Growing fingers and toes

So I had a bit of a heavy heart. Not only heavy … I had a very turbulent heart in December, with ups and downs and much uncertainty.ย  Then in January 2020, the walls came crashing down. And I don’t blog when life feels too heavy, see my blog is a permanent record since I never delete anything – I also prefer not to write about all the nonsense that is going on in my head. However, I am surely pleased to report that as always, the sun has once again emerged from behind dark clouds, and I am simply loving the world and everything (and everyone) in it again. And I am feeling it loving me back ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•.

One on my strategies to overcome the ‘dark times’ is to consciously make an effort to remember the things that I’m grateful for. This actually started way back in 2014, when I was at one of my lowest moments – an unemployed divorcee, mother of two and the only income in my household (plus my longterm boyfriend and I had just broken up). Life looked glum #Understatement. It was pretty darn downright suckish, but in an attempt to do my best to just keep the lights burning in my house, keep my faith and maintain my sanity, I tried writing a gratitude list.

Regardless of my seemingly grim situation there was still so much then that I could be thankful for… my health (I had just gotten successful treatment for a cancer scare – stage 3 pre-cancer lesions), my beautiful minions, my parents, my brothers, my friends…. See A grateful heart

I printed it, framed it and I still keep it on my desk as a reminder of how far I’ve come since those days.

In the months that followed, through only what I can describe as devine grace, I somehow landed my then dream job (through the referral of a friend), which then put me in a position to land my now dream job…. fast forward a few years, I’ve come to the conclusion that making an effort to feel grateful is the best medicine to heal a broken or battered and tired heart.

I know it’s not always easy to feel grateful, especially when your world is falling apart and every moment feels like a struggle. There were days that I could not think of a single damn thing to be happy or grateful about. Those were the days when keeping a journal helped. Even if I did not feel particularly grateful, I wrote about my feelings, acknowledging my pain, but also just writing down at least one thing that I was grateful for.

With practice, today it’s a whole lot easier to feel grateful and joyful. I have so much gratitude for the universe and source. Without much effort, a ton of things spring to mind… I’m very grateful for my health, I am grateful for my beautiful children, grateful for our house albeit in a fairly poor suburb, it’s home to me, my children and two cats. I’m grateful for our car – we have reliable transport. I am grateful, so so very grateful for my parents who are actively involved in our lives. Grateful for my brothers, their wives and Nana. Grateful for my late grandmother, late grandfather and Robin for teaching me how to love all people unconditionally. Even when I don’t approve of someone’s behaviour, I can certainly still love them. I’m grateful to the source for all my friends, colleagues, and extended family for teaching me so many important lessons. I am grateful for the community around me for their support which I often take for granted and also very importantly, I am so grateful for my job. My job is a tremendous source of joy and satisfaction, and I’m even more grateful for all my students who undoubtedly inspire me on a daily basis.

Then tonight… it dawned on me, there’s yet one more thing (rather.. one more little person) that I am grateful for, and that is my little nephew, who is currently still growing fingers and toes in his mommy’s tummy so that he can play with Aunty Bronnie.

Gosh, I almost can’t wait to have proper camp outs in a tent with marshmallows and torches in my lounge with him, like I did with my own children when they a little bit younger (ok… a whole lot me younger). Be warned World, watch your crayons ๐Ÿ–๐Ÿ–๐Ÿ–, because my little nephew and I will be an invincible force that will usurp all your crayons. We will be a super hero power team on a super “top secret mission” to draw pictures on his dad’s walls. And although I will promise his dad and mom ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿพthat he will eat all his vegetables when he is at a sleepover at my house, we will do no such thing! Instead, we will have oreos and chocolates and pringles and soda (bwahahahaha ahahahahah) and watch Dora the Explora and Paw Patrol on Netflix. We will have so much fun!

My meditation teachers tell me to live in the present …. yes I know, but I am excited. So super super very excited to meet this little boy… I’m only human


Two Oceans Half Marathon #10

Ten years ago running became part of my lifestyle. I did my first 10km and 21km race in July 2010.

I am delighted, enthralled, completely stoked and ecstatic that I have just entered my tenth Two Oceans Half Marathon, and I now have an opportunity to finally secure that prized Two Oceans Blue Number.

When a runner completes ten Two Oceans Half Marathons that runner receives a permanent number and entry into the exclusive Blue Number Club at Two Oceans. Technically, for Half Marathons it’s called a Light Blue Number – but it’s still a (shade of) Blue Number.

People have asked me what’s so special about the Blue Number Club, and the truth is nothing earth shattering. You just have automatic preferential entry into the popular race and a special designated zone to have coffee at the Two Oceans Expo.

When I first saw this special designated zone in 2011 and when I was told it was for Blue Number Club members only, that’s when I decided I had to be a Blue Number Club Member! I asked myself “Why couldn’t I also be one?‘ So I’ve worked towards that long-term goal. Interestingly it’s exactly the same motivation for completing a PhD ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ – and also a long-term investment into something that I want too.

So I’m super excited that I’ve been given the chance to finish the ten year goal that I set for myself. …. can hardly wait to say ‘I did it!!!!’ on the 11th April 2020 ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ…

Happy training all my fellow runners ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ

Hope to see you all at the finish line at Oceans next year!

Through the eyes of a new doctor

The world still looks the same. It’s still a beautiful struggle. A beautiful beautiful struggle.

