Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Just cruising through

As with tradition at the beginning of the year my mother lists her dream holidays for our family for the year. Going on a cruise was just one of them and low and behold two months later we were off on the MSC Melody for a 3 night cruise to Mossel Bay and back.

The MSC Melody is an Italian ship with a completely international crew. The Melody cruises the seas around Africa for a few months a year. The trips are very affordable at R2000.00 which includes accommodation,all meals and entertainment, which explained why there were quite a few groups of students who were there for a big party.

We could't have asked for a more beautiful Cape Town day as we left the harbour with cocktails already in hand. My days of lying on a deck chair and reading my book, drinking cocktails, eating delicious food, watching movies at the cinema, shopping and watching live shows had begun. It was hard not to 'take it easy' with not much movement involved in the whole trip, thank goodness it was only three days!

Monday, March 28, 2011

We are what we do - my thoughts on the matter

I think that if we DO we ARE. If people stop doing they lose their sense of identity. Take for instance those people who retire young because they are looking forward to a life of relaxation. After a while relaxing isn't as pleasurable as it use to be when you were working a demanding, full time job and a few minutes of relaxation was blissful. People are built to work, to be involved, to contribute to society sitting back and watching life pass you is not going to make you happy or help you realise who you are.

The dive of a lifetime

Something to save for but totally worth it is tandem skydiving!

Last Saturday was the day that 7 of my friends and I headed up the West Coast to do something crazy, skydiving from 10 000 feet. The rickety and duck taped interior plane took us up to the the correct altitude which took a bumpy 25 minutes at this point I was a mixture of nervousness and nausea. 

My tandem guide spoke into my air over the racket of the plane as we reached 9000 feet and told me what I needed to do when the door opened, head back, arms in front and legs under the plane. Before I knew it we had hit 10 000 feet the door was opened and I was schooched forward and was hit from the side by the wind, trying to keep balance I sat on the edge of the plane as my guide leaned into me and I fell forward for a thrilling 35 second free fall. The land below was a brown quilt of colours as I headed straight for the ground with a few twists and turns. I got a tap on my shoulder which meant that the parachute was going to go up and we were whipped upwards and then there was silence and the most enchanting view of sea and land. My guide let me steer us for a while, I was keen to just observe the beauty he was keen for tricks so I handed the leads over so he could play around.

As we headed toward the landing area I could see my friends with their craned necks looking awards.  We landed swiftly and gently. It took me a second or two to recollect as I unattached myself and walked across the dune to my friends a tad pale but completely blown away!

Friday, March 18, 2011

We are afraid of the wrong things

My mom is currently on a diet, very specific, very complex. To start the diet it stated that you HAD to read the diet book at least twice, you had to buy a whole lot of mineral based beauty products etc, etc. 

The current disaster in Japan has highlighted the fact for me that we are afraid of the wrong things, we are all so inward focussed we are very much an 'I want' world. So many of us and I'm not excluded myself in this generalization, are afraid to be different, to stand out too much some people may not like us then..and then our world would all come crashing down...right? 

Thousands of Japanese people have lost their homes, their cars, all their belongings, their livelihood, family and friends now that's something you could be afraid of.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The challenge

Why do I feel so frustrated all the time? Frustrated that I’m frustrated because its bringing me down. Frustrated with myself for being weak, for letting a bit of frustration ruin my day. Analysing the reason for my frustration because it has no right controlling me like this. Is it some hormonal rollercoaster or is there real meaning behind it? If I was sat down and asked about my frustration I don’t think I could put my finger on why I feel this way. I’m tired of this feeling, this knot in my stomach.

I am moving on, moving away, slowly as the tendrils of frustration unhook themselves from my sides and I walk on as the feeling of suppression leaves me. A lightness fills the void, fills the space where I was empty.

Fish falling from the sky

Fish falling from the sky is number 7 on the top 10 earth mysteries.
The most recent examples happen in the summer of 2000 in Ethiopia. A local newspaper reported: "The unusual rain of fish, which dropped in millions from the air - some dead and others still struggling - created panic among the mostly religious farmers." This is just one of many reported rains of fish, frogs, periwinkles and even alligators that have happened around the world.
The reason for the rain of animals has been attributed to severe storms, tornadoes, water spouts and related phenomena. Although the theory has not yet been proved, it holds that strong winds pick up the fish or frogs from bodies of water such as ponds, streams and lakes, carry them aloft - sometimes for miles and miles - and then drop them over land.
One challenging fact of this theory is that it generally rains one type of species. How could a gust of wind be so particular? When it picked up a herring would it not also pick up reeds or rubbish? 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Sometimes it's really hard to stop your mind from being somewhere in the past/ future and instead be in the present. I'm am a skilled day dreamer and I love to plan which automatically makes you think about the future constantly, writing appointments and due dates down, smsing, emailing and thinking through the plans for my day. The need to be present often feels like an impossible task to do for more than 5 minutes. One of my resolutions for this year is to be 'in the now' cause it's actually all we have.

Friday, March 4, 2011

All men are created equal, then a few become firemen ~Author Unknown

A friend of mine, Murray Paulsen is a committed member at the Volunteer Wildfires Services (VWS).  When he talks about fighting fire he speaks with such passion, this fascinated me, so I wanted to find out more. I did this by interviewing him and I did some research on the organisation.

