Thirty Dollars

HA! Not what you think. This is not a post about all the things I would do to make $30, or all the reasons I wish I had $30 more (although, if you need ideas, I have a few!), but about all the things I will do with the $30 I have allotted myself for the weekend. In cash. Because if it were $30 on my credit card, or even debit card, it would easily morph into like $75 without me even knowing what I spent it on! Can I get an amen?

This post is all about guessing. I guess I’ll have a lot of sugary food. I guess I’ll spend necessary money on unnecessary things at Target. I guess I’ll get coffee out even though I have it at home. I guess I’ll order some new shoes online because they’re on sale. Shoot – $30 will not do it. But a girl can dream!

Off to the races:

  1. EMPANADAS: Because why shouldn’t I? It’s Friday night and I just got paid. The Accord probably won’t be able to get me home fast enough, I won’t be able to put my swim suit on quick enough, and the dog likely won’t pee in a timely manner. But that won’t stop me from squeezing in an empanada run before catching the last few rays of the day at the pool.
  2. DONUTS: Because, Saturday morning. If you are actually requiring an explanation for why this is a good/natural idea, then you likely have not experienced joy, or you are a melancholy person, or you are skinny. 635910150912081756223380989_Doughnuts
  3. TARGET: For fun things. Fun things could be blue eye shadow, another bottle of light pink, opaque nail polish, because why do people even wear translucent nail polish? It could be one of those lacy tank tops that cuts off before even reaching your stomach, so is that just a bra? Maybe there’s a new brand of face wash in my future?
  4. LEMONADE: Not like Lemonade (looking at you, B) but just lemonade. You know, sold by young, street entrepreneurs. Those fiery souls with a brilliant idea for a start up. Little do they know this start up started up decades ago. I genuinely saw a real lemonade stand in my neighborhood a few weeks ago and it was so delicious, that now I’ve realized I should start budgeting for lemonade stands each month. See ya later, $.25! 227884
  5. CAR WASH: It’s the $12 I’ve been refusing to part with for the past 5 weeks. But I’m just praying I run into a sweet, eager, sweaty, highly-energized group of 15-year-old’s raising money for missions trips or high school bands or new soccer balls. I’m there!

If I truly stick to my budget, I think I can swing all this with $30. The unknown variable here is Target. If it’s just face wash, it could really work. If it’s face wash and nail polish and the lacy shirt/bra, I might blow the budget. YOLO. My Monday self will be very T/O’d if that’s the case. Again, YOLO cause it’s Friday and I just don’t even care.

Cheers to the freakin’ weekend!

 

 

Dirty Durham

 

bull-city

Anyone else feel like they’ve found themselves stuck in an RDU rut? Yeah, I’ve spent 16 years here – cumulatively – and I just was feeling like there was nothing fun to do around here. Granted, I was a child for 15 of those years but still. The pool and the park were sufficient in those times.

I live here now, it’s my home, it’s were I do life and where I’ve made new friends. So, I decided it was time to stop going straight home after work to watch 3 episodes of Gossip Girl before going to bed. I needed to find reasons to make myself go out after work and find something fun to do. And that’s what I did! I still allow myself at lease two nights a week to go straight home and watch Netflix – no shame, it’s called “me time.”

Dreamily I hope that you’ll ask me to go do these things with you (if we’re not already friends, we could be!). Then is a two-for-one: I get to hang out with my friends/make a new friend and you don’t have to be lonely while finding out that this area is actually cool.

Without further *ado:

