Archive for December 2008
Something is not right. I am not all right. But things around me seem to be.
It’s not like anything has changed. I still marvel over the beauty of this city. I am still utterly grateful to be here, surrounded by new found friends that I trust and care for. I look the same. I go to the same job that has taught me a lot, in its own special way. I still go out most nights of the week and I still believe every dish I eat is better than the previous and that each glass of wine is a reward to my taste buds.
So why do I feel sad? Like a lump in my throat that just won’t let go.
Maybe it is the season. The Scandinavian biological rhythm telling me that its time to go into hibernation, to switch off the lights and cuddle up inside. But everyone else is enjoying the sun, the braai’s (BBQ) and the beaches.
I feel totally out of sync. I never had Christmas. It doesn’t feel like December. And this year is about to finish. How did that happen?
Not one day has gone by this year that I have not seized, in one way or another. Still time has flown by as fast as a Ferrari on Autobahn. It has been an amazing ride. But I don’t want it to end. I will stay in Cape Town until March so there is really no need to start thinking of the chorus already, but the end of the year, is yet, an end…
But why is that?
I mean, New Years Day is just another day. Nothing changes over night. We don’t feel or act differently. Why do we have this need to divide moments into time ? Why are all things in life relative? What in our nature makes us seek control? To press stop and play, to try to fast forward and rewind. The need to pause and catch up with ourselves?
When life is one huge Ferris wheel. And we are spinning around and around…
Before Sunrise came out in 1995. It is one of the most precious love stories ever captured on film.
The story is about two travellers, an American guy; Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and a beautiful French girl; Celine (Julie Deply) both in their mid 20′s, that meet on a random train in Europe. After some time talking, Jesse has reached his stop in Vienna where he will spend a few hours before his flight back to the States early the next morning. But he feels a strong connection with this girl and he feels he needs to ask her if she wants to join him…
So they end up walking the streets of Vienna, talking about love and the aspects of life. The whole movie is one long walking conversation, but the topics are profound and timeless. The setting is beautiful and the connection between them is captivating. They spend the last few hours of the night in a park and before sunrise, they need to part. They agree that they won’t disillusion each other by exchanging phone numbers or addresses that they won’t use, so they just agree to meet at the same spot 6 months later.
I was 13 years old when I first saw this movie and it has been one of my favourites since. I was so surprised, 9 years later, when I saw that a sequel had been released.
Before Sunset is made by the same director and is a perfect follow up. Once again in Europe, Paris this time, the two meet when Jesse is having a reading about his best selling book (about two strangers meeting in Europe and sharing one night together…) when all of a sudden, Celine appears in the window. They go for coffee and start talking about all the time that has passed, about their current lives, avoiding the obvious question…
Was he there that day? Did she come?
Again, they have a few hours before sun will set, but older now and maybe a bit less idealistic they keep a shelter until just when he is about to leave once more, everything crumbles…
Why the hell weren’t you there that day? How could our lives have been different? Everything was fine until I read your fucking book…
So much emotion stirred up. But so good, I cry my eyes out every time.
oh, baby with your pretty face
drop a tear in my wineglass
look at those big eyes
see what you mean to me
sweet cakes and milkshakes
I am a delusioned angel
I am a fantasy parade
I want you to know what I think
dont want you to guess anymore
you have no idea where I came from
we have no idea where we’re going
launched in life
like branches in the river
caught in the current
I’ll carry you, you’ll carry me
that’s how it could be
don’t you know me?
don’t you know me by now?
by David Jewell (from the movie Before Sunrise)
It is Christmas Day. I lit candles in my room. Outside, the chimes play familiar lullabies. Finally, I dare to feel.
Oh, how comfortable is this bed! How clean are not these sheets? How lovely they smell…and how silky they caress my skin. My room, in my 100 square meters flat, in the beautiful area with jasmine blossom outside my window. The view of the Mountain from my living room.
How lucky am I, to have all this and more! To have hot water, all the food I can eat, clean clothes and not only that, stuff spread out all over, matching scarves and silly hats, as if I’ve entered the-world’s-most-pointless-accessory-contest.
Going to Mozambique was a real eye-opener. The ship set sail and headed north along the coast. And what a journey it was.
Through tropic landscapes we travelled, on local buses so crammed with people, chickens, eggs and babies, we could barely breathe. And when we did gasp for air, it came with a scent of sweat and dirty clothes. Not to say that we were any cleaner. But the boy sitting in my lap for 10 hours without a break, didn’t complain, so neither did I. We just closed our eyes and bumped along, occasionally sliding down to the floor we would readjust or share a sip of water.
