Monday, May 29, 2006

Horror Movies 101

I love watching horror movies, purely because they give me the kakkest nightmares ever. However, of late, few horror movies have been successful at scaring me. Watching blonde bimbos with big boobs getting hacked by a serial killer make me laugh hysterically more than anything else. And most offerings have become so predictable that you know the ending before the first five minutes are up.

Last night I went to the drive-in with the gang to see X-Men 3, cool movie, but yes, not a horror movie. The second one though, The Hills Have Eyes, definitely was. I had no clue what this one was all about but I was quite keen on finding out. The plot seemed a bit far-fetched, as most horror movies tend to be, but it was entertaining enough. Sure, eventually it became very predictable but it managed to score an 8 out of 10 on the scare-o-meter. I was sitting in the car with my three pastor’s daughters, practically on the edge of the seat, with my blanket almost covering my eyes. Now you know how these movies have one of those super-scary moments, full of suspense, when you know something is about to happen but you just don’t know when? This one was so successful that it made me and two of the girls scream at the top of our lungs. I hadn’t done that in ages. I felt really silly afterwards, but hey, any movie that can do that to me deserves a high score!

The movie actually reminded me a lot of another horror movie, “Wrong Turn”. Similar plot, similar characters, same scare factor. It had its funny moments (the hillbillies yelping like hungry schoolkids) but it scared me nonetheless. I am convinced these kind of people do exist. That is why I refuse to visit America, lol.

Now, having watched tons of horror movies, I have learned several things from them and have come up with a survival kit for these dumb characters that get themselves into sticky situations:

1. the lucky ones die first (this is actually a phrase from “The Hills Have Eyes” but in this movie, the film actually does not follow this rule because, in my opinion, the first one to die has the most gruesome death: he gets burnt alive on a pyre. Yikes)

2. the stupid bimbos always die (do you honestly think the smart chick is gonna get hacked? Be serious now)

3. Never take a short cut. It always leads straight to the killer’s home.

4.Always, and I mean always, look behind you!

5. Don’t leave the women alone. The killer will go for them at once.

6. If you need to split up, never go alone. Pair up.

7. If your dog/cat/gerbil has run off, let him be. You will end up dying for your dog/cat/gerbil, which is probably already dead anyway.

8. If you go into a stranger’s house, don’t start going through their stuff. They will kill you just for doing that.

9. If you are running away from the killer, look where you are going and don’t look back! You will trip and fall. And for the love of cream cheese, don’t pause and see if he is still following you, cause he is right behind you.

10. Don’t go near dark, secluded places.

11. Don’t get into a stranger’s car, the killer is waiting for you in the backseat.

12. If you must have sex with your horny girl/boyfriend, don’t do it in a strange place, wait till you get home, otherwise you will be the first victims.

13. At the end, when you kill the villain/killer, don’t walk away, and for freaksakes, don’t drop your weapon next to the body. He/she always resurrects for one final showdown, which could be to the hero(ine)’s detriment.

14. And last but not least, it’s never over, even after the credits roll. There WILL be a sequel.

Friday, May 26, 2006

25 de Mayo

Yesterday was a public holiday in Argentina. For the life of me I cannot remember what it commemorates as it is just known as 25 de Mayo (25th of May). My knowledge of Argentinean history is so bad that I am actually ashamed to admit it. All I know is that 25 de Mayo is also the name of the small town where my mother was born.

Last night my family and I were invited by the Argentinean Embassy to celebrate this day. We haven’t done something as a family outside the house in ages, so it was nice to see everyone kitted out and having a good time. After work we had to race in time to get to Pretoria by 18h00. We thought we’d be able to avoid most of the traffic if we left before 17h00 but still managed to hit quite a bit of it. But at least we made it in time.

Without trying to be biased, I must say that the Argentinean Embassy has the most beautiful residence in Pretoria. It literally looks like a mansion, painted in white, with a vast beautiful garden. Makes me think I should become the next ambassador! The function turned out to be quite an official event (thank god I was dressed decent) as the house was filled with delegates from several embassies, all decked out in their official uniforms. There were several South Americans, of course, South African representatives as well as people from Romania, Russia and other parts of the world.

When the string quartet started to play the national anthem I had to fight back the tears. I don’t know if it was the three brandy and cokes that I had already downed, but every time I hear the anthem I get all nostalgic and homesick. And it is such a beautiful anthem. When we moved to South Africa I never, not for one second, thought that this would be a permanent move. I always thought we’d go back in a few years. Sure, our life in South Africa is much better than it’d ever be in Argentina. We have better opportunities here. But most of our family is back home, and seeing as we only get to see them when opportunity strikes (which is normally every 10 years or so), we obviously miss them and our country a lot.

This year it is my parents turn to visit Argentina. As a present for all that they have done for us, my brothers and I are paying for their tickets so that they can go back for two months to see everyone. The main event will be my grandfather’s 95th birthday. He is my mom’s father and the only grandparent I have left. For his age, the old man has amazing stamina still left in him. I admire that.

