Sunday, December 23, 2012

New Christmas

It is just a few days before Christmas and I am finding myself desperately trying to “feel like Christmas”. Between our wedding, summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and South Africa’s take on Christmas (but mostly the wedding), it has not felt like Christmas at all. I barely got to celebrate Thanksgiving, which is always the Christmas kick-off for me, so perhaps that’s where the downfall began.  

I also have found being married to be full of surprising transitions; notwithstanding, Christmas traditions. A few days ago, husband and I went to buy our Christmas tree. They do not have real pine trees here in South Africa; so we bought a cute (and by cute I mean small) fake one. We also had to buy decorations. I think I took for granted that every year there are the same decorations at home; the same candles, the same ornaments, the same snowman holding a sign that says “Think Snow” – but now we have to buy our own, new ones. How can this be home-y and traditional?! I was getting quite emotional over this.

And then I read the blog of a friend who, after being married six years, actually shared similar sentiments. What I found so encouraging (and a good reminder!) is that we (mostly me) need to enjoy creating our own traditions! (duh!) I knew this; but somehow in the hustle and bustle of transitioning to married life, I forgot.  I want our first Christmas to be wonderful and memorable, and I want us to create our own traditions that our kids will one day feel that it doesn’t feel like Christmas without. And I want husband to feel like it’s Christmas for him as well – which means pulling in SA traditions. (pray for me!) J 

So here are a few ideas I’ve collected, or movies we will definitely be watching. What are some traditions you’ve built up over the years? If you’re married, what was your first Christmas like?


Here’s to a wonderful, festive, and new Christmas – wherever you are in the world!

Xo
Ellie
How adorable is this?! And they have popsicle sticks in SA!



My family has always watched this on Christmas Eve and last year, my husband (then boyfriend), got to join us for it. I think this is one tradition we'll be keeping.


Christmas crackers! My family never did these growing up, but started to in the past couple years when my aunt would bring them over from England. But here in SA they are a must. They come with all sorts of goodies inside - and for all budgets. We already bought ours - the least expensive ones we could find. :)



I was quite happy to learn that the "gammon" requested by my husband for Christmas dinner is basically just ham! I think I can manage this.



I'm so blessed to have a husband that understands American humor. He cried laughing the first time he saw this. We will definitely we keeping this as a Christmas Day tradition.




Friday, December 21, 2012

The newly wed


Well…
 
It has been far too long since I’ve blogged (and I was ok with that – I decided during our engagement that I would just put blogging on hold till after we got married) and I have to admit: it is a bit difficult to get back into. Difficult because of the time and effort it takes (or at least that I want to put into it), but also because there’s lots of craziness to write about and catch up on.

The past six months have been wonderful, a blur, exhausting, fun, emotional, and everything else you can think of (including a bit nauseating at times – but that may or may not have had anything to do with life circumstances. Ever heard of a bride who was told to gain weight?). And the past two weeks have been amazing, emotional, and a transition.

I’ll try to provide a bit of a catch up on the past six months, but mostly, I'll just have to go from here.

I am a newly married (to the most wonderful man, who happens to have an irresistible accent!), 24-year old, American, living in South Africa. I love God, my husband, traveling, writing, baking, Moleskin products, and other things. I hope you like some of these, or my life musings, and would like to follow along – I tend to think my life is pretty extraordinary.
 
Until next time when I should have wedding photos(!)~
 
The newly wed,
Elizabeth Fulton




 
 
 
 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Wedding website



It took a while to get all the writing and pictures together, but here is our wedding website! I decided I'm not going to post much about our wedding until after we're married, to keep things a suprise. :) And I already told Gordon that one of my post-wedding-day goals is to get serious about the blogging. I admitted that right now, it's just really hard. Between working all day, planning a wedding, and other activities, I really am not/cannot put in the effort I want to here. But I will after. :) (That is not to say I won't blog while we're engaged, but I'm not making any promises to be incredibly consistent.)

In the mean time, please check out our website. Any wedding tips, suggetions, ideas to share?






Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I'm getting married!

On 9 June, my wonderful and amazing South African boyfriend proposed to me! And I said yes. :)

We are getting married on 7 December, in Johannesburg and cannot wait! Hopefully this will motivate me to keep up with blogging. :) Here are a few snap shots from the big moment!
















Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hooray for rejection!