  • Drinks/board games a Fullsteam Brewery: seriously, they have everything
  • THE BEER BATTERED FRIES at Bull McCabes: if you have kids or pets (not that they’re the same) this place is amazing. It’s smack in the middle of down town and there’s an enormous fenced area. Eat, drink, let your kids/pets roam free!
  • Picnic at Duke Gardens: should be free but they rip you off by making you pay $1 for 30 minutes to park your car on a slab on asphalt – rude. But still a neat place to check out.
  • Coco Cinnamon: go to the old one, the new one has zero comfortable seats nor does it have any interesting people watching. Plus it’s near a hair salon called “Clem Rice” which I just think should be illegal.
  • Durham Bulls game: if you’re less than 30 minutes early, you’ll only get lawn seats. Don’t make the rookie mistake of showing up empty handed (aka sans a blanket)
  • Motorco: best outdoor lighting of any Durham hot spot to date.
  • Rooftop yoga at the Durham Hotel: oh, is 9 am too early for a Saturday? Just go on Monday and show up late to work. Your boss won’t mind because it’s “self care.”
  • Dessert at Rue Cler: crepes, beignets, creme brûlée, and coffee all for less than $30. boom.
  • Eat at Gonza: the best freakin Mexican I’ve ever had
  • Jordan Lake: a little bit trashy, not really very classy, totally fun.
  • Paddle board rentals at aforementioned, Jordan Lake: also kayak rentals
  • Get your nails done here: seriously, the best one I’ve been too…anywhere.
  • Join this hot yoga studio: A previous co-worker convinced me to get their Groupon so I hesitantly parted with $20 and loved it so much that now I gladly part with many more dollars than that a month to call myself a member. Honestly, these people are so kind and I never once have felt intimidated. Plus, they have 3 locations (Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte) so I can just hot yoga my way through NC. Worth it.
  • If you don’t join Arrichion (if you didn’t click the previous link, Arrichion is the hot yoga studio), join SOMETHING: a gym, a pool, a church (I encourage you to do this anyways), a kickball league, a choir, a step team, a book club, a furniture making club, a water aerobics team.

And for the grand finale:

  • Rent yourself a dang room at a dang fancy hotel and order fancy room service. Maybe even get a dang Uber if you’re feeling free: maybe you don’t have the time (or funds) to fly to Cape Cod or Napa Valley or Paris for the weekend, but Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill have some amazing hotels. Get your bestie, or your man, or whoever, and rent a room for a night or two and treat it as if you were celebrating something really exciting like a huge job offer or an anniversary or the fact that you passed your boards. JUST CELEBRATE YAY!

*I do not promise to have done everything on this list. But I have encouraged myself to try everything!

Yay, so have fun, be free, enjoy Durham, let me know what you think! Other suggestions? This list will only last me so long..

When Dreams Die

After spending all of my final year of college ‘expecting’ to be offered a job with the company that interviewed me four times, it wasn’t offered. Easter weekend I got a call, “I’m so sorry to do this Jessie, but after speaking with the CEO, he has decided to hire someone with 5-7 years of experience.” I was graduating in one month.

I freaked, but then put on my big-girl pants and realized that it just meant there was something better. Surely it would just take a few good cover letters and references and I’d be gainfully employed in no time. God thought not. Okay – I really can’t argue with that. But I wanted to. And I did. And I fought it.

My earthly, tainted view of reality and the job search led me to believe that it would take no longer than four months. I cannot tell you where that magic number came from but it was stained to my mind like red wine on a white shirt. After just two months of searching and writing and sometimes begging employers, I was defeated. I had dreamed of graduating and moving to the next phase of life so gracefully and adult-like. A new apartment, a puppy (this was a new development in my personality), matching dishes and a crock pot, a fancy bedspread with coordinating throw pillows, and a comma in the bank account.

That was the dream. But I had allowed myself to believe that it would become a reality on my timeline. I certainly counted those chickens before they hatched. The reality was that I moved home, took on a part-time job (that I LOVED and am still very grateful for), spent most of my free time looking for jobs and rewriting cover letters and adjusting my resume and thinking of fancy ways to express that I liked to talk and owned three suits.

Evidently, that wasn’t enough to impress those reading hundreds of applications a day. My dream was fading, my hope was dimming, and it was as if my faith was inflated into a big balloon that might pop if someone told me “it would be okay” or if I got one more email that opened with, “Though we were impressed by your qualifications, we have decided to continue with other candidates.”

The Lord hooked my heart in a new way in July. I spent a week at a wonderful camp in Pennsylvania. My childhood best friend had asked me if I was interested in working with her that week because they were in need of more female counselors. Since I was working part-time and had the most amazing boss, I was able to take off work last minute for a whole week.

That camp is where my heart was hooked in a different way. I had suppressed all my dreams, wondering if maybe I had just chosen the wrong career path. Maybe I should I have done something with more job security: education, finance, medicine. Obviously I would have flailed in those careers because that is not the way the Lord wired me.

