Life, Love, and Passports

society

Have your say!

These three words have become an invitation for people the world over to unleash their every thought and opinion. I seem to have this incurable problem of always having to read the comments section whether on news sites, blogs, facebook and even trends on twitter. I’m always so interested to read people’s thoughts because I think it usually says much about the individual whether or not they realise it. This incessant need to be right and in some cases to just be rude really intrigues me every time. Countless usually faceless people criticising the way people look as if you could magically change your physical appearance. Does it really hurt that much to say something positive or just say nothing at all? Apparently not because it seems the quickest way to get noticed these days on social networks is to say mean and outrageous things. This usually means picking on defenceless people and in my opinion this is where the bullies and bullying should be curbed.

Obviously I love having my say and having a blog allows me to do that. After blogging for two years I can honestly say that this week was the first time I could not and would not give a public opinion of a headline which had the whole world talking, judging and even passing sentence. Yes! I have an opinion and I’m waiting to have my say but this time I’ll just sit it out. After all opinion has never counted as fact not as far as I know anyway. Oscar Pistorius deserves his day in court in this case I think I’ll let the courts decide.

Fact: A young woman has lost her life in the most tragic of circumstances. Rest in peace Reeva Steenkamp!

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Courting danger

After putting off watching a documentary about a woman who was savagely attacked by a chimpanzee I finally gave in to my inquisitive side. I’ve mentioned previously that I’m a huge fan of documentaries and particularly those which include reconstructive surgery. It all started out so well and quickly evolved into a sickening account of that fateful day.

I saw pictures of this oversized chimp and couldn’t help but wonder what goes through a persons mind when they try to domesticate animals which should be left to rome in the wild. An animal by its very nature has the instinct to attack and that in itself should be a deterrent. No matter how cute it may seem when you bring a hippopotamus, cheetah or chimp into your house surely there must be some point when you realise that it may not end well.

Sadly it was Charla Nash who was at the end of that horrendous attack and how she survived that is absolutely remarkable. Watching her recovery and undergoing extensive surgery was heartbreaking to say the least. Watching her undergo that full face transplant and both hands being transplanted. Sadly there were complications with the hands and they had to be removed. Through all of this added drama she remained resilient and hopeful.

The work of the surgeons and the rehabilitation team was truly amazing. The unsung heroes for me in this journey to normality are the organ donors who decide to make a difference after their deaths and very often it’s their families willingness to help while dealing with a loss of their own.

I headed to bed pretty upset and my only consolation was that Charla seemed okay considering her awful experience and so grateful for family who make the hardest times bearable.


Trapped!

While out and about with my husband at the local shopping mall yesterday there were calls for an evacuation on the level we were on. There was not a single person in that coffee shop who was not thrown into some kind of panic. The truth is nobody wants to be in danger. The security were tight lipped about the incident and rightly so.

It later emerged that a woman in her forties had jumped from the top floor and was severely injured which later led to her death in hospital. My first reaction was ‘why would you do something like this?’ My next reaction was one of absolute sympathy. I know nothing of this lady’s life but she must’ve felt really cornered to choose such a drastic option.

People who commit suicide are often labelled as selfish and cowardly which may be the case but we’ll never really know because that is the nature of suicide. Whatever an individuals reason for choosing this path I imagine their feelings must all be the same and I imagine that they are filled with turmoil and crippling fear.

On the other hand people who attempt suicide are labelled as attention seekers . I must admit that is quite a big risk just to get some attention. Having worked as a psychiatric nurse very often patients would be relieved to find that they had survived and a dialogue is often started between them and their loved ones. Such a pity that it has to get to this point before a person can earn a listening ear.

I’m no expert but it has got to be said that we need to listen more and offer help to those in need. I love talking and often have to remind myself to listen as well. Everybody should have someone in their life who they can confide in and share their deepest concerns. Suicide should never be an option but sadly it is for one too many precious lives.


Celebrating our heritage

South Africans are celebrating Heritage day today which is one of many public holidays. This is a day set aside to celebrate our diversity and the contribution of South Africans in building our rainbow nation. It is traditionally celebrated by citizens having a braai (barbecue) with family and friends. This is our most cherished culinary achievement. I’ve been gone so long I hope I’m not too brainwashed by the British version which consists of grilled hot dogs and burgers.

I’ve done my bit by opening a can of All Gold super fine smooth apricot jam (serious patriotism!) because there’s no chance of me having a traditional braai in this rather morbid weather anyway. So while I snack on a piece of toast I’m actually dreaming of sitting around celebrating instead of preparing to do homework.

I’m a proud South African making my way in a foreign land. It’s weird but whenever a stranger recognises my accent I feel like I’ve brought all of me on my journey. I’ve had to drop some typical South African words and phrases most notably the phrase ‘just now’ and robot (traffic light). Otherwise I’m trying to keep it real because I’ve got so much to be proud of.

Happy heritage day! Here’s to continuing our contribution to our heritage wherever you find yourself in the world. Consider yourself an ambassador I do!