Since I was quite young, I have wanted to work at the White House. I kind of have wanted to be the president at some points too. Then I decided it would be ideal to be the First Lady because then I could be as involved or not in political stuff as I wanted, but I could still help plan and attend all the parties! I say this to emphasis my desire and efforts, consequently, to intern at the White House. (Logical step: intern < president. Obvi.)

I first applied during my junior year in college: didn't get it. I then applied last year for this summer (or winter, for you southern hemisphere-ans): again, didn't get it. The first time I was rejected, I was devastated. I could not understand how God could not see that as the best situation for me - I certainly could. I eventually pulled myself together and got on board with God's plans.

This second time, I honestly wasn't sure what I wanted. Since moving to South Africa, I have fallen in love with the most wonderful man; but visiting the States in December put me in utter turmoil about whether I really wanted to stay here or not. I prayed that God would move my heart completely in one direction - whether that was to stay here in SA or to move back; I didn't want to be unsure about either decision. So, I got an email in February saying that I did not get a place in the summer internship, but please apply to the fall internship. What was this? God telling me to try again or just a standard email that some people sitting in the White House send to everyone who applies? Who knows, but I applied again.

During the time between when I applied for this fall (or, spring) and waited for a reply, God certainly changed my heart. I just fell more and more in love with Gordon and found myself not even wanting to get the internship! What was going on?! I just didn't want to have to say no to an opportunity like that if it was offered to me, because I had decided I didn't want it anymore.

And just yesterday, I found out, for a third time, that I did not get accepted into the White House internship program.

Hooray! I laugh at myself even as I write that, because I cannot believe all that God has done in my life to bring me to the point where, I am so excited that I am not going to be interning in the White House. If I have the opportunity one day to work in the White House, I would still love to (at least I say that now). But now, I am overjoyed that I get to stay here in South Africa with the best boyfriend in the whole world and that I have a God who knows what I want even more than I do!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April

Happy Worker's Day! Or at least I think that's what the holiday is today, here in South Africa. Friday was Freedom Day. We've had, I think, six holidays here in the month of April, but before you think we're completely spoiled...this will be our last one until September. So, I have already taken advantage of it by sleeping in and now the rest of the day will be spent sitting here and seeing The Avengers, all with the boyfriend. :)

Sometimes, living on the other side of the world is still very weird to me. It's weird that we're in autumn while the States are in spring. It's weird that I have the day off but no one outside of this country does. It's weird that a lot of my friends are looking forward to summer vacation and I'm...well, not. (But that probably has more to do with having a grown up job than anything.) Although I do love having a grown up job, it has been hard getting my life in order; meaning: balancing work and sleep and church activities and down time, etc. I'm getting there...this last day off is helping substantially. Part of getting there is getting back into my blogging. Not just writing consistently but making it something that people want to read.

Any suggestions? What do you like to read about? What's something that you think is missing in the blogging world? Or what would you like to hear more about from South Africa?

I thought I'd leave with some photos of our preteen group from church at Kids Club. A few weeks ago, the preteens gave out packs of chips and sweets for the kids. It was so sweet!














Monday, April 30, 2012

Londontown





I found this wonderful article on the New York Times, all about London! From a Londoner's perspective. I have yet to spend more than 12 hours in the city...although I've been there twice; both times I had really long lay-overs and got to venture out of Heathrow. This was the most recent trip there. But I am completely in love with the city! The antiquity mixed with modernity, the fashion, the history, the food, and (although I love languages) they speak English! (just makes it easier to adapt quickly.)

Have you been to London before? The UK? What is your favorite thing about it?



My London, and Welcome to It


By A.A. GILL

IF you’ve saved this article for your long-planned trip to London, and you’re now reading it for the third time, circling Heathrow, well, I’m sorry. You’re probably still up there because the queue at passport control has become mutinous. They’re snaking out onto the runways — grim, silently furious visitors, unable to use their phones, forbidden from showing anything but abject acquiescence to the blunt instrument that is the immigration officer at the distant desk.

I always feel bad about the queues at Heathrow as I walk to the coming home rather than the going abroad line. And as you stand there, for hours, looking at the two groups — the indigenous and the visitors — you’ll notice something. It’s a good thing. A heartwarming, little consolation thing. They look exactly the same. There is no difference between you and us, not in color, ethnicity, dress or demeanor. Those who live in London and those who visit are exactly the same.

