Published: February 22nd 2011February 22nd 2011
As most people know, I am not actually in Africa anymore. I am back in Texas, the land of open farmland, pride and rich culture. I do love it here. I returned to smiling faces and embraces from friends and family. I have been smothered with love and stories of how greatly I was missed. I still have my wonderful Elisha by my side. I would not have it any other way. Let me tell you, for the first week and a half, we were separated and it was horrible. It felt so strange to not have her next to me at almost all times. I know a lot of people would be driven mad by spending every moment of every day with a person. This is what we did in South Africa. We had to, we had no choice. And again, I would not have had any other way. We learned from one another, we grew together. It was magical. Beautiful.
Since we have been back, things have been interesting. Before, I was the one, alone, speaking of how much I missed South Africa. People seemed to understand, some of them... some people didn't. They asked "What could there
possibly be in Africa that you can't find here?"
Now I have Elisha to answer with me. I love Texas. I love my friends and family, I adore them. I love spending time with clients and making them happy, even if it is just a haircut or a new colour to brighten their mood... I love the stereotypes of Texas and how untrue they are- yet sometimes so so true.
But I love South Africa. I love the sun. It just seems closer- you can get a tan in a matter of minutes... at least it seems that way. And the clouds, it is almost as if you can touch them from the ground. The land- the green- the beautiful, lush forests that extend up into majestic mountains- and then the mountains fade away into the crashing waters of a beautiful and powerful ocean. There are actually so many similarities between Texas and Southern Africa. Maybe that is why I feel so comfortable in South Africa- or maybe it's the opposite. I am not sure.
Just the other day, Elisha and I took a trip out to Springtown which is roughly a twenty minute drive. We were on a
mission to see Cartersville, or at least the remnants of the old town. Cartersville, Texas was born before Springtown, before Weatherford and before Azle. I was intrigued by the idea of this abandoned little town so close to where I have grown up. Okay, no it was nothing like the ghost town of Kolmanskop we visited last year in Namibia (South West Africa), but it was still worthy of a visit. There are a lot of very informative plaques adorning the grounds. The only remaining structures are the inside church and the outside "revival" church (complete with ancient piano!). The old inside church building was a bit creepy. As you enter, there is that smell that only an abandoned building can offer. The floor creaks and the ceiling is falling apart. Strangely, we found a note on one of the benches. Scrawled in red ink was "Draw me a picture, little girl." Supposedly one of more common ghosts seen around there is that of a young girl. The note must have been a recent addition, as I am sure after just a few days some one would have drawn something absurd. People had drawn and written on the walls- as
expected- yet disappointing really.
Anyway- I enjoyed it. I want to visit Jacksboro, have not been there in a long time. That is a very interesting, historical town. Dallas is annoying, Austin is over-rated but Springtown and Jacksboro and all the historic Western dorps scattered across this land- they are forever. That is where you find the tales of cowboy feuds, dusty saloons and pioneers trekking through the bush in covered wagons.
I have a job, other than my nomadic hairstyling (which is much more enjoyable.) That's right, I am traveling to people's homes and servicing their hair. It is fun and relaxed. I am sure I will eventually rent a space in some small building full of individual rooms... and I will play nothing but Kenny G in my hair room. I am kidding... I think.
My JOB- a produce monkey at Whole Foods. Firstly, I do not like it. I will not work there for long. If anyone at Whole Foods reads this blog- sorry. It is just like any corporate job, maybe worse because they try to pass it off as some hippie paradise that is leading the masses in a campaign to save the
planet. I am not saying they are not doing more than Wal-Mart or Kroger. It is a definitely a commendable company. But, it is still a corporate zone of underpaid employees that either hate their job or are into it in a creepy way. I have always hated that. Those people that defend their cold corporate impersonal job to the death. They live it, breathe it and sleep it. Scary. Get a life outside of work and stop worrying about the numbers and goals and all of that. . . you do not earn enough to care about that. Take photographs, write, travel and drink really good beer.
I know, I know- I am cynical. But it is only because I am so full of love for real life. And as cliche as it sounds- it really is the simple things that matter most. Obviously friends and family are an integral part of being happy. . . today for example, Elisha and I visited the British Emporium in Grapevine. This cute little shop stock imported goods from Great Britain. Biscuits, teas, pies and candy brighten the place... but the most important thing of all- they have an entire section
for South African products! and there was much more than I expected... oh how wonderful to see Mrs. Balls chutney, Romany biscuits, Ouma Rusks, Ricoffy and Stoney Ginger Beer. Simple... just food and beverage products... but it made me so happy. I cannot wait to visit the store again and over time build up my arsenal of South African treats and goodies.
I just watched a movie called "Under the Tuscan Sun". It was actually a good movie- obviously a bit corny at times- I enjoyed it. It made me think of how different the mindset in the United States is from the majority of the rest of the world. As I said, I do love Texas. But watching the calm, cool and relaxed people of Italy, slowly strolling through the simple streets... riding their scooters in no rush, maybe working if there is work to do... but mainly focusing on friends, family, laughter and wine. As far as I know, we only live once- it is so unnecessary to fill life with stress. I try not to. I am saying I never stress, and when I do it is over stupid stupid things...
but that minimalism and simplicity
reminded me of South Africa. Some of the people, who have very little spend their day smiling and enjoying what they do have- not only that, but sharing it with friends... even if they are friends they made only an hour before. I miss intense excitement that builds up over something as simple as a braai and a few quarts of Castle being passed around. I miss sitting on the porch at Ingrid's, looking out over the seemingly endless hills of Natal, enjoying a beer and knowing that no matter what, I was surrounded by some of the most gorgeous land and kindest people in the world.
I love Texas. I love South Africa. I miss it. I miss my friends and what I consider family that side... I am sure some people are tired of hearing about it... but it feels good to write. Thanks for reading.
For now, take care..
There are more photos below