Tsitsikamma…..Where I Might One Day Nama-stay.

As I have repeatedly mentioned, unlike many……..many of my fellow citizens and ex-pats, I have always felt that I have lived in the best country in the world. I was never quite sure that I was living in the best part of it, but I haven’t really been around much, and where I have been, is not that much different to where I reside.

My condaments, Salt and Pepper and I have been fortunate and privileged enough to have recently had a holiday, which I can only describe as a Little Piece of Heaven….. right here……… in my country. I have heard about it, I have seen it, but I have never experienced it. I had found the yin to my yang….this is where I would ultimately nama – stay, I had thought.

I loved every minute of the Peaceful existence and the calm of our first stop in Tsitsikamma in the heavenly Western Cape. I have so often mentioned how I really only crave a simple and peaceful existence in a small Town. And here it was. The pace was literally something I had never experienced in my fast paced, anxiety ridden and angry City.

In my City, everyone is angry and intense. It is the place people need to be to have jobs and earn a living, but one gets so caught up in the day to day rat race, that one then needs to earn more to continue living the life of this City. Then of course there are those that have very little, need or want more, and take from others. So we live behind high walls, have vicious dogs as security and always need to keep one eye open. To top that off, we have litter, potholes, unattended infrastructures and just basically, as Pepper frequently points out lately, we live in a ”rat hole”.

Now, I have always defended our ”rat hole”, as it does have it’s own ”kinda special”. But this ”rat hole” is all I have ever known. 

Now, I had seen the calm we never experience. The two things that struck me initially, were seeing houses without high walls, if any at all. The second was, in addition to calm and content residents, there were calm and content dogs!! These are not dogs that live behind any or high walls. They are familiar with the outside existence. These are dogs that live with calm and content owners. People taking their dogs for a walk…..no leash…….no problem. The dogs just walked alongside their owners. If they saw another dog, nothing. If they saw another human….nothing. I mean, where I live, one does not take one’s dog for a walk without a leash. No Siree….here the dogs are not familiar with the world outside their four walls. They don’t even have the privilege of observing such life. So when the dogs do get out and about, they become like their owners….angry, intense and ready for a fight with any other dog (or human) that they might see. So I witnessed this anomaly of happy humans and happy dogs……wow…….who knew??? 

This clean, well maintained little Town had even more. Literally the most untouched and heavenly landscape that one could ever have the privilege of experiencing.
I reluctantly left Tsitsikamma after a few days to move on to Plettenberg Bay. Also renowned for its beauty, but I imagined a lot more holiday makers and a faster pace.

When we arrived, it was exactly as I had imagined, and I kind of went into anaphylactic shock. After the four days in heaven, I had developed a severe allergy to crowds, and a (only slightly) faster pace. But once I had recovered, and pulled myself towards myself, I realised, that if we stayed out of the tourist infested Town, we could continue to have our Heaven….and that is precisely what we had. Still low or no walls, happy and calm people and dogs, and a landscape that was not quite what we had come from, but good enough!!!

And guess what……even the weather on that side of the world is calm!!!! When my Town has rain….it is no longer rain as we knew it….angry outburst of thunder and lightning, causing damage and destruction. And that is before the rains even start. So where I live…..angry humans, angry dogs and angry weather….eeeeuch.

Of course contributing largely to my state of mind was the fact that I was continuously occupied, which is something that is a requirement for me to survive. I was accompanied by my two condaments, Salt and Pepper. Salt, being my earth child, took hikes with me, lapped up the scenery, had a desperate need to visit animal sanctuaries, took me out of my comfort zone with some adventures I might not have embarked on……all in all he occupied the earth of my personality. 

Pepper, being my fire child, the one who loves the ”high life” and rates himself as a bit of a high class somebody, would accompany me on dining out and some such….satisfying the smidge of fire in my personality.

It took me a minute to realize that when I was out and about with one, the other would be at the home base ”chilling”. To be fair it suited me fine, as owing to their pseudonyms, they are complete opposites. So generally there is much love between the two brothers, but when they get together there is invariably bickering and they just get on each others nerves. I was in my happy place, so this ”shift work” worked wonders for me. 

I say ”shift work”, as that is what they seemed to regard it as. This became apparent to me the one (early) morning when I ambushed Salt asking him what we were doing that day.