In half my lifetime this city has become a homogenous, integrated, international place of choice rather than birth. Not without grit and friction, but amazingly polyglot and variegated. I travel a lot, and this must be the most successful mongrel casserole anywhere.

Every national team that comes to compete will find a welcoming committee from their homes. London is the sixth largest French city in the world. The Wolseley, the cafe where I often eat, and where I wrote a book about breakfast, has 24 nationalities working in it, from every continent bar the Antarctic. They’re also all Londoners. And that’s a good thing. Although I understand that, as a visitor, it’s not necessarily what you want to come and see — this department store of imported humanity. You want stiff-lipped men in bowler hats and cheeky cockneys with their thumbs in their waistcoats and fish on their heads.

I’m sorry, but they’re not here anymore. No city’s exported image lags so far behind its homegrown veracity than London’s, so let’s start with what you’re not going to find. We’re all out of cheeky cockneys, pearly kings and their queens, and costermongers. You’re not going to find ’60s psychedelia and the Beatles in Carnaby Street. There aren’t any punks under 50 on the King’s Road; there are no more tweedy, mustachioed, closeted gay writers in Bloomsbury, no Harry Potter at King’s Cross. There aren’t men in white tie, smoking cigars outside Pall Mall clubs and there isn’t any fog, but you can find Sherlock Holmes’s house on Baker Street.

A lot of London’s image never was. There never was a Dickensian London, or a Shakespearean London, or a swinging London. Literary London is best looked for in books, and in old bookshops like Sotheran’s on Sackville Street. One of the small joys that’s easy to miss in London is the blue plaques on buildings. These are put up to commemorate the famous on the houses they lived in. You won’t have heard of a lot of them, but some come as a surprise. There are quite a few Americans and some amusing neighbors. Jimi Hendrix lived next door to Handel, in space if not in time.

London is a city of ghosts; you feel them here. Not just of people, but eras. The ghost of empire, or the blitz, the plague, the smoky ghost of the Great Fire that gave us Christopher Wren’s churches and ushered in the Georgian city. London can see the dead, and hugs them close. If New York is a wise guy, Paris a coquette, Rome a gigolo and Berlin a wicked uncle, then London is an old lady who mutters and has the second sight. She is slightly deaf, and doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

Trying to be a tourist at home is tricky. It’s a good discipline, and rather disappointing. I know as little as you do about being a visitor in this town where I have lived since I was a year old, having been born in Edinburgh. We all look at the crowds of tourists on the Mall and think: What is it you see? What do you get out of this? Like every Londoner I know, I’ve never seen the changing of the guard. It’s an inconvenient traffic snarl-up every weekday morning.

With more guilt, I realize that London may be a great metropolis, but it’s not very nice to people. We’re not friendly. Not that we’re rude, like the Parisians with their theatrical and frankly risible haughtiness; nor do we have New Yorkers’ shouty impatience. Londoners are just permanently petulant, irritated. I think we wake up taking offense. All those English teacup manners, the exaggerated please and thank yous, are really the muzzle we put on our short tempers. There are, for instance, a dozen inflections of the word sorry. Only one of them means “I’m sorry.”

So what you shouldn’t expect is to get on with the natives, or for them to take you to their bosoms, or to invite you to their homes, or to buy you a drink. They may, occasionally, if backed against a wall, be rudimentarily helpful, but mostly they’ll ignore you with the huffing sighs of people in a hurry. When you get lost, you’ll stay lost.

We have, collectively, osmotically, decided that we hate the Olympics. It’s costing too much, it’s causing an enormous amount of trouble and inconvenience, it’s bound to put up prices, make it impossible to find a taxi, but most of all, one thing this city doesn’t need is more gawping, milling, incontinently happy tourists.

On the bus recently a middle-aged, middle-class, middleweight woman peered out of the window at the stalled traffic and furiously bellowed; “Oh my God, is there no end to these improvements?” It was the authentic voice of London, and I thought it could be the city’s motto, uttered at any point in its history, embroidered in gold braid on the uniforms of every petty official.

I recently interviewed our mayor, Boris Johnson. He may be the ex-mayor by the time you land. We have an election coming up. We hate the imposition of that, as well, and all the possible improvements it might bring. I told him I was writing this piece, and asked what message he’d like to send, fraternally, to the people of America, should they be optimistic enough to visit. “Ah, ooh, well, this is very important,” he said with a faintly Churchillian inflection. (He was actually born in New York.) “Um, visitors should hire a bike and ride through the parks.” The vehicles are sometimes referred to as Boris bikes after him, and have been an unexpectedly wobbly and careening success — easy to get, easy to use and a really easy way to end up seeing how brilliant the National Health Service is.

