Category Archives: Uncategorized

Long-awaited update!

Standard

Oh my, I really haven’t posted anything in a long time, have I! Apologies!

So much has happened since I last had the desire/time/energy to write and I think it would awful of me to just dump all the happenings on my readers in one go. So, I’ll opt for doing it bit by bit. And simply.

First thing’s first.

My wedding last August was amazing! Although I’d been a nervous wreck for the entire year leading up to its planning, I made it through unscathed on the day and can say, without a doubt, that it was so far one of the happiest days of my life. Before I get carried away, let me put a stop to the post already and direct you to the photographs taken by our awesome friend Valerie – who just so happens to be the best photographer in the world!

Here’s the link, enjoy!

Advertisements

The untitled post

Standard

I think sometimes life just runs ahead of you. And you’re pretty much left trying to run after and perhaps catch the tail-end of it.

If anyone ever told you that moving to another country whilst trying to adjust to being a married women, and still planning your wedding is easy (yes, the order may seem odd, but that’s how it is for me)…then that person lied to your face.

Life doesn’t stop to give you a break just because you’re ‘going through some things’. Sometimes, I wish it did. And people don’t stop demanding things from you just because you’re ‘going through some things’ either. I sometimes wish they did.

Those closest to me are all stressed at the moment. That makes it really hard to support and encourage one another. Instead, demands just increase, but the ability to comfort and soothe decreases. And you’re left not wanting to talk to anyone, but rather, retreat and try to sort things out yourself.

Last night I lay on my bed in the dark thinking…if only I were a little girl again. Not worried about anything. Not expected to do anything, or be anything. Without the pressure to perform lumped squarely on her shoulders. Just a kid, making a playdate with a friend in the park, or getting into trouble because she stayed out playing in the road past dark.

Ninja rolls

Standard

Change is never easy and transition is a (slow) process.

I think I currently resemble one of those travel suitcases that have been plastered with many stickers from all over the world – not because I’ve been travelling extensively – but rather, because I’ve had various stickers stuck to me. If I were to count them all on one hand, I’d need at least 7 fingers…which would make for a very odd looking hand. What I’ve done over the last year and a bit is I’ve sort of ‘ninja-rolled’ into different statuses (really, the plural of status should be stati…just seems so much nicer….but I digress): I’ve gone from single girl to long-distance dater; permanently employed to casually employed; long-distance dater to long-distance fiancé; casually employed to retrenched and unemployed; long-distance fiancé to long-distance wife; sane to insane; unemployed to employed in a company that speaks a language I have yet to master; living by myself to sharing an apartment (and everything else) with another person; South African citizen to Immigrant in Germany; once a native, now a foreigner…

Unfortunately for me, sprinkle a slight tendency to be negative, sad and anxious to this, and you have someone who’s just completely overwhelmed and seems constantly frazzled. You see, in my mind, I had this all figured out. I’d arrive in Berlin and voilà!..all would be ok with the world! But it’s not like that, and I’ve had to come to the realisation myself that all these changes require some getting used to…and getting used to them requires some time…and that time requires a whoooooole lot of patience (and understanding, and prayer, and tears, and smiles, and tissues, and comfort food…).

But hey, life is full of seasons right? And this is just one of mine…and soon there will be another. But let’s hope by the time the next one rolls in, I’ll have learned a thing or two…

A Happy Birthday!

Standard

Today marks the birthday of a very special person…my Mani!

I’m ever so happy that God brought this wonderful man into the world all those years ago. It’s so funny to think that we grew up in different countries, but that our paths still crossed 8 years ago – a seemingly ordinary meeting that eventually developed into our very own romantic (and sometimes bureaucratically frustrating!) journey.

God really does create someone especially for you. I believe that now! Mani and I are evidence of that. Sure, our personalities differ like night and day…no, more like…honey and water…but we’re still perfect for one another. We balance one another out so well and our strengths and weaknesses, combined, are the perfect mixture!

He’s my best friend. My life partner. Someone I can sit and chat to until the early hours of the morning. Someone I can laugh with. Someone I can run to and cry with when things seem too much – but also, someone who always reminds me that He is actually the one I should always go to. How lovely is that? A husband who directs me to the One who has me in His hands, no matter what…the One who cared so much for me that He blessed me with the perfect partner. As I always say to Mani – we’re not perfect, but we’re perfect for each other…

So…happy birthday Mani! It sucks that we can’t be together to celebrate this day, but hopefully this will be the last time we’re apart on a birthday. Thank you for what you’ve meant to me and my family. You’ve been such a lovely example of someone who has a heart for many 🙂 You’re amazing! xxx

Image

Well you gotta have….