We only stayed one night in Maputo on the way up and another on the way back. The city is very dirty and damaged from the war. The minute we got off the first bus the taxi drivers were pulling our backpack, literally fighting over it, until we had to shout “it is our bag, let go of the f**ing bag”. By now, we understood, in this poor country, a white man’s face is always tainted with the signs of his dinero.
Tofo wasn’t the paradise we had hoped for, but it was amazing to swim in a warm ocean again. And the night sky made it all worth while. And the late night drumming sessions with the 11 guys pub crawl crew. After a few days of hanging around the bungalow, eating cheap spaghetti with garlic and cashew nuts, watching boring South African couples we decided it was time to leave this place behind. We looked at a map and pointed out the nearest city, Vilankulos. In the morning, we took a ferry and another bus for 6 hours.
There, in a backpacker’s dorms, with damp towels, dodgy mosquito nets, more pasta and soup de jour, endless rain, losing my flip flops and getting mugged (long story) it was still better than Tofo, we thought. And in between our moments of complete energy loss, we looked at each other and smiled.
The days mostly revolved around conversations about life, the exchange of travelling stories with other people, insights, lists on things to do before we die, reading and writing. And of course, a trip out to one of the islands. There, we got our glimpse of paradise and our only day of sunshine. And I ate the best crabfish of my life.
We realized how small the pleasures are in life. A good espresso when you are really tired. A massage when you are sore. A bed that isn’t full of sand. And we remembered our true purpose of the trip.
The night before we left I got to swim in a glowing ocean under the stars. The scientific explanation has to do with the plankton in the water reacting to body heat, but my theory is that a glimpse of magic takes place. My hands were swirling in the water, leaving traces of glitter on my skin, tiny sparkles that flew up when I threw my body into a wave. After all the travelling and the weary bus rides, I was bathing in pure energy. I never wanted it to end, but I had another bus to catch. That night there was glitter behind my closed eye lids as we travelled back to Cape Town.
We arrived late on the 23 December. In Sweden it’s all about the 24th so to wake up sick with nausea, fever and stomach problems on Christmas Eve is not so much fun. I slept away the entire day, with the exception of getting up to eat boiled rice that Lorena prepared for me or unwrap the gifts that Sophie so kindly gave me (I swear I saw angels that day).
And talk to my loved ones back home. My brother connected a call with my grandmother so we could speak all three of us. It brought tears to my eyes. Mom told me everything that was on the Christmas table and dad was in good spirit and sent his greetings to our mutual friends here in Cape Town. My sister’s voice was somehow more mature. A reminder that life is still proceeding at home.
I try not to think too much about my family right now, or my friends, because to be honest, I am afraid of what these feeling will do to me in this state I’m in.
I’d rather appreciate everything as it is and send out a silent THANK YOU to the universe, for this Christmas I truly value what I’ve got.
diamonds scattered over blue velvet skies
I look up to find you naked, your body entwined in mine
warm eastern winds roll the dice, the ocean comes alive
bare feet, come hold my toes
the universe unfolds
we fly off, into the night
diamonds sparkling in the water now
I look down to find myself glowing, you take a bow
amazing you say, come hold my hand
angel feathers caress a sun swept face
we leave no trace
so much light
we are illuminated, we celebrate tonight
witnessing dhow on a drift, a forlorn sail
how many nights of this kind, come about
how many shooting stars go by, a never mind
astrologic they say, but where is the logic, in a tale
an amber moon is rising to our defence
we wave goodbye, we say hello
sand dunes, our toes let go, we flow, we glow…
so much light
we are illuminated, we are, the night
waves move forward a leap
a journey, along the coast of Moçambique
with the blink of an eyelash, we memorize this moment
I compose this for you now, amongst the stars, you will find me somehow
It’s about 11 pm on a Friday night and my Swiss-French-Italian-Chilean-Swedish-Turkish-Dutch-friends just left the flat. Leaving me with half empty bottles of beers, cheap wine and crumbs of crackers. I’m wearing a long, white cotton dress and no make-up. I have been partying hard lately and all I want are a few quiet hours to myself.
Besides, I go to Mozambique tomorrow. This whole trip started out like a boat without a captain and it has been drifting for about 2 months. I hasn’t hit shore and it hasn’t founded. It has just been waiting for the right wind. And we are sure; the wind will blow in all favour. We just need to take this journey as it comes.
- We think we have the flight tickets for Jo’burg. Printed out. Somewhere.
- We don’t know where we are staying for the night but Paul was mentioning some cheap, dubious hotel and something about showing us Jo’burg nightlife.
- We don’t know exactly when the bus leaves for Maputo the day after, but it is supposed to take about 8 hours.
- We hope our Visas are ok. And that we don’t get into trouble at the border.
- We are not sure what our insurance covers – and not.