The parks, though, are wonderful, with a wildness that is artifice. Like the English, they appear casual, but involve a great deal of work. Go to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, where Peter Pan comes from. You should see his statue on the banks of the Serpentine. One of the most charming sculptures in any city, it was made by Sir George Frampton, paid for by J. M. Barrie and erected in secret overnight so that children out with their nannies would think it had arrived by magic.

London is one of the finest cities for public statuary. The great and the eternally forgotten glare down at you from horses and morality. When you get to Trafalgar Square, as undoubtedly you will, you’ll look up at Nelson’s Column, where Adm. Horatio Nelson peers down the Mall, either into the bedroom windows of Buckingham Palace, or to review his fleet; there are small ships on top of all the lampposts.

You might also like to pay your respects to George Washington outside the nearby National Gallery to pay your penance to fine art. He was a gift from Virginia, and stands on imported American earth because he said that he’d never set foot in London again. And don’t miss Charles I on the west side of the square. This is the finest equestrian statue in the city. Just down the road in the Banqueting House, you can see where his head was cut off, and also the brilliant Rubens painting of the Apotheosis of James I.

The Thames is London’s great secret, hidden in full view. We do very little with it, or on it, except complain how difficult it is to get over and under. It is the reason London is here at all, but the people stand aloof because we have long memories and longer noses. The Thames was so disgustingly noxious and pestilent that Parliament would abandon the Palace of Westminster when the weather got too hot in the summer, because the smell became dangerous.

London was the biggest city in the world, and the river was the biggest sewer on earth. The Victorians finally built an underground sewerage system that was so efficient we still use it. But they also made the Embankment, which lifts the city above the river. Getting access isn’t easy, but if you only do one thing while you’re here, you should take a boat from the center of town and go either downstream to the maritime museum at Greenwich or up toward Oxford and get off at Kew Gardens and Syon House.

The river is the best way to see the city. London glides past you like human geology. It is not a particularly impressive city seen from above; not like Paris or New York, although you can go up to Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath and look back, and it has a dreamy loveliness brought on by distance. And Wordsworth said that earth had nothing so fair to show as the view of the morning from Westminster Bridge. Two hundred years later he wouldn’t recognize it, but it’s still pretty impressive.

The great problem for visitors to London is size. This is a big place. It’s not a walkable city; there are great walks but you can’t stride from everywhere to anywhere. And it’s easy to lose any sense of where you are in relation to everything else. So it’s best to do what the natives do, and think of London as a loose federation of villages, states and principalities, and take them in one at a time. The oldest bits are in the east. The Tower of London and the Roman Wall mark the beginning of the city. To the east are the docks and the working classes, and what is now the trendiest and most youthful, fashionable bit of London. As the city grew rich, it grew west. Mayfair, Chelsea, Kensington, Notting Hill are mostly Victorian.

You will do all the big-ticket tourist things. I doubt there’s anything I can say that will convince you that the best way to see Tower Bridge is on a postcard, and that the Tower of London is a big, dull box packed with Italian schoolchildren, or that Harrods is much the same. But while the living Londoners are to be avoided, the dead ones should be sought out. St. Paul’s Cathedral is London’s parish church, the single greatest building in Britain, designed by Christopher Wren. It’s light, civilized, rational and humane — everything Londoners aren’t. It has monuments to J. M. W. Turner, the Duke of Wellington and, of course, John Donne, who preached there. Behind the altar is a little memorial chapel and stained-glass window dedicated to America and the help it gave London and the nation in World War II.

Westminster Abbey is the great church of state. It has the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, the Coronation Chair, which is surprisingly Ikea and covered in graffiti from Westminster schoolboys, and there is Poets’ Corner, the marbled hall of fame of Britishness. Just down the street from St. Paul’s there is another Wren church, St. Bride’s, by tradition and practice the journalists’ church. Dryden and Pepys were parishioners. Above the font there is a little shelf, and on it the bust of a girl. She is Virginia Dare. Her parents were married here and then emigrated to the Roanoke Colony. On Aug. 18, 1587, Virginia arrived, the first child of English parents to be born in America. No one knows what happened to her, but this is an immensely touching little memorial in the Old World to the promise of the New. Not one Londoner in 1,000 knows who Virginia was, or that she’s there.