All of the sudden I was in this place where no one knew that I had been job searching or that I was feeling like I was at the end of my rope. No one asked me how I liked living at home, or how the hunt was going, or if I’d had anymore interviews with XYZ company. They just asked me about my life. It was so refreshing.

I was supposed to be ministering to my campers, but really, the Lord was doing a big work in me. It was so simple, He was just reminding me of his Love, His knowledge of my dreams, His calling for me.

Without even knowing it, it was just what I needed. I came home with an overflowing cup of joy and faith.

I felt re-energized to keep looking for a job in the industry I knew I loved. I didn’t need to settle for nannying or retail, two things I knew I wouldn’t be happy doing full-time but had started to look into. He reminded me that it was okay to wait. Waiting for His best – like many things in life – can be difficult and tiresome but so worth it.

Though I was feeling renewed and refreshed, it didn’t mean that rejections became less discouraging. Still, it seemed like no one was interested in what I had to offer.

I knew the Truth, that all things were working together for good (Romans 8:28, paraphrased). 

But even so, I spent many days discouraged.

Lord, what will it take? What else can I do? How long can I keep crying out? If this is how my career is starting, what does it say about my future? Am I a failure? Have I been praying over the wrong dream all along? Were the past four years a waste of time and money?

In retrospect, it’s all very dramatic, I know. But when you’re in the thick of that, of the wondering and hoping, it’s all you can think about. I know I still have friends who are in this season now, and I know that there’s nothing anyone can say to you to make you feel better except, “Here, I have a job for you!”

That’s all I wanted to hear. And then one day someone said that to me.

After applying for nearly 100 jobs, the one I didn’t apply for is the one the Lord placed in my lap. Everything makes sense when you look backwards. After a passing comment to a friend that I’d gladly take her position when she moved, she followed through a month later.

I had forgotten that I even said it. But she’s a woman of her word, and when she said she’d keep me in mind, she did.

I got at text from her, “Hey! I’m not sure if you were serious about wanting my job, but I’d love for you to come shadow me sometime.”

I went at the end of that week not expecting anything to happen. I was wearing jeans. Everyone knows that even if you’re interviewing at a casual office, you don’t wear jeans.

That’s my point – I didn’t realize it was an interview or a job offer. After spending an hour driving around and seeing what she did day-to-day she said, “I’ve already talked to my boss and we’ve decided that you can have this job if you’d like it. I’m leaving in a month.”

A new dream welled up within me. The Lord was whispering, “I told you.”

I found myself in an industry that my family had encouraged me to look into before, but I had swept it under the rug thinking, “that’s your thing, I’m not really into it.” Turns out, I’m really into it. That’s the new dream.

He hadn’t abandoned me. He hadn’t forgotten about me while he took care of all the other problems in the world. My dream was important to Him. He saw my frustrations and my depression and my anger and my questioning and He said, “I’ll take care of it. Don’t worry.”

So I waited on Him, and He did not fail.

And he won’t fail you. Because He knows the dreams He placed inside of you, and He hasn’t forgotten about them.

“Comparison is the thief of joy,” was my favorite quote in college was. It still is. It’s the truth. To the core, we lose our joy when we compare ourselves. And I compare myself to others in more than one way – in careers, in relationships, in lifestyles, in dreams.

How silly is that? That I would compare my dreams to someone else’s. That doesn’t even make sense. But I do it, and I’m afraid I’m not alone.

God has placed a dream in me, and He’s placed one (or more, hopefully) in you. And it’s different that mine. And that’s amazing. Because when we have different dreams, we get to live in a world where things are accomplished and God is glorified most when we live out the calling He’s placed on you and me.

If your dream has died, today I pray that you will ask Lord to awaken it – to breathe life into it again. That He would take you back to the place you were when you first realized that dream. And don’t lose hope this time. It’s okay to cry and be frustrated that your dream hasn’t turned into a reality, because if it’s a dream that will ultimately Glorify God, it will.

And when it does, it might not always feel like a dream. So when your dream is fulfilled and then three months in it doesn’t feel like a dream, ask Him to remind you what it felt like the moment that dream was fulfilled. Because I believe there is a great sense of peace when He fulfills a dream that He placed inside of you.