- When we reach Maputo we got nowhere to stay.
- After Maputo it’s another 8 hours on a bus to what was it called again, Inhambane?
- From there, we just need to get to the backpackers somehow. To the place where we are staying for a week.
- Tofo. Mango Beach (I asked Maria, and yes, we have booked this accommodation)
- There, we hope not to be eaten by mosquitoes. We did spend 900 Rand on the most expensive Malaria pills today (basically because it was too late to take the cheaper ones…)
- If we are lucky, we don’t get tropical storms for a week.
- Our only intension is to stay in the shade, read books, and sip on fruit coctails.
- If only the stomach ache that Lorena has had for the last week passes…
- We can not pack tonight because none of us has a backpack. So that we will go and buy tomorrow, before our flights. Oh, and maybe a hat and a clean towel.
Hey, at least I have my ipod music sorted!
I can not believe it is Christmas time. I can not.
It doesn’t matter that the shopping malls are decorated with bells and glitter. I doesn’t matter that I have eaten my whole chocolate calendar already (I slipped) or that people are starting to wish me a Merry Christmas. I doesn’t matter how many times I hear “Santa Claus is coming to town”.
Not to Cape Town he his. Besides, even if he comes. I am going away..
I am not feeling it. Anywhere.
A Christmas without snow, is for me, like Kladdkaka (chocolate fudge cake) without whipped cream. Or a beach without sand…ok, I went too far…
There is just no Christmas spirit in the air.
On the 13th of December we celebrate Lucia in Sweden. It is a beautiful tradition with a woman dressed like an angel with lit candles in her hair, coming to visit the houses early in the pitch dark morning, with ginger bread cookies and warm Glüwein.
I was voted Lucia once in school and had to walk first in the line in front of all the expectant parents, the film cameras and the smiles. I was so nervous I couldn’t take a step. The teacher had to run out to me and give me a push.
Tomorrow, all over schools, in churches and in parent’s bedroom, children will be dressed up in white linen and sing “Santa Lucia” to their parents. The snow will be falling outside; the room will be warm and shimmering in golden and time will, for a second, stand still. And surely, the voices of the choir and the beauty of the children processing down the aisle will bring a tear in an old lady’s eye.
That is Christmas spirit.
beautiful as the sky is…
maybe I was imagining it all
the universe is so hollow
when you let me down
time and time again
Funny, I made a list this morning on what to feel today…
And I can tell you. Yes, I felt it all. And more.
I had one of those drifting days, where I just let the wind carry me around.
It brought me to the Waterfront, a big shopping complex down at the harbour. I’m not very fond of the area since it’s so …touristy, but I felt I deserved to buy a new dress for Mozambique. After all, I haven’t done almost any shopping at all since I came to Cape Town.
At one of the traffic lights, or robots as you say in South Africa, I heard a very British accent (Liverpool – gotta love it)
- Excuuuuse me, could you tell me how to get to the Waterfront?
A small, healthy looking woman with pink eye shadow and lively green eyes had turned to me. I told her I was going the same way and offered her to walk with me. She told me she had just arrived from the Middle East where she was living…and then about why she was in Cape Town…and about two Swedish girls she met when travelling in Australia…and New Zealand…and Fiji, and the US and Europe…well, basically she had spent the last 20 years on the roads.
We ended up having a coffee and continued on our life stories. We talked about the “nice” guys and the guys that sweep you off your feet. The ones that make you wait six years and make you pack your suitcase, your heart and pride, and go to cities where your paths might cross. And even if they don’t, you have pictured the scenario so many times, it feels as they have. The guy that makes your heart skip a beat and make your insides turn when you see his name. She showed me a card she had bought for him with the most beautiful writing on it. I could only sigh and nod in recognition.
- A real man knows how to keep you in a leash, she said. He keeps it loose enough so you can have your freedom. But he is bold enough to know when to pull you back.
We separated in understanding and I promised to send her a copy of a book and to follow my heart. I just hope she gets pulled back into his.
I love this!
People in my presence that fills my cup up with energy.
All in their very unique way.
I just let it run through me. And I dance. Swirling my body like a glass of wine. To bring out the aromas and the flavours. All the good stuff. The bad stuff, I spit out.
This energy comes to me in the most unexpected moments. But it always comes. Someone that gives a compliment. And someone, I return it too. Another one that tells me life is for living. Another that tells me to fight, for I have known no battle yet.
This is just another day in my life. But the sun is shining and the wind is kind. And I go to Mozambique on Saturday with two wonderful friends. And this year is almost finished. But I have a feeling 2009 is bringing lots of gifts to my life.
I have a long list of “to do’s” before this weekend.
But what about the feelings??
How often do we write them down on a list?
To feel today: