Its Not Your Fault…the First Time



A while ago I came across this article My Boyfriend Raped Me  and that first line hit me in the gut. How many times have you been in a conversation with your girlfriends and they describe an encounter that makes your blood chill in your veins or makes it slow down so you can hear it in your ears? Or worse, how many times have you been in that situation yourself.

I worry about having daughters because there are phrases I hear my mother say that right now I would stab myself if I ever said them and yet fear that “time will teach me she was right”, but that’s another conversation for another day.

Right now, lets talk about justifying your dude’s behaviour, or worse justifying someone else’s behaviour. I am not sure where the theory that woman “make men” do things to them. I have no idea why a fella cant be accountable for actions HE has made based on feelings HE has. And it bloody well annoys me.

A friend once told me that she was in an argument with her dude (at the time) and he’s never been violent but on this one day he shoved her with enough force that she fell and may have hit her head on a cabinet but I cant say with full clarity on what part of her was injured but she was in some way. This is the most recent memory I have of the “heartbeat in my ears” response because right after that she said, it was her fault she fell because she wasn’t expecting the shove and was wearing heels so she wasn’t grounded. After all the expletives exploded (once blood flow was restored) in my head I tried to point out that that wasn’t really the point. Its the fact that he shoved her, saw her fall with enough force to hurt herself and walked away. She thought I was over reacting and he never did it afterwards so I obviously was worried for “nothing”.

This logic scares me. To the core. I have “opinions” on everyone carrying their own weight because when people don’t work for their worth they devalue things, maybe even themselves but mostly all the suckers around them who have to deal with the extra load.

When someone treats you like you aren’t worth “more” or “better” then that’s their fault but if they continue to treat you the same way more times then that’s yours. At some point their baggage becomes yours and that only happens when you allow it.

Don’t ever justify why someone treats you less than you deserve to be treated unless of course you believe you don’t deserve any better which really is more about you than them but know the difference and carry your own weight.

I’m supposed to end this with a question but I get this ache in my chest when I think of all the women to whom rape was justified. This is so awfully wrong I cant take it. You have laws that dictate women cant be raped by their husbands. THE FREAKIN’ LAW! , girls being kidnapped but militia and sold off as wives because they are the wrong religion or are offending another religion by being educated and somehow NOTHING seems to change. These women are obviously in different circumstances than you and I and most likely die when they object to the status quo, possible consequences include death so what’s your excuse for lugging around someone else’s s#@$?


Just Add Sugar

 I Got This
I Got This


I’m a House of Cards fan and one of the things that amazes me about the show is how Frank and Claire Underwood are perfect for each other. It’s the ‘for each other’ part that I want to focus on. As individual people, I am not sure I like them very much… well, I could probably have moments where I don’t mind Claire but Frank is simply reprehensible.

But together, that is what a couple should be. They should be a united front and they KNOW each other. The only time I can recall them presenting ‘problems’ to those in their ‘inner circle’, those within that circle wouldn’t have known how it was a problem other than something aimed at them and they were on the same page or its presented in such a way you wouldn’t know it was a problem to begin with (re-writing that so I don’t leech any spoilers was bloody hard coz who doesn’t love a juicy example).

Love is generally complicated because there is NO WAY you can truly accept everything about another person or rather there are limits to what our feelings can permit and forgive (I am such a romantic). What Frank and Claire teach us is that it isn’t about accepting everything, its about KNOWING everything and this doesn’t necessarily extend to things like first boyfriend in kindergarten but they know what’s beneath the surface of the person lying next to them, its about knowing the breath beneath the heartbeat, you know? If someone tried to present a ‘secret’ about one to the other, most likely all they would be providing is details which the other person didn’t have but context was already in play and therefore opportunity to break them up is non existent unless on of them chooses it.

Thing with relationships is… they are like fruit. You watch it bud and grow and then its ripe and you pluck it but once you’ve plucked it, decay begins and that is when you need to protect it. Viciously. The rot is always there waiting to creep in but you have to guard against it. A fly doesn’t intend to infest decaying matter with maggots, it does what it does because that’s what flies do (and maggots are simply baby flies…). If your relationship is the fruit on a path to decay then everything else is a potential fly waiting to bless it with maggots.