”Pepper, it’s your turn to look after mom today, I have been doing it for days”, the little bastard child irritatingly said to his brother. So the parent had become the child….who knew….who cared…….I was ZEN!!!!!

On one occasion we were going to spend the day out together, and when we got into the car in the morning, I did all my checks. 

”Do we all have our wallets and phones?” I asked. 

”I leave my phone in the room when we go out,” Pepper replied.

Wow, I thought. With his history of losing phones, breaking phones and having phones stolen, that was most adult of him to take the initiative to leave his phone in the room on our outings!! Alternatively, had he perhaps decided to carpe what promised to be the most unbelievably memorable day the diem, and decided to leave his phone in the car, so he wouldn’t have distractions?

How proud I felt in that moment……my job was done, I thought. The most irresponsible child in the world has moved into the responsible zone and I only had myself to thank.

Anyhoo, I turned around and saw that Pepper had no jersey, and the weather was not that warm. They had also predicted that it was going to get quite cold and rainy later that day. So not being the helicopter mom that I am….not….. I told Pepper to maybe get a jersey. So out of the car Pepper hopped and went to get this jersey. Tick bloody tock ……time was passing, of course Salt was getting hugely irritated, and I was just trying to remain in my happy place.

Shortly after my little pep talk with Salt, to explain that in order for that day to be special, we all needed to remain tolerant of one another, Pepper makes his appearance, gets back in the car, and lo and behold Salt and I turn around, look at each other in absolute shock and horror…. there is no jersey!!!! 

In unison we say to Pepper, ”Where’s  your jersey????”, and he says, ”oh yes my jersey”, hops out again and returned with his jersey. I could have left it there….but curiosity got the better of me, and I said to him that I simply could not understand how he had gone in to get a jersey, spent literally 5 minutes before coming back and still come back without a jersey. 

”I just thought I would check my phone which I left in the room and saw I had a message, so I answered it, and then forgot about the Jersey,” he said….as if this was normal human behaviour??

At that point Salt and I look at each other, both imagining us simultaneously climbing over the chairs to get to Pepper’s neck.

So here I find myself…..back in the ”rat hole”……..going from a complete speed wobble every time either one or both of my children mentioned that they would be moving out when the opportunity arose, to virtually fantasizing about packing their bags so I can go yonder……well let’s see how that lasts!!

The good news though, is that I now see I can have this life somewhere in a country which might one day become a reality.

Are We Living The Life We Have Manifested?

So back to my reflective blog I spoke about in my last Blog.

I have previously touched on the fact that I truly believe everyone is living the socio economic life that they are content with.

I believe that there are those who want a lifestyle of the uber rich, and will work extremely hard to achieve it. There are untold sacrifices, which they are aware of and are quite content to deal with. Their priority is live in the lap of luxury, have the best of everything and have life made a lot easier and ‘’less stressful’’ for themselves, than those with less. Don’t misunderstand me, I do not believe they live stress free lives….by any stretch of the imagination. Keeping up that lifestyle is by NO means stress free. Of course I think most people accept that this does also not necessarily mean you will have a ‘’happy life’’. But, that is what they aspire to, and that is what they are prepared to work towards to achieve. Kudos to them I say!!

Then there are those, who aspire to have life that is a lot simpler, accept (or don’t) that they will inevitably have a lot less and hopefully have ‘’less stress’’. Again…..their lives are not devoid of stress. The only difference is they have a lot less financial manoeuvrability than those with more money…..so perhaps more stress?

Then there are those who want very little, want to do very little and hope for a stress free and peaceful existence.

So, to sum up, I truly believe that the lives we live are, for the most part, the lives we have manifested (even subconsciously). This is the reason that I have no jealousy or animosity towards those who have more than me. They wanted it, they worked for it and they sacrificed for it. I am under no misapprehension that they are happier than me.

Now this is all content which I have discussed previously. This is not me repeating myself. No, this is me expanding on it due to a couple of events that made their way into my life recently.

Two situations bearing a striking resemblance happened to a friend and myself recently. Myself and my two children have not been on holiday for yonks. Every year, my mind has made plans, having totally decided that that was the year, places were Googled from August, road trips would be planned, and then……I start again the next August.

