Sting and The Police…

If you could tell a stranger anything you wanted, what would you say?

This was the opportunity presented to us after our Sunrise Special this morning as we each sat with a piece of paper while sipping our coffee… I challenged The Friend and The Sister to write down a few lessons they would want to teach their kids one day…

This is what we came up with…

The Friend: “Remember… Stop to take a moment and appreciate what you have/who you have and where you are… Keep your chin up and your eyes fixed on God, you can make it through anything – things will get better… Chocolate is good at any time of the day or night.”

The Sister: “You are never too far away to go home. It’s ok to admit that you were wrong and to start again. Life is about choices.   God loves you and will pursue you all your life.  Embrace Him.  It will be the best decision you will ever make.  Learn to laugh, live, love.  You don’t get too old to dance in the rain.  Wear sunscreen.”

And mine: “In my almost 30 years, I have learnt the following.  1.  A pretty face doesn’t make you beautiful.  People look at the outside but God sees your heart.  2.  Don’t waste time, don’t procrastinate… Time is a gift, not a guarantee.  3. Love loudly… Don’t let people ever be unsure as to whether or not you love them.  4. Life is too short to drink bad coffee.”

Great advice by all accounts. So we popped the messages and our email address into our bottle and headed off to the Sea Point Promenade… Finding a spot where there were fewer rocks and no sand for it wash up on immediately took a while…

Found a spot…

Looked around to make sure no one was watching (this was the moment I realised that i was in fact littering)…

Pulled back…

And there it goes…

Found it bobbing up and down in the foamy waters where it will probably hang out until the tide comes in and carries it out a bit…

So there it went, pearls of wisdom floating on the waters. Who knows where it’ll end up?

From Cape Town to Seattle…

“Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna turn around and dessert you…”

Rick Astley at 5am? I’m up! I’m up! Enough already!

Early mornings are not my thing, not even a little. My central nervous system only kicks in after two, sometimes three, cups of coffee… Watching the sunrise with friends was problematic because not only did I need to get up at the crack of dawn but so did my friends. Luckily, I have amazing friends… The Incredible Flo and The Awesome Sister agreed to tag along. I hear some of you saying that that’s one friend and one sister, not “friends” but honestly, sisters make the best type of friends.

All the reports said sunrise was at 6:44 am this morning but as we drove down the N1 Highway, heading towards The Mountain That I Love, I caught a glimpse of yellow skies in the rear view mirror… Uh oh! The coffee stop would have to wait till after the sunrise…

We drove towards Lion’s Head and then kept on driving till reaching signal hill where we saw locals still in their pyjamas and locals who had obviously not gone to bed yet and were enjoying a liquid breakfast. Deciding this was not the spot for us, we drove back towards Lions Head and found a great place to pull over on the side of the mountain with a spectacular view of Table Mountain and the rising sun.

As we spent some quiet moments watching the ball of fire peep over the far off mountains, my sister and my friend beside me, it felt as if my soul let out a contented sigh. Golden rays washing everything it touches with warm light…

A spectacular sunrise, some awkward photo attempts and some laughs later, we said an official Good Morning to Cape Town and headed off in search of a very necessary cup of coffee.

Hello Seattle Coffee Co. *cue angels singing* Café Mocha with whipped cream and a Twix seemed an appropriate breakfast… A sunrise special!

Driving off we came across a delightful find! A photo op not to be missed… Guess and I share a history it seems…

30 Sexy Years!

That’s How We Roll…

If you got home after a long day at work and were told that it’s Sushi for dinner, I believe most of the general population would be pretty pleased… What is it about raw fish, cold sticky rice soaked in vinegar and dried seaweed sheets that we love? I have no idea, but this is a bandwagon that I am most definitely on!

The Mother and The Sister blessed me with a voucher for four people to learn to make sushi. Score since I really love sushi, bigger score, it’s on The List.

This time it was The Teacher, The Occupational Therapist, The Graphic Designer and The Journalist/Script Writer/Producer/Social Media Junkie/A Whole Lot Else who joined forces in the quest to become Sushi Ninjas…

Designer Girl and I listened to the advice of the person running the lesson and brought our own knives… It did feel weird and illegal walking around with a massive, sharp knife in my bag…

We arrived for our lesson in good time and did what any self-respecting girls would do, took photos of ourselves. I must admit though that it was mildly awkward setting the self-timer on my camera and all smiling at it for ten seconds before it finally took our picture. Awkward, but that didn’t stop us from doing it again, and again…

 

We were invited to join the sushi chef in his kitchen and watch and listen as each step of the process was explained and illustrated. The young chef made it look incredibly easy as he flipped, spread, filled, rolled and cut the sushi. We were shown how to create our own California Rolls, Maki, Fashion Sandwiches and (my favourite) Salmon Roses…

After that we were ushered back to our spots at the sushi counter and supplied all that we would need. Come on, how hard could it possibly be?

