortunate to get a lovely venue, and after sorting out details like catering and the program for the evening, I felt like everything was set.

A few weeks before the reunion, I had a chat with a friend while I was still in East London. She was feeling a bit hesitant about the reunion weekend and I wanted to know why. As can be expected, everyone will want to know what the others have been up to over the past 10 years (let's face it, we're not ALL avid FaceBook-ers to keep up to date with each other's marriages, children etc...)

"What am I going to say?" she asked me. "I'm job-less, husband-less and child-less."

Wait a minute. So am I! 

It's no longer a secret that I have been battling to find a job since I came back to the country from South Korea last year. So I, too, have no job at the moment.

Also, I thought back to our school days - to our "bonding sessions" in the matric quads - where we used to talk about our future. I always thought that by the time our 10-year reunion came around, I'd be married, maybe with a child and I would be a published author. Well, I'm certainly far away from being married with a child :)

I thought of other classmates and what they've been up to over the past decade. Many are living abroad and have taken different paths in life, some not what they expected. I have friends who are climbing the corporate ladder in Johannesburg, some are married with children and are amazing stay-at-home-mums (living all over the world!) Others are engaged and planning their wedding. However, each one of them/us have something to be grateful for. 

I thought about the meaning of "Success". What is it?

Is success earning 20k+ a month? Perhaps. Is it being married to a wonderful man who you have beautiful children with? Maybe. What about just being happy - regardless of one's financial or relationship status?

I came to the conclusion that success means different things to different people. I then tried to imagine packing my life over the past ten years into one box. What would I put in there? 

Something I wouldn't be able to physically put in is "experience". My experience (for another blog) between 2002 and 2003 was life-changing and has made me a much stronger individual. Something else I have to show is my four year Bachelor of Journalism degree from Rhodes University. I've also written for a number of publications - both print and online and have had the opportunity to meet some incredible people.  Spending 3 years in Korea and having many travel experiences has been like a dream come true for me.  Within a matter of days, I was able to take photographs standing next to pyramids in Egypt and then standing on the Great Wall of China in Beijing. I learned how to like myself and enjoy my own company, because almost all my travel was done alone.

So, does that mean that the fact that I don't currently have a paying job of 20k+ and a man at my side makes my a failure? Absolutely not!

I decided to put my anxiety of our school reunion aside and enjoy the time with friends, some of whom I've known for 20 years now!

Quick Catch-Up

I can't think of any (good) excuse why I've not blogged, except that when I sit down to write, I can't seem to get the words out.  Some call this writer's block! (rolls eyes)

Anyway, the past few months have been pretty busy and not so much at the same time. In April, after attending my friend Carmen's wedding in Cape Town, I decided to pack up and move from East London to the city of 021. It was evident that job hunting FROM East London for work in big cities was just not working for me. 

I found myself a lovely apartment with an awesome view and moved in at the beginning of July. With my mum's help, we turned this shell of an apartment into a cosy home. A week after my mum left Cape Town, she was in hospital for kidney stones.  The procedure wasn't successful and she had to go back in the following week. It was hard hearing my mum sound the way she did on the phone, especially since she's always cheerful and up to something or the other. I felt like I needed to be with her, especially when she went into hospital again. So I went back to East London and spent about two weeks at home. Thankfully, the second procedure was successful, but my mum took a long time to recover.

 I came back to Cape Town for a whole week before I had to go back to East London yet again. This time, it was for my 10-year high school reunion. More on that in the next blog post.

All that is over now and I'm back in the Mother City. I've been keeping myself busy with finding a job.
...and I'm still trying to find myself! :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

RIP Shammi Kapoor

This morning I read with sadness that Bollywood's veteran actor, Shammi Kapoor passed away. Growing up, my folks had a VHS of Shammi Kapoor songs and I used to love watching it. With his facial expressions and signature dance moves, I credit my initial attraction to Bollywood to this legend.

RIP Shammi Kapoor
1931 - 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Enjoying my own company

I arrived back in Cape Town yesterday. A few people have asked me what it's like being on my own again after spending two weeks at home with my family. Granted, I wasn't on my own for all that long before I had to go home, but still - I know that even one night alone for some is unthinkable.

I guess my three years living alone in Korea taught me to enjoy my own company.

Going to a movie or coffee shop was no big deal for me. In fact, I enjoyed it. One of my biggest (personal) achievements has been my solo trips - Singapore, Malaysia and other places...like Jeju Island - Korea's "Hawaii" just off main land.

I never thought I would travel alone, but it really pushed me to learn about my capabilities, strengths and weaknesses.

Today was a typically lazy Sunday. In the evening I got dressed up and went out for dinner. Alone! I don't think I remember when last I had dinner alone, but it wasn't too bad.

When I got home, I was ready to get some work done. With all that taken care of, I'm ready to call it a night - after some reading, of course!

