Euro trip day 2

Hello Athens 🇬🇷
What a warm welcome! It’s hot out here, it’s supposed to be autumn – haha! Well I guess this is a Mediterranean climate. 

Ok, so the 1st thing that catches my eye? They have a train line straight down the middle of the highway…what? That’s pretty cool! With train station stops! And their trains also have graffiti, but not like ours – neat graffiti. As if it was meant to be. Graffiti art 🤔 quite beautiful. 


I will never drive here, just can’t wrap my head around everyone driving on the wrong side of the road 🤣 Well, it’s wrong to me coming from South Africa. 

Right, all settled in & time to explore, even if it’s time sensitive 🙄 I went to the mall of Athens where I saw some familiar brand stores and some that were completely Greek to me…literally 😆


Went into a supermarket to check out (ok, ok! Compare) their items to what we have back home. Yoghurt! Greek yoghurt! And they can call it that because it’s actually made here! This one 👇 is sold in a terra-cotta pot, very unique. 

Feta!! WoW, the selection of feta & cheeses in general was very impressive 👌 this is just the tip of the iceberg👇


Then their ice creams 😮 If I could, I probably would have bought one of each, just because they look so good👇

And off I go to explore this mall some more. Without buying anything haha!
And what do I stumble upon? Bakeries!! Lots of bakeries, with breads, tarts, pastries 😯 Take a look at some of these👇


After some mandatory work time, dinner was arranged at Cookoovaya. A very upmarket, posh restaurant. Lots of different starters shared, each one had their own main – my choice a perfectly cooked sirloin, on a bed of mushroom purée & caramelised onions 👌 have a look below

Our hosts were so excited about this restaurant’s dessert (sweets) menu, they just ordered two of each!! Chocolate brownies(which I steered clear of), pear tart which I tried & am happy to say it was delicious, not overly sweet. Then there was a fancy tower of phyllo pastry filled with cinnamon ice cream. The waiter proceeded to make a show of breaking them apart for the table 😅 absolutely divine & entertaining too!

Great hosts & great food – a perfect way to enrich an existing business relationship. 

Stay tuned for more exciting tidbits 😀

Advertisements

Euro trip day 1

Leaving Cape Town on route to Istanbul 🇹🇷 

The first thing I remember loving when I travel, is hearing different beautiful accents. Today I am flying with Turkish Airlines for the first time. Before the plane left the ground, they had bumped my seat up because of a pre-existing condition (after signing a pretty standard disclaimer) but then they kindly asked if I was traveling alone or with anyone, so they could inform them if anything happened to me during the flight. They also offered to move one of my two travel companions to sit next to me, but I’m a big girl 💪 and I got this! Plus, I know my two travel companions are loving their seats, so why inconvenience others because I have a completely manageable condition. But, thanks for the kind gesture Turkish Airlines 💫

Let’s hope this is a positive start for my trip. Now let’s get going 🛫 Many more accents to hear 

Defeated…

The past couple of months have been a real struggle for me. I am a type 2 Diabetic & feeling hugely defeated.

Since my diagnosis in 2011, I went from denial, to acceptance with huge diet & lifestyle changes (which in hindsight was probably too drastic), to not caring and just chugging my meds and eating chocolates regardless, to getting a wake-up call that now has me freaking out. Maybe age & maturity has an influence here.

There is no other way to describe how I feel than defeated & freaked!

I can’t remember when exactly I had this huge wake-up call, if it was when my specialist for a condition completely unrelated, very kindly offered to test my HbA1c levels & then told me I am averaging 10 or if it was seeing mid teen numbers on my home glucometer. All I remember is thinking, “ok, sh!t just got real” I am so much more aware of what I’m eating or drinking now. It’s good, but it’s also exhausting.

I’ve been trying to do research on my own. Of course, Google was the first port of call. Now here you have to get super specific. Because guidelines and advice differs dramatically from USA, to UK, to SA websites. Probably the initial cause of my confusion. Interesting “fact” after 10 years as an uncontrolled Type 2 diabetic, you would need to move on to insulin shots. Oh my grief! What? So basically you’ll progress from Type 2 to Type 1? Let me not get started on how damaging I imagine this to be on my vital organs! I mean pancreas, liver, kidneys, eyes…oh yes let’s not forget about the huge possibility of amputation of a goddamn limb at some point!