There are thousands of these odd moments in London. You will discover your own, like the alley that has the original Embassy of Texas in it. It’s like opening the drawers in an old house, where so much was put away for safekeeping and then forgotten.

Of course, you should go to the pub. Like the bistros of Paris, the pubs of London are having a hard time of it. Their role as the working classes’ living room can no longer compete with cable TV and supermarket beer. But still there are plenty of beautiful and elegiac pubs, and you should come upon them serendipitously. But I might commend the Mayflower on the river in the East End. This is older than the ship that shares its name, which set off from here. And the Windsor Castle in Kensington is a pretty West London pub. If the weather is fine, it has a charming garden.

I suppose I ought to recommend places to eat, as London has such a Babel of palates and lexicon of digestions. It boasts the most diverse cuisines of any city. But given that you didn’t come all this way just to eat Chinese or Moroccan, you can also get good English. It will be meaty and Victorian, long on pork and the extremities of cows, pigs and offal. Three I recommend. Anchor & Hope near the Old Vic theater on the Cut, has great food in an energetically noisy pub. Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill off Piccadilly, and St. John, a restaurant that has become a point of pilgrimage for visiting chefs. And you really should eat Indian here. Curry is England’s favorite dinner, and our national dish.

Plenty of people come to shop, but it’s expensive, and Bond Street and Sloane Street are pretty much what you’d find at home. It won’t have escaped your notice that the avaricious first world has become a branded and cloned airport lounge.

One thing that is singularly British, and specifically London, is men’s tailoring. This is where the suit was invented, and where it is still made better than anywhere. Savile Row is a very London experience, satisfyingly and shockingly costly, but also dangerously addictive. I’d recommend Brian Russell on Sackville Street, which is now run by Fadia Aoun, a rare female tailor.

You need to see London at night, particularly the theaters. But not just the night life. London itself looks best in the dark. It’s a pretty safe city, and you can walk in most places after sunset. It has a sedate and ghostly beauty. In the crepuscular kindness, you can see not just how she is, but how she once was, the layers of lives that have been lived here. Somebody with nothing better to do worked out that for every one of us living today, there are 15 ghosts. In most places you don’t notice them, but in London you do. The dead and the fictional ghosts of Sherlock Holmes and Falstaff, Oliver Twist, Wendy and the Lost Boys, all the kindly, garrulous ghosts that accompany you in the night. The river runs like dark silk through the heart of the city, and the bridges dance with light. There are corners of silence in the revelry of the West End and Soho, and in the inky shadows foxes and owls patrol Hyde Park, which is still illuminated by gaslight.

Now the Olympics has come and dragged us all into the bright light, and a lot of attention is being given to London, and we’re not used to it. We’re not good at showing off. We’re not a good time to be had by all, we’re not an easy date. London isn’t a party animal by nature, it doesn’t join in or have a favorite karaoke song. It does, though, have a wicked, dry and often cruel sense of humor. It is clever, literate and dramatic. It is private and taciturn, a bit of a bore, and surprisingly sentimental. And it doesn’t make friends quickly, is awkward around visitors. We will be pleased when all the fuss and nosiness has gone away.

So come, by all means, but don’t expect the kindness of strangers unless you decide to stay, in which case you’ll be very welcome indeed. There’s always room for one more on top, which is what they used to say on the buses when the buses had conductors, which they don’t anymore. And that’s another bloody improvement.

A. A. GILL is a contributing editor for Vanity Fair and a features writer for The Sunday Times of London. His upcoming book about America will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2013.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

On writing



I really love writing. I always have, but I don't think I realized just how much I do until I left college...and kind of wish I had gotten a degree in journalism or something. Oh well. So here is a fabulous piece by C.S. Lewis on writing. He always tried to respond individually to his fans, which I love. Courtesy of my new favorite blog, this is what he wrote to a young girl in 1956:

The Kilns,
Headington Quarry,
Oxford
26 June 1956

Dear Joan–

Thanks for your letter of the 3rd. You describe your Wonderful Night v. well. That is, you describe the place and the people and the night and the feeling of it all, very well — but not the thing itself — the setting but not the jewel. And no wonder! Wordsworth often does just the same. His Prelude (you're bound to read it about 10 years hence. Don't try it now, or you'll only spoil it for later reading) is full of moments in which everything except the thing itself is described. If you become a writer you'll be trying to describe the thing all your life: and lucky if, out of dozens of books, one or two sentences, just for a moment, come near to getting it across.

