Geskryf in opdrag van Scrapydo2 se Toeka-Tokkel: Verandering.

(Apologies to non-Afrikaans readers.)

Ek het nog nooit baie gehou van verandering nie. Ek weet nie of dit iets te doen het met die feit dat as kind, ons nooit getrek het nie. Ek het in een huis grootgeword, na een laerskool en een hoërskool gegaan. Wat wonderlike stabiliteit was as kind, het my moontlik avers gemaak vir verandering later in my lewe – wie sal ooit weet.

Ek raak tuis in my gemaksone en sien dan geen rede om enigiets daaraan te verander nie. Maar hierdie karaktertrek het ek eers met die verloop van tyd in myself herken. Ander mense is baie meer avontuurlustig en pak sommer maklik ‘n nuwe uitdaging aan. So het ek lang trane gehuil toe ek besef het my man was ernstig oor trek uit Suid-Afrika. Vanuit my (gemaksone) oogpunt het ek net nie dieselfe dringendheid ervaar nie. Op die ou end het hy my oorgehaal met ‘n avontuur in Dubai vir ‘n paar jaar.

Steeds was dit nie vir my maklik nie – die agterlaat van ‘n lewe wat opgebou is oor jare, familie, vriende en alles wat daarmee saamgaan – maar die gedagte dat dit nie permanent sou wees nie het die verandering draaglik gemaak. Dit het uitgedraai in ‘n wonderlike avontuur, al het ons vir minder as ‘n jaar daar gebly (of miskien juis vir daai rede, iets waaroor ek soms wonder. Miskien was dit juis so interressant, eksoties en anders omdat ons weer weggetrek het voordat enigiets kon alledaags raak.)


Op pad na ons avontuur in Dubai met Emirates

Dit was in 2004. Die werksaanbod vanuit Perth het gekom drie maande nadat ons in Dubai ingetrek het. Ek het net begin aanpas by linkerhandstuur, bestuur aan die regterkant van die pad, vreemde winkels en produkte, nuwe vriende, skole en lewenstyl toe ek besef die Perth ding is ‘n werklikheid wat ek nie kon ignoreer nie. Dit was ‘n aanbod wat ons eenvoudig nie van die hand kon wys nie. Na baie sielewroeging (ek het net begin tuis voel in Dubai) het ek besef dat nog verandering en trek na ‘n derde kontinent in ‘n kwessie van 10 maande, onvermydelik is.

Noudat ek terugdink wonder ek watter verandering die grootste was – Stellenbosch na Dubai of Dubai na Perth – en dis moeilik om te sê. Stellenbosch na Dubai was ‘n groot kulturele aanpassing, maar vir dieselfde rede ook baie pret. Dit was die eerste groot verandering waarby ek myself moes belê. Bygesê, in my agterkop was dit altyd net tydelik. Om die tweede groot (en hierdie keer permanente) verandering so kort na die eerste te maak was nie maklik nie.

Maar miskien was dit die lewe se manier om my te leer dat dit moontlik is om êrens anders gelukkig te wees. Dat sodra ek die besluit gemaak het wat ek geweet het die beste sal wees vir my familie op die  langtermyn, ek dit sal maak werk. Dat ek eintlik enige plek kon woon, solank my familie gesond en veilig was. Dat ‘n lewe anders as wat ek tot 13 jaar gelede vir myself ingedink het beter kan wees. Ek moes net leer (op die harde manier vir my) om oop te wees vir ander moontlikhede.

Tyd het gelukkig ‘n manier om aan te stap en ons het kort voor lank gewoond geraak aan Perth as ons huis, en Perth het gewoond geraak aan ons. Ons is nou so tuis en gelukkig hier dat ons lewe in Stellenbosch voel soos ‘n veraf herinnering. Hierdie is nou ons lewe en realiteit en ek is so dankbaar dat ek die veranderings deurgemaak het wat ek het.

Tyd het my ook geleer dat verandering ‘n gegewe is in die lewe. Soms gebeur daai veranderings net meer geleidelik as ander kere en dis eers wanneer jy besig is om die verandering te beleef dat jy daarvan bewus word. So het ons kinders grootgeword en van die drie is nou net een nog op skool. Kinders op universiteit wat motors bestuur is weer iets anders om aan gewoond te raak. En net soos ek dink ek het hierdie fase onder die knie sal die volgende fase my seker in die gesig staar. Ek hoop die veranderings oor die jare het my darem ook gevorm en help groei as mens.


V is for Victoria street in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Lined with oak and plane trees, it’s probably my favourite street there. In spring and early summer it’s at its most beautiful full of new green leaves. The street still has furrows next to it, a throwback from the town’s early days when the furrows served as the main water system.


Victoria Street, Stellenbosch, South Africa

V is also for Voyager Estate, a wine estate in south west Australia. It’s famous for having been built in the Cape Dutch building style, something the (Australian) owner really liked when he visited South Africa. To us it’s a piece of our old home in our new home.



S is for Stellenbosch, the winelands town rich in Cape Dutch history about 35 minutes’ drive from Cape Town where we used to live. My husband and I both went to university there, found work after finishing our studies and settled there. We met and got married in Stellenbosch and lived there for a number of years. S is also for Simonsberg, the mountain in Stellenbosch our house looked onto.

S also stands for the Swan river which snakes through Perth, Sorrento, our local beach, and sunset.

White Elephants, a Boat and a Bike

We’ve all bought some things we end up never using or using only a couple of times and then putting it away somewhere never to be touched again like an Ab Cruncher or some too-good-to-be-true gadget that’s supposed to chop all your vegetables in no time that was advertised on TV and we got sucked into buying it but it just ends up taking up space in our houses, stuck somewhere in a forgotten cupboard, or bought something expensive without our spouse’s prior knowledge (probably most likely because they wouldn’t have agreed with it in the first place).