Have a great week ahead!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I know my blog has collected cobwebs. I haven't done this in weeks...months! However, it doesn't meat that just because I haven't verbalized it, that I haven't been saying silent prayers of gratitude.

I'm thankful for:
  • ...my health
  • ...to have two healthy parents and brother
  • ...to have food to eat everyday
  • ...to have clean clothes to wear everyday
  • ...to have running water to take showers everyday
  • ...having a clean and warm bed to sleep in every night
  • ...my mum healing after being hospital.
  • ...my mum and dad for their immense help in my settling in CT.
  • ...my dad for giving me the best birthday gift today :)
  • ...Vijayan inviting us to celebrate his birthday with him and his family last night.
  • ...Whoever called or e-mailed alerting me about my e-mail hack last week, especially Bazil.
What are you thankful for today/this week?

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues. -Cicero

All I want and need is a break.

Originally written on Wednesday, August 3

I'm writing this with a lump in my throat and my eyes brimming with hot tears. I have really tried to stay as positive as I can for the past few months, but today I can't help the way I feel. It's a piercing feeling through my throat down to my stomach.

I'll never forget my last day at work in Korea.

As I pushed my chair in at my desk for the very last time, walked down the empty passages of the school and out the main school gate, I didn't want to really look back. The 15 minute walk to my apartment was slower than usual. I passed dozens of stores and shopkeepers - who I'd seen countless times on my way to work and back. I didn't know everyone by name, but we acknowledged each other with a smile and a slight head bow. Smiling at them for the last time - the lady with over done make up making hotteok, the cashier at my favourite bakery, the lady who had a baby clothing store - it felt a bit sad knowing that I wouldn't see them again. They didn't know that. I would leave quietly...leave the area I called home for 3 years. Leaving my students, my colleagues and my independence. Financial independence.

My colleagues and friends were curious about what I was going to do when back in South Africa. I didn't know, but I knew that I was going to come back home, find a niche I wanted to venture into (in the media industry) and claim it!

When I was back in the country, I did my homework to see what were good avenues to get into. Radio jumped out at me. That's what I wanted to do! Since school, I've been goal-orientated. When I want something, I won't stop at anything till I get it. I applied at all major radio stations, sending my CV, letter of application and demo to numerous stations - to the station manager and programming director. When I didn't hear back from anyone, I called.

I never knew that being unemployed would have such a crippling effect on my physical, mental and spiritual well-being. When people say, "It's rough out there", they really weren't kidding.

I know things don't happen overnight, but sometimes I can't understand why something I desperately want is taking such a long time to happen.

All I want and need is a break.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Health & Medical Myths

The past two Mondays on Noeleen's 3 Talk have been about Medical Myths - home remedies we've mostly learned about from our grandmothers, mothers and aunts. It made me think about some of the Medical Myths I heard about while I was living in South Korea as well as some I've learned of from my mum while growing up.

Hopefully, we can refer this page to an MD who can verify if these work or not! If you have any you'd like to add (and verify) why not e-mail me and I'll add it to this list!

         Some I know / have heard of...

  • Young girls / ladies shouldn't sit on cold surfaces (not good for reproductive system?!)
  • If on your period, eat an egg with a runny yolk.
  • To induce a late period, drink Dutch Medicine / drink warm red wine / soak in a warm bath.
  • For indigestion or stomach cramps, rub Asafoetida powder (Hing) into the navel.
  • Going out at night with wet hair is an invitation for a cold.
  • Reading in dim light or a moving vehicle (car) ruins your eyesight.
  • If you shave, your hair will grow back thicker, coarser and darker.

    Some I heard about when I lived in South Korea
  • Eating dog meat increases male stamina.
  • Watching porn makes your hair grow faster
  • Eating burnt food will give you cancer.
  • Tying up wet hair is an invitation to lice.
  • Women who eat a lot of bo-ri-bap (Rice boiled together with a lesser amount of barley) will have a girl as their firstborn child.
  • Fan Death - Exposure to electric fans or aircons for too long causes the body to lose water and cause hypothermia. If in direct contact with a fan, this could lead to death due to a decrease of oxygen concentration.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate

From Sex and the City / Season 4 Episode 18 / "I Heart NY" 
Carrie: Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate. Without them, what would shape our lives? Perhaps if we never veered off course we wouldn't fall in love, or have babies, or be who we are. After all, seasons change. So do cites. People come into your life and people go. But it's comforting to know that the ones you love are always in your heart. And if you're very lucky, a plane ride away.

Monday, August 1, 2011

New Twitter Account

My Twitter account - @SheetalMakhan - was killed, too. When I go to that page, it says that it doesn't exist anymore. When I try creating a new account, it tells me that the username is already in use.

So, my new Twitter name is: @SheetalMak Let's resume the conversations before the hackers disrupted my life.