Next was “what/when/how to eat” type searches. Down the rabbit hole I go!! From LCHF, to zero carb, to HPHF, to sugar is bad for you, sugar is not bad for you, stay away from rice & pasta, only have buckwheat pasta, only have wholewheat/wholegrain, drink and eat cinnamon, have apple cider vinegar, eat 3 times a day, eat 5-7 times a day, have fruit, stay away from fruit! … Oh my god make it stop!!!

Then I moved on to Podcasts. While mostly informative, these are highly influenced by the individual’s opinions. And sometimes, medical back up of said opinion, maybe a medical professional is invited to an episode of the Podcast.

Lastly, the more practical approach. Let’s seek out a specialist physician that can HELP ME. Hahaha! What a joke! The hospital where I visit my specialist for aforementioned unrelated condition, has a DIABETIC CLINIC. The specialist recommended I make an appointment at this clinic. My medical aid plan offers a great Diabetes Care Plan, however, they will only cover diabetic related Doctor visits, to certain doctors. With whom I have no relationship or history. So, from a list given to me, I have to “pick a piggy” and hope I chose well. And surprise! None of the doctors at this Diabetic Clinic are on their list. If I choose to see a specialist here, I will have to pay out of my pocket. Let me tell you… these costs add up! Oh, and I’m still waiting for “someone to get back to me”

So what do I do? Keep researching on my own and get more & more frustrated with the contradictions found everywhere? I monitor my glucose levels twice a day. But I know 100% that if I tell my GP my levels are elevated in the mornings (after not having eaten or drank anything for the past 6-8 hours), he will simply increase the dosage of my nighttime meds. What the hell am I going to do in 10 years’ time? Oh wait, then I can use insulin!

My mother passed away in a diabetic coma. (RIP MAMA) This plays very heavily on my mind when thinking about managing my diabetes – which is most of my day! Ok, that’s a lie. It scares me sh!tless! I don’t think non-diabetics (healthy folk) realize how stressful and lonely this condition is for those of us who care (or disease, do I call it that?) There are very few reliable sources of advice & support. I also find myself hugely frustrated, angry even, when in the company of another diabetic who is oblivious to what they are doing to their body by having that doughnut, or white bread sarmie. But hey, I too at one stage didn’t care, so who am I to judge. Also, it’s hard work. I totally get why some diabetics don’t care – they give up on trying to figure it out or improve their lifestyle.

Man… Some days Diabetes kicks my a$$….

Tonight, I’ll be getting my ZEN on

image

My 2nd Yoga class since I stopped nearly 7 years ago! I’m so looking forward to it. Finally found a yoga class that is not “studio pretentious”. Just a couple of people gathering to stretch & breathe & be!

I love meeting new people, especially if they are eager to share their life stories. My instructor had been teaching in Singapore for the past two years & returned home, to Cape Town, 3 months ago. Interesting fact – he’d been teaching yoga to stressed out 10 year olds! While I also love city life (you will learn I have many “loves” 🙂 ) I cannot imagine how fast paced a life must be that you need yoga at 10! Granted, some of the kids may just be doing it for the love of the practice, but it sounded more like a need than a love.

He also taught yoga in Bali. Hmmm… dreamy! (The destination, not the teacher!) Shocker, his experience in beachy paradise was that all the yogi’s were hugely pretentious & competitive! Locals would tell him where not to go, if he wanted to avoid the snoots.

Well, I’m glad he came back home. I would not have found a little niche if he didn’t. Now, after a draining Monday, I will go & enjoy something I’ve been yearning to get back into for months now. YAY!!

Namaste 🙂

Aimlessly indecisive…

Why is it so easy for some people to know what they want? To have a career direction or a master plan? Do you have one? I don’t. And it’s really bugging me & causing me stress. I cannot be plodding along each day with no direction. I am hugely frustrated in my everyday routine, my job brings me no joy, my colleagues are complaining cows & I feel I just don’t fit! But, how do some people just know what they want to do in the next phase of their lives? Or for the rest of their days?