God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Ephesians 3:30, MSG

IMG_5798

Graphic: @bethel

What Tim Says About Me and My Boo-Thang and My Interpretation of It

“When over the years someone has seen you at your worst, and knows you with all your strengths and flaws, yet commits him- or herself to you wholly, it is a consummate experience. To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage

Let’s start by clearing the air. I’m not married, I’m not dating. I’m single, very single. But this book is what’s up. And frankly, there’s some concepts in here that are nonnegotiables once you’re already married. I suggest taking a gander at this piece of art (the book) before you’re hitched, before you’re engaged, and why not even throw this one out there, before you’re dating. Tim so gracefully articulates the concept of true commitment, not infatuation or enhancement, but commitment in the same way that Jesus is committed to us through all of our faults and failures and mess-ups and even through us turning our back on Him time and time again. Can you imagine a commitment like that here on earth? If you’re already married, I hope you can imagine that. I hope you are experiencing that.

I’m so thankful to be reading this book right now – where I am in life. So many people my age are getting engaged, married, birthing children, and that’s wonderful. I am genuinely happy and excited for them. And because of this new love popping up all around me, it’s easy for me to sink into the mindset of “when is it my turn? why haven’t I gotten engaged yet? when will my wedding happen?” I know I’m probably the only 22 year old post-college lady out there thinking this, but I’m okay with that. But I’ve realized something, it’s not my turn. That’s a profound realization, I know. I’m deep like that. But it’s true! It’s not my turn, maybe because I’m not mature enough, maybe I’m not ready, maybe we haven’t met yet, maybe he’s not mature enough, maybe we aren’t ready for that kind of commitment, maybe I’m too selfish, maybe I have super-cool-single-girl things still to do, who knows. Whatever the reason is, I don’t really care. Because I know full and well that when the Lord wants that door to be opened, He’ll open it. And He’ll guide me.

To try and bring this full circle, let me pull back in part of the Timmy quote: “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God.”

To be loved but not known is very common today. People love your hair. They love your smile. They love your lifestyle. They love your apartment. They love your family. They love your dreams and ambitions. But do they love you? When the hair is stringy and gray and when the smile is saggy and toothless and when the lifestyle is not glamorous and when the apartment smells like old people and when the family has all passed and when the dreams and ambitions have been met and whisked into the past, do you know the person who had all those things? The point is, I want to love somebody, but I want to know them first. I want to be his friend. I want to know what makes him tick and what makes his blood boil and what causes him to lose sleep at night and what lights up his life and what puts the biggest smile on his face and in his heart. I want to know him. I want to love him. I want to know the man I love.

To be known and not loved is, indeed, my greatest fear. What if he sees me lose my temper? What if he sees how I react when I’ve been pushed too far? What if he sees that I don’t have a quiet time every day? What if he sees how I act when I’m nervous or shy? What if he realizes that I can’t reach my dreams? What if what if what if what? I could live in a constant state of fear about this if I let myself. I know hope I’m not the only who has ended a relationship and immediately thought, “what if that was as good as it was going to get and I let it go?” Let me just tell you, you have to take that thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) as soon as it pops in your mind, because if the Lord wanted that relationship to end, it was going to end sooner or *later.

To be known and loved is like being known and loved by God. YAAAAS PLEASE. I’m a walking testimony of the way the Lord has pursued and chased and sought me out when I didn’t want to be pursued or chased or sought out. And He did that because He knows me and loves me. For a man to do that here on earth, to at least attempt to reflect the way Jesus loves me, would be an incredible thing. And that’s the thing I’m holding out for. Someone who knows me and loves me. Who knows me well enough to understand the things I don’t always understand about myself, but who loves me enough to call me out on my sin and my selfishness so that I too can reflect Jesus more clearly and love him (my future boo-thang) better.

Whoo, okay. That’s really all I have to say about all of that. Please go read that book, married or single. It really has shaped my thinking about the whole concept of love and commitment and marriage, and it’s been so good. I could read it ten times over and still get something new out of it each time. It’s deep and it’s heavy but it’s good. 

who needs a boo-thang right now when you've got these babes?

who needs a boo-thang right now when you’ve got these babes?

*disclaimer…..maybe you shouldn’t have broken up with that person, maybe you were just being selfish or blind, but this is just a generic across the board statement because I don’t think I’m the only one who has encountered this fear before.