About amn't I, aren't I and am I not, of course there are no right or wrong answers about language in the sense in which there are right and wrong answers in Arithmetic. "Good English" is whatever educated people talk; so that what is good in one place or time would not be so in another. Amn't I was good 50 years ago in the North of Ireland where I was brought up, but bad in Southern England. Aren't I would have been hideously bad in Ireland but very good in England. And of course I just don't know which (if either) is good in modern Florida. Don't take any notice of teachers and textbooks in such matters. Nor of logic. It is good to say "more than one passenger was hurt," although more than one equals at least two and therefore logically the verb ought to be plural were not singular was!

What really matters is:– 

1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn't mean anything else.

2. Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don'timplement promises, but keep them.

3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean "More people died" don't say "Mortality rose."

4. In writing. Don't use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was "terrible," describe it so that we'll be terrified. Don't say it was "delightful"; make us say "delightful" when we've read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, "Please will you do my job for me."

5. Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.

Thanks for the photos. You and Aslan both look v. well. I hope you'll like your new home.

With love
yours
C.S. Lewis


I love how you must just be sure and confident of what you are trying to say. And I just love adjectives! Make some "say 'delightful' when [they] read the description".

Are you a writer? If so, what do you write? How often?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

One month

Omg, it's been a month. I knew I was slacking terribly here, but I had no idea it was that bad! I'm sorry! I'm still trying to find a balance between work and life...meaning: a balance between doing things after work but still needing to go to bed early and have some time to relax. Most of the time I've ended up wearing myself out. This is honestly the first night in weeks where I did nothing after work but come home and do whatever I want; which has included cleaning my room, uploading pictures, trying to figure out to do my taxes (if you live abroad you automatically get an extension! woohoo! Just in case you were wondering why I'm still doing them after 15 April), and blogging.

Here are a few pictures from the past month. None of them are edited (which I try to always do)...another reflection of how busy my life has been...but I am slowly working my way to normalcy and doing the things I love to do (ie: blogging). There's a lot of boyfriend here, hope that's ok with you. I do love him a lot. :)




Boyfriend and I went and saw Phantom of the Opera together; this was my outfit. 


My surprise birthday breakfast! I really was completely surprised! 


Girls movie night for my birthday. And, I have bangs! (kind of)


I do love trees.

Boyfriend's birthday braai (aka, an African bbq).


My outfit:
Shirt: Gap
Skirt: Banana Republic (on an amazing sale!)
Boots: South African boutique
Boyfriend: just adorable, as always.










Tuesday, March 13, 2012

24



Tomorrow is my birthday.

This picture is from my birthday last year: I had been in South Africa just over a month and was still trying to get my bearings. It really is amazing to me to look back on just one year and see what all transpired: good things, hard things, sad things, wonderful things! I know have a "real" job here in South Africa and basically live in here. That is crazy.

This was also my birthday last year...with my now boyfriend. :)

I'll be 24 tomorrow. Sounds like a good number to me. I think it'll be a good year. :)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Being human is cool



So, one of the reason I've been having a hard time getting going on my blogging again is because I wanted to have a clear direction and purpose for it before I just started writing. But that's proving difficult. And more because life is busy and tiring. But I'm trying. One thing that I want to write about is current events/life. So on that note, I just want to show you a picture I found on the front of the New York Times.

I love the news. Even though a lot of it can be negative and sad, I love knowing what's going on and even the sad the stuff at least makes me feel human. This picture is of an elderly Afghan man after an American citizen opened fire in Afghanistan. An American citizen. Not an Afghan person or a member of the Taliban. And in Afghanistan. Doesn't that surprise you? Americans are often so afraid of people in other countries and what dangers there may be, yet our own citizens are just as vulnerable to...to hurt, pain, suffering, anger, etc. What made that US service member open fire? I don't know, but that Afghan man is now experiencing the same sadness and loss any of us can feel on a given day. So whether it's deep loss or great joys, we're all the same. Isn't that cool?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Change is coming.

It's March.

It's spring (well, fall here).

I have a job (7-4pm, yikes).

I turn 24 in 13 days.