This makes me seem somewhat jaded but I am not (well, not on this I dont think), weirdly I am in love with a fella that if he turned out to be Frank-like, I want to exude Claire coz we’re in it for the long haul and you have to see what is and not simply what you hope it could be. That’s the key for ‘perfection’. So you preserve that piece of fruit and you know the best things to preserve fruit? Sugar! You have to lather your relationship so deep in the stuff that the sugar is flavoured and becomes your fruit… which could be rather ‘porno’ and if that’s what you need go for it.

Have enough together to build on, common goals help, similar thought patterns or values definitely don’t hurt but whatever the case, there needs to be a set of building blocks and true emotion driving you too.

I am not a counsellor or trained relationship expert, in fact most of my knowledge is purely theoretical but life is going to hit you with so much muck that you don’t need to sling any at each other. But if you must sling some muck, make sure y’all are aiming in the same direction and your shots complement each other. Focus on the sugar to keep that rot at bay. Some couples need to have hot water together with the sugar to concentrate them and that’s fine, you’ll have jam instead of marmalade and most people prefer jam so it’s a win-win situation.

Where does one find this sugar that binds y’all together? I think it depends on the people in play. If you wanna share yours or pick my brain further let me know but for now, I wish you happy hunting.

Good luck finding that sugar!


The Time I Kinda Killed a Quad Bike

 It Aint A Quad But Its So Purdy
It Aint A Quad But Its So Purdy


I once rode a quad bike off a cliff. I wish I could say it was because I was attempting a stunt involving my left nostril and right butt cheek but sadly what made me lose control of that quad bike was caution.

I was re-uniting with a couple friends that I hadn’t seen for over two years and we planned an ‘action packed’ vacation in Hartebeespoort. Things had recently happened to all of us and we needed a ‘fun’ break to reconnect. On this particular day of festivities the itinerary involved horse riding and quad biking; only one of the three of us had done either of these activities before but we decided that it would be fun. And we loved it … the beginning that is.

The farm we went to was owned by a husband and wife team (as is usually the case) and had wonderful views, a pack of memorable dogs I loved because they were friendly and reminded me of some pups I had had and the wife half of the team was a dear… then we met her husband. But I am racing ahead. Obviously I cannot give the name of the establishment because this isn’t a great review for them and I don’t think its enough to say, ‘horse ride here but quad bike elsewhere’ or ‘find out if the husband is taking you on the bikes and if he is cancel!’ coz all of that seems kinda passive aggressive and really, perhaps you wont have the same experience there but I don’t want to tempt you to damage property to find out.

Now one of the first things husband part of the team said was ‘quad bikes can kill you’ and ‘quad bike accidents are nasty business’… those are the kind of things a girl has no trouble remembering. The ride was meant to last an hour, less than seven minutes in, husband owner is on his cell phone and we have to stop. No biggie, I reckon I will just soak in the scenery. Then he pretty much was far ahead of us and didn’t seem bothered with us at all… as in we are beginners on the bikes but he is acting like he is on a solo ride way up front of our ‘detail’. There were more calls but I didn’t get too irritable. The place was just too beautiful, we were on a different path than we had used for the horse ride so I had plenty to keep me occupied. About forty/forty five minutes into the ride we approached what appeared (to me) a very narrow ‘bridge’ so I slowed down and tried to crawl onto this impossibly narrow embankment (I was certain I would fly off if I was at another speed than toddler) but on making sure my right side was safe I was too close to the left and couldn’t steer away coz of the afore mentioned lack of speed, so I did what any rational person would do and tried to tilt the bike away from gravity but turned out I was lighter than the bike and so I fell off and watched the bike slide away from me. That ‘slow mo’ thing is real. It was like it was at quarter speed!

Its what happened after this that ruined the experience for me, once I had yelled loud enough for the person in front of me to know something was wrong, I went down that cliff after the bike and since it had landed top side down, I tipped it over which was not easy coz on top of being lighter than the stupid thing my arms are so weak that all the strength I have in them is imaginary. Just then owner guy comes down the cliff and not once does he ask if I am okay, instead he starts complaining about plastic pieces that are now damaged and he’s never seen anyone do ‘anything like this’. At the time I just felt miserable coz I hate causing other people pain in any sort of way and this was my fault. But then guy manages to start the bike and I sing on the inside coz if it starts its ‘not that bad’ yet he goes on about how insurance wont cover his business and maybe he shouldn’t be in it to begin with. Now I’m worrying that we are going to be hit by some damage clause that was definitely not on the disclaimer I signed but Ii wouldn’t have protested paying. So I follow him climb back up this cliff and when we are back on the road he tells me I must go back to the bike and ride it from there and I think ‘You saw me climbing, you didn’t think I needed to hear that before?’ But again, I had damaged his property so I figured just go back down and not be a nuisance.