Standard

The human mind really is a mean machine, don’t you think? It can present so many challenges and it’s so easily developed on the foundations of wrong thinking, confusion, misunderstandings, lies, and misconceptions. No wonder it gets us into so much trouble!

I’ve been so challenged lately…and continue to be challenged…by various truths about the mind and its power. I’m finding myself having to undo years and years of wrong thinking – untangling knots and webs that have been created without me even realizing it. Hey, but at least I’m realizing there’s some untangling to do – so give me some credit! 🙂

What I was challenged with today however – upon pondering the mind – is the issue of faith. I’ll be the first person to admit that I don’t fully comprehend what faith is…true faith.

According to some dictionary entries, faith is:

– Firm belief in something for which there is no proof; complete trust
– Something that is believed especially with strong conviction

Aaaand according to Hebrews 11:1:

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (NIV), or

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see (NLT)

Well, I’m not sure about you, but I have two reactions when I read that verse. (1) I feel relieved and have a “phew!” moment; and (2) I think…WHOA! That’s hectic!

As I read today, the mind seeks to understand everything – the how, what, when and why. But it’s not always the case that we know the how, what, when or why and that’s when faith really needs to kick in – kind of like the manner in which a Red Bull kicks in when you’re functioning on 2 hours of sleep – only with faith…the effects should be longer-lasting, and not simply enough to get you by for a few hours.

Well, I’m not sure about you, but this is a real challenge to me. Believing, no matter what, that things will work out; that all is ok; that all will be ok; that better days are ahead; that there’s a plan into which we’re ultimately factored; that…that…that…you know?! And sure, I often feel ‘bad’ about my lack of faith – but honestly, pish to that! It takes time, and it’s not fair to myself to think that I’m an idiot for not getting it 100%, or for having days where I’m still a fumbling mess. But I guess it’s my prayer that at some point, I reach that place of being able to simply smile, rest and ‘know’ it’s all ok, because…I have FAITH! 🙂

Tail chasing

Standard

I’ve often felt like a dog that’s spinning around in a furious circle, chasing its own tail – over and over and over again. Yeah sure, now and then he grasps the tail, bites it and feels satisfied, but inevitably, he lets go at some point and then starts the entire process off from the beginning again. This whole spectacle may be amusing to some, or they may simply watch and shake their heads, but for the dog, the frenzied mission of chasing the tail is serious business.

For the past while I’ve been chasing my tail – running around in a silly little circle, constantly trying to catch what I’m chasing – but once I’ve got it, I let go again. And then…start the process off from the beginning. Now again, whilst this may seem ridiculous to some, the fact is, it forms part of my reality – no matter how silly the tail chasing may be. There are so many events, occurrences…little things that happen along my life journey, that set me off into the frenzied spin but if I look back – I’ve always managed to get out of it alive and with a sense of having overcome.

But one thing that’s made all the difference to me during my whirlwind tail chases has been the support of those closest to me. It makes me wonder what life would be like if I were alone, chasing my tail with no-one to stop me and tell me it’s unnecessary. I understand, however, that those loyal supporters also get tired, and don’t always have the strength to stop the madness. And in fact, there may be some tail chasing they’re trying to do themselves. But I cannot overstate the importance of these supporters in my life and having said that – I feel moved to encourage those of you who are supporting others  to continue – no matter how long it takes, no matter how frustrating it can be – it really can make the difference to someone’s life.

Is it easy to be a supporter? Nope. Is there a guarantee that you’ll see the fruits of your support in your lifetime, and the lifetime of the tail chaser….? Nope. Is it worth it…yes…or at least, that’s what I’d like to believe. The situations I go through may not be nearly as bad as the situations I know countless other people experience in their lives – and that just makes me more determined to pass the message of support on. Often tail chasers don’t see the calmness that exists outside their little frenzied chase – their perspective of things may be somewhat skewed. But it really could be that their breakthrough is a word, a day, or a week away, and you really could be the difference.

So to my supports – you know who you are – thank you. I’m sure there will be a day when I can give back to you as much as you’ve given to me.