I knew I wasn’t off to a great start when I started on the bamboo mat instead of on the board… Oh dear! Come on, Sarah, focus here… I set to work with the sushi rice, squishing it onto the seaweed sheet… At this point, let me just say that sushi rice is much like glitter… You know how you can’t get glitter off your hands? Yip, the rice was the same and then I remembered that I hadn’t wet my hands… Fixing that problem I went back to my rice squishing and did a fairly decent job of it. A shake of sesame seeds, some avo and salmon slices later my California rolls started to take shape. A bit of shaping using the bamboo mat and things were looking good. I then had to cut them, not so easy, but I managed.

Next we were given rice and a thin slice of salmon to make the super easy salmon roses… My salmon didn’t really play along… A squirt of mayo and a touch of caviar later, it had more or less fallen apart… Super easy? Pffft!

So it may not have looked exactly like the sushi chef’s masterpiece but boy did it taste good! We enjoyed munching on self-made sushi and chatting away as girls do…

Sushi making? Check!

Smooth, Real Smooth…

Remember me? Sarah? The tall blonde with the ridiculously low pain threshold? Well I can’t believe it but I forgot to take my myprodol… A fact I realised only halfway en route to the Salon. Uh Oh.

Three teachers, an occupational therapist and a large amount of hot wax… Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, on the contrary it was the beginning of my evening. Tammy was my capable therapist who assured me that it wouldn’t hurt at all and that it’s not that bad. Not that bad? Excuse me? You are pouring hot wax onto my skin, sticking strips of fabric to that wax and ripping, yes, RIPPING, that strip and the wax AND MY HAIR off! But it’s not that bad?

I entered into this particular challenge with lines from an old email forward that circulated a couple years back. It detailed one woman’s journey into the terrifying world of home waxing… The thought of that email brought tears to my eyes and for a moment I couldn’t tell if I was crying from laughing so much or if it was mild hysteria… (Side note: Ladies, if you haven’t read that email, let me know)

So back to the saga at hand. Tammy the Therapist set to work waxing my legs. The wax rolled onto the back of my leg, warm and sticky, next the fabric strip was smoothed onto it… Felt quite nice actually… and then, oh my gosh! Blinding pain shot up and down my leg, stars gathered in front of my eyes and through the rushing sound of my blood pumping through my head I managed to turn around and look back to see what came off with the wax, my hair or my skin? I was able to enjoy the comfort of no bloodshed for a split second before strip number two was ripped… Barely breathing, the next few minutes were a blur as it was smooooth, riiiiiiiip, smooooooth, riiiiiiiiiiip…

“There you go!” What? Was it all over? Had I blacked out? I hoped so. Nope. Tammy had finished only one side… of one leg… Oi. As she continued rolling wax, ripping hair and the like I tried to keep up a steady stream of conversation… Every few rips, Tammy stopped, bent over double, laughing at my painful expressions, deep slow breaths and curled toes.

All the while Flo and Z were waxing bits next door. Soon there came a knock on the door as they joined us to witness my torture. By then Tammy was done with the legs and was turning my single eyebrow into two… Score!

Not satisfied with seeing my pain at having small fine hairs ripped out of my eyelids, the girls begged Tammy to do one more rip… She was only too happy to oblige. Just as she smoothed the strip onto the hot wax, The Sister walked in the door… Now it’s a party!

Cameras ready! And RIIIIIIIP! Grimace. Click, click, flash!

We hung around as The Sister had her brows waxed and discussed life and babies (Z is having one soon).

We walked out of there fuzz free and giggling, making plans for our next coffee catch up session. And my lingering thought on the drive home was the same as when I climbed Lion’s Head, “First and last time!”

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time…

“Oh OHHHHHH! We’re halfway there! Oh OHHHHHH! Living on a prayer! Liiiiving on a praaaaayer!” Nothing like a mix tape to get you rocking out on a roadtrip…

We gathered at the respectable hour of 10am to begin a day of much craziness, many laughs and loads of fun. The only real rule with roadtrips, in my opinion at least, is that you may not play “cool” music… Roadtrips are strictly for cheesy choons… I’m talking Spice Girls, Roxette, Billy Ray Cyrus, Cyndi Lauper and the like. Songs that everyone knows, can all sing along to and feel really good belting it out, even if it’s off key.