The ride back was miserable and quiet and when we pulled up in front of his house he leaped off his bike and started telling his wife and two of his friends what happened which he couldn’t have because at no point did he find out from me. The two friends ask what happened so I tell them that I approached too slow and the bike was too heavy for me to put back in the middle of the path (granted I wasn’t nearly as composed or coherent, I felt royally terrible), owner guy had walked off before I had even started my ‘confession’ and his wife after him. The two friends seemed concerned about my plight (which I guess was easy for them, I hadn’t damaged their property) but when the wife returned with our phones and cameras my friends and I thought they would ask us to pay for the damage or something because on their disclaimer all that is there is that the business isn’t liable for any damage or loss incurred on their property, nothing about what happens if you damage theirs (they have probably changed that now). Wife had no smiles for us or any form of encouragement so I said another apology and we set off and on top of feeling terrible about the damage I felt extra guilty about ruining the trip with my incident.

For a while after that I couldn’t remember the pretty views, or my calm horse and another horse that kept stopping to eat no matter what my friend riding it tried to do. I couldn’t remember the silly Alsatian obsessed with playing ‘fetch’ or the guide that was so patient with us on the horse trail and was a true example of what a person in service to customers is all about. All that defined that day was how miserable I felt at the end of it.

Too often we let the misery define an experience. We are quick to take ownership of things that are beyond our control (this is more common for women than it is for men). I definitely injured that husband and wife team with my accident but they acted like I had done it on purpose and having them act that way added to my negative feelings.

So basically what I want to share with you is how often do you hold on to negative feelings not only caused by other people but caused by actions beyond your control?

It took me a while to separate my actions from that owner and look objectively at what had happened. I will probably never go to that establishment again and will not be as eager to get onto another quad bike but when I do get back on a bike. I am flooring it! Maybe it’s easier not to be upset with someone if they are a mangled mass of flesh under your machinery.


Wishes don’t Create, Work Does.

 Own What You Need to Do
Own What You Need to Do

Ramble Ahoy!

“I wish we had met
When polka dot skirts and gogo boots were all the rage
I wish we had met
When common causes killed minor differences”

That thought has been floating around my brain for months. Wishes in general and how it is we romanticise what was simply because it “isn’t”. Does that make any sense? If it doesn’t, I am working on a poem, its nowhere near done and I don’t know what to do with it and it isn’t even that long but it has me stumped at the moment. And when stumped, it is recommended that one stop staring and do something else. This is something else.

So, recently I have been asking how much my dreams are worth to me because although I say my aspirations in my head and write them down on pieces of paper (sometimes in multiple colours), they aren’t really in my heart and bleeding out my pores and because of that I am not putting in the work required to make them happen. This is painful to admit because I hate having to admit that laziness is part of who I am and fear of failure is holding me back when I should be using that fear of failure to fuel me because according to my own personal definition I am engorged with failure.

How often does that happen to you? How often do you CLAIM something is important and then do nothing to HOLD ON to that thing?

Its not enough to aspire, we eventually have to DO. Unfortunately, we live in a time where we want the “quickest” way to do things, whether that is the ‘5 minute ultimate abs workout’ or whatever our version of ‘success with no sweat’ victory is, because we are bombarded with fame for infamy’s sake.

I recently told a friend of mine that perhaps she may need therapy to quieten the noise in her head because she just flits endlessly from one distraction to another when she should sit down, shut off all external noise and do the work but she cant because doing the work isn’t “sexy”… or rather it lacks fundamental glamour that I think she needs and just as my fear of failure keeps plonking speed bumps in my path, her need for excitement prevents her from doing what needs to be done…

We keep getting told that you can live the life you want to live (and I may have said it too earlier on the blog, sorry about that… *ahem* I still mean it BUT IT REQUIRES EFFORT) but I may have missed the point. Its not about working smart because that has been appropriated by working “short” or “easy”; Find the shortcut and use it, find the loophole and manipulate it. You cant forget to work hard. You have to earn your success by putting in the toll required.

