It’s been an indescribably difficult year for many and my heart goes out to all people who suffered as a result of the pandemic this year, in addition to having to deal with already challenging situations. Most will concur, in 2020, life was tough.
However on the eve of 2021, my heart is brimming with gratitude. I’m deeply thankful for all the challenges, the rejections and disappointment and anxiety that led to self-discovery. Personally 2020 gave me that gift… ‘self-discovery’, a gift that no money can buy.
Thank you world. Thank you all the people in the world – each and every interaction I have had with every person this year, whether at the time it seemed good or bad. Deepening existing relations with my family, friends (online and in-person friends), and colleagues, acquaintances and colleagues who became really good friends this year, strangers who became new even good friends and even saying goodbye and letting go of some. Today I sincerely thank you all for how I feel now…. grateful. All I experienced gave me a sense of what really matters to me. And in the end, it’s only kindness that matters.
Sending you all love. Happy New Year… Happy 2021. May it bring you good health, great joy and may your wishes come true ❤️
In fact, I don’t want only one proposal, I want at least four of them – And I might just actually get what I want!
I didn’t realise how funny that would sound until I uttered those words in class tonight and all my Master’s students cracked up laughing. It was a good joke.
I was explaining that how in the period between Christmas and New Year is the best time to send me postgraduate work to review. ‘So come now, give me a proposal for Christmas‘ I said. ‘All I want for Christmas is a proposal …from you.’
This is because I can give it my undivided attention – all my undergrads are sorted for the year and my colleagues are all out partying too, so it’s the only time in the year when postgraduate research chapters and proposals can really enjoy top priority, and it’s worked well the past three years 🤓📚📝
So I really do want proposals. At least 15-20 pages each, 1.5 spacing, Arial font and beware your soul if you don’t use Harvard referencing and don’t you forget to include a section on ethics, validity, reliability and research bias.
There’s something about cake that makes all people happy. It’s one of the simplest yet most meaningful gifts that you could ever give anyone – and it’s something to be shared! I’ve yet to come across someone who doesn’t feel happy about getting a cake from someone 😁. A home baked one is always especially well received.
But regardless of how cool the science and history behind it is, the BEST part of the cake making experience is the look on someone’s face when they get a cake. Some of my best memories are giving people cakes that I baked for them – sometimes not even baked for specifically for them. Bring a pretty cake into a room and watch all the faces light up and smile. Such a joy thinking about it….
Just some background for my international readers – Matric is one’s final year in High School in South Africa and in South Africa there is a leader of a political party called Julius Malema. The political party is called the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). EFF protesters gathered outside a high school in one of Cape Town suburbs today because they were unhappy about a matric party that only white pupils attended. The party was privately hosted – not officially organized by the school due to COVID19 restrictions.
Once upon a time I would have called the EFF a left wing party, however the actions that I have seen come from that party now are uncannily similar the actions and sentiments of our old apartheid government. Far left, appears no different to my perceptions of far right when I was growing up. Using fear and hate speech to gain popularity? Really South Africa…. we’ve done this before, we have the t-shirt and the video. We on different sides of the coin now but seriously, are we really going to fall for this again?
From my point of view, the EFF stirs up emotions to get support. That’s the only source from where they get their power and any faux credibility from.
I wonder if South Africans born in the 1970s remember when white people jumped to conclusions thinking that if you were classified coloured or black then you have to be dangerous? I know that I can’t speak with sure authority about what it must have been like for black people in our country, but I know for a damn fact what it felt like to be a very dark skinned coloured girl walking in a white owned store in the 80s, having people look at me and assuming because of the colour of my skin I have to be a threat to them.
I recall being one of only six coloured girls in a predominantly white residence in Edmund Street in Pretoria where I completed my undergrad degree. Whenever ‘we’ coloured girls had a gathering in one of our dorm rooms, we would draw attention from others because of course ‘what were we trying?’… Surely it had nothing to do with just being kids and just wanting to hang out with our friends? We surely had to be plotting against the white girls, no? In retrospect I recognize that at root of all of that is fear.
Fear of the fact that we looked different. Fear of the fact that we behaved differently. Had different taste in music and different preferred styles of clothes? Fear of the fact that even though we are only six of more than 200 girls in the residence that we would somehow morph into something more threatening? At that point all we wanted to do was defend ourselves and our right to just be…. to be normal teenagers.
So let’s just look at this slightly differently…. What if we were actually white kids who were part of a population that was majority black and coloured? Would that make it ok or even justifiable for the majority to threaten us? Would it Julius Malema? And how is that any different to what happened in Brackenfell today?