When my husband started taking triathlons seriously and started doing more than just the occasional event and then decided to do a full ironman event, it happened gradually because he still did as much running as before but just started adding some swimming and cycling to his regime. As a result – and because he already owned a good road bike – a single major capital outlay for new gear wasn’t required which was just as well since some of these items come with a hefty price tag. New bits and pieces were slowly introduced but after completing his first full ironman event, he started making some noises about needing a time-trial bike because apparently he was “the only one out there that didn’t have one”, but that was sadly out of the question (and the budget). So it came as much of a surprise to me one day when a friend of ours happened to look at my man’s bike and innocuously commented: “When did you get those new wheels”? My husband’s reaction was quite entertaining, from hoping I hadn’t heard to trying to change the subject very quickly but none of it worked. I wanted to know too! I really didn’t see much difference between the new wheels and the old ones (they all go round and round) but apparently the new ones can shave a few minutes off the 7-hour bike-leg in an ironman.

Anyway, at least it wasn’t a new bike that had surreptitiously appeared – I would have noticed that, just for the record – unlike many years ago while we were living in Stellenbosch (South Africa), and my man took up mountain biking with a friend of his. The bike suddenly appeared at home one day and was immediately justified as having been paid for by a refund we’d received from our private medical fund. Fair enough, the money was spent on something that will improve fitness and overall health while he’s having fun at the same time. No problem there. Bearing in mind that the mountains surrounding the town of Stellenbosch require some skill if you’re negotiating them on a mountain bike I was quite happy for him to go, trusting his friend’s judgement on safety. Until the day he decided to go for a ride with a different friend who is about 15 years his junior.

All was well (in my mind) until Ironman phoned me and said that he’d fallen off his bike and his friend was taking him to the doctor just as a precaution. He assured me that it was nothing serious and that he was just being cautious by having it checked out, so I wasn’t overly concerned. Next thing, a nurse at the Stellenbosch Medi-Clinic (hospital) phoned me and said: “Just letting you know that your husband is here but he’s not able to come to the phone right now”. That was it. Nothing else. I completely freaked out, not knowing what could possibly be wrong that he’s so badly injured that he’s not even able to come to the phone. All sorts of possible scenarios flashed in front of my eyes and I spent the next hour or so working myself up into a complete state. By the time he finally phoned me again I was quite beside myself and when he said that he was ok, he’d just broken his collar bone, I lost it and cried out: “Why do you have to get hurt to enjoy yourself?!!” Suffice to say it wasn’t the sympathetic reaction he was hoping for. For the next few weeks it was like having another baby in the house because he wasn’t able to do much for himself and we never got another refund from our private medical fund after that.

All was quiet on the surreptitious purchase-front for a few years until we moved to Dubai and Ironman moved there three months before the kids and I did because of my work commitments and also simply the logistics of doing a move like that in a hurry, and when we finally arrived in Dubai he’d already found and rented a brand-new very spacious, beautiful villa and acquired some necessary living essentials (cutlery and crockery), and furniture such as a bed, an oversized TV and a massage chair since our furniture would only arrive per sea-container later. The massage chair was presented to me first since it was for me – such a thoughtful gesture – and the TV as an afterthought. (He probably realised I’d need something to relax me such as the massage chair after seeing the huge TV.) Who would need any other furniture if you have a bed, massive TV and a massage chair anyway?

And so, some years later and living in Perth by that time, my husband had organised a weekend in Sydney for myself and a girlfriend since neither of us had been there before and we had a lovely weekend away being tourists and enjoying the sights and sounds of Sydney. There was a surprise waiting for me when I got back home though – Ironman had gone out and bought a family sized kayak while I was away. (We owned no other kayaks at that point and had never done it as a family either, so seeing the Titanic-sized canoe in our garage came as quite a surprise, not to mention the price). It was bought with the best of intentions though, and with big plans of family outings together enjoying the great outdoors, which we did a few times. The only problem was that life became filled with other commitments and we ended up using it about once a year and at the time our kids were quite young so it was easy to fit a family of five plus picnic food in the kayak, but eight years on we don’t all fit in it together anymore!

The kids enjoying the kayak in Walpole in 2010

The kids enjoying the kayak in Walpole in 2010

Then somewhere along the line I’d got a bee in my bonnet about getting a table tennis table for the kids. Something to get them outside doing a fun activity. Ironman eventually relented – he kept saying that it will end up being a white elephant – and we used a voucher we’d received to buy it. It’s been used a fair bit since then and still gets used, but it has also gone through periods of standing quite untouched and then I would again be reminded of the “white elephant” I’d insisted we get. At least it’s not as big a white elephant as what our outdoor setting would have become had we kept my man’s latest addition to it that he made without consulting me first – a table top patio heater. We’d had a great stand-alone (gas) patio heater before which sadly had done it’s time and couldn’t be revived and my husband decided to go out and buy a new one, but he came home with a different type. The new one had to stand on top of the table, right slap bang in the middle of it so when you sit at the table you can’t make eye contact with the person sitting opposite you without getting a crick in your neck, you’d lose a lot of space on the table and you’d never be able to use a table cloth either. It was just not going to work for our set-up but he insisted that it would; a bit of a stand-off ensued which caused me to have a little episode. We eventually reached a compromise – I sold the new table top elephant and we bought a new stand-alone heater in the same style as the old one.

Life is always full of surprises though, it’s just a question of when the next one will appear…