If you aren’t happy its not enough to say it and leave it at that, if you are unhappy and don’t want to be, you have to DO something about it.

You have to decide what the manure for your life is and wishes sadly don’t bear fruit.  Its not enough to dream, you have to wake up, get out of bed and DO SOMETHING. There will always be a reason not to because that’s easy. But easy doesn’t make memorable and since life is generally short and we all die at the end, the most we can hope for is memorable. Even if its just from the three people outside your family that think if you started a comic strip it’d be awesome.

So, what work aren’t you putting in? What manure do you want to blossom? Find it and till that bugger till it bleeds!


Mercy Was A Little Girl – A Short Story

 My Own Prison by sophiaazhou
My Own Prison by sophiaazhou

Mercy hid the small satchel under the bed and dusted her dirty fingers on the front of her plaid skirt.

Her knees were scuffed and there was an assortment of coloured hair on her once white tights. With a merry skip she hopped out of the alcove and back onto the trail she really shouldn’t have left.

She thought about that satchel as Aunt Mima whipped her with a cane for ruining her nice tights and staining her beautiful dress. The satchel got her through Aunt Mima’s rage and she barely even registered the sting on her skin when she had her evening bath.

Daddy got home late, again. She watched him remove his jacket and Aunt Mima fuss over how tired he must have been. He didnt speak to Aunt Mima or Mercy. Aunt Mima served dinner for the two of them and Mercy silently ate her butternut soup while Daddy stared at his plate. Aunt Mima, quickly brought out his main course and Mercy hid her smile, even she knew Daddy wouldnt eat soup. He ate his steak as it bled on his plate and when he was almost done noticed that Mercy didnt have her main.

“Why isnt the girl eating?” He asked and Aunt Mima held her hands together as she narrated the butchery of Mercy’s beautiful clothes and this was a lesson in wasteful behaviour. “Wasteful only exists for those who cant afford not to, let the child eat.” Mercy raised her eyes to Aunt Mima and didnt hid this smile.

As she slowly ate her steak that Aunt Mima had to slice for her, her mind went back to that satchel. Soon, that satchel would rid her of Aunt Mima but not tonight.

Her father allowed her to sit at his feet while he smoked his pipe and she painted his latest train set. They spoke no words but the mood was comfortable and Mercy enjoyed having him in the room with her. Just the two of them. Like it used to be.

Aunt Mima came in on time as usual and shuttled Mercy off to bed. There were no late night stories like Aunt Helga used to read. Aunt Helga always smelt of rum and vanilla and if only Daddy hadnt started visiting her bedroom she would have stayed longer. Mercy rolled over and waited for Aunt Mima to leave the room. She heard her humming her usual lullaby as she brushed and braided her hair. She couldnt see her but Aunt Mima left the door between them open so that she could hear Mercy, it didnt help that Aunt Mima slept very deeply.

Mercy did not have to wait long before she heard Aunt Mima’s deep throaty snoring. She crept out of bed and pulled on her winter boots and Aunt Helga’s old heavy shawl before walking down the stairs, she peeked in on her father asleep and stepped outside. The satchel was where she left it. She smiled and walked back into the house.

Mercy walked confidently into Aunt Mima’s room and poured a bit of the brown powder into the water by her bed. She watched the particles sink and took a pencil to stir them till they were all gone, she was careful not to touch the sides of the glass. Soon Aunt Mima would be gone soon, the same way Mummy was.


Final Correction – A Poem



I have no idea where this poem is from, I was editing some older work and thought… well… I could share it… Sometimes my mind regurgitates some pretty morbid things.