However, this WAS GOING TO BE THE YEAR!! So around August, myself and my condiments,  Salt and Pepper, decided we all totally more than deserve a getaway. Three individuals with different wants and needs. But we chatted, and agreed on something that appealed to all our tastes, and more importantly to our budget. But having said the “b” word, does not in any way mean that we were feeling compromised or begrudged. On the contrary, we had planned a holiday that we were more than happy with, and were really looking forward to.

Now, what follows may sound like a spoilt and ungrateful brat talking. Many would roll their eyes and sarcastically utter the words “oh shame, you poor thing”, but this is where my discussion actually starts.

We were offered an ‘’upgrade’’ by someone, who had available accommodation that they were not going to be using. The dates overlapped with what we had already booked, and although it was very close in proximity to the area in which we had booked, it was WORLDS APART in budget. With our budget,  we could only dream of booking a place like that. But the most important question, is did we dream it,  WOULD we book a place like that, if our budget allowed?

The short answer is a resounding NO. The longer version is that, first off Pepper’s answer (my King Farouk) would unhesitatingly be ‘’ yes, definitely yes’’. If it shimmers and shines, tastes, smells or looks expensive, 100% yes. He would literally be content just to sit in this luxurious accommodation day in and day out, and breathe in the riches. Salt and I on the other hand, are looking for the experience, the adventure. It’s not about the luxuriousness of the accommodation, but rather the activities and encounters we get to experience. So, when we go back to our absolutely acceptable, clean and comfortable accommodation, that cost us a finger as opposed to an arm and a leg, we feel we have made some memories.

But having said that, Pepper can totally deal with the 12th grade accommodation we have booked. Sure, when he books his own accommodation in the future, it will be 12 star. This is what he wants, and this is what he will work towards. And please do not find me presumptuous, but based on my argument, this is what he will have.

Me ‘n my Salty, we just want happiness and peace…..no luxuries and holidays of the rich and famous. No sitting all isolated and cold in 5 star accommodation, eating 5 star meals (never as enjoyable as our non 5 star meals), and not absorbing the culture and surrounds of where we have chosen to holiday. No, we want all the memories of each unique destination….the people…the food….the culture….the warmth and the joy.

So having said all this….and back to sounding like a spoilt and ungrateful brat, this very generous offer was made by a third party. My first thoughts were, oh noooooo, we have already planned everything according to our budget and preferences! My second thought was, how am I going to refuse without offending this person? The latter was virtually impossible, as knowing the person, offence would most certainly have been taken. You see, the way a refusal would have been incorrectly interpreted by this well meaning person, would have been that I had stared a gift horse in the mouth. How could I POSSIBLY have wanted to refuse this exquisite accommodation over our average and affordable accommodation? It would have made absolutely no sense.

So I found myself in this ‘’predicament’’ of desperately wanting to refuse the offer, but knowing I had no choice but to accept. I had finally calmed down after making all our original bookings, knowing all was going ahead, and I could not back out for yet another year. This curve ball had me all panicked and riddled with anxiety, as I then needed to cancel some of our already booked accommodation, change our already finalised plans of dates, activities and ……well everything else that had been so neatly wrapped up, waiting for the day of unwrapping on our first day of our adventure.

But, me being my normal sick puppy creating unnecessary anxiety for myself aside, it really got me to thinking about people in a higher tax bracket than most. They just automatically assume that you did not book a certain type of accommodation because you couldn’t afford it. They just assume that lowly creature you, would do anything to be able to experience what they, the privileged few can. Presumptuous much? Offensive much? I am sorry though that they cannot comprehend the desire to live simple though. I find it quite sad really. Honestly, if the situation was reversed, and I for some reason offered them our accommodation, they would be horrified. There is no doubt in my mind that they would be totally offended at the audacity of me assuming that they would EVER feel comfortable with that type of accommodation. So taking that into account, why is it that those with more feel they have the right to look a gift horse in the mouth, but would look at you with utter disdain and be totally offended, even finding you most ‘’ungrateful’’ if you did the same, when the gift is up to their standards?? In what self-important and pompous universe is this acceptable??

As much as I am sure that there are those who would be having different holidays if their budget allowed, I still maintain that if they really, truly wanted it badly enough, they would have been able to achieve it. Perhaps that is what they think they want, not what they truly want?

But once again…..maybe that is just me?