3 May 2017

On dreams

The inspiration for my domain name and onilne name is not, as many think, the Rammstein song. Instead, it is this one:

Tomorrow, after being a fan for more than 20 years, I finally get to see this band live. Live. In the flesh. I may just explode.

25 April 2017

On Star Wars and current politics

I have been thinking a lot about politics recently. And by recently, I mean the last few years, actually.

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I am by no means politically savvy, and I often feel so lost in the noise created on social media and in the media, that I dip into little pools of apathy on occasion. But the decisions made by people in far bigger offices than I ever hope to occupy often have such a big influence on how we live, that I have no choice but to think about politics.

I tend to lean towards left social libertarian on the political scale, which generally means I believe that government exists to serve the interest of the population, not just a select few, and believe in individual freedom as well as social equality. Because I want a future for my child. And for my husband and myself. And everyone else I care about. And every one else in the world too. I make mistakes often, but I am willing to learn.

Having grown up and lived in South Africa for most of my life means a lot of the thinking I’ve been doing has revolved around South African politics, but the recent re-emergence of the right in both the US and UK have expanded my thoughts to include more of the western world. There have been flare ups of right wing activity across Europe, but it has not been quite as visible as in the UK and US, especially after first the Brexit referendum and then the US elections that put right wingers firmly into the White House.

I have learned a lot about politics from the media I consume. And I consume a lot of media. But the two biggest influencers on my political learnings have been Star Wars, and the writings of Terry Pratchett.

It is no secret how much I love Star Wars. And while the series has some flaws, it is a very good alternate universe to relate our current political situation to. In particular, I often think about the parallels between Palpatine and current world leaders, and specifically Jacob Zuma, the current president of South Africa.

There has been a lot of talk on both social media and in the news about the state of South African politics and the influence that a certain family have on Jacob Zuma. And many have speculated that this family control the current political landscape in the country.

I have a slightly different theory. I believe that Jacob Zuma is a master manipulator, and very good at playing politics. He, like Palpatine, has been manipulating situations for a very long time, and have lined up several fall-guys long before they are needed. And I believe the Gupta family play the role of the Trade Federation from Star Wars. They are perceived to be in power and pulling the strings, but I think he has set them up as fall guys too. In his mind, he will be the ultimate ruler of the empire – well, either him or his son, who has benefitted greatly from his father’s political dealings.

No amount of dirt will cling to JZ, because he will always have a fall guy lined up, and he will always be several steps ahead of everyone else, especially because most people believe him to be an illiterate fool. And this is why he laughs each time someone takes him on.

25 February 2017

On the go

I have finally found a client for Windows Phone that can publish to Blogger again (Net Writer), which means I am able to blog on the go again.
Not promising more frequent updates, but you never know ☺

11 December 2016

Living the expat life

I have been in the UK for 8 weeks now. Eight full weeks. My family have been here for five.

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In these weeks, we have moved into a new house, bought and built a crapload of IKEA furniture (and are at risk of looking like an IKEA catalogue), been to London once as a family, been to Reading a couple of times as a family and slowly made peace with the chilly weather.

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I have travelled to Leeds three times for work, and made peace with the British rail system. The husband has found a lovely contract position, which means he is making some money and feeling like a productive human being.

And, in this very short time, we have become a much happier bunch of people.

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In South Africa, we lived in constant fear. It is not the obvious, surface, “I’m being hunted” fear, but rather a deep, subconscious fear that you don’t even know is there. We had a high wall around our house, and an alarm system linked to an armed response company. We, as a family, communicated constantly on WhatsApp to let each other know where we were, to let each other know we were safe. We lived close to one of the biggest parks in Johannesburg, but could not walk through the park alone during the day, and you definitely did not go anywhere near the park after dark.

When we started looking at houses in England, I had this romantic notion that I would like to live in a small village in the English country side. After a lot of searching, we found just such a place.

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We found a lovely terraced house in a little housing estate deep in the Berkshire forest. It is idyllic, to say the least. When I walk out of my front door I can see the horses from the neighbouring stables grazing and squirrels playing in the trees. At night, I can see stars in the sky.

The biggest downside of where we live is that the closest train station is a 2 mile walk, but I get to walk through a beautiful woodland area and a golf course on my way. The walk has also helped me regain a bit of fitness and shed some of my baby fat *grin*

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I do this walk when it is dark most of the time. And my biggest fear is walking into spider webs.

We no longer have fitful sleep because we are no longer afraid. We no longer need to spend 10 minutes before bedtime locking up the house and making sure the alarm is set. We no longer worry when one of the family members go for a walk, or even travel across the country.

Of course, we are not completely naïve, and understand that crime still exists in the UK. But it is not as woven into the fabric of every day life that you need to live in constant fear. All round, we are a happier family because the fear has been removed. And this makes all the things we have left behind, the little sacrifices, very much worth it.

26 October 2016

On moving to strange places

I ran away from home shortly after my twentieth birthday. I suppose it is more correct to say that my father kicked me out of home, and I obliged him by leaving, especially as I spent most of the previous year living with my then-boyfriend’s family on and off because I got kicked out so often. But so I left home with two bags, one with some clothing, and one with some of CDs and possibly a book or two.

WP_20161014_11_01_11_ProThat first two weeks after leaving home, I crashed on couches while trying to sort out something more permanent for myself. I had worked over the summer, and had a bit of money due to me, enough to put down a deposit on a flat. I found some odd jobs that would suffice on a flat application as employment. I accepted donations of furniture. I accepted help from a varsity friend to collect my bed and desk in his very old jalopy from my parents’ house – timed perfectly so they wouldn’t be there. I think I eventually sent a letter to my mother to let her know I was ok via another friend.

Twelve days ago, I left the country of my birth with two suitcases, one filled with clothing and another filled with books, Lego minifigures and my Xbox and peripherals.I’ve been sleeping in a friend’s spare room, and relying on the kindness of friends while sorting out more permanent accommodation.

Luckily this time I have a great job, which has opened many doors for me. But right now I am dependant on people for so much, and it reminds me so strongly of that feeling of running away from home.

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