Final Correction

I will not speak of things I do not know.
I shall not hide what needs to be shown
I’ve blazed a trail, I alone must follow

You’ve been by my side, of that I am glad
You can accompany me no more
Your time in my life has run its course

Sadness has no place here
Sorrow even less
My love my dear,
Let me have my final embrace

Still your mind, my heart races
Today it ends, what began too long ago
I’ll kiss your cheek, wont allow you to kiss mine

Hold my memories, that’s all I am leaving
Tomorrow you shall awake and alone will you be
I heed the voices in my head and troubled no longer will you be

My blade reflects the serenity of tonight
Company it has been but our last conversation we will have
My love you tried, you kept me sane but my memories come when you aren’t there

I shed a tear that no one will ever see
My last bath I shall run, it is a small treat for me
My toes feel the warmth that my heart longed for
I should be calm, I knew this day would have to come

The water around my ankles reminds me
Of a time when the sun bared down on sandy shores
And my smile was enough to make you happy

Long have those days gone by and my bruised body
Cannot repent on behalf of the sins your hands commit
My love, my dear I cannot forgive one last correction

I sit in my final resting place
There is the serenity I have been seeking
I look up and gaze at your unsmiling face

Did I wake you? I know I shouldn’t have
Cant bare this weight anymore.
Come keep me company

We say no words, what needs to be spoken
Has already been said
I cant leave I need your help

Your hands hold mine, mine tremble no more
I know what must happen. Shocked I am that it didn’t happen sooner
This is the most tender thing you have ever done to me

Right above the bruises you gave me last night
Lay a metallic silver kiss where your lips no longer wander
This is not as hard as when I told you about the child I am carrying

Neither of us do U want,
Neither of us will you have.
I gave you myself and only you can return it to me

The lights getting darker now,
Our baby kicks. When I meet him
I’ll tell him that daddy didn’t want him
But mummy couldn’t let him go

So together we shall be
Where your corrections no longer are
I shall hold the son
You gave to me

As your final goodbye

When You Are No Longer An Immigrant

Credit: Paramount Digital Entertainment and LXD Ventures
Credit: Paramount Digital Entertainment and LXD Ventures

A while ago I came across this video (Coming Out of Your Shell) and my heart did weird things in my chest (like it could do them anywhere else) because I GET IT! You should check it out. If only I had talent with the rest of my limbs and REAL co-ordination, I could create such beautiful visual things… *sigh*.

For a lot of my childhood, I was an immigrant in various places. And language has always been a “problem” for me. Apparently I used to speak Portuguese before “proper” school (lived in Mozambique at the time) but my mum would pinch me (or atleast I think that happened… but it may have been something I made up to make my loss of something so beautiful mean something) because she wanted me to speak English so I lost that right quick. I have an ear for languages but my tongue sits in my mouth like gum at the bottom of a shoe when I try and make it obey other linguistic rules. I cant even do slang properly. I am terrible at trying to sound “street”. Terrible… but I am running off the rails again. Lets get back to topic.

I have generally always had a good “command of English” and it made my mother proud but it didn’t really make me fit in (and what child trying to be normal, doesn’t want that.. or rather, that was the norm at the time, attempting to stand out didn’t really make you special). Among my own countrymen I couldn’t be a part of their private jokes and stories because I could not speak my own mother tongue or any other language from my home country (technically, English is my mother tongue because that’s what my mother used “on me” but “biologically”, my father is Tonga and my mother is Lala, both from Zambia) . My mother didn’t want my siblings and I to be “polluted” by the local languages we were bombarded with because that affected the sound of our English so we were a purely English household except when my parents wanted to share something between the two of them.

“Why didn’t you just teach yourself?” Might be a logical question and to that I would respond “Have you met other children?” They are brutal. Trying to speak a local language when you “look like it should be easy” but sound like a well meaning although ill mannered tourist is torturous and if you do not have the self esteem to ride through the bullying, you give up. Which is what happened to me, I gave up trying to learn my own languages and tried to ace “exotic” sexy languages like French and make sure no one else could “out-English” me, this was of course ridiculous.

I love the sounds of different languages and while I don’t have the same kind of negativity towards my parents languages, there is still too much residual failure in there for me to seek out teaching my tongue to move in that way at this point in my life. If its something my children want to learn in the future, I will not block them and will do everything I can to provide the tools necessary.

The problem with being an immigrant for so long is that even when you return home, it doesn’t quite settle on the bones in a way that truly fits. It may be comfortable but its not entirely “made to measure”. I know I found it easier being an immigrant when it was obvious that I didn’t belong than justifying why I didn’t belong because I looked just like everyone else.