I guess I want to speak to Julius and his EFF supporters directly on this one….. so what if a bunch of teenage kids who had a really difficult matric year got together and had a matric party? So what?
As I watch this video clips on social media and on the news today, it was impossible to not feel emotion about it. Impossible to stay impartial. My 18 year old son is in matric and if someone threatened to protest outside his school while he was writing final matric exam I think I’d have also wanted to do whatever I could to protect him. These poor kids. Really? Do they really deserve this Julius? They made more sacrifices than any other matric class in the past quarter century, just to get to this point.
Julius are you so angry, bitter and twisted that you really don’t care about traumatizing these kids who are supposed to be the leaders in our country tomorrow? That you will use these kids as pawns for your own political gain? And do you really expect their parents to do? Those parents played right into your mastermind hands. Oh wait hold on…. you knew that would happen all along. That’s always been your tactic. It’s a game to you – to secure power. I have to hand it to you – credit is due for that. You really are so smart Julius. You really are So very smart.
Ok, so you using me and other parents today. Who are you going to use tomorrow?
If that was my kid at Brackenfell High, you’d have successfully used my emotions against me – manipulated me into reacting or responding. I would not have been able to behave in any way other than wanting to protect my son from any thugs trying to disrupt his matric exams especially against the backdrop of COVID19 and 2020.
Eish Julius, I suspect that you do actually realize that we made sacrifices but you don’t care. Trample on anyone for your political gain. Who would have thought that you and ‘Die Groot Krokodil’ have so much in common?
One of the sacrifices that we made in our household is my son is not allowed to attend his white girlfriend’s birthday party because there were more than a certain amount of people going to be there – … and you know probably mostly white, because you know like white people have other white family and friends no? No fraternization with those white people? …. Gosh, oh dear Julius, does that make me racist too?
*****Another explanation for my international readers – ‘Die Groot Krokodil’ I referred to earlier is PW Botha – arguably one of the worst if not the worst apartheid presidents in South Africa
And yet the universe gives us just what we need, when we need it…. this morning at just the right moment it was a message and then a call from a good friend and colleague. Thank you Cheryl Colleen Belford for suddenly appearing out of nowhere and sharing your energy with me. I have no words for how in awe I am that things just work out. They just always do. Like Roberto Jones says, the universe has a way of self-correcting, auto-correcting.
There’s a part of me that is saying, “Bronwyn you don’t have the time to blog with your to-do list that’s half the length of the great wall of China! What are you thinking? Get back to your work.” But choosing to blog now, instead of responding to anyone else’s requests of me is an act of self-care. Something Cher reminded me of this morning was a paper that we wrote in 2017 called “The ethics of care”. In that paper, we reflected on different aspects that make up ‘what it is to care’, however the focus of that paper was on caring for our students. Peer-reviewed and published in a DHET accredited journal, so one would think that I know something about care, but clearly I don’t know about all kinds of care. I suck at self-care.
If I was looking for someone to blame, I’d have no one to blame but me. But this isn’t about trying to blame anyone. I know that it’s never too late to learn (again), and to start again. And look this year has been amazing – looking back I literally cannot believe how productive I’ve been. A double teaching load, developed a new course for the Advanced Diploma Quality, developing notes from scratch and doing weekly recordings for asynchronous lessons, developed a new Master in Engineering Management degree, Faculty representative duties for the national doctoral audit that just happened, three papers accepted for publication so far, one masters student graduating and I’m doing a short course called Strengthening Postgraduate Supervision (aside from me also being the Postgraduate Research Coordinator in my department and Teaching and Learning representative for my department). It’s been real. It’s been rewarding to see some of my efforts come to fruition ….however this is it. I can’t anymore. I have two big deadlines for the end of next week and a ton of marking still to do. I need to give my Master’s students attention and this is all just still work. I have family and friends responsibilities too.
I’m telling myself I haven’t dropped the ball (yet), although it seems imminent. Still juggling, albeit precariously. But actually I have dropped it. I dropped me.
Time to do a turn-around. Time to recalibrate and start again.
Breathe, relax, close my eyes and listen to the birds chirping and feel my muscles relax…. I am one with the universe. One consciousness. Something inside so strong
If some people can have Christmas in July, then I seriously can’t see why I can’t have New Year in August 😁
Happy New Year everlybuddy. I hope you have an epic one!
It’s just logical…. to me at least 🤷🏾♀️
Disclaimer: The lyrics below don’t make any sense, but we having a New Years Party so seriously dude, it doesn’t need to make sense? It’s Auld Lang Syne… don’t scrutinise it. Just dance…. (but if it really bothers you then please check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPnhaGWBnys)
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot, and old lang syne?