Friggatriskaidekaphobia

Standard

Yip, you read that correctly, Friggatriskaidekaphobia. But there ain’t no friggatriskaidekaphobia here, thank you very much!

Frigga – the name of the Norse goddess from whom the word Friday is derived.

Triskaidekaphobia – the fear of the (not so scary) number 13.

So yes, Friggatriskaidekaphobia refers to the fear of Friday the 13th, which according to superstition is supposed to be a day of bad luck.

Superstition: (a la Merriam-Webster, thank you very much)

(1)

a: a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation

b: an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition

(2)

A notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary

Well, I have to admit – in my lifetime I have, unfortunately, fallen victim to the silliness of superstition.

  • I’ve gasped at a black cat crossing my path – because apparently that means bad luck for me – but surely the cat, who belongs to someone, simply walked past because he/she wanted to and can?  
  • I’ve knocked on wood to avoid bad luck.
  • I’ve refused to walk under an open ladder, because this too brings bad luck – but surely the person who was using the ladder just needed to reach up really high, and a chair wouldn’t do?
  • I’ve thrown salt over my left shoulder after spending a few minutes trying to remember which shoulder is correct.
  • And I’ve even wasted part of my day looking for a four-leaf clover in a field full of what I later realised were just weeds.

Look, honestly – I serve a good God and ‘luck’ (good or bad) just doesn’t come into the equation. All He has planned for me is good, whether I see it that way or not, whether I like it or not. So one day, I will get myself a black cat and let it cross my path all the time and I’ll love it to bits; I’ll knock on wood only if it means I’m knocking on a door, wanting someone to let me in; I’ll buy a ladder, walk under it a few times and then use it to paint something up high somewhere; I’ll throw the salt over my right shoulder, into a pot of soup; and I’ll lie down in a field full of flowers, and weeds, just enjoying them for what they are!

And just in case you don’t believe that the superstition about Friday the 13th is daft, let me tell you that it’s a day of good things for me. On Friday the 13th of August 2010, I arrived in Berlin – it was the first time I’d left South Africa. I’d arrived in another country, another land…another world! It too was the day that Mani asked me to be his girlfriend! 🙂 So, Friday the 13th is GOOD!

Now go pick some three leaf clovers!

Watching this space

Standard

Wow, I can’t believe I’ve been in Berlin for just over a month – time really does fly. I’ve started to settle in, though I’ve done so quite tentatively – I think subconsciously, I’ve avoided ‘settling in’ because I’m scared the rug will be ripped from under my feet. I don’t want to fall in love with how life is here for me at the moment, only to be told that I can’t get a Visa, and that I have to go back to South Africa.

At the moment I’m in limbo – No Man’s Land – as I sit and wait for the Auslaenderbehoerde to contact me and tell me whether or not I’m going to get a Work Visa – and this time of waiting really is the worst. It eats away at my mind like a disease. I constantly feel as if I can never have rest and peace until I know what’s happening…what their decision is with regards to my Visa – which, for me, represents the next phase of my life. (Though to the Auslaenderbehoerde it’s probably just another application). I’ve been trying not to bother Mani with my insecurities and fears about the whole thing, but yesterday I just couldn’t keep it in anymore, and it all came bubbling out of my mouth. And he told me what he’s been telling me all along – I can only do what I can do – the rest is out of my hands. I have to give over to God and let Him do His part in all of this. He’s blessed me so abundantly throughout this process already and stressing and worrying about stuff only takes my eyes off His blessings – which I then cannot enjoy to their fullest degree.

None of this is about the Visa, or moving to Germany, or being with Mani, or leaving family behind for the first time in my life, or making new friends, etc, etc, etc…no – all of this is about learning how to overcome my inner struggles – the things that hold me back and make my world imperfect and unenjoyable. God’s putting me through my paces; He’s trying to get me to turn myself around, see myself as I should see myself – getting to know my strengths and developing them; recognising my weaknesses and changing them.

I really hope and pray that a few months down the line, I’ll be able to tell you all I’m settling into an apartment in Berlin, looking forward to the first day of my new job, enjoying random date nights with Mani that aren’t virtual and don’t involve Skype and a few thousand kilometres of space. *sigh* Yip, that’s what I’m holding out for.