All men are created equal

That is what Thomas Jefferson thought anyway. Of course it would be great if this was truly the case. If you’ve been around just a bit it becomes quite apparent that this is most certainly not the case. It’s crazy to think that it is our fellow humans who feel the need to create some kind of hierarchy based on our various differences.

Over the weekend I had the privilege of meeting some of the South African paralympians at their home away from home venue in London. It was a truly wonderful opportunity. Later the athletes were addressed by the minister of sport and recreation Fikile Mbalula who thanked them for making South Africans so proud. Then he said something which truly blew my mind. He informed the athletes of his department’s decision to pay them what their Olympic counterparts were paid for achieving various medals. As it turned out the paralympians were going to receive just a quarter of the prize money. I was just so shocked to realise that somebody somewhere had decided that just because the athletes had some kind of physical deficit this meant they deserved less.

The Paralympics was really a great way to get people to see what you can achieve if you put your mind to a task. I’ve had some interesting conversations with my children with regard to disabilities and all I want from them in this regard is to be thoughtful and above all respect not just people with disabilities but all people.


Random ramblings

I have no idea if it’s a sign of absolute boredom or a rather enquiring mind (I suspect it’s the former) that I find myself wondering off into faraway places trying to figure out things that really have little relevance or just downright irritate me!

1. Why does Clinique market their 3 step programme as if that’s all you’ll ever need? Trust me I have at least a triple 3 step regime. Having said that each facial product is absolutely amazing.
2. Why do people not turn their mobiles off when they go into church, theatres and movies? Now I’m well aware that it can be an honest mistake but it is taken to another level when people actually answer the call.
3. Why is the numbering system different on a phone keypad and calculator? Surely it makes the most sense to start from number one in the top left corner.
4. Why has the size of clothing not been standardised? It would make life so much easier and I would be more than happy buying my clothing online. At present it’s just not an option.
5. Why is it that when you’re a few minutes late for your medical of dental appointment you somehow miss your slot? On the other hand when you’re early you end up waiting for what feels like a lifetime to be attended to.

Perhaps I have far too much time on my hands or I would just like my life simplified. The simple things in life really do make a difference!


Lest we forget

Today across Britain and many Commonwealth countries fallen soldiers were remembered. Remembrance day is a wonderful day set aside to commemorate these brave men and even women. I was in the company of some veterans today and they were very proud of responding to the call to protect their borders all those decades ago – and they should be!

Today many men and women across the world are still putting limb and life at risk for the safety of their countrymen. What a massive responsibility! Sadly though if I had one of many wishes it would be that we had no need for these extreme measures. I dream of living in a world with no borders, no war, no famine and no disease.


the fame factor

Music is a very integral part of my life. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t entertain my 3 young fans. Does that mean I’m gonna drag myself to the nearest reality show? Definitely not!

Tonight I watched a music special with Will Young the first Idols winner-he took the crown over ten years ago. Since his win the British have begun their search for the X factor. While I do find it rather entertaining to watch I often wonder if the concept of hard work no longer exists in this era of instant stardom.

Is there really anything new out there? If we look and listen closer we will find it is just a reproduction of sounds we will find quite familiar. I’m certainly surprised by the lack of innovation. Perhaps the music industry is so flooded with passing fads that the incidence for monotonous sounds and lyrics are inevitable.

A typical example to me is the much talked about Adele. For everything that happens to be said about her voice it is precisely what you’ll hear being said about Amy Winehouse. The common denominator is the fact that they attended the same music school!

In the 80s we had Madonna and she sure pushed the barriers of the time. These days we have the likes of Lady Gaga and she is attempting to throw the barriers away.

The fame factor seems to have taken on a life form of its own. More people dream of being a star without doing any of the hard work! How can you value something you haven’t worked for?


The seven Dwarfs

I’ve been watching a documentary on the lives and experiences of seven dwarves who live and work together. The more I watched the clearer it became that no matter how different we are our challenges are often the same.
We all have this need to be loved, accepted and appreciated. While their differences may be very obvious to the naked eye in reality whether publicly or privately we have this desire to be “normal” in many aspects.

The challenge for me is to accept myself the way I am and to give both friends and strangers the same courtesy. Having young children often means having to find the best way to explain the differences we see in each other. Respect for each other goes a very long way in this life.

The lesson I learnt from these seven people was to be the best you can be because people will always have their opinions about you! We hear this often but it’s sometimes worth hearing the reminder and taking the challenge to be your best head on!


Liberation for Libya

Tonight Libya is on the brink of freedom according to the latest media reports. So the world is watching with bated breath to see the outcome.

Freedom comes with great responsibility and my only hope is that the Libyan people are indeed prepared for the challenge! After years of ┬átyranny under a leader they referred to as a brother and friend the wheels of his heavy-handed leadership are now turning against him. The same way he usurped leadership is the exact way it’s being taken from him.

No doubt it is a very scary time for Libyans at home and abroad. It’s been said that change is as good as a holiday but the Libyan people have had change before and it turned out to be a disaster. Hoping for speedy change and peace for all the people of Libya.