So we set off, in the general direction indicated by my navigator/co-pilot (in whose navigational skills I had very little faith – I wisely kept my mouth shut and followed instructions… who cares if we don’t end up where were going, that’s part of the fun, right?). The trusty, suitably girly mixtape in the CD player, doughnuts for breakfast and big smiles on our dials… We started tripping… Roadtripping!

The Sister was set to come with us but had to pull out due to other commitments, in her stead, she sent fourteen slips of paper. Weird, I know. Occupational Therapists these days. Each of these slips had a task that was to be completed during the course of the day.

These tasks ranged from the ridiculous to the hilarious and included:

  • Discuss at length in Austen or King James English how much wood a woodchuck would chuck if it could chuck wood
  • Using only small change, nothing bigger than one rand coins, buy something along the way
  • Play sweet and sour with the other cars, stop when you have four sweet and one sour

One of my favourites was to each decide our superhero names and update Facebook with them

Another slip commanded us to use a word to replace the words cool and lekker… This took some discussing…

Crispy?

Nah.

Slammin’?

Already been done…

Ziggy?

Hmmm, ziggy…

I like it!

So ziggy is the new cool. Not sure what I mean? Let me put in a sentence or two for you:

“Whoa! Check that stuffed lion cub wearing a sailor hat! That’s so not ziggy!” or you could say, “Wow, Dancing Diva! Your navigational skills are totally ziggy!” We are currently looking at copyrighting it… Now that’d be super ziggy! I must confess though that it may have been inspired by none other than Posh, Sporty and the girls, The Spice Girls… C’mon… You know you want to… “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends…” There may be a Ziggy Zig Ah! In the lyrics but I still say it was all us!

I am ashamed to say that even though we drove through flower country in spring, we did not stop to smell the flowers along the way, not ziggy I know… Next time though.

Our drive was a slow meander through the countryside on a journey to Paternoster. Where is Paternoster? No idea? What’s in Paternoster? Not much. But on Saturday, we were. Hallelujah it’s raining men… Actually, even a light drizzle would do.

We stopped at farm stalls with excess airfreshners, garages that allowed no swimming or other activities in the water and random signs… Really, the best name you could come up with for your B and B is “Juffroushoogte”?

We took loads of pictures, of ourselves naturally…

So we pulled up in the ‘Noster… Not Ziggy? Yeah, I didn’t think so either… Our first stop was graffiti central where we added our names to the millions of others…

And we discovered Paternoster rocks… no seriously, rocks from Paternoster…

After trying on flotsam and jetsam as fashion accessories we hit the beach. White sand, shells a plenty, gently rolling waves… paradise! Or pretty close at least. A slow amble down the beach and back again we went shopping with R5,10 in small change and then had fish and chips on the rocks…

The return trip was started with, “Look at that sign! Do you think my car will fit through there?” And of course we had to try! A quick four by fouring experience later in my trusty little Tata we drove right into a ditch, stopped for some pics (that’s what girls do) and then worked at getting the car out!

As the miles went by, the car got quieter but for the light snoring of The Courageous napping in the back. Being a superhero is exhausting apparently! The trip takes me one step closer to thirty and a whole lot closer to incredible friends… Let’s do it again sometime!

She’ll be Coming Around the Mountain…

It’s not a walk. Not by a long shot. It’s a scramble. It’s a hike. It’s a climb. It’s a stretch. It’s NOT a walk.

I enlisted the support of an incredible guide, the uber fab Baby J and then started recruiting fellow travellers via WhatsApp, BBM, Facebook and Twitter. Our group of adventurers met at 8am on a sunny Sunday morning in the Mother City.

Set to conquer a mountain, it was only as we stood in the parking lot looking up at Lion’s Head that I thought I may have bitten off more than I can chew… A lot more… Twenty minutes and a prayer session later we started off on a journey neither I nor my body will forget in a hurry.