But for now, all I can say is:

Quick Update

Standard

Ok so this is just a quick update to let all my readers know that today I’m going to be sending my application forms (for working in Deutschland) to the relevant Government Department – they’re called the Auslaenderbehoerde – yeah, I know….even the name is scary – just looking at it makes my skin crawl. In fact, whenever I tell people over here that I need to send stuff to them, as soon as I mention the word “Auslaenderbehoerde,” they gasp – and this is normally followed by a groan or a “eeeuuuuwwwww”…or “aaaaarrrrrggghhhhhaaaahhhgggaaaghhha” – or some other sort of guttural expression. Yeah – so I’m guessing these people are pretty scary, hence why I now need all the prayer I can get – all of it!!! 🙂

Es ist kalt!!!

Standard

Please forgive me for being so delayed with my blog posts – I just never seem to get around to them as often as I’d like. But at least I’m doing it now 🙂

So some friends asked me to send them pictures of my ‘home office’ and some of my surroundings here in Berlin – and I thought I’d share them with my readers, just for interest’s sake.

This is my (now) neat desk. (I use the word ‘now’ because it took me about 2 hours to tidy it up…Mani isn’t really the world’s most organized person – and I’m on the complete opposite of that spectrum.)

And this here is the view outside my window – not much really, just a bunch of apartments – that’s pretty much what Berlin is all about – apartments, apartments, and more apartments. And some apartments.

And here’s pretty much more of the same….apartments. You can’t see it here, but in the middle of the pic there’s a kids’ play park – so thank goodness for windows that are relatively sound proof! 😀

This is the lounge – please note the washing on the balcony…yes…I did washing (and it wasn’t all mine…)

And here’s my very sad-looking Parsley plant *sigh* I honestly don’t know how to make it feel better. It’s given up all will to live. 😦

Ok and here’s a special pic that I took for my friend Lauren who thought it was funny that I was sitting at my desk wrapped in a blanket, with a Russian fur hat on my head. What can I say – I was born in Africa, where the sun bakes the earth…and now I’m in a country where the temperature is -5…I mean -5 – have you ever?!

So I’ve been pretty much work my arse off because I don’t have the regular monthly income that I’m used to, so any money that comes in is derived purely from how hard I’m working. But I decided, nonetheless, that I’d meet Mani for lunch, and we went to a lovely Asian restaurant called Lemon Grass Scent.

Lemon Grass Scent: Schwedter Str 12

 

I had theeeeeee most divine coconut milk soup with chicken, coriander and lemon grass. (Just thinking about it makes my tummy rumble). And Mani had some sort of stirfry-whatever kind of dish.

Coconut milk soup

Stirfry-whatever dish

I cannot describe to you how good it feels to actually be able to meet Mani and do something as simple as share lunch together – it makes me realise just how yucky long distance really was – and I’m so glad we’ve made it through that. Though..who knows what the future holds, the Long Distance Days may not be over yet 😦

Other than that, I’ve been making small personal victories that I’m very proud of. Something as simple as using the train system was a real problem for me – where I come from, our train system isn’t even half as intricate as the one here, so it’s taken a lot of getting used to and it’s veeeeeeery confusing. But Mani’s helped as much as he can and I’ve just forced myself to do it – taking the bull by the horns and what-not.

And yesterday I met up with a lady who could possibly offer me a job as an English teacher. The interview went pretty well and was quite positive, but the only setback is the Visa process and my prayer is simple – that I would find a company that’s willing to walk the Visa road with me – because it’s a rather windy, long road that requires patience and understanding.

Then it was off to Connect Group last night (Biblestudy) – and guess what…it was all in German!! Hahahahaha! Ok, ok…I was given the option to have things translated and some of it was, but I chose for it not to be because I really just have to immerse myself in the language – kind of like jumping into a swimming pool even though you know the water will be cold initially. So there I sat, listening to a talk about Redemption…in German…and I understood some of it 🙂 Yay for me!

But now it’s time for me to make supper – I’m exhausted – emotionally, mentally, physically – and any other sort of “ally” you can think of! All this change, even though it’s very exciting, takes a lot out of a person. Even just trying to talk to Mani’s flatmate isn’t easy – he’s Japanese and doesn’t understand a word of English. He left the apartment a few minutes ago but then returned and rang the doorbell…after opening up for him and us gesturing with our hands and faces, I understood that he’d put the wrong shoes on and had to change them. I just laughed, said “Aaaaah Schuhe!!” and proceeded to pretend I was busy with something in the lounge. 😀