Monday, January 30, 2012

10 reasons why it's better to be a man...

10. You don't have to shave your legs, pluck or wax. In fact, you don't have to know the pain of waxing, ever!

9. You don't have to worry about putting on your face in the morning, or carefully applying mascara with Van Gogh brush strokes while you're stuck in traffic.

8. You don't have to worry about doing your hair. In fact, you don't even have to worry about having hair.

7. You don't have half the chocolate slash carb cravings your female counterparts do.

6. You don't have to worry about housing your boobs in uncomfortable attire called bras.

5. You never have to worry about balancing delicately, like a trapeze artist, on a pair of shoes designed to incapacitate you.

4. You're considered a hero, and not a slave, if you can cook and do the dishes.

3. You won't ever have to worry about PMS, Pre-MS, Post-MS, or any kind of MS at all.

2. You will never have a human being the size of a football crawl out of your groin.

1. You can blame every stupid decision you'll ever make on your dick... because it has a mind of it's own.

I'm sure there are 1000 other reasons but I'd still rather have my dangly bits located on my chest, than in close proximity to someone's kneecap.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What happens in the Bermuda Triangle, stays in the Bermuda Triangle...

So after we were given the unfortunate news that we would not be able to disembark the ship, I was very disappointed. I told my cousin that the only way they could make it up to me, was if Jack Sparrow pulled a rabbit out of his hat... or pants... whatever. And so we decided to look for alternative forms of entertainment.

When we boarded the ship on the very first day, we all agreed on two things: 1) That we would make the most of the trip which meant no arguing /fighting / fussing and 2) What happens in the Bermuda Triangle, stays in the Bermuda Triangle...a phrase coined by one of my cousins.

There were a number of people who were somewhat instrumental on our little journey into yonder and we named them all for our convenience. There was Jack Sparrow, the cute dancer donning his little pirate hat. There was Megan Fox, the doppelganger who was a part of our little dance crew. As well as Wayne Parnell, Kurt Darren and a few others - not their real names but hey, who has time for real names when daydreaming, lounging and introspection becomes a full time job.

And then there were the men. Lots of men in the form of crew and sailors... Rodrigo, Ricardo, Roberto... the kind of men who inspire poetry. Honestly I think it's the lapels. I can't understand exactly why, but it must be the lapels. Nothing else can explain why we all found this so irresistible:
I reckon that any man can wear this uniform and look good, that's how amazing it is.

Days went by with sporadic call outs from each of us: "Dibs on the Cuban"... "Dibs on the Spaniard"..."Dibs on Wayne Parnell"... even though we weren't really interested in any of them.
Shhh, don't tell my sis she's famous...

And then one day I had an encounter with Lorenzo. See, I was all dressed up for the tropical evening. I wore my silk dress, my hair a damp mass of curls fresh from the shower. I was glowing and lathered in Body Shop's Morrocco Argan Oil and Orange Blossom Body Soufflé (which is French for lotion) with a hint of Dolce and Gabbana's Light Blue. I smelled so good I wanted to lick myself.

So there I was, looking good, smelling great, and as confident as ever. I wanted to go out on deck and watch all the sailors move the deck chairs and tables out of the way in preparation of the evenings festivities (really, it's better than Bingo). So anyway, I got to the door to go out on deck and that's when I saw him. He was fixing something on the door (honestly, I don't know what the hell he was doing, it just looked important) and for a moment I became somewhat mesmerised with it all and my dress caught on a sharp end of one of the hinges.

Still too spellbound to notice, I continued walking away tugging absent-mindedly when I heard something that sounded vaguely like fabric being ripped to shreds. Turned out, it was a significant part of my dress that tore through the side and unbeknownst to me at the time and as Murphy would have it, I had at least 40 pairs of Sailor eyes on me.