It took less than 7 minutes for me to start sounding like an obscene phonecall, heavy breathing, no talking. Anyone who tried to start a conversation with me on the way up was met with hand gestures that were hopefully interpreted as “I cannot reply now as I am using all my mental ability to focus on getting air into my lungs”

I hope I lasted at least 20 minutes before I stopped us for our first breather but I’m not convinced. When I realised that most of the photos I would take that day would be of the rear view of the group, I appointed Baby J the official photographer (she was only too happy to oblige with her fancy schmancy new camera phone). I must admit though that at one point when everyone was admiring the view I ran a few metres ahead so that in at least one picture it would look like I was leading the pack!

 

The gravel road soon gave way to rocky steps which then gave way to rocks. Each time the path started getting uncomfortably close to the edge, the rocks got scarily rockier or I brought the group to a halt for yet another breather, I was overtaken by someone either under 7 or over 70 years of age who was doing a much better job than me.

But the group kept encouraging me to press on and push through. There came a choice of two different paths to take… The sign said, Left – recommended route, Right – use at your own risk. Comforting when the crew you’re climbing with takes the risky one. This was no Robert Frost type choice. The physio could be heard saying, “If I get a choice, I’ll take short and adventurous over long and safe any day” or something to that effect. Uh oh. It was when I grabbed the first chain that a friend urged me not to let go but there was a lizard to my left… I don’t handle creepy crawlies very well.

It was also right about this time that my infrequent fear of heights started kicking in. I really didn’t prepare myself at all for this adventure. I did however make it to the top of the chains section without hanging on, paralysed in fear, sucking my thumb and calling for my mommy. No small feat in my opinion.

From there to the top I was pretty much on all fours most of the way, spurred on by shouts of “100 more metres,” and “just a little bit further, Sarah…” It didn’t feel like a little bit further…

Lungs bursting, heart pounding, I was given three seconds to compose myself before officially summiting Lion’s Head.

One small victory cry later, I lay on the ground to catch my breath before being able to appreciate the view… But when I could breathe again… Wow! What a view it was! Spectacular views of Cape Town, Table Mountain, the Twelve Apostles and the Ocean in all directions… Incredible.

Once all had recovered it was an impromptu photo session, some chatting and a bit of parkour from the crazier part of the gang. And a slightly off key “happy birthday” to me!

Eventually though we had to start on our way down… I was pleased to find that this came a lot easier than the uphill had for me! I can tell because I managed to keep up a loud and steady stream of conversation all the way down! Telling anyone who would listen that it was my first and last time up this mountain and asking why anyone would call it a walk.

I overhead the triathlete (hike/swim/eat breakfast – sounds legit?) state that, “Brave is what stupid people call stupid people.” I concur. I also swear I heard someone say, “You know what? You could show me a photo of this same view and I would feel the same as I feel seeing it for myself…” Oh no, she didn’t! Yes, she did… Confession? She is me. But in my defence, beautiful photographs draw an emotional response from me…

We got to watch a paraglider launch from the side of the mountain on our way down and after an incident free journey, one unlucky traveller tripped on the last step and ended up with a minor cut on his hand and scrape on his back. Finishing with a flourish.

All this effort deserved a reward… A trip to Seattle Coffee Shop was a well-earned treat for all!

So I made it up and back down a mountain, surrounded by incredible friends, great conversation and many laughs. I was pleasantly surprised at how friendly and encouraging all the strangers on the path were… As we walked past each other we were greeted and cheered with urgings of, “You can do it!” and “You’re almost there!”

I was not so pleasantly surprised by how much more difficult it was than I had imagined it’d be! It was an even less pleasant surprise taking my tired muscles to bed last night only to wake up with aching, painful and protesting limbs. I got up early just to get dressed for work and when I tried to put shoes on realised that I wasn’t going anywhere today. And so I have not gone anywhere today. As far as possible, I have moved only my hands and fingers as they are the only part of me that understands the messages my brain is sending to my body.

Both my boss and my uber fab guide thought this was funny… painfully so!

I went to get a glass of water earlier and couldn’t work out why the lounge was tilted at such an awkward angle… Am I living on a ship? And then I realised it was only because my body had developed its own system of walking, not unlike a combination between a crab, giraffe and a tranquilised rhino just before it falls over… Attractive.

With the beating my body’s taken from an easy “walk” up Lion’s Head, it has me wondering… Am I turning 30 or 60?

A big high five to all the crazies who came along to help me scratch this off The List! Here’s to more adventures!

Sixty Minutes…

Make-single-people-like-myself-feel-awkward Day (aka Valentine’s Day) has never been my favourite holiday. So a couple years ago when my sister asked me to go with her to a film course that started on V day I thought, “Why not?”

