Confessions of a Control Freak

After accepting that I’m a control freak, I set out on a journey to explore what it really means to be a control freak – this is documented in two videos.

Video 1 (link: https://youtu.be/gaBTOX691aY)

In this video I look at how being a control freak has affected my life. As part of taking steps towards letting go of the need to feel that I’m in control, I accepted my brother’s challenge to hand over the raw footage to him and have no inputs in the editing process. The first time that I would see the final video would be when it’s live on our social media platforms. As a control freak, the fact that I would not influence how the footage would be presented was making me so anxious, especially because I was touching on such a personal matter.

Video 2 (link: https://youtu.be/OiaE2jUrqA0)

 In the days running up to releasing the final video I reflected on my journey; whether I was making different decisions and how I was feeling. This is shown in video 2 where you also get to see my reaction to the video that my brother edited.

Lessons

  • “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – you cannot change what you don’t acknowledge so accepting that I’m a control freak and taking a closer look at how it has affected my life was a humbling process, but it was a necessary.
  • Rome wasn’t built in a day” – I’m only in the early stages of a metamorphosis from hopefully a caterpillar into a butterfly and it’s going to get a whole lot more painful and challenging before I fully transform.

Birthday Weekend: My FIRST camping trip

 

My friends and I decided to go to a camping site in Bela Bela, Limpopo, for my birthday weekend. As excited as I was about this new experience, I was equally anxious and wondered whether I will be able to rough it in the outdoors for two nights.

Various questions ran through my mind: would the weather play along, would I miss my home comforts and what about mosquitos.

Here’s my take on the experience:

  • We got to the camping site very late, we should have arrived while the sun was still up so that we can set-up and choose a spot close to ablution facilities but it all worked out and after setting up we finally had dinner.
  • As bedtime got closer the reality of sleeping outdoors set in, my friends who are regular campers advised us to always zip up the tent door so that snakes, bugs and other creepy crawlies don’t get inside the tent. Imagine finding a scorpion as you curl up in bed.
  • It’s important to be prepared for all eventualities when you go on a camping trip because the weather may change, even during summer months. The second night was quite chilly so I was glad that I packed a blanket and warm pyjamas.
  • Forget about your home comfort and gadgets when you go on a camping trip, sit back, relax and enjoy the outdoors. We spent most of the first day swimming and aftera couple of hours in the water, we were starving and started preparing dinner as soon as we got back to the camping site.
  • We mostly had braai (grilled meat), in hindsight we could have been more creative with our menu and prepared a variety of dishes like salads and vegetables, slow cooked meat and even a pasta dish.
  • And out of nowhere came this warthog that charged at us, it was scary and could have gone pear shaped. So be careful when you encounter animals while camping, especially when they are with their young and remember to bring a first aid kit just in case someone gets injured.

Overall it was fun and I would do it again!!!

*Watch Episode 1 – https://youtu.be/F6m1A67EK9c) and Episode 2 – https://youtu.be/B8LnnqPjzrY) of the trip on my YouTube Channel!

 

How my people dance

 

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I’m third from left, with a Xhosa dancing group

I recently attended Ubuntu Cultural Celebration in Pretoria, South Africa. The event showcased different ethnic groups through dance, music and traditional attire. I feel strongly about celebrating what is uniquely South African and African, so this was right up my alley.

I was particularly mesmerised by the female dancers. Their beauty, confidence and how sensual they looked as they gyrated their bodies. They looked so liberated (here’s a link to a video showing some of the dances – https://youtu.be/E1DOQ4yGHlo)

Dancing has always played an important role in cultures throughout the African continent. It’s a form of communication that is used to express emotions such as joy, sadness, grief, hope and love through rhythmic movements.

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Zulu dancers
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BaSotho dancers with their signature blankets and straw hats

The most widely used music instrument in Africa is the drum. Dancers follow the rhythm of the drumbeat; it is the heartbeat of the dance.

We dance to mark and celebrate important life experiences such as birth, initiation, weddings and harvest. Through dance people are able to connect with ancestors and honour kings and queens. Dancing gives community members a sense of belonging and shows solidarity. In addition, it’s a form of escape from the harsh realities of life. It’s easy to lose yourself in the music and dance and go into a trance like state.

I walked away feeling like the weight of life’s burdens had been lifted off my shoulders!

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Members of another Xhosa dancing group
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The bells around their waists made beautiful sounds when they danced

Carlton Café: Go-to-place for good food & a chilled vibe

After a fun night out of overindulging with friends all I wanted was a scrumptious brunch that would make me forget about my heavy head. I headed to Carlton Café in 13th Street, Menlo Park Centre, a place I discovered while visiting Hazel Food Market.