 

Some days, I have grand ideas! A “way out” of my dissatisfying, quite frankly miserable current situation. Last week I convinced myself that I want to be a copywriter! And off I go researching where I can do a part time course, what kind of job that will allow me to find. A few weeks ago, I was sure I wanted to be a food technologist. I thought, I’ve passed all the right high school subjects to study in that field. That too, just fizzled. Plenty more directions – clearly my brain needs a traffic official. I’ve even started an idea book. I keep track of all my grand plans. But this isn’t helping me right now!

 

Just the other night, I was praising my niece for the direction she has taken with her studies. Facing many uphill challenges, she is determined & has such a great support structure. However, it made me realise how much I lacked direction. I never chose something, stuck to it, followed though & became something from that decision. I’m afraid if I choose something specific, I’ll fail. And, honestly, I don’t know what to “choose”! I am 36 years (young), surely by now I should have my sh!t together? Did I miss the day when they were handing out direction or decision making skills?

 

My man-friend says “find something you love & that makes you happy” HOW? Where do I begin? And how do I deal with the daily misery while “soul searching”? I just want to throw in the towel. Put my hands up & say “ENOUGH! I’M OUTTA HERE!” I’m really struggling & it’s not easing up. I’m not getting that light-bulb moment. I’m not satisfied with where I am, but don’t know where I want to be. Good grief, I give myself a headache sometimes 😦

I feel as if I am being clutched in the arms of a giant monster & I’ll be stuck there until I can make a smart move. Some days, it’s just easier to concede defeat because even a monster can make you feel safe. And safety can be dangerous, more so than risk.

Life before social media…

If you can remember a time before posting online was part of your daily habits, consider yourself lucky. In my opinion we have so many special memories, ones that we remember even without it appearing on a timeline somewhere where strangers get to see it. These are the memories we enjoy, that makes us daydream & giggle quietly, not cringe at the sight of doing something silly (oh my twenties…) or saying something provocative (hey! Let’s just say 20-somethings feel invincible 🙂 )

Today I was remembering having pen pals. Do you remember those? I belonged to an International club and could choose friends from around the world. I chose someone in Mauritius, China, America, Italy and France. I think it’s safe to say that from a young age, I’ve been fascinated with the world and people out there in different countries & cultures. Even with writing… Hmm interesting what you learn about yourself when you reflect.

However, I only remember writing one letter to each of these pen pals. I don’t remember receiving post from them, except from the girl in Mauritius. Good ‘ol postal service… it could just mean the letters got lost in the post, I won’t jump to conclusions that they rejected me… I mean c’mon 😉 😉 Cute little 10year old me from Cape Town, South Africa… hahaha 🙂

I wonder where these “Pen Pals” are now. Do you think it would be creepy to just try & connect with them on social media… LOL I’m cringing just thinking about it. Wait, I’ll have to give this one some more thought before just randomly friend requesting a stranger. How often do I delete such requests myself!

This was a really pleasant trip down memory lane.

As a footnote: I’d like to apologise to my followers for not seeing me active for some time now. I suffered a tragic, sudden & shocking loss in July. My eldest brother passed away. Walked into hospital for treatment on the Monday & closed his eyes the Wednesday evening thereafter. This event reopened very sore emotions having lost my mom, dad & brother before him. Also, just days after writing about my 1st brother who’d passed away. I felt I was making progress with their loss, only to be hit with another.

Needless to say, I was certainly not feeling inspired by much. I always had my little blog in the back of my mind, but didn’t want to only write about death & tragedy. It’s a harsh reality, but not one I want to focus on.

I am still alive and I still want to live. That is important to me.

♪ ♫

I’m sure many of you have songs floating around in your head-space, please feel free to share yours & have a look at my Song of the Day

Is it there for a reason? Or did it just pop into your head & get stuck there? Are any of my other Songs familiar to you? I’d love to know 🙂

Here’s hoping you all have an easy-peasy Monday – with no blues!

xx

Walk on…

Big step for me today. I moved my late brother’s whatsapp messages to the archive! Not deleted… just archived.