I hope you find your own tongues and come out of your shells. You can only be the best version of you, you choose whether that best version is a watered down version of someone else’s expectations.


365 Days Later

 The Views We Dream Of
The Views We Dream Of


This blog has been up for a year…

Happy Anniversary to me!

And yet, for all kinds of crazy reasons I have made up reasons to not be happy and not acknowledge my little victories.

Last month was a bit of a hard month emotionally for me, February generally is.

My sister died in February and the whole month turns into a countdown to that day and then after that I descend into “why the hell is nothing really different? Something should change!”. I don’t entirely have all the words for the feelings that her death gives me but hopefully one day I will.

New post coming up shortly!


A Poem – Beside the Murky Stream (WIP)


I have been gone a while, haven’t I?

Life has been keeping me more occupied than I care to admit and very little of it has been constructive but some things have been pretty damn good. I will go into the deets in a later post but for now here is a project I am working on.

It doesn’t feel “complete”. I am not sure why but I will be tweaking it in the future I imagine.



Along the Shore
Along the Shore

Beside the Murky Stream

Upon a stream of memories,
You road a float of hope.
I watched you sail away from me,
Without a backward glance.

You took a sliver of yesterday
Wrapped it in a cocoon of tomorrow
And nestled it into today
Tied in a bow I didn’t know

I kept on my sandy path,
Loyal to torture and solitude.
Under the shade of remorse,
I tried to sing but only sat.

You took a sliver of yesterday
Wrapped it in a cocoon of tomorrow
And nestled it into today
Tied in a bow of wispy string

You watched me from afar
As my fingers danced on sunlight
I didn’t feel your stare
And dug deeper into yesterday

You took a sliver of yesterday
Wrapped it in a cocoon of tomorrow
And nestled it into today
Tied in a bow I couldn’t see

The stream began to overflow
Carrying you back with it,
The sun blocked my view
But you rode it all the same to me

You took a sliver of yesterday
Wrapped it in a cocoon of tomorrow
And nestled it into today
Tied in a bow of forever

We took our time wiping the mud off
I’m sure there is still some left
And sitting under that tree of remorse
I finally noticed some fruit

Getting Distracted by Shiny “Newness”

The Voodoo Snowman
The Voodoo Snowman Lives!


Ever since I was a little girl I have glamourised new places, not really “things” because they didn’t stay new for very long and I had to share which I didn’t find fun at all. There was always something very private about discovering new corners knowing only I could see them in the way I was. I created stories for people and things with less to go on than stereotypical movie quips (South Africa was nothing like Sarafina when I moved there but in my head it was but in a happy way, like The Sound of Music in Brown Skin (in my head)). Beginnings give me hope that what I have had is not the best I will ever experience and fascinate me more than endings. This can be a problem when you are trying to be a writer because your stories need to end at some point or in some way. So how do you give endings to things when you are enamoured with starting new ones? Haven’t the foggiest but I need to figure it out soon because beginnings don’t really help me if that’s all they remain.

For as long as I can remember I have been in LOVE with Japan, not enough to learn the language (I have a concrete tongue that cant grasp the tones that my ears can) but I have wanted to “go” there and even declared that once I saw Japan I could die because there would simply be nothing else to live for… I may have been 13 or 23. I can’t remember. I planned on moving there to teach English after graduating but my graduating took longer than planned and by then I was a ‘responsible adult’ and that was nothing more than a longing of a little girl that didn’t exist anymore. Or so I thought.

A little before my 28th birthday, however, I took the plunge. Work was frustrating and draining me, I felt unaccomplished and miserable in my personal life and couldn’t appreciate the good I had because I felt I was swirling in miseries. The good moments seemed so few and far between that they became a punishment of their own. So, I convinced a friend of mine (from university) to go with me to a country neither of us could communicate in for an adventure that only we could share and since it wasn’t going to be cheap, we should do it in winter. Now… as the headline above says. I am an African… I had never crossed an ocean before and I get goosebumps at temperatures below 24 degrees centigrade and here I was saying we should frolic in below freezing weather because I needed a beginning (and my loon of a friend was cheering me on!). I needed something that said that what I had wasn’t the best I was ever going to have but I also wanted to know if Japan could still be the escape I had romanticised in my naïveté. I needed a whisper saying there was more to life than my daily toll.