CHORUS: For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup! and surely I’ll buy mine! And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
We two have run about the slopes, and picked the daisies fine; But we’ve wandered many a weary foot, since auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream, from morning sun till dine; But seas between us broad have roared since auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand my trusty friend! And give me a hand o’ thine! And we’ll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne.
2020, thank you baby … you did your best, appreciated.
The title of this blog post reminds me my dad. Whenever he did a roundup of something he would say “calling all cards, calling all cards”. He most frequently used it to round my siblings (Jason and André) and I up, to get something done – usually to get us up in the morning to go to school or church when we were little. The phrase comes from one of our favourite cartoons, but Dad killed it. Because he knew we loved the cartoon, he used it to wake us – but then the phrase became synonymous with something not too pleasant (i.e. waking up to go to school or church), but thinking back on it now it actually is kinda cool. Check the cartoon out if you have a chance
My reason for ‘calling all cards’ this morning is I need to do a consolidation – another one of my bullet point blog posts because again I got so caught up with Beautiful life that there’s too much to say 🙃🤪🤩🥳🤓🥰😍
My nephew is growing beautifully. An apple of my eye. The love I have for him is like the love I have for my own children. I once heard someone say “Your sister’s child is like your own child”…. now I can confirm, my brother’s child is like my own child!
Successfully completed the academic semester at work – my remote teaching strategy worked. #Relieved. But now the tough bit starts…. I’m teaching two modules this new semester (starts tomorrow). My usual stats module and then another module on Lean Six Sigma that I’m still busy developing. All fun and games. Because it’s new and because we’re still in lockdown, I’m going to be experimenting. I’ve a couple of ‘wild’ ideas …. so I might be called into the principal’s office AGAIN to explain my heretical antics 🙆🏾♀️
I submitted two full papers (only author papers) for a virtual conference happening in November. And I was part of a team who is submitting another full paper for a journal today. Also submitted an abstract for another paper for a virtual conference in December yesterday. I honestly have no idea how that all came together. In fact, the November conference was cancelled when lockdown was first announced, but a few weeks later the organizers decided to have a virtual conference instead. I had set a goal for myself to publish two papers a year so I was super bummed when the conference was cancelled, but I really have started believing that when you don’t resist anything, just fully open-heartedly accept things and work with whatever you have as if you had chosen it, then things work out, which is exactly what happened. And even if they didn’t work out so well, by accepting the whatever fate as if I had chose it, gives me inner peace. I’m finding this is a good way for me to live. Work towards whatever I feel passionate about but Resist nothing. And don’t label anything as good or bad. Just accept it as it is.
Happy to report my minions are doing fine, Josh preparing for matric exams in lockdown and Micaiah is coming out of her funky mood. The start of lockdown was tough for them especially Micaiah (teenage girl missing her friends) but somehow life just seems more pleasant now. We have a great new habit of always eating dinner at the dinner table and very often we end up sitting for up to two hours after dinner just chatting.
We had cat drama. Not even our cat. There’s a stray cat who has been hanging around our house since he was a kitten for about 18 months now. I first saw him when he was about 3months I guess and wondered into my room. We started referring to him as Scout. We probably should not have started feeding him but we did. How do you say no to a hungry critter when you have spare food? Anyway he would come and go. But he was an unneutered tomcat and they are problematic because they fight and mark their territory. So three weeks ago he slipped into our house to have dinner while we were at the dining table having dinner. Micaiah suggested we trap him and I remembered we had a large recovery cage so we managed to do that with very little trouble. I called the AACL and they agreed to neuter him – all went well and four days later we let him go again. We’ve seen him twice since then, but whether he becomes our cat or not now is not important. At least Scout has a better chance of survival now
Then, a note to anyone with a nose piercing, don’t remove your corkscrew nose ring unless you want to take it out uh. I did that and I had to go back to the piercer so that she could put it back in for me. I’m never taking it out again!
Finally, I’ll end with some happy news. Our President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that our whole country is moving to Lockdown Level 2 on Tuesday 17 August 2020, 145 days since the start of lockdown. Suddenly the air feels even lighter, the birds are singing a slightly happier tune today and the sun seems brighter. Yes there is very good reason to smile in SA today
So those are some my random cards ♥️♣️♦️♠️ – things I wanted to note on my blog for the sake of continuity.
But the most important thing I want to say today is …. Can you feel it?.….🦋🦄🐝🌈🌈🌈🍄🌹🌷💐
For my non-SA friends, our president just announced that the sale of alcohol is once again banned in SA.
With the last prohibition something that became wildly popular was homemade pineapple brew. I didn’t make any myself the last time, however one of my close friends did and was rather tasty. This time round I’m gonna give it a try myself…..