It has beautiful decor which incorporates retro and modern elements and I love the vegetable and herb boxes that surround the outside sitting area.

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The menu offers a good variety of choices, nothing boring though, they do their own spin on traditional dishes like the putu pap with fried biltong and mascarpone.

I decided to go for the special of the day; tapas platter which included red wine cured beef, French brie, toasted pita bread, fresh blueberries, slices of peach and a cranberry cream cheese.

While I waited I ordered the ginger beer, it was refreshing and delicious with just the right amount of ginger and the chilli flakes and fresh chill pepper gave it that punch.

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One thing to note is that the restaurant does not sell alcohol but you are more than welcome to bring your own liquor; there is even a liquor store literally metres away.

My food tasted as good it looked, I particularly enjoyed the cranberry cream cheese and all in all the flavours complemented each other, including the sweetness from the fruits and the creamy French Brie which has a fitting nickname, “The Queen of Cheeses.”

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Another thing that I love about this place is that they have a food shop next door called Delicious which sells deli items, cakes, pastries, cookware and much more.

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They trade from 07:30 to 16:00 on Mondays, 07:30 to 17:00 on Tuesday to Fridays, 7:30 to 14:00 on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays.

The morning run

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“Where have you been, we’ve been worried sick about you,” said my mother as my brother and I walked into the hotel foyer.

Earlier that morning I had nudged my brother out of bed so that we could go for a run. It was our first morning in Rome; we were staying at Marcella Royal Hotel which is located close to the main attractions but out of the hustle and bustle so you can enjoy a relaxed meal at the restaurants down the street.

The streets were still quiet, making it easy to explore. We ran passed stunning Roman buildings, came across local joggers, noticed suppliers making deliveries at cafés and delis and shopkeepers preparing to open for business. In between this we were still challenging each other to see who could get to a certain building, fountain or statue first. I was fully immersed in the experience and couldn’t feel the aches and pains of running. As we turned a corner my brother spotted a building he described as “the most magnificent thing he has ever seen.” We couldn’t make out its name but it had intricate carvings of gods, warriors and animals. “There must be a number of these gems around the city waiting to be discovered,” I thought. Actually, in any city if you are willing to ditch the main attractions and the hordes of tourists.

We could have carried on forever but the warm sun rays reminded me that we were meeting our parents for breakfast at the hotel so I reluctantly told my brother that it was time to go back. By now there was more activity on the streets with people commuting to work. There was something special and authentic about seeing the city wake up, witnessing locals get on with their business and exploring in a non-intrusive way.

Certain that we would soon spot familiar buildings we continued but soon realised we were lost. We asked locals if they knew the hotel, they didn’t, and that’s when I knew we were much further than we thought. The worse thing is we had committed some of the silliest travel mistakes; we didn’t remember the hotel’s street name, didn’t have a map and money or any form of communication.  I suggested we go into another hotel thinking they would probably know their competitors; the friendly receptionist goggled the hotel and said “it’s far, you should catch a taxi”. Knowing we didn’t have money on us my brother and I looked at each other and smiled; we thanked him and ran back still admiring the city. Now I know why people often say Rome is a beautiful maze that you just want to get lost in.

The café that greatly exceeds my expectations

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Life Grand Café, I discovered this gem when I specifically drove to Hazelwood to try out a patisserie that was disappointing to say the least. I was attracted to the café’s continental look and feel, something that is not common in Pretoria. So I went there on a Friday without making a booking and was lucky to get a table because I’m certainly not the only one who is bowled over by this place. The steak and smashed potato was one of the best dishes I’ve ever had but not only that, all my senses were taken in by the European-influenced feel and for those few hours I felt like I had travelled to another world.

Knowing my brother appreciates dining and relaxing in a place that offers great food and an intriguing vibe just as much as I do, I took him there on the day he came back in town. He was also mesmerised by the ambiance, and the tapas we had went down well. I then decided that I had to come back for brunch.

On Youth Day my boyfriend and I went there around 11am and the place was already packed, after getting my caffeine fix I tried their berry mojito, it was so good that I could have had five more and their club sandwich and boerewors roll didn’t disappoint. It’s rare to find a place that greatly exceeds my expectations and this is definitely one of them! Life Grand Café is at corner Dely Road and Pinester Avenue, Hazelwood, Pretoria, South Africa. 

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