Completely MORTIFIED that half of the ship probably saw things I'd rather they hadn't seen (exaggerating, just a few passengers and most of the crew) I made a dash for a change. But my little stint wasn't forgotten (obviously, this is me we're talking about) and I soon found many friendly faces amongst the crowd.
Say Cheese Julian

What was completely surprising about it all was that Lorenzo wasn't even one of the pretty ones. He was an ordinary middle-aged man, greying slightly at the sides and his face looked weathered, as if he'd spent too much of his life working on the ship. For some reason I wanted to talk to him, but since I'm severely allergic to married men and didn't know his status, I was hesitant and decided not to.

See, this is how it is for us sane single folk. In the deserts of life, married men are the cactus with long ass thorns that draw blood. And we're not looking for blood, pain or tears. What we want is an oasis with trees and shade and fresh water with dates and green pastures to snooze on.
Most of the time,"married" means "dead"

But as fate would have it, I eventually did have a conversation with him a day later (and no he's not married) and after days of walking around in a haze either seasick drunk or reflecting in the night sky, I came to the following conclusions about men, my life, and the men in my life:

- I haven't been completely honest with myself and others when it comes to voicing what I want.

- MIL was right when she told Mother that she didn't think we'd get partners within the SA Asian community.

- Mother was probably right when she told MIL that she half expects us to wed white men. 

- There's no amount of beauty that can compensate for a good chuckle. I need humour in my life.

- I am drawn to intelligent men.

- Younger men seem to irritate me more and more as I get older - with their immaturity and frivolity (and horrendous manners).

- Older (single) men have officially won me over.

- I'm really not the sharpest tool in the cultural box. Someone said something about Ras Malai and I was like "Whats that?"

- I can no longer entertain meaningless conversations. So Goodbye to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

- I'm looking for longevity... something substantial and sustainable. Not another Rodrigo that struts around like a peacock, demanding his feathers be admired (even though they're worthy of being admired).

- I finally know what I want.

- I'm finally ready for something more.

- I think I've finally grown up.

Now anyone know where I can buy one of those sailor suits?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

On the cruise ship of life, which way is your deck chair facing...

It all began over a year ago, when we were chatting about the cruising industry and my Uncle's Mother-in-law mentioned that it was something that she always wanted to do but that she never had the chance. Two months later she had a stroke and while recovering, I promised her that the minute she was well enough, we would book a place on one of MSC's ships.

But from there on, it snowballed. My siblings were a part of the package but the MIL insisted that she wanted Mother to tag along. And mother invited her sister who left her karaoke mic at home. And one of their mutual (and absolutely crazy) friends tagged along, as well as one of my cousins etc. etc. Before we knew it, we were reading about the catastrophe that was the Concordia, and receiving several reports of potential cyclones and gale force winds on the east coast of Africa.

And one would think that all the bad news would make us reconsider setting sail off Durban's coastline into the unknown. But no, because we're women living on the edge. And if the worst possible outcome was death then I was prepared to die a happy woman because there are only five things that I really really love in this world, the ocean and sailing being two of them. And I was really looking forward to seeing this:
This was my third cruise... having already been to Barra Lodge in Mozambique 5 years ago and then to the Portuguese & Inhaca Islands a couple of years later... I was looking forward to visiting both Bazaruto and Benguera Islands in the Bazaruto Archipelago just off the coast of Mozambique.

But this trip was to be unlike any other. What I expected from it was completely different from the actual outcome. For one, our previous trips had been all about dancing and partying and I expected much of the same on this one. But alas, as it turned out, most of it revolved around introspection, reflection and men (more on that later).

Secondly, I barely saw the MIL, mother, my aunt, their friend etc. except at dinner time. They were quite content without us and I felt slightly relieved at not having to be completely responsible for them. And so began an epic journey...
In many ways - without anticipating it at all - the trip has changed a large part of me forever. I can't explain it, and I have trouble pinning it down myself, but something has definitely altered because the person I was when I left and the person I am now is significantly different. I had many little apostrophes and epiphanies and generally learnt more about the world and myself along the way...