Things are changing. I promise.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Behind



I love travel. I love everything to do with it: packing, flying, shopping, learning, eating, seeing, hearing, smelling, doing. I don't know what it is, but I could never get enough of visiting other countries. In the past few years, I realized that one my most favorite things to do for travel gifts is use pictures that I personally have taken from my adventures. It's personal, unique and allows me to ever better my photography skills. LonelyPlanet is an excellent travel website that holds a photo competition each week based on a different theme. I just loved the picture above which was the winner for the theme "behind". Quite a different interpretation than what I would have thought of. If you want to participate, click here.

What are some of your favorite travel photos?

Also, LonelyPlanet is also doing a really easy and exciting contest to win a trip to Morocco! I'm so in!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I work in Africa



I got a JOB!! In AFRICA!! God is so good!

It's official: I got the letter of offer today and I start working on Tuesday, Valentine's Day, for a company that is one of the largest IT distributors in Southern Africa. I'll be working in the marketing department, which isn't quite international relations, but I really am so excited about this! I started getting cabin fever to the max with nothing to do the past few weeks, so this is God's perfect timing. I'm so thankful. :)

Now, what to wear...

J.Crew - Love this! So classy and timeless.


Scoopcharlotte.com - Love this too! Fashionable, but still means business.


J.Crew - The power suit. I have looked forward to the day when I have a "real" job, solely so I could rationalize buying a J.Crew suit.





Monday, February 6, 2012

Things are happening!

Hire me!
Top: Francesca's Collections. Jeans: The Limited (via TJ Maxx!). Shoes: Target

Ring: My own; a family heirloom.




While being home and back in the States was so wonderful, I did have a slight melt down about my future: I have no idea what's in it! When I say that out loud it sounds silly: no one ever knows what is in their future, duh! But I really had no idea. Did I want to live in South Africa another year? Did I want to stay in the States? I have no job!
No money (well, not a lot)! My boyfriend is from South Africa, I'm from America. That makes things complicated (oh I love references to "The Holiday"! Here's why.) 

But, it is now the sixth of February and I am in back in South Africa. After continuing my job search both here and in the States, I had an interview here! Someone wanted to talk to ME about a JOB! It is probably the most exciting thing that has happened in a long time. The interview went great and I am anxiously awaiting a proposal from the company and a start date. Hallelujah! I'm so thankful that God just works things out, especially when we don't know what we want or what to do.

More on the job soon, but I wanted to tell you all about that to encourage those of you out there who find yourself in a similar position. Yes, it feels like you will never find a job; that you will spend your entire life just looking for a job. But do not fear - you won't! Eventually, you will get a job. It WILL happen. :)

In the mean time, do things that continue to inspire you and excite you: like riding a scooter around South Beach. That's what I did. :)











Sunday, February 5, 2012

Life is scary





So I have been promising updates on my life and I wrote out a bunch that I told myself I was going to post days ago. Obvi, that didn't happen. I was going to post them right now, but this weekend provided some very scary and blog-worthy happenings that took precedence. 


Friday evening, two families that I'm close to here in Joburg (and who live a minute from where I live!) were having dinner together at one of their homes, when three or four men, all with guns (apparently one had a machine gun), broke into the home. They told everyone to lay on the ground while they took their wedding rings, wallets, phones, and whatever else they could find. They also kicked a number of them and knocked a wardrobe on top of one of the fathers. They were trying to find the safe, but this family doesn't own a safe. Thankfully, that was the worst of it. Aside from a few bruises and being shaken up, everyone is ok. Please pray for all of them, especially the kids - for a quick (mostly emotional) recovery. 


That next morning, though, the neighbors next to my house were also broken into! While they were home! The perpetrators were never actually seen in that case. 


Needless to say, it has been an overwhelming and scary weekend. I constantly have to remind myself to pray, "get a grip", and think logically. I feel very safe where I live and the family I'm with has almost every safety precaution you can have here. I also have a wonderful boyfriend who is willing (and has) followed me home at night to make sure I get home safely. All of this, however, just reminds me that the world we live in is not, to simply put it, nice. It is dangerous, anywhere you live, and we all will go through hard and trying times. There is nothing certain accept God. I can't explain why things like what happened this weekend happen, but I still trust that God is good and merciful.


It also makes me grateful for Skittles and happy, kiddie movies like "Finding Nemo" that take my mind off of things. :)


Whew. Well, that was my weekend; how was yours?