Thursday, February 27, 2014

New camera: On being an idiot

Yesterday my fancy camera arrived. This is how the afternoon went down...

Takes stalk-y picture with phone of UPS man walking up to the building, sends picture to everybody.

Gets package


Attacks box with scissors, delicately


Boxes within boxes, bubble wrap, plastic wraps, more little boxes within little boxes

Breaths, takes in moment.

Lifts camera out of box

Shrieks some more

Needs to charge battery for two hours,


Get strangely productive...

Stares lovingly at long desired fancy camera

(Fancy= DSLR)


Lens attach... stress

First picture

(Oh the beauty of for reals shutter sound)

More pictures


More pictures

Dreams of getting more lenses

More pictures

More frustration...

At this point I suddenly realized what was going on, it took less than two hours from taking in the joy of finally getting something I've been praying for years to wanting so much more. I want the knowledge, I want the lenses, I want Photoshop to make more sense... WHAT'S GOING ON HERE!?

Then it struck me what a victory this moment was, what was I doing getting all sulky about it, like a spoiled child. Oh the utter importance of cultivating a heart of gratitude and how against my human self this goes.

I decided to stop stressing out, put my camera in 'point and shoot' mode and rush to the park for the last of 'golden hour'. Every sound of the shutter filled my heart with thanksgiving, what a joy this little material thing brought me.

What an idiot I was for almost missing out on celebrating this occasion.

Here are some 'point and shoot', no edits, straight from the memory card shots. They're titled "Yay and thank you, I have fancy camera" 

I look forward to learning! 



Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Sapa, Vietnam 2010

“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy.
I think the purpose of life is
to be useful,
to be responsible,
to be compassionate.
It is, above all to matter,
to count,
to stand for something,
to have made some difference that you lived at all..”
Leo Rosten

Monday, February 10, 2014

Going to South Africa and I'm terrified- 12 Reasons

You might have heard somewhere that traveling to South Africa is scary. Well, I'm here today to tell you that it totally is.

I left early November 2012 and this will be my first time going back.

Here are 12 things that totally terrify me about visiting:

1) How time will fly by faster than you can say 'gimmie-another-helping-of-potjiekos'

If there's any wisdom to be found in me as I approach 30 it's this. Time speeds up when you're having fun and slows down when you're unemployed. Fact! So I already know my time with family and friends and 7de Laan and J-bay will go by too fast. It's scary how fast time moves along, isn't it? 

2) Weight gain. 

(See my most read post ever on being a skinny girl here, so disclaimer out of the way)
You guys! Oh the things I will eat, it's getting bad. I'm even looking forward to eating things there that I can buy here, but don't because it's expensive/or not the same. Like sushi for one, mangos and litchis, Inside story, not to mention meat... I will be turning into a crazy carnivore on some days.
Yesterday I've even thought about wheatbix and sandwich spread, is that even a South African thing? Coke without corn syrup, I don't even like soda! Oh the horror!

3) Sunshine overload.

I'm totally terrified of what my body will do with all that sunshine, its not had to deal with real sun rays on a continuous base for what feels like months now. Will I get a sunburn? Imagine... sunburn sounds delicious and that scares me. 

Side note on weather: If those thunderstorms can stick around till March that would be great. Sorry Jo'burgers, I'm sure you're about done with the heavy rain round about now. It's just that I'm seriously missing the rains down in Africa.

4) Moving back will seem like such a good idea

Have you ever gone through a rough break up? You delete the guys number, block him off Facebook and try to move on with your life, then suddenly, you run into each other. You talk like old times and your silly little heart convinces you to try again. Only to run into the same problems? Well, I imagine my time in Jo'burg going a little like that.

So I'm nervous that I'll forget why we broke up in the first place, and think of all the reasons why we should try again and live happily ever after. I'm looking at you job market.

5) Buying more items from Woolworths than my luggage limit allows

Ah Woolies. Not to be confused by the international store Woolworth, WoolworthS is a magical place where underwear is quality, sweaters go to make it big and the food there  turns anybody into a foodie. So it's more a fear of missing out, on items I want, but won't fit.  

6) Getting teased about my Americanized accent.

Who likes being teased? Nobody! That's right Belinda, don't make fun of me saying 'yeah' instead of 'yes'.
While I seem to still sound fairly 'exotic' here I have noticed that my accent has changed over the past year and a half, so it's scary for me to think of what the comments will be. YOU CAN'T SIT WITH US! 

7) Driving on the left side again.

This fear is rather legitimate. I know first hand how unpleasant it is for all parties involved if you  find yourself in oncoming traffic. Especially now that I've gotten used to not driving stick. The worst part is that I'll get used to it and then come back and have to get used to the opposite all over again. Messes with my head.

8) Forgetting the do's and dont's of going on Safari.

We're hoping to spend sometime in the Kruger National Park while we visit. This will be spectacular, living on the other side of the world sure does teach you about the magic in your own backyard. This is not the scary part, the scary part is what if I forget that you shouldn't get out of the car? Or that buying a wooden girrafe at the Lower Sabi gift shop is a total rip off and won't fit in my suitcase anyway?? It send shivers down my spine just thinking about it.
must have in living room...

9) Buying all the things because of the exchange rate.

Right now the poor Rand isn't doing very well, sorry about that my Saffa friends who need to travel. On the other hand, it's like South Africa is on sale for the rest of the world. So hope you guys really get the tourism numbers up because of it. Sadly, we'll be using Rand and not Dollars with our spending, but the problem comes in with constantly doing the math and knowing how much cheaper somethings are. "This hamburger is $3! Wow, we should buy another one immediately" (See fear # 2)  

10) Instagramming overload.

If we've been friends for a while you'll know that I love me some Instagram. So what if, I get so caught up in trying to take amazing shots of all the places that I actually miss out on being in said amazing place with amazing people. This is the question of my life! Also, what if I post too many pictures of 'what I'm having for lunch' that people stop following me. It's the stuff of nightmares guys. 

11) Remembering how much I love my country and being around my people.

Not that I've forgotten really, I've just learned how to better cope with my departure over the last year and a half. My fear is this: I'll realize on a new level just how much it sucks being apart from people that I love so much. I'll realize how much I'm missing out on and then come home to Spokane only to start the battle of dealing with immigrating all over again.

12) Getting on that return flight come April 2.

No joke, this part sucks! I've traveled and lived abroad before, I've had to say good bye a lot and it never gets easy. Would some of you agree that it gets harder? I already don't look forward to this part of the trip.

The wonderful part at least is that I'll be coming back home to Ben (he leaves 10 days before me), I know I'll have missed him a lot in that short week and a half and look forward to being with him in our home again. Knowing that he'll be here waiting for me is what makes all of this easier and a little less terrifying. Yay marriage!

Some photos getting me excited for the Jeffery's Bay section of our trip:  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Yup, winter.

Winter sucks!  These links help:

Cup of Jo shared these ten tips... I'm a particular fan of 'do what you want', like my embarrassing addiction to watching 'One tree hill' on Netflix finally found the validation it needed.

Katie shared this delightful 'spring-y' post that helps me think of the glorious days on their tardy way.

I'm making this Crock Pot curry soon, because winter and because curry.

Exquisite Banana reminds that sanity is found in bundled up winter walks and snow ball fights.

I don't get to complain too much I think, because for one I have less than a month left of winter before we visit South Africa and secondly because it still takes my breath away when I look out my window to see sparkly snow covered everything despite it being -10 C.