A South African, married to an American, finally adapting to my adopted country. I love life, laughter, good friends and the warmth that my two kids have filled me with. I glory in the colors of my life and am grateful for the gray days as they allow me to appreciate the rainbows.

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Location: New York, United States

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

the travels.......

Tuesday 11th continued

I went to Andi's chiropractor so I could actually move my hip:) Sheesh I am getting old. He says tome(having adjusted Andiforover 20 years), so when are you going to introduce Andi to a nice guy. I asked him what does he mean she is already seeing a great guy. But he is thirteen years younger then her he says, what will happen when he is 50??? I said, well she will just have to find someone younger. He started laughing. Shook his head and said now I can see why you guys are friends. Hit Bruma to buy lots of lovely goodies. Met Andi for lunch at Europa, had another really yummy salad and coffee - we sat in Norwood and watched the world walk by. So many memories, so many places. I then went on a tour of Andi's business, her new factory and offices, I just swelled with pride by what she has achieved, I am so proud of her.

Then went to pick up the kids from a rather exhausted Di who had Ms. Happiness (my au pair) with her and Happiness chose to sleep all day, I must say in real Tammy Fashion I threw my toys out of my cot/crib and she got the message. Happiness is truly a gem, the best of what south africa has to offer, a bright sunny black south african with endless patience who oozes life and is bok for the adventure that lays ahead.

Ry slept at Di's house, I deposited Nikki and Happiness back at our timeshare and Ands came to pick me up so I could officially meet Iain. He is such a great guy and I am so pleased for them, they are so in love and I just love the energy between them, I do believe he will make her happy and that is all I wish for her.

Wednesday, July 12th
Happy Birthday Gary!!
Today Jodi and I packed the kids up and went to Gold Reef City. They had such a blast - it has such a great amusement park and the kids jolled on the rides. They had zero interest in going down the mine shaft but they did pan for gold.

Then dropped the kids off at Jody where they had a great time, Jodes, Markie and I then headed to the Vaal to return one of my suitcases, my dads boot/trunk istoo small and would never have fitted in my sisters stuff and ours. We just chatted, drank moccahchinos and it was very special. The friends I have here are family,not even friends there is such a deep connection, such al ove and such a feeling of belonging when we are together.

Thursday, July 13th
The kids just crashed. No more their tired little bodies could not deal. They needed their mommy and some serious down time. Rented some videos, cancelledmy plans with Lisa and we just hung out. That afternoon we went foratour ofNorthcliff, where I grew up, we drove past the house I grew upin, somany memories, felt like a huge cloud over me. So much has changed, distances that seemed to loom so large are so much closer from an adult perspective. I then introduced the kids to Milky Lane and they loved it. Me too I must confess, their waffles with cream are just the best!!! Finally food we all loved.

That night we get back, calm kiddies down and at around 8pm Happiness comes to tell me that the toilet is blocked. I call housekeeping they tellme the maintenance guy has gone home, they try to plunge it but to no avail. She comes back with a big blue bucket/pail and says you'll have to use this. I looked at her and explained as I do sowell, in no uncertain terms that I will not be using any bucket to go potty in!!! They had to go get the maintenance man who fixed the toilet!!! Oh joys! Blue bucket se voet!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Update continued

Saturday July 8th

After a night of throw up, still dragging, cleaned the kids and me, sheesh they say when its your own kids it doesn't matter but jissus china it sure is gross. Hung out with Lisa, PJ's on sipping tea, great way to spend a morning. Headed back for the timeshare, cooked and chilled out. My kids have had such a rough time with the food, actually so have I, everything is so rich, Ry can devour 4 yoghurts in a sitting in NY, here 2 spoonfuls and she was done. The food is drenched in butter, even hamburger buns arrived buttered. I think the real difference between SA and the USA and the real reason people are so obese in the states is the richness of the food, one can eat huge quantities in NY and never feel satisfied, here a few spoonfuls does the trick. Although I must say I don't find SA's as thin as they once were I think the introduction of drive throughs and McD's has not done much for the waistline. Although the outdoor lifestyle definitely leaves them with more pep in their step and smiles on their dials. I can't believe winter means a long sleeve T-shirt, and a pair of shorts for the kids, heaven. Wow.