A Year Ago

One year ago today I boarded a plane and made the absurdly long trip back the the States after a fabulous two months in dream land  South Africa. Looking back, of course all I remember are the really great times. It’s easy to forget about the fact that I blew through my spending budget in the first two weeks, or that there were times I felt lonely and missed home so bad, or that I didn’t end up going cage-diving, or that I didn’t pack nearly enough clothes even though I had a suitcase the size of Rhode Island. Cough cough….I left with plenty of clothes because I blew through my budget so quickly…oops. It was worth it, I don’t regret it. The best memories bubble to the surface immediately: the Mrs. South Africa ball, wine, coffee, wine, coffee, wine, wine, chocolate, THE WINCKLERS DUH, Annah, the views, the beaches, the road trip tour with Heinz, the modeling gig with Alette, the ostriches, the Cape, the Strand, Mugg & Bean, watching hours of Nashville IN ENGLISH, loling at myself trying to understand Afrikaans, snuggles with Roo & Simmy & Lian, and of course I’ll say it again, The Wincklers.

How often will I get the chance to live with a pop star? Yeah, probably never again. That’s not even why it was so cool though, they are just the coolest people ever. Thank you Heinz and Alette for the most memorable summer winter ever. Thanks for putting up with me and all my questions, for driving me somewhere new every weekend, for letting me eat all your food and drink all most of your wine, for letting me tag along for everything, for opening your home to me and giving me my own room, for encouraging me and asking me the tough questions, for showing me what it’s like to parent three little ones and not completely lose your sanity, and for loving me like one of your own.

Oh yeah, thanks for letting me be your intern. I really did learn so much and gained the coolest stories and experiences. No joke, I talk about you guys in every interview.

Unfortunately, we were leaving a funeral here, but the landscape was beautiful, but not as beautiful as Alette, obvi.

Unfortunately, we were leaving a funeral here, but the landscape was beautiful, but not as beautiful as Alette, obvi.

Triple threat, miss you both so much!

Triple threat, miss you both so much!

At a wine farm, obviously.

At a wine farm, obviously.

Power couple

Power couple

So many kiddos and I actually loved it.

So many kiddos and I actually loved it.

Mrs. South Africa contestants.

Mrs. South Africa contestants.

Not my date, but Heinz performed at the ball (I got in because I was his "tour manager," riiiiiight).

Not my date, but Heinz performed at the ball (I got in because I was his “tour manager,” riiiiiight).

Babes being babes at the ball.

Babes being babes at the ball.

Seriously...best sunsets ever.

Seriously…best sunsets ever.

Looking over the Strand.

Looking over the Strand.

Oh yeah, I went to a fashion show/Benz launch party/gala on day 2. Take me back.

Oh yeah, I went to a fashion show/Benz launch party/gala on day 2. Take me back.

One last thing, I realize I’ve switched blogs one thousand times, but now I’m back here. Which is funny cause my last post on this one was when I was in SA, time flies.

happenings here

::please excuse the chaos of this post. it’s more a stream of continuousness deal::

Greetings my friends. I’m sorry to say that I’ve officially awarded myself a big fat ‘F’ in terms of blog updates. Or maybe you went ahead and took the privilege of assigning me that grade anyways? Good, glad we’re on the same page. But I have been keeping my Facebook album updated, so I would appreciate some credit. 

Whenever I meet new people here (every 4 minutes) their second question is always something along the lines of, ‘so what are you doing here/are you here on holiday/why are you in my country?’ This question is always preceded by ‘where are you from?’ (or my personal favorite, ‘you’re not from here, are you?’ yeah I am actually, I’ve lived here my whole life but I just like the american accent more.) I love meeting new people, and I’m not surprised at all by their questions, but since I get the same ones so often I’m starting to think it would be more fun to come up with an alternative answer. Here’s what I’m considering:

Option 1: I came for two months to learn about making chocolates. I graduated from university in the States and decided to pursue my life-long dream of becoming a chocolatier. 

Option 2: I drove to the airport one early June morning and got on the first airplane I saw. The next morning I ended up in London and decided to try again, then I ended up in Cape Town and ran out of money so I had to stay.

Option 3: Someone told me there were sexy men here, so I came.

Option 4: What am I doing here? I think the real question is, what are YOU doing here? 

Ok shoot, which one should I try next?