I was surprised by the large group in attendance that night and I was rather sceptical when the guy in charge appeared bare foot and in the smallest pair of red shorts I’ve ever seen. Oi. The course was run by the media team at a local multi-site church, Joshua Generation, and was set to run over a month of Monday evenings and Saturday mornings. I must say that within ten minutes, Mr Red Shorts had me inspired to make films just by sharing his passion and creativity and desire to inspire people through media. The next few weeks saw us experience each area of the filmmaking process as we wrote scripts, used cameras and learned about sound, production and direction. We even had a guest appearance from Regardt van den Bergh, the talented director of Faith like Potatoes and Hansie.

The course culminated in us making five minute films in small groups. The films were shown at the Joscars (the Josh Gen Oscars) and the judges chose our short film on domestic violence as the winning film and we were awarded Chocolate Easter Bunny Oscars. We were convinced that Hollywood would be calling us the next day!

That was the end of my journey into filmmaking; my sister however, was hooked. She found herself captivated by the world of media and was invited to join the Film Kru Team. A second more advanced course ensued with four more (and much better) short films being made. Another Joscars event, this one a black tie affair, had about 700 supporters in attendance and we were blown away by the movies. My sister was the Producer of a truly Capetonian comedy.

One of the other movies, Bound, took a real look at human trafficking and has since been used in schools to alert children to the dangers our young people are exposed to… Read more about that film’s journey here.

Continually upping their game, the Film Kru has spent the last few months working on some (longer) short films called the Love Bombs. Each of the three Love Bomb Films focuses on a different aspect of life choices and changes.

The Prodigal: “The Prodigal is an edgy and honest short film that takes a brave look at sexuality, grace and God. The story follows two years in the life of Mark, a sensitive and easily influenced high school boy. Set against the experimental backdrop of the ocean, Mark ventures deeper and deeper into the waters, until he finally discovers what he had always been looking for.” Quote taken from The Love Bombs Films Youtube Channel

Second Day: “This original short film takes a unique look at an age-old fact, and presents it in the wrapping of post-apocalyptic madness. It was filmed entirely on one location over 2 days in Cape Town, South Africa, and made completely by volunteers. It’s a hard hitting story that will impact lives, and we’re proud to be showing it around cities in this country.” Quote taken from The Love Bombs Films Youtube Channel

iBalaclava: “Shot entirely on location in Dunoon – South Africa’s most densely populated township – iBalaclava is a moving short film about the lives of two brothers, and the sacrifices they have to make. It’s a story of failure, grace, and second chances – and we’re proud to have it screening in townships across Cape Town, impacting peoples’ lives for the better.” Quote taken from The Love Bombs Films Youtube Channel

On Youth Day, the Film Kru took iBalaclava to the Du Noon township on the N7 in Cape Town. They called for a group of volunteers to help out and over one hundred of us responded. The Sunday before that we joined the Josh Gen congregation in Du Noon to plan and pray together and commit the project to God.

Our group of volunteers spent Saturday the 16th June serving the Du Noon community. Arriving early, the set up crew carried chairs, set up tents, moved boards and made sure everything was ready to go. The clean-up crew blitzed through the venue armed with gloves and black bags and scrubbed toilets, picked up litter and mopped floors (they worked throughout the day). The jumping castle team supervised all the little ones, making sure each got a turn to jump. The tireless face painters turned the waiting children into Batman, Spiderman, butterflies, flowers and the like.

The Soccer tournament was a fierce competition as teams battled it out on the field to see who would win the new team uniforms while on the Netball courts the teams of women played hard to be the winning team. That was where I spent my day, courtside, as the official scorekeeper of the day.

The event ended with a showing of iBalaclava to a crowd of about 700 local residents. The crowd loved it as they recognised locals acting in the movie and the locations were from their own area.

The day was incredible, each person doing their part to show Jesus to the community. From the face painters to the cleaners, ushers to referees, jumping castle supervisors to set up crew, each pitched in and helped out where they could. I ended up volunteering for way more than the hour that I had put on my list but I got so much out of being there for the day, chatting to the locals and enjoying the time together.

It was such a success, you can read the article run by a local paper here.

So what about the other Love Bombs? Well, they’ll be hitting Cape Town soon in various events. But first, there’s a Love Bomb Film Festival next month.

For more info and to buy tickets see http://www.lovebombs.co.za/

What about you? Have you volunteered somewhere before? Want to volunteer but don’t know where to start? Have you got any plans for Mandela Day? How will you spend 67 minutes that day in service of others?