1. Seeing that the flight is only 55 minutes long, I realised that it takes longer to drive to the bloody airport and to wait for the flight then it takes to actually get to Durban:
2. I learnt that it doesn't help to be reminded of impending doom. SA's Beeld newspaper headlines "SA couple swim for their lives" with a huge photo of the Costa Concordia that ran aground is displayed at the terminal exit, before boarding the plane:
3. I learnt that a solid 80% of the most dangerous people in the world are probably hungry people. After what felt like forever standing in queues and waiting, we finally boarded the ship in time for lunch:
4. I realised that beauty exists where we least expect it. This time overlooking Durban from one of the decks of the ship:
5. I learnt that people's definition of partying differs from individual to individual, but that all definitions includes hordes of people. Whether you're the life of the party or a wall flower, the more the merrier:
6. I realised that humans can adapt to (and eventually enjoy) anything... even hot, unbearably humid tropical weather and the constant swaying from side to side on the ship:
7. I learnt that I become completely enthralled and exhilarated by the wind and I thrive in the eye of the storm, even when everyone else is bunkering down in their cabins, seasick, and puking their guts out:
8. I learnt that it is quite possible to fall asleep during a Burlesque show, despite how good you may think the dancers are:
9. I realised that I'm no longer 23 years old and that even though I love dancing, clubbing is no longer my scene and I'll most likely be found snoozing in the corner by 12am:
10. I learnt that substance trumps style but that it never hurts to look good:
11. I realised the importance of starting with the salad - which was absolutely delicious for some reason:
12. I learnt that if you say 'no' to dessert, you won't know what you're missing out on:
13. I learnt that it's worth sitting out on deck even on the (hot) rainy, miserable days:
14. I learnt that on a cruise ship, the party never really ends, it's just transferred:
And then we had a solid day of howling winds, rough seas and rain, but that didn't really put a damper on the festivities or our spirits. If anything, we continued as usual. But then the next day, even though the weather was back to normal we weren't allowed to disembark the ship to go to the islands due to the ongoing rough waters and an anticipated storm that was approaching. So I never got to see this:
Or this:
Which left me very disappointed, especially since it was one of the main reasons for the voyage in the first place. The Captain cited passenger safety as their main priority, especially after the Concordia debacle and the global spotlight on safety in the cruising industry. I was like look, I'm willing to die, just take me to shore...
But this was the closest I got:
 And this:
So damn close, yet so far. I seriously contemplated jumping into the ocean because I figured one of two things would happen: 
a) I'd make it to shore and frolick on the beach to my heart's content while someone would be dispatched to come fetch me and haul my ass back to the ship or, 
b) Beautiful Rodrigo would come and save me and the beach would disappear into a distant memory as I gazed into his eyes.

See, win-win situation. But alas, Mother was on board which meant that (being the ex-pro swimmer she is) she would have in all likelihood jumped in too trying to save me, and I couldn't risk having my Mother:
a) in danger (although I doubt it) or,
b) ruin it for me.

15. And that's when I realised that sometimes, there are things in life that we can't control and we just have to accept it for what it is. It's not like we can go and fight with God for giving us bad weather now can we... best to just sit back, relax and be thankful for safety and comfort:
Besides, most of the time there's a light at the end of the tunnel, and life, as well as the party, always goes on:
To be continued...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Story of Penny...

Once upon a time, when the Institute was still in it's pimply adolescent phase, a new comprehensive program was introduced to the students. It was called Penny. The program centred around a fictitious character, her life and her family.

But there was one teeny weeny little problem.

Every time one of the teachers would call out instructions regarding Penny, the class would be abuzz with students stifling illicit sniggers. As one teacher recalls:

I'd say "Class, please take out Penny and do the exercises", or "Class let's do Penny" and they'd cackle like teenage girls over the latest gossip and I couldn't figure out what was so funny.

It went on for months until one day Boss-woman called a meeting regarding the curriculum and Penny in particular.

They had discovered that the English word Penis is pronounced as Penny in French - even though the spelling remains the same. So having naive teachers walk around commanding students to whip out their Penny's and do exercises was quite amusing to the class. The program was promptly and aptly renamed Jenny.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Every day is an episode of Mind Your Language...

