Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Philosophy? I gather not.

There are these massive philisophical debates going around. (Okay most originate in my head) Regardless of who I am debating against, I am sifting through all these philosophical ideas to decifer where I fit in this theoretical jargon...

I must admit, I love Calvin and Hobbes. In one cartoon Calvin said it best,

'Some people are pragmatists, taking things as they come and making the best of the choices available. Some people are idealists, standing for principle and refusing to compromise. And some people just act on any whim that enters their heads. I pragmatically turn my whims into principles' Thank you Calvin- for making sense of it all...

It's all about the word-age...

I found this excellent and hilarious explanation of South African slang. It requires a post on my blog.

Braai: What is a braai? It is the first thing you will be invited to when you visit South Africa. A braai is a backyard barbecue and it will take place whatever the weather. So you will have to go even if its raining like mad and freezing cold. At a braai you will be introduced to a substance known as mieliepap, which the locals call edible.

Ag: This is one of the most useful South African words. Pronounced like the "ach" in the German "achtung", it can be used to start a reply when you are asked a tricky question, as in: "Ag, I don't know." Or a sense of resignation: "Ag, I'll have some more pap then." It can stand alone too as a signal of irritation or of pleasure.

Donner: A rude word, it comes from the Afrikaans "donder" (thunder). Pronounced "dorner", it means "beat up." Your rugby team can get donnered in a game, or your boss can donner you if you do a lousy job.

Eina: Widely used by all language groups, this word, derived from the Afrikaans, means "ouch." Pronounced "aynah", you can shout it out in sympathy when someone burns his finger on a hot potato at a braai, or eats mieliepap thats too hot.

Hey: Often used at the end of a sentence to emphasise the importance of what has just been said, it can also stand alone as a question. Instead of saying "excuse me?" or "pardon?" when you have not heard something directed at you, you can say: "Hey?" If you want to use it at the end of a sentence, you can say something like "Ag donner, this mieliepap is very hot, hey"

Isit?: This is a great word in conversations. Derived from the two words "is" and "it", it can be used when you have nothing to contribute if someone tells you at the braai: "The Russians will succeed in their bid for capitalism once they adopt a work ethic and respect for private ownership." It is appropriate to respond by saying: "Isit?"
Jawelnofine: This is another conversation fallback word. Derived from the four words "yes", "well", "no" (q.v.) and "fine", it means roughly "how about that." If your bank manager tells you your account is overdrawn, you can say with confidence: "Jawelnofine."

Jislaaik: Pronounced "Yiss-like", it is an expression of astonishment. For instance, if someone tells you there are a billion people in China, a suitable comment is: "Jislaaik, that's a hang of a lot of people."

Klap: Pronounced "clup" - an Afrikaans word meaning smack, whack or spank. If you spend too much time at the movies at exam time, you could end up catching a sharp klap from your Dad. In America, that is called child abuse. In South Africa, it is called promoting education. It's what you do to the guy who gave you the hot mieliepap.

Lekker: An Afrikaans word meaning nice, this word is used by all language groups to express approval. If you see someone of the opposite sex who is
good-looking, you can exclaim: "Lekkerrr!" while dracalwing out the last syllable. You might, however, get a klap.

Tekkies: These are sneakers or running shoes. The word is also used to describe automobile or truck tyres. "Fat tekkies" are big tyres, as in: "Where did you get those lekker fat tekkies on your Volksie (VW), hey?"

Dop: This word has two basic meanings, one good and one bad. First the good. A dop is a drink, a cocktail, a sundowner, a noggin. If you are invited over for a dop, be careful. It could be one or two sedate drinks or a blast, depending on the company you have fallen in with. When you get invited to a braai, you will inevitably be asked to bring your own dop. Now the bad: To dop is to fail. If you dopped Standard Two (Grade 4) more than once, you probably won't be reading this.

Sarmie: This is a sandwich. For generations, school-children have traded sarmies during lunch breaks. If you are sending kids off to school in the morning, don't give them liver-polony sarmies. They are the toughest to trade. Definitely not lekker.

Bakkie : This word is pronounced "bucky" and it is a small truck or pick-up. Young men can take their "cherrie" (g/friend) to the drive-in flick in a bakkie, but it is not always an appropriate form of transport because the seats usually don't recline and you may be forced to watch the film. This is never the purpose of going to a drive-in flick.

Howzit: This is a universal South African greeting, and you will hear this word throughout the land. It is often used with the word "No" as in this exchange: "No, howzit?" "No, fine."

"Mrs Balls" Chutney: We don't know if the lady ever existed, but if she did, she has earned a place of honour in South African kitchen history. Chutney is, of course, of Indian origin and is pickled fruit prepared with vinegar, spices and sugar. South Africans are known to eat it with everything, including fried eggs. Some even put it on their mieliepap.

Now, Now: In much of the outside world, this is a comforting phrase: "Now, now, don't cry-I'll take you to the bioscope tomorrow." But in South Africa, this phrase means a little sooner than soon: "Ill clean my room now now, Ma." It is a little more urgent than "just now" which means an indefinite time in the future.

Tune grief: To be tuned grief is to be aggravated, harassed. Be selective about using the term. For example, if your bank manager calls you in for an urgent chat about your overdraft, you should avoid saying: "Hey, listen. You're tuning me grief, man." That would be unwise and could result in major tuning of grief. There are variations. You can say about your boss: "This oke (guy) is tuning me uphill."

Boet: This is an Afrikaans word meaning "brother" which is shared by all language groups. Pronounced " buht" as in "put", it can be applied to a non-brother. For instance a father can call his son "boet" and friends can apply the term to each other too. Sometimes the diminutive "boetie" is used. But don't use either with someone you hardly know - it will be thought patronising and you'll probably get donnered, hey.

Pasop: From the Afrikaans phrase meaning "Watch Out!", this warning is used and heeded by all language groups. As in: "Your mother hasn't had her morning coffee yet Boet, so pasop and stay out of her way." Sometimes just the word "pasop!" is enough without further explanation. Everyone knows it sets out a line in the sand not to be crossed.

Skop, Skiet en Donder: Literally "kick, shoot and thunder" in Afrikaans, this phrase is used by many English speakers to describe action movies or any activity which is lively and somewhat primitive. Clint Eastwood is always good for a skop, skiet en donder flick.

Vrot Pronounced - "frot": A wonderful word which means "rotten" or "putrid" in Afrikaans, it is used by all language groups to describe anything they really don't like. Most commonly it describes fruit or vegetables whose shelf lives have long expired, but a pair of takkies worn a few times too often can be termed vrot by unfortunate folk in the same room as the wearer. Also a rugby player who misses important tackles can be said to have played a vrot game - but not to his face because he won't appreciate it. Pasop. We once saw a movie review with this headline: "Slick Flick, Vrot Plot." However, it is mostly used to describe the state of the drunk boets at the braai who finished all their dop.

Graze: In a country with a strong agricultural tradition, it is not surprising that farming words crop up (pun intended) in general conversation. Thus to graze means to eat. If you are invited to a bioscope show, you may be asked: "Do you want to catch a graze now now?.

Catch a tan: This is what you do when you lie on the beach pretending to study for your matric exams. The Brits, who have their own odd phrases, say they are getting "bronzed". Nature has always been unkind to South African schoolchildren, providing beach and swimming pool weather just when they should be swotting for the mid-summer finals. If you spend too much time catching a tan at exam time, you could end up catching a sharp klap from your Dad.

Rock up: To rock up some place is to just sort of arrive. You don't make an appointment or tell anyone you are coming - you just rock up. Friends can do that but you have to be selective about it. You can't just rock up for a job interview or at a five-star restaurant. You give them a tinkle first - then you can rock up. You can, however, rock up at a braai providing you've brought your own dop.

Scale: To scale something is to steal it. A person who is "scaly" is not nice, a scumbag, and should be left off the Christmas party invitation lst. If he does rock up, don't give him any pap, donner him boet, and scale his dop, hey.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

David's Song

Yes, even I the great Elizabeth hold corny love songs near and dear to my heart in effort ot preserve the emotions and chaos that love can bring. This is the song I hold for my boyfriend David. Lame I know, but I like it never the less.

You're all I Have

Strain this chaos turn it into light
I've got to see you one last night
Before the lions take their share
Leave us in pieces, scattered everywhere

Just give me a chance to hold on
Give me a chance to hold on
Give me a chance to hold on
Just give me something to hold onto

It's so clear now that you are all that I have
I have no fear cos you are all that I have
It's so clear now that you are all that I have
I have no fear cos you are all that I have

You're cinematic razor sharp
A welcome arrow through the heart
Under your skin feels like home
Electric shocks on aching bones

Give me a chance to hold on
Give me a chance to hold on
Give me a chance to hold on
Just give me something to hold onto

It's so clear now that you are all that I have
I have no fear cos you are all that I have
It's so clear now that you are all that I have
I have no fear cos you are all that I have

There is a darkness deep in you
A frightening magic I cling to

Give me a chance to hold on
Give me a chance to hold on
Give me a chance to hold on
Just give me something to hold onto

It's so clear now that you are all that I have
I have no fear now you are all that I have
It's so clear now that you are all that I have
I have no fear now you are all that I have

Letting go

Today I decided to be constructive. I pulled out my paints, some brushes and a glass of water and decided I was going to paint a gift for my sweetie. Unfortunately, I am too broke to afford a new canvas. So, being the resourceful woman that I am, I pulled out one that I had started and abandoned months ago. It was a dark depressing self portrait of a girl with snarled hair and blood red lips by the sea. I smiled as I realised that I am no longer 'the girl with the empty eyes' and decided to paint over her.

How I wish I could paint over certain conversations I've had recently. She has been peeking through the curtian I shoved her behind. And thats scary. But as I painted over her- I somehow felt a few more shackles fall from my ankles. It renewed my faith that in time I will be able to dance without ceasing... Oh how excited I am for the time when she will be nothing more than a subtle scar in my memory.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Documenting the Past....

I am currently making a scrapbook of all my junk. I am a compulsive keeper of papers and greeting cards starting back from when I was in the 3rd grade. I've got 'love letters' from high-school crushes, notes of concern and encouragement from my parents, and the random eccentric drawings that my mates drew me while we were supposed to be studying. The intrigue behind the actual objects of this sentimental collection is actually minimal. My life is pretty ordinary. However, as I read each note, letter and scrap of paper I remember individual stories that I've totally forgotten! I've realised that my life-stories are insane and I've seen how each has salted my personal life view. It's so refreshing to go back to the centre of your beliefs and re-capture the behind a new discovery or the pain inside teenage heartbreak. I can't wait to show off my new scrapbook to all those I love and share with them the enthusiasm and those ridiculous stories about my crazy neighbors!!!

Monday, September 3, 2007


It scares me sometimes to go inside my brain and see what I've left unattended. I see some emotional monsters ten feet tall. All those strange emotions that many would see a therapist for while I bash around my house. I am so tired of growing pains. I am so tired of my situation right now. I am so sickeningly happy- then just so sick and tired. But focused, I shall stay. On moving forward. On not looking back. And on all those empty spaces in my mind where certain monsters have left vacancies.

Friday, August 31, 2007

What Scares Me

Old Line

Five O’Clock People

Maybe you’ll never know why

I stare off into silence sometimes.

Maybe you’ll never see,

Maybe that’s what scares me.

I’m afraid of the times

When my honesty becomes unkind

I’ll learn to justify the words that my actions deny

It’s the same old line.

If it makes you happy

I’ll say that I’m fine.

It’s the same old line

Look in my eyes and I’ll lie every time.

The more that I try to explain

Only the questions remain

Take these words that I say and wash them all away

It’s the same old line.

If it makes you happy

I’ll say that I’m fine.

It’s the same old line

Look in my eyes and I’ll lie every time.