SooooOoooooOOo many people have been asking me (really just my mom, this one’s for you!!) what my day-to-day life looks like here and I’m sorry to say that I generally respond by saying ‘I’m working on excel sheets and feeding the baby.’ Truth is, I do cool stuff too. Here’s a list (cause I’m in the real world, baby) of generally work-related things I do:

-The Excel thing is true, I spent like my first 2.5 weeks on Excel.
-And I do feed the baby a lot, but I like this baby.
-I attend lots and lots of meetings and I usually have about a 10% chance of said meetings being conducted in English. I feel like I’ve hit the meeting jackpot when they are in English (now I feel old and boring, but it’s the little things!)
-I went on tour with Heinz when I first got here (I think I’ve already blogged about that, so I won’t elaborate-but it was way cool)
-On Friday I was a model
-I’ve been working on updating both Heinz and Alette’s websites. These are the times I’m thankful that English has always been my stronger subject.
-Most mornings I’m Alette’s personal hairstylist and if you know me at all, you know this has been one of my top 5 favorite things about the summer.
-Sourcing: Shopping for photo shoots (doesn’t it just sound so much fancier?). I do this with Alette as well
-Maybe I should mention that Alette is an Image Consultant? She is.
-Sunset wine time with Chantel and Alette (and sometimes the rest of their families) has become kind of a norm and I love it. Not work related at all.
-I did get to drive one time (they drive on the left side of the road and the right side of the car). I only went on the wrong side of the road once, so I’d say it was a success.
-I watch/listen to a lot of Lollo’s but to be honest I don’t even want to talk about it. I’ll be fine with never watching/listening to it again after my time here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsNmCnh_bFE).
-I can check ‘sleeping in a music studio’ off my bucket list.

Plenty of exciting things have been left off this list I’m sure, but sorry that I’m so bad at documenting my life and I can’t remember everything. Another neat thing to note is that I was having the weirdest eye problems for the past two weeks and couldn’t wear contacts, so glasses it was/is. But I’m so thankful for all the prayers because I think they’re back to 100%. I’m just waiting it out a for more days before I put my last pair of contacts on the line. The things you find valuable when they are in limited supply.

Things I miss from home:

-Doughnuts
-Homemade Metty pizza (if you haven’t experienced it, please invite yourself over in the few short days I’m home between August 7 and 12. You won’t regret it)
-Driving
-The rest of my clothes. I must say, I’ve gotten mighty good at mixing and matching the few things I brought (though I felt like I packed everything I owned)
-U.S. plugs. Converters are a pain the boo-tay. Can I get an amen?
-iMessage
-Trader Joe’s/Target
-Summer
-My family and my friends :(((((((((((((((((((

But I do love it here. I really do. My first big homesick bug showed up on the 4th of July. I freaking love it. Next year, I’ll celebrate June 4th and July 4th to make up for lost time. Who’s in? Other than that, I’m thankful that it hasn’t been too bad. The first month I really wasn’t homesick at all. As my time starts to wind down a little bit (so weird), I look forward to being in the States again. But at the same time, I’m so sad at the thought of leaving Somerset West. Sometimes I look back at my time here and think ‘I can’t believe how fast time has gone,’ and sometimes I think just the opposite. So funny how that works. But I know I’ll miss it when I leave, and I know I’ll be happy to see everyone at home again.

Thanks for all the warm wishes while I’ve been here. Say hey to America for me and I’ll say hi to the Cape for you. 

waka waka

My time here has been short thus far, but the word ‘amazing’ doesn’t do it justice. I’m in love. Not like, ‘I never want to go home’ love or ‘I want to move here as soon as a I graduate’ love, but ‘thank you LORD for bringing me here right now because it’s the perfect place for me to be’ love. You know when you know that you’re in the right place at the right time? Right in the middle of God’s perfect grace? That’s where I am. I’m not saying it’s been a perfect 10 days, but it’s been the right 10 days. Already, I’ve learned so much about the music industry, publicity, marketing, and how real my Father is. 

Last Wednesday, Heinz and I left to go on tour along the southern coast of the country, and it. was. beautiful. This land amazes me. So much of it is untouched and alive. Even in the middle of winter, it’s so green and lush. Simply stunning. As long as I’ve been planning this trip, people have told me (including the locals) that the weather is pretty nasty and it rains all the time. But the few days we were traveling, there was not a cloud in the sky and we had a few ‘warm’ days. I am so so thankful. I loved getting to travel the country by car because it gave me a chance to see everything as it is, not from the sky. 