Plus I needed to learn to give myself permission to give birth to schemes that defied my own personal logic. Responsible girls didn’t do such things and I was very responsible.

Again, as an African, I do not have the luxury of ‘getting up and leaving’ when the mood strikes me, it starts with the visa requirements and then the cost of the plane tickets (Oh my word! They should sooooo put better seats on planes for what they charge for long hauls), plus the whole not knowing anyone or the language made the whole thing rather daunting. But mostly I had to look at my own finances. A few of my previous posts point to me being somewhat of a people pleaser, so selfish trips that gave me no ‘direct benefit’ definitely are not the norm. My father was a civil servant and my mother was a teacher, they are retired now and have a very productive farm that keeps their greys at bay and when I told my father, he did not understand why I would spend my hard earned money on a trip ‘with no purpose’ when there were more responsible things to do with it and he was right. There is always something I could do that would benefit the family more than it would help me but that obligation was adding to me need for some kind of ‘fresh air’. But my Dad is awesome and didn’t try to stop me, and my mum quietly said I should do what I could because eventually I would not be able to, not in a miserable way but I am still young and there is nothing stopping me was more her line of thought.

Those two weeks in Japan were the best two weeks. Ever. On divulging my crazy plan to another friend, she gave me details of some of her friends and they were gracious enough to spend some time with me (and helped my friend and I birth that atrocious snowman in the picture above). I will be forever grateful to everyone who helped me out with that trip and I have tried to hold on to the memories of it because I want them to remain safe, inside me and pure, not tainted by life. That trip to Japan is my personal Patronus Charm, it defeats my personal dementers. It also helped me answer a very important question. Could I still move away if I wanted to? If I decided I wanted to live in Japan, could I settle there? Or atleast stay there long enough to study something while deciding. The answer was an un-resounding ‘YES’. I once had a Chinese maths teacher who felt I must have been Chinese in a past life and I can safely say she was wrong. Its more likely I was Japanese (oooh, or maybe I was a Chinese spy in Japan…that’s an interesting premise for a story… and African-Japanese spy on the Chinese mainland with a time warp element… ooooh! I like! See? Beginnings).

I cant ignore that after that trip, my savings were not the same but I do not regret it. Not the getting lost and wandering for hours looking for a sight we just could not see, or accidentally wandering into a ‘naughty’ store or heaving our baggage in the piddling rain not knowing where our apartment was because I read the map wrong (my friend did not know what she was signing up for when she agreed to go with me). Those experiences showed me that as restrained and sensible as I am, my imagination needs fuel and perhaps I don’t need to fly to the other side of the globe (but that’s immense fun) but when you know that doing something allows you to be the best version of you there is, why not dive in?.

If you don’t feed who YOU are, YOU will starve, you will wither away. I sat on trains in Tokyo watching people around me and gave them stories and imagined histories, saw a hot fella with a guitar on a platform in Kyoto and cursed my luck for being on the wrong platform (everyone knows that all musicians have stories and I was after stories, you pervs!), I watched families in museums in Osaka and wondered which kid was the favourite or what was the last argument between the parents about. I walked always looking up to take in as much as possible, its probably the tallest I have walked in a while. I ate way more than I should have of ‘cheap’ food that tasted divine. My relationship with God is not very solid at the moment but I felt at peace at the temples (except this one time, another guy took a picture with a ginormous camera so I thought it was allowed and whipped mine out, only to be finger stabbed but a very stern guard/policeman in a very smart white coat) and in those streets in general. I don’t know how much of that trip I will share, because it didn’t last very long and my friend is extremely private and may not approve me blabbing about our odd happenings but I am making a few of my own personal discoveries offline and I guess I should share them here. The fella in my life gives me odd looks when I mention the joy you get from being immersed somewhere new and he thinks I romanticise adventure; if you said there was free accommodation somewhere and all I needed to do was ‘be there’, you’d hear me knocking, he is a ‘purpose traveller’ my fella. I probably do romanticise it and I hope the next time I am planning a Japanese escape I lug him along and will refrain from reading maps as that served with incredibly negative results.

I hope you take the time to feed your inner cogs because if you don’t grease them, you cant do or be you.