Maybe you’ll never see,

Maybe you’ll never see,

Maybe that’s what scares me.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Instant Gratification

This morning on my way for my morning cup of coffee I noticed an open box of Lindt chocolate. I have never been one to pass up an unattended open box of chocolates- so I took a tiny little sliver of this seemingly decadent rich chocolate and popped it in my watering mouth. To my surprise my expectant taste buds were met not with a smooth sensual 'party in the mouth' but a powdery, thick, chalky and overall disgusting sensation of pure unsweetened cocoa. Since it dissolved so quickly, I had to experience this feeling of dirt crammed down my oesophagus. I marched into the room of the owner of the chocolate and demanded an explanation...

I like my chocolate to be instantaneously gratifying. I don't care about the health benefits of that disgusting chocolate, nor does it matter that its what all those skinny people in France enjoy. No, I want to shove it into my mouth and have it taste good now.

I never liked Target stores for one reason. When you wanted to return an item, the customer care system involved taking a number. I HATE TAKING NUMBERS! I would rather stand in a line and wait with the others in full view of how much longer I have. Maybe its the logic of the insane, but since I can see the woman with her cart stuffed with things to return and the man with only a blender to take back, I can somehow prepare myself for the wait. But if you tell me to take a number and to take a seat I somehow can't tell how long I must wait. I can't nudge the slowpoke to take the next teller. I must just be patient.

Telling me to be patient rips my insides like vulture ripping open its prey. It hurts. Because I am working on it. I try breathing. I try focusing on something else. I try to practice my 'stop him with a single glance' smile. But I like instant gratification too much if I am perfectly honest and so I'll lose the patience I once claimed...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Seeking Truth

Step away. Keep your distance I can’t be what you want me to be. Right now there are things inside I don’t want you to see. So take your personal spotlight, shine it on someone else for awhile I can’t force a happy face and make sure it makes you smile. I can’t deny what I see or what I feel or what’s in front of me. So take your world of precious moments of make-believe that never made me believe in anything and left me with nothing to hold onto. Your quick fix and magic tricks can only disguised what I was going through. Now I am thinking it was, when it wasn’t. And now I am trying to rationalise what doesn’t come together and somehow doesn’t make sense. But, how can I convince them if I’m not even convinced? Everyone’s thinking it but no one is saying it, everyone’s saying it but no one is feeling it. Everyone’s feeling it but nobody’s seeing it so tell me how am I supposed to know what’s real?

~John Rueben

My sister is constantly looking for her shoes. No matter where she puts them, they somehow get separated by the shoe-stealing-monster that lives in our house. She’s not the only one either—my mom is forever searching for her keys. Even when put away, these keys grow legs and party around the house-never to be found again. It’s ridiculous but true. Everyone is always searching for something. Me, I searched for truth. And I found it when I found Jesus.

When you listen to the radio, you hear people lamenting over lost love and forgotten friends. The majority of the songs on the radio are dark, depressing and mournful. Dudes are rocking out singing words like these ones, “How am I supposed to know what’s real?” The emptiness that echo in the lyrics to that song resonate so deeply. My generation is searching for real truth.

Personal truth, sexual truth, spiritual truth- these are the topics you find inside the glossy magazines targeted at the 20-somethings. "How to be happy and fufilled" "how to find your own personal truth." We are told to look inside ourselves or to find fufilment through meditation. Some turn to their own personal power through Wicca, Buddism or Kabala and others to the media-fed new-aged mish mash of the three and yet they all have turned up empty. Obviously, 'Personal Power' is not an authentic truth- if it were they would not still be aching for authenticity.

I have a good friend who loves song lyrics. She searches them for bits to use in daily conversation and to justify her complex and confused spirit. One band said it best, "It's the wrongs that make the words come to life." Its the evils her personal life that make their lyrics authentic. But The Truth isn’t found in the lyrics of Metallica. Or Fall Out Boy.

Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Jesus IS the truth. The Truth was nailed to the cross as payment for your sins—for my sins. The Truth defeated death and lives. When you find Jesus, you find the Truth. Its off your shoulders, no more searching, no more looking. Its right there. Its a solid truth- its not going to change with the newest passing fad.