I deliberately haven’t blogged for over a month because I’ve honestly just been adjusting. I’ve been fully immersed in what was going on around me. And there has been a great deal going on.

This is my attempt at a bullet point summary…

1) Emotional experience around getting the doctorate when it struck me that Mrs Cloete had to die for Dr Swartz to be born. It felt raw and I felt hollow. It signalled the commencement of the next stage in my journey – radical self acceptance. The shadow me, is also me.

2) I was a bit overwhelmed initially by all the attention I got when I got the doctorate, however after about two weeks that seemed to settle. Out of pure coincidence three major things culminated in my life more-or-less the same time. Within the space of ten days I heard:

a) I am a finalist for an international e-Learning Excellence Award. I was invited to Denmark to present my case study in November

b) I won the Faculty Teaching Excellence Award in the Engineering Faculty for 2019 at my university

c) I was graduating with the doctorate… and then I decided to graduate wearing white converse sneakers and a VannieKaap t-shirt ( which said “Chise your dreams”. Chise your dreams is a colloquialism in my community which essentially means “Pursue your dreams”.


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3) Two articles about me were published on the university website. Here are the links them andย I’m just grateful.

4) I’ve successfully managed to secure funding via my university to go on a two legged trip. I’ll be presenting a paper in Dublin, Ireland on the 5th November and then participating in the e-Learning Excellence Awards on the 7-8th November in Copenhagen, Denmark. I applied for my visa on Wednesday morning.

5) I’ve been roped in at my university and got involved in the admin side of research in the Faculty. I’m simply LOVING it! I’m learning so much about the operational procedures required. It’s opened up a whole new world and perspective for me. I’ve only supervised students in the past. I’m now seeing the other end of things – understanding the engine that has to operate to get the vehicle from point A to point B. I was also once again asked by senior management to consider applying for the HoD position in my Department. Without a hint of hesitation I gracefully declined. I’m very pro-my university #MyCPUT. But I’m not yet ready for that, and quite frankly I’m not as interested in doing HoD work as I am about getting involved in research. I told my supervisor that I will have the greatest impact if I get involved with supporting the research program in my department. My heart burns to make a difference there – and I will.

6) I received ethical clearance for some more personal research that I want to do. Kinda excited about that.

7) I had a random horrible experience where I was ambushed during one of my lessons. A group of protesting students entered my class and violently disrupted it. In summary it was a traumatic experience and fortunately things did not turn out worse than what they did. All I want to do right now is get my students ready for final exams

8) Things are going ok with my own students. My stats students and BTech research students are managing. My MEng students are making good progress.

9) I’m the proud new owner of a MacBook Pro! Finally! And switching has been so easy. I’m simply loving it. The machine is so intuitive. It’s super fast too. What a pleasure. #NewToy

10) And finally…. just to remind me that as much as things might seem different, they really are still the same, my Bella reminds me of the real hierarchy in the world (and in my household) everyday. She is still the queen of everyone!


And that’s all folks

Excited much?

It’s two nights before graduation and the most common question I’ve been asked this week is ‘Are you excited yet?

Interesting, I am starting to feel a little excited, however up until this evening I wasn’t really excited.

I don’t think I should compare my graduation experiences however I cannot help remembering what it felt when I graduated with my BTech Quality degree. For me, that graduation was a monumental achievement. A bachelors degree, something that I deeply desired.

It felt like I reached a major milestone in my life. A distinguishing attribute. But, if being a milestone wasn’t enough, there was more. When I started studying towards that degree in 2009, I also had just started my new life. Post-divorce life. It was the rebirth of me, and along with that came many new things including a set of new ‘university friends’ – my Quality friends, because we all studied BTech Quality together. Together, we shared the challenges, trials and tribulations but also development and the highlights that came with being part time students.

A truly great bunch of people who are incredibly dear to me today. Claudine, Shaun, Hein, Ronelle, Angelo and I fostered true comradery. And since graduation, we’ve managed to maintain fairly close contact. So BTech graduation was extra special because it was something that we all did together.

But wait there’s more….. not only did I graduate with my dear friends on 15 April 2011, but I also graduated with my baby brother (who completed his BTech in Mechanical Engineering when I did Quality). #Priceless. We both were part time students at the same University, in the same Faculty in the same years. And so we both were conferred our respective degrees on the same night. It was a double celebration for my family.

The run-up to that graduation was super awesome off the hook epic. I clearly remember how elated I was at the time. A totally magnificent night. One of my most cherished memories.

So I’m happy about the doctorate graduation. Yes I am indeed, happy and grateful. But only tonight, for the first time since it was confirmed that I’m graduating, did I started feeling a little bit excited while I was packing my bag for the upcoming trip,

My excitement might gain momentum when my Dad and I get on that plane tomorrow morning and make our way to Durban – we’ll see. Although I’m not crazy excited (yet) like with BTech, what I do know is that this is a good feeling. I’m closing my eyes, opening my heart and taking it all in.

Anniversary vibes

Five years and one day ago….My first blog post

My very first blog post offered an explanation for the name of my blog “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants“. In that blog post, I openly declared my seemingly bold intention (at the time) to pursue a PhD.

Now, the tiniest smidgen more than half a decade later, I opened an email informing me that my successful PhD examination results were officially ratified by the Higher Degrees Committee (HDC) of the university. My Dear Giants, today I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for allowing me to stand on your shoulders. Namastรฉ

#Moment #Connected #Grateful