This may not sound like anything huge, but since I lost him in 2013, these messages cheer me up when I find myself thinking about how much I miss him & feel down in the dumps because of it. After he passed, I had lost half of my family to cancer – mom, dad, and then brother. It’s actually surreal just typing that. You plod along with life, days become weeks & before you know it, years have passed. Though, that gaping hole remains. So often people tell you “time will ease the pain” or the cliché “time heals all wounds” or “it’ll get easier” That’s such bullshit! In my experience, time has allowed me to remember them more easily without bawling my eyes out. I’ve gotten to a point where I can think about them and smile. Remember things we did or things they used to say & actually giggle. But easy? Are you kidding me? There’s nothing easy about not having parents & losing a sibling whom you were so tight with. Not sharing your life with them.

My brother, Deon, & I were the last in the family home after my 2 other brothers and sister got married & began their lives. Deon was an absolute joy! Everywhere he went, he formed connections with people. People loved him. He was always happy & jolly. To the point where it would irritate me 🙂  He would take his last pennies out his pockets to help someone in need. We had quite an age gap, so when he was getting ready on a Friday night for a party, I would be in PJ’s asking a million questions about where he was going, etc. So often, he’d feel sorry for me & pop out to the shops to surprise me with some snacks, watch a movie with me or MacGyver on the telly (I even convinced myself he looked like MacGyver) before heading out. He was always willing to help. As I got older, he was always championing me to live out my dreams & “go for it babes” as he’d say. These are the kind of memories that make me smile.

The cancer came out of nowhere. He went for an op on his arm & a week later had been diagnosed with stage 4 terminal cancer. Do you think that got him down? Hell no! I’m sure it took its toll on him, but he never let us see it. Always positive, happy. So when he started saying he was tired, when we started noticing him cringing with pain & just disappearing to the bedroom, we knew it was real, and bad. At one stage, he said “I’ll just have to ride this out & hope for the best” This was weeks before he passed, just a year after being diagnosed and just 6 weeks after we lost my father too. 2013 was not a kind year at all.

I miss you terribly Deon. I can say that without the tears welling up as much as before.

I promise you I will live out my dreams. I am quite the dreamer!

He was a die-hard Liverpool fan & I chose to play their song at his funeral…

When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm, there’s a golden sky
And the sweet, silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone

For my brother, Deon

Local adventures…

Sitting in OR Tambo International airport, waiting for my flight back home to Cape Town. One of my favourite pastimes is people watching. So many people, each with their own stories & destinations. Fascinates me! The airport is always full – hustle & bustle… I like it 😀 I make up stories in my head about these people. The sad farewells – will they ever see each other again? Is this person simply going home, or beginning a life altering adventure! Or are they traveling because they have to for work & they’d rather not be here. I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to travel. Even if it’s just domestically. Especially if it’s covered by a company credit card too 😉

I’ve been to Joburg so many times, yet on this trip I had some great new experiences!

Firstly, I booked accommodation through Airbnb. A little apprehensive at first, but aren’t we always with the unknown. I chose my person based on raving reviews & location. And, to be honest, gender. All I really needed was a place to freshen up & put my head down. I stayed with Tennille and her two adorable ginger cats! I immediately understood why she had such raving reviews. From the minute I arrived, it felt as if I were visiting an old friend. She was warm, friendly and well travelled – which made for some great chit chat. And she offered me coffee! Brownie points! 😉

Second “first” on this trip was using the Gautrain. My impression? Oh wow! Clean, comfortable, always on time, regular announcements to keep you on your toes. I felt like I was on a luxury liner. And as the train whooshed along, I felt as if I were on a train going through a European countryside. 


Then lastly, Uber. All by my grown u self… Haha! And eventually! Rent-a-car? Forget it. There is no other way to get around a city you’re not familiar or comfortable driving in on your own. Super convenient, pretty affordable (considering other options) and safe. Great way to chat with someone you may just usually walk past in the street 😀

 The reason for this trip was to celebrate the union of a forever friend & his beautiful bride to be. They currently live in Tanzania & will be married in Zanzibar in a month, before they pack their bags to study in London. How kind of them to come back to South Africa to allow those unable to attend the actual wedding, a chance to celebrate with them. Sad to say goodbye, but I don’t believe in goodbyes. Here is another friendship which will last a lifetime wherever in the world we meet up!
I’d say, a really great trip this weekend. Even if it was only domestic.