This A.W. Tozer was quoted, “Without the way there is no going. Without the truth there is no knowing. Without the life there is no living.” Meaning without Jesus you have nothing worth anything. So seek the Truth. Seek Life. Seek Jesus- and find fufillment.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Elderly Lady in the Front Pew

I went to a church once- it was a dry, boring, dull baptist church. I was so bored I counted the tiles on the wall, the elderly people with grey hair versus those with obviously coloured treated hair and I even tried to attract the attention of the gentleman across the aisle. The service was nearing a close and the congregation rose to sing. One lady caught my eye. She must have been nearing 90 years old- and was barely able to stand.Her physical appearance was repulsive-soiled and tattered clothes, blotchy bruised skin and no teeth.

I struggled through this haunting sight. It kept me awake, she captured my thoughts and became the warden of my imagination. These are the first words I've written about her. In her repulsiveness I saw her beauty.

The Elderly Lady in the Front Pew

Crumpled twisted hands

Pained fingers straightened

Age spots; torn spots

Lifted in praise

Blue swollen neck veins convulsing

Bulging eyes masked by transparent eyelids closed

Withered; weathered

Teetering on unstable legs-

Captivated in exaltation

A scarred face watching-


Stagnant bruises fester

‘Glorification unravelled…

Grace stained’ meets beauty .

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hurry Up... and Wait...

I am waiting for a lot. At least that is what I tell myself. I am waiting for the kettle to boil. For my computer to stop being in its semi-broken state. I am waiting for my ID book so that I can actually drive the car I bought and stop relying on other people to get where I want to go. I wait to hear news of when my friends are arriving in town so that I can plan the amazingly awesome things we are going to do. I am waiting for next year so that I can actually study something I want to! I am waiting for deeper things too. Like immense God-given compassion for people… it always seems to elude my grasp. I am waiting for Jesus to finish the massive repair work He’s working on inside me. I am waiting for the day when I don’t think of what an idiot I was and is and the stupid mistakes I committed and commit-I guess I am waiting for the day when the extent of God’s Grace truly hits home.

I was reading through Hosea today and I stumbled upon a verse I had underlined eons ago. (jumping on a tangent) What I thought was interesting was that Hosea is drawing a comparison between Israel and the man the nation was named after (also referred to as Jacob). Jacob had his moments of being an idiot. He was greedy and conniving. He was exiled. However even though he was not perfect, he had an eagerness and thirst to meet and be blessed by God which allowed him to “wrestle with God” and gain the huge blessing from Him. So although Jacob was exiled (as Israel would) he came back with God’s blessing (BONUS!). I guess Hosea is suggesting that Israel would too. Then, enter amazing verse of amazing applicableness to my life…. “But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice and wait for your God always.” {Hosea 12vs6} Wait for your God always...

I think that I am ready to do a lot of things. I really do. I really think I do anyway. My parents have encouraged me to focus on getting married, even asking me the hypothetical question or two. And I think I might be ready for that. But life has a funny way of roadblocking my plans and I am seeing that my life plans are only a huge matter of timing. And I have to wait. Waiting is tough. It takes commitment, perserverance and faith that it will somehow work out...

But I'll wait. And I'll wait. And when all these things come into fruition it'll all be worth the time spent in preparation. Now if you will please excuse me the kettle boiled and I have to go hurry up and wait...


I am an ex-creature of the commonplace. By my very nature I do not like change. I resist and persist and will utterly refuse any type of alteration of routine. Yet, 3 years ago I was uprooted from my comfortable surburbian lifestyle in the United States and seemingly dumped in South Africa.To say the least my life drastically changed; no more 24 hour shops, or drive thru coffee shops. No more familiar faces, familiar cultures, familar languages... No more. And I resisted.

But I've adapted, as people tend to do- and began to desire change. I want to live, breathe and experience life to the fullest. Jesus once said, The thief comes to kill and destroy, but I have come so that you may have life and have it to the full (John 10:10). It's that fullness of life eternal that I look forward to...