When I was much younger, I used to watch a British show called Mind Your Language on one of our local television channels. Back then, I never ever thought I'd be living my very own version of the show on a daily basis.

As it is, my French-speaking students can't pronounce the letter "H". I get this quite often:

Student: Teacher, I'm angry.
Me: Why, what happened?
Student: I'm angry, I want to go to the canteen for lunch.
Me: You mean you're hungry.
Student: Yes, angry.
Me: No, Hungry...
Student: Angry...
Me: Hungry, say it with me Hung-gry.
Student: Ang-gry
Me: HUNGRY... H-Hungry
Student: H-Angry
Me: Never-mind, go for lunch.

And then there are other times when I put my fair share of heart and soul in a lesson, only to be undermined by Commercialism:

Student: Teacher, you told us that we can't express emotion or sentiment when we use the continuous tense.
Me: Yes that's true. For example, I can't say I'm prefering coffee. I'd have to say I prefer coffee.
Student: So why does McDonald's say "I'm loving it"?

Then there are times, when I just can't contain myself, and I end up laughing at them. I laugh. Out loud. At them. Much to their incredulity and bewilderment:

Me: Ok, Manuela, make a sentence using the word "stockings".
Manuela: I put my stockings in the computer.
Me: What is that?
Manuela: The stockings, I put the stockings, the numbers, in the computer.
Me: That is stock-taking. Stockings... panty-hose. Antonio, can you make a sentence using the words "contact lenses".
Antonio: Ok. I sign the contact lenses.
Me: That's a contract, you wear contact lenses.
Antonio: Si.

Suffice to say on most days, I feel like the worst teacher ever. It never lasts long though.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What you do on New Year's Eve, you pay for in the New Year...

Every New Year's eve, my Aunt and Uncle have a huge party at their house followed by a grand fireworks display around midnight, and everyone who knows the family is usually invited. So I usually spend every New Year's Eve and New Years Day with family. Well most, that's if I'm not travelling.

This year was much the same, only we've had a few additions to the family in the last year so there were two or three extra midgets invited to the party. At some point in the evening, conversation centred around babies (as it would with enamoured parents) and I noticed something quite peculiar about myself.

You know how people talk about their kids in random conversations? Yeah well when they do, I find that I end up talking about my Mother. I guess it's because I have no other point of reference and I can't relate to anything they're saying. So we were like:

Cousin 1: Mika's bottom teeth are coming out.
Cousin 2: Dude, Qanita knows more than 100 words already.
Me: Dude, my Mother knows who's Nicki Minaj.
Cousin 3: I think he needs to be changed.
Cousin 4: She repeats everything you say.
Me: My mother quoted Chris Tucker the other day.
Cousin 5: Really? Hahahahahahaha

I think it's both strange and pathetic that I do that. But most of the time it's really funny. Between Mother and her sisters, we have enough eccentricity to power a small country.

This year, my Aunt (mother's sister and party host) decided to trade the fireworks display for a karaoke contest. I don't know what it is with my family and karaoke, they love it. This meant that between the random conversations, we had to endure my Aunt's tone-deaf rendition of Tom Jones's "What's new Pussycat? whoa whoa whoa" in that earnest mock-serious tone that she sings. And when she was done, she demanded an applause, barking out orders: "Hey! Clap for me!".

They went through all of Tom Jones's tracks as well as Engelbert Humperdinck and The Bee Gees. If anything, it provided us with enough laughs until next year. I can't sing to save my life, so I kept my mouth busy with a bowl of pasta. I didn't think it would do much harm. But I was wrong. Serves me right for bragging about my improved health. This is the result of my little gluten-feast:
Notice the rash and pink spots.
Four days in and I'm sitting at home with a bout of Pharyngitis, courtesy of someone who was more than just a little generous with their sick germs at the party. I'm so not ready to get back into the swing of things.