Residents of the Western Cape can all sleep better knowing that the fire department can rely on the assistance of the 150 dedicated volunteers of the Volunteer Wildfires Services (VWS). The VWS was established in 1999 as an organisation to help combat fires around the Western Cape. The VWS has three branches around Cape Town and all 150 of its active members are passionately committed volunteers ranging from 18 to 65 years old.

The VWS has assisted with some of the wildest fires Cape Town has ever seen, together with other emergency service organisations such as the Table Mountain National Park and Cape Town Fire & Emergency Services, Cape Nature, Disaster Management, Titan Aviation, Winelands Fire Brigade, the South African Navy and Working on Fire.
The VWS has three main functions, to provide wildfire suppression services, to run education and awareness programmes and to offer wildfire suppression and management training. One such awareness programme is the Red Hill Community project where VWS volunteers educate residents from the informal settlements about being fire safe. The VWS are trained to be able to offer fire investigation to establish the cause of a fire. They also carry out prescribed burns as well as tree and vegetation felling in order to minimize and control the damage caused by potential wildfires. Even out of fire season, the members of the VWS are always busy. This is when their focus moves to training and education.

The VWS volunteers are a highly committed team who come from various backgrounds. Their determination to raise awareness of their organisation was seen recently when they participated in the Blisters for bread charity walk dressed in their full uniform with 10 – 12 KG kit.

When VWS volunteer Murray Paulsen, a first year medical student from the University of Cape Town, saw a National Parks advert in the newspaper in April 2007, he and his brother Kent decided to join the unit. After undergoing the rigorous and varied training required before any volunteer is legally allowed to fight fire, Paulsen experienced his first fire season of 2007/2008. He loved it.  Says Paulsen,“ I really enjoyed my first fire season, now it is a passion and it is more like a hobby for me. I think that everyone who is active in the unit sees it differently,  much more than just being community service. “

Paulsen speaks highly of all his fellow volunteers, “I feel so proud to be part of such a good unit and I have so much respect for them.” The VWS is on standby 24 hours a day for 365 days of the year and all volunteers are contacted via a sms call out system. Sue Paulsen, Murray and Kent’s mother, explains how fast both her sons react to the call, “ SMS and they’re gone!”

One of Paulsen’s most memorable experiences when volunteering was in February 2009 when the unit went to fight the devastating fire at Vergelegen Wine Estate in Somerset West. He describes it as “hectic, we used all the skills that we had been trained in over the last two years. It was a good demonstration of what we were capable of. Everything seemed to go wrong, it was like the Comedy of Errors, even the bakkie got stuck in a sandpit next to the river.” For Paulsen, although it was a long night and day, he says “I really got to know the other guys well and it was a real bonding experience.” Another highlight for Paulsen was when he had the opportunity to fly to the West Coast National Parks fire, with a team of 8 in a mi-8 fire fighting helicopter.

When asked what he had gained from being a VWS volunteer, Paulsen replied “I’ve learnt many skills as well as realising how much time it takes to volunteer. I’ve learned to appreciate how much other volunteers do.” His biggest reward from being a VWS volunteer fireman is the satisfaction of knowing that he is doing something that is really helpful for his community while being part of a team of people all committed to going the extra mile.

For further information check out the VWS website,

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Colour of the wind

When I think of the blog topic 'colour of the wind' it whisks me back to the days when I was at Waldorf School. When ‘Colour of the wind’ would be a title of a eurythmy performance. If you have a confused look at the words 'Waldorf' and 'eurythmy' do not be alarmed this is a reaction I’m use to and I shall explain.

There are a number of Waldorf schools in Cape Town and no, they are not for people who are a ‘bit slow’ or ‘Waldoffies’ they are schools which are main stream but different to government and most private schools. Classes are structured differently such as the ‘Main Lesson’, which takes place in the first two hours of the school day when you are at their most attentive, provides an in-depth exploration of any given subject. Each main lesson block lasts about four weeks, during which time you learn to approach the topic using all of your senses, to feel, think and experience the subject, making it your own. This may sound airy fairy but I thrived in the Waldorf environment. You could wear any clothes, you didn’t have to wear shoes, boys could grow their hair long and you could call your teacher by their first name.

Other than the usual maths, science etc we had classes such as woodwork (I can make a pretty decent foldable chair, wooden kitchen utensils and carved bookshelf) needlework (not my strength) copper work and jewelery (need a gold or silver ring, call me).

Eurythmy was also part of my interesting school life. I’ve been thinking of how to explain this but think ‘spiritual dance’ and you may get the right picture, minus the gold statue. For eurytmy class everyone wore a deep purple robe and black ballet type shoes. A high strung pianist was normally at the piano and the eurythmy teacher would guide the class to create forms to the music. Sometimes copper rodes were involved, not sure why but hey.

I can picture Mrs Kotzuba tapping her copper rod on the sustainable forest pine floor saying “Learrrners pleeez lets beginn the ‘Colour of zee wind’ formashion”.

Those were good organic days!

Example of eurythmy movement 

Copper rod used in some eurythmy performances

 Typical Waldorf style class room. All wood furniture. Notice the curves - a strong characteristic of the Waldorf style.