Sunday July 9th
Spent the day with Andi, went to a dr. with Ry and Ands her and I hit the nursery where we could sit and eat (I had a delicious salad, the veggies here are so unbelievably tasty), really great spending quality time with Ands, she is so much more then a friend, I see her as one of my sisters. So special having her in my life. Went to the Rosebank Flea Market to peruse through overpriced tourist stuff.

Slept over at Jodi and Russ's place, was so lekker having a marathon huck, unfortunately little Nikki was attached to my side that night and I had yet another sleepless night.

Monday July 10th
Jodi got me an appointment at 9am with her reflexologist, in the states reflexolofy is a fancy name for a food massage, here it is an art where talented people can read your feet and cure you of what ails you. Its been almost 20 years since I have been to someone as talented as this reflexologist. She is amazing and really knows her craft well. Its funny as I drove to her on the otherside of town (Victory Park to Glenhazel)all the routes came back to me and I just remembered where and how to go. Its funny how there is so much stored in the bank of ones mind that we never get a chance to utilize. Funnier yet was meeting my friend Elana (in NY)'s cousin at Balfour, she owns the coffee shop there and I just had to have a cuppa).

Aterwards went to Moyo with Lisa, Di and Jodi and their host of kids. What an incredible venue, its on the zoo lake, an African motiffed restaurant with outdoor and indoor seating, it is so stunning. The food was very mediocre but the venue and activities for the kids were just unbelievable.

Its funny in NY Ry struggles to connect with kids, here her connection is instant. She has made so many friends and just found a well of self confidence socially that I have not seen before. It is such a gift to just be a kid here, people in NY get so uptight, I don't really blame them as when a kid drags mud through the house for a second time you want to beat them to a pulp, here Precious, ever so patiently cleans up for the umpteenth time. The kids are forever barefoot and covered in dirt. At Moyo they climbed trees and built a clubhouse out of twigs and leaves. Its so amazing that they can be kids and I realize being here how much they miss out on.

We then headed back to our place where everyone collapsed and watched TV, I finished my second book, I have been so reading deprived and I have to say I am literally devouring books whole :) Its been so long since I have had a chance to read and I am just loving it.

Tuesday July 11th

Hit Bruma early to buy some gifts for people, its amazing the price difference between the vendors at Bruma and Rosebank. Bruma one buys direct from vendors instead of 20 middle men at Rosebank. I am awed by the talent of the local people, their ability to make pieces of wire into pieces of art is amazing. I am also shocked at the priced of stuff in south africa, what was once a cheap destination for us dollar weilding tourists is now an extremely expensive place, food prices are prohibitive and the level of poverty is so overwhelming, it sadnes me. Watching the dignity with which the man in the street carries him/herself and the struggle that they face just to put food on the table is so sad and it really broke my heart.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Our trip begins..........

We left on Monday the 3rd of July on a 6:30pm flight. Josh drove us all to the airport,I have to take my vow to never travel with him or have him involved in our travel plans tattooed into my forearm because he had one of his legendary hissing fits when we were being checked in because the ticketing agents were taking people who had not been waiting as long as we had ahead of us because their flights were leaving earlier then ours. I was quite chilled and it did not bother me one bit until he started shouting at which point he and I had a minor brawl. The ticketing agent was in such a tizz that she either said f-you or messed up, because she did not book our luggage straight through to Johannesburg but instead sent it to London. I am not sure what posessed me to check but thankfully I did. The flight was uneventful,Ry did not sleep a wink,neither did I, I had to sit a fast asleep Nikki upright in her chair as the turbulence was so bad, she remained asleep but Ry and I hung out. The crying baby behind us did not help the sleep story at all. We arrived in London EXHAUSTED, Ry and Nikki had to push a cart loaded with 2 suitcases and I had 5 on mine (including our small overnight one) and a backpack on my back. Poor things were so miserableand the cart was so hard for them to manoever but they did a great job and I was really proud of them. Thank G-d Michelle was waiting for us when we got out. We had to manouvere the carts 2 terminals away, laden to the hilt through tunnels and a dinkum serious maze of note. Thank G-d for the Brits, they allowed us to check our bags in knowing full well I would be out of the airport all day. They checked us in, boarding passes and all. It would never have happened in America.

Ry had loved the airline food which she proceeded to throw up all over Michelle's car. Nothing like being exhausted and having to clean up vomit. I bathed the girls, cleaned the car, hit the supermarket where I had to carry an exhausted Ryan around, she is no light weight, but was so exhausted that she could barely walk. She passed out at Mish's place, we set Nikki up in front of the TV,and Mish and I sat outside with cups of coffee having a chat.

There is something about reconnecting with old friends, its almost a let down as the time stands still and its like we saw each other the day before. She looks great, has lost so much weight, she is so happy, she is getting married in November. One of the hardest things in our relationship was me seeing her be so unhappy for so long and not being able to do anything about it, she is doing so well and it really warmed my heart to see. I quiched out for about an hour and Mish and Nikki went for a walk. Jan and Mish took us to the airport where Nikki slept in the car while Jan and Ry explored the airport, Jan completely spoiled my girls with goodies they had found. I said my good byes and headed for the departure gate.

My girls were so good on both flights, a real pleasure to travel with, the first flight was packed to the gills the second flight was also full, the two of them were seated in front of me and I had a seat behind, where a woman sat and there was an empty chair between us, they kept trying to move me next to the kids but I was not prepared to as I needed some sleep and I had that extra 5 inches of space and was not giving it up.I also knew the girls would pass out momentarily. Which they did and I even managed a bit of disjointed sleep.

We walked to the passport control, it was my very first time not standing in the South African Passport Holders line, it really made me sad, I wanted to shout out tha I am South African,I promise, I belong here." The line moved so slowly,welcome to Africa, can't fight the slow pace of life. I was surrounded by people who live in South Africa on foreign passports, growing up a foreign passport was considered to be gold because you had away out. They were all saying how bad things were here and how they were all coming back to tie up lose ends and emigrate. We passed through to be hussled for money on the other side for a porter to help load the bags on the cart. We finally walked out to be met by Andi, Happiness (our au pair), Happiness's parents and Eddie who was driving us to the Vaal(where my parents home is),a comedy of errors ensued,Vodakom could not find my reservation for the phone, took them about 2 hours before they did. I sat at their counter and just saw ghosts, had these memories escape my body of people and places, the airport has changed so much but there are glimpses of the old Jan Smuts International airport and I had visions of going there to meet my folks with my grandparents when my parents came back from their holidays, of saying goodbye to those I love as they emigrated, my own tearful farewells, my sister who went for a year to Israel and her return. I was overwhelmed by the emotion, the memories, New York is devoid of my history and this one little part of Africa has captured a part of me.

We paid to leave the airport, grabbed our receipt and piled into the car,only to find that we were meant to have take the ticket out of the machine to be able to leave the airport. I grabbed the receipt, followed the secuirty guard to a bank of elevators where only one elevator worked. We went upto the office where they could not issue me a new card without my credit card which I had left in the car all I had take was the receipt, I could not give them the licence plate number, they thought I had stolen it,anyway I finally convinced them that I was no theif, I had 2 young kids in the car and they had to make a plan which they did. At Africa pace but they made a plan. We arrived at the vaal to discover that the fridge was not working, there was no heat, the place is on a river, it is gorgeous during the day but cold at night. My folks had not tested the heaters out and they did not work, it was freezing, the caretaker managed to find 2 old heaters that barely emmited any warmth. We all slept on the floor in the living room, I was so cold, barely slept, Happinesses cellphone kept going off and waking me up, got up early the next morning. I rushed to the supermarket, threw lunch together, my friend Diane and her 2 girls Ariella and Mandi came over to spend the day, they are the most divine girls and we all had such a lovely day. Di and I had a chance to catch up, once again it was like I saw them the day before. Mandy and Ryan fell in love and had such a connection, they begged for Mandi to sleepover, we said it was not a great idea as there was no way that Mandi would be able to get home if she got homesick,no-one drives on the R59 at night it is a very dangerous road. They begged and pleaded with me, I had adopted a new easy going attitude in SA to let the kids have a great time and decided, exhausted and all that she could stay. The poor kid ended up having a panic attack and would not sleep,she only slept an hour the whole night and did not want the lights off, I had 3 kids in bed with me but she was keeping Ry and Nikki up so her and I went to the other room where we hung out and read and chatted for the night. She is such a sweet girl and I must say I felt so bad for her. In the morning I repacked the clothes I had unpacked the day we arrived (Wednesday), it was Friday time to go to our first timeshare, I was so half asleep and my dad's boot (trunk) is so small we could barely squeeze our stuff in there and the kids were loaded in with tons of junk around them,organization was certainly not the key. We met up with Di, returned her exhausted kid to her. We arrived at our timeshare which is gorgeous, a 3 bedroom place with a huge livingroom and kitchen. Beautifully decorated in the country. A real treat. I repacked a bag, left Happiness, and the girls and I headed off to My cousin Lisa's house in Sandton for Shabbat dinner. It was an outstanding meal, and it was nice to see everyone, the kids had such fun with their cousins, Jamie and Nikki had such a little love affair and were inseparable, Jamie is one of the cutest and naughtiest kids I have ever seen, she is so delicious. Its so funny hearing kids with South African accents I just laughed everytime she spoke. She is too much. Dean is the same age as Ryan and just a delightful boy, so helpful, he looks after his sister and just about everyone. It was so strange having 2 maids there cleaning up,it was just like when we grew up, what a life we led. Shew the memories. We were exhausted got the kids in to bed. Ry struggled to fall asleep and we were up until midnight. At 1am Nikki woke me up to tell me she had a belly ache, I took her to the bathroom, she said she did not have to make. She wanted to sleep on the floor next to me(she had been sharing Jamie's room),which I made her a bed. She then proceeded to projectile vomit over her bedding, lisa's sofa pillows which I had gone down to get and herself. I took her to the bathroom and then went backdown to get something for her to throwup in, the only thing I could find was a pot and she proceeded to spend the remainder of the night throwing up. Making a full week of being up way too late for way too long. Off to sleep now.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Bye for now............

My bags are packed and we are going to load them into the car and head for JFK in a while. Can't believe the countdown is counted and we are on our way. Hope you all have a great summer. Not sure what my internet access will be like but I will post when I can. Take care of yourselves. Miss you madly.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

I screwed up.........

I screwed up. Big time. Yesterday's activity was turning the house inside out looking for a fedex airbill. Ry was at my mom and Nikki was home with me. Josh came home to help me on my quest. Gone. Nikki saw how frantic I was, she asked me what happened I told her what I was looking for. She dissapeared for a while, and returned with a piece of paper covered in Nikki squiggles. I couldn't find it mommy she says, so I made you another one. How do you stay frantic in the face of that? Quite a while later my husband managed to locate it online, there lay the error loud and clear, I sent the documents to the wrong place. The mistake was a costly one, a good chunk of my savings for my trip. When I saw what I had done I burst into tears, little Nikki was frantic, Mommy she says, don't cry, please, little arms around my neck, little body curled up on mind. I know what I will do she says, she gave me a massage, little fingers on my back and neck. Oh how could anything be bad with that kind of love?

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