The tour itself was a whole new experience for me, especially since I don’t speak Afrikaans. But surprisingly enough, I’ve started to pick up on things here and there and can normally figure out at least what the topic of conversation is. South Africans remind me of Europeans in that they talk with their hands and facial expressions almost more than their words, which is really helpful for non-bilingual speakers such as myself. Thank you, South Africans. Since I do find myself in situations quite a bit where I don’t understand what’s being said, I have started to just make up my own conversations (by this I mean I imagine what I think they’re talking about, no that I have conversations with myself in my head). Although sometimes I do think to myself ‘lol, they are for sure talking about me.’ YOLO. When you hear your name in the middle of an Afrikaans conversation, your mind can only wander…

South Africans enjoy a good glass of wine (or 2 or 3 or 5) and hard liquor. So that hasn’t been awful, I’ve been in worse circumstances. Truthfully though, they know how to enjoy life (responsibly), (usually). And the wine is great. I was warned about this too, but it’s true. So true. Wine with lunch at noon? Sure. Wine and a cappuccino at dinner? And after dinner? Absolutely. And right before bed? You bet. (Mom-don’t freak out, I haven’t been partaking as much as the locals). I was a little surprised when I first got here, but I eventually realized it’s just a part of their culture. And it’s not frowned upon and it’s not uncommon, it’s everyday life. Embrace it? Okay. 

Of course they eat food here too. And it’s pretty good. Some of you may know I’m the world’s pickiest eater. That’s hasn’t changed, but I made a commitment to myself before I came that I would try whatever was put in front of me. And I’ve been true to it. And it hasn’t really failed me. Yes, there are a few things that I probably won’t be missing when I’m back in the States, but generally I’ve enjoyed my culinary experience here. Added bonus: they eat avocados like candy here. They’re e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. and none of this ‘$2 extra for avo’ crap. Truly a blessing. 

The chocolate deserves its own paragraph. When I come back to the States 20 pounds heavier, it’ll be because of wine and chocolate. But mostly chocolate. I really can’t even explain it. It goes beyond the ‘I’m female so I’m designed to love chocolate.’ The men here love it too, so it’s justified. I’m thinking of checking a whole suitcase of chocolate when I come back, so no worries you can try some. It is divine. 

The people here are true gems. The Winckler’s have been amazing friends/family/hosts/tour-guides/bosses. I am so thankful to be staying and working with them. I can only imagine that this trip would be really difficult if I was living with strangers. Plus, they have introduced me to so. many. people. And so many cool people. I posted some photos earlier this week and Alette commented on the album and said, ‘most of these people are South African’s most well known celebrities.’ As far as how many women/men I’ve met, it’s like a 1:5 ratio. So yeah, things have been good here. South African’s make nice looking people. I can’t complain. Beyond the famous people (there’s a movie producer in the living room right now, so…..groovy) I have met some pretty cool ‘average joes’ who are not average at all. Seriously, I have yet to meet someone who hasn’t welcomed me to their country with open arms. 

Most of you probably know about my ‘not super strong passion for children.’ I am happy to report that these three little boys I’m living with are angels (usually). For real, it has been such a blessing/miracle to get along so well with these boys. They are precious and hilarious and only one of them speaks english (just imagine trying to communicate with a 2 year old who doesn’t speak your language in the first place. again, yolo). They’re loud and they scream and cry and make boy noises and come into my room uninvited, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I really do think I’m going to miss them a whole lot when I leave. But I’m not thinking about that yet, I just got here. 

Some of you know I was a little worried/anxious/not-excited-about-the-fact-that-possibly dogs could live here. I’m happy to report, this is an animal free home. 

To break it all down, I’m living with the coolest family in a house full of wine and chocolate and cute kids and no pets. I’ve already traveled hundreds of miles, I’ve met a lot of hot men (just being honest) and I’m glad I still have a ton of time here. 

Shame, I must go because we’re eating dinner now now. (Translation: Sorry, I must go because we’re eating dinner in an hour or two). CHEERS, (literally)!!!

 

I posted this on facebook yesterday, but I’m back on my Lennon and Maisy kick and this song is i.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.e. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHSGUAxx9MM