So, I still don’t know what the 25th of May is all about in Argentina, but at least, in my heart, I consider myself a patriot, who happens to live in South Africa. Te quiero Argentina.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Busy Day

Today has been one helluva busy day trying to get all my work out of the way before I go in for my op next week. I basically have 2 days left of work and the harder I try to sort everything out the worse it gets. End of month is always a killer. Suddenly everyone wants things done, yesterday. I shouldn’t even be writing a blog today but I need a break, damnit. And to make things worse, my friends insist that I join them for lunch. I can’t afford to (time and money wise) but I still go. So that is another hour wasted.

I usually try to get to the office by 7 am. It’s still very quiet then as I am usually the first one to arrive. It’s the perfect time to get most of my work done but somehow that never happens. I start by opening my inbox and go through my emails. Usually it is just junk mail but lately I seem to be getting a lot of jokes. So I go through them and have a bit of a laugh. Before I know it, 10-20 minutes have lapsed. I then go onto (best SA chat site, by the way) and see what new posts have come up and reply to several. That takes at least another 30 minutes of my morning. Suddenly it is 8 am and my friends want to go for coffee. So that is another 30 minutes, it can even take up to an hour depending on the conversation.

So when do I work? I wonder sometimes. Before I started to get chronic tonsillitis I’d sneak an hour and half workout at the gym, mostly in the mornings. We have a gym here at work so it is very convenient and we are allowed to go during working hours. So if I am not doing that, then I am busy emailing, chatting, going for coffee, talking on the phone, picking my nose etc etc. The fun never stops.

I know I need some time management skills here but I am beginning to think that maybe I am lacking in job satisfaction. If I actually enjoyed what I was doing, then maybe I’d do it more often, and on time. I still get excellent performance appraisals from my boss because I am efficient from time to time but I just think I could do much better.

Ag, break has lapsed. Better get back to work, pronto!
What useless mumblings!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Damage Control

As a follow-up to Sunday night’s events, it turns out that things were far worse than I had imagined. I had sent several emails to the guys apologizing for all the noise and disturbances caused that night, even though I didn’t partake in any of it. I had passed out on a mattress while the night was still young. They had accepted the apology and basically told me to forget about it. In my mind, everything was ok.

Yesterday I get 2 frantic e-mails from Ulrike and Ingrid. Two of the guys insisted on an apology because Ulrike and 2 other guys had drunk all their alcohol. Oh, boy. Suddenly fingers were being pointed at each other and no one wanted to take full responsibility. And rightly so, because we all had a guilty part in this. I should have forced them to leave when I wanted to leave. Needless to say, I didn’t get much work done yesterday as e-mails went to and fro, while trying to do some damage control. I know it wasn’t really me who had to apologize, but I felt somewhat responsible. These girls are like my little sisters and I needed to look out for them.

Final plan of action was to replace some of their alcohol and drop it off at the guys’ place together with a face-to-face apology. Our first obstacle was to find a bottle store that is open at 7 in the evening. After driving around frantically, even stopping at a pub, we found an open bottle store and bought a bottle of Captain Morgan, 6 pack of Hansa and a box of cigarettes. I am extremely broke but decided to chip in with the money.

In the car Ulrike practiced her speech. She was really nervous so I had to struggle to hold back my giggles cause I thought she was taking it a bit too seriously. When we got there the guys were quite surprised that we bought them alcohol and actually felt bad. Uli said her speech but the boys just couldn’t hold back their laughter, which in a way was good because they made light of the situation. Everything was cool. We are still allowed to visit. Phew! Though I did get kakked on by one of the guys for apologizing when I didn’t do anything wrong. Lol. Like I said before, I was just looking out for my girls. I’d do just about anything for them. At least, now we can relax. But sure as anything, something like this will never happen again! We have all learnt our lesson!

Although, to quote one of the guys, “Never is a very long time”.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Blonde moment

I apologise for today's double post. I was having some trouble posting. And no, I am not really blonde! Lol.

Sisterly love

I don’t have any sisters but I wish I had. My two brothers usually gang up on me and sometimes it gets a bit much. How do you argue with two boys who insist that women should be in the kitchen? Eventually you just give up and ignore them, even though sometimes I do have this urge to strangle them. But I am not strong enough. They are just too big for me.

I am very jealous of girls who have a sister(s). They get to share clothes, make-up, go out together, talk about boys, you know, do all those “girly” things that sisters do. I usually get to do that on my own and believe me, talk to yourself long enough and eventually you will start to reply to yourself – scary. Sure, sisters fight too, but who doesn’t love a b*tch fight, hey? Lol.

But I am not that unfortunate these days, thanks to my pastor’s three daughters. They are the closest thing I have to having sisters and they are very dear to me, I’d do just about anything for them. For the past 5 years or so, we have really become close. We get up to mischief, share thoughts and dreams, borrow each other’s clothes, go jolling, etc. In fact, we spend so much time together I even asked my mom if I could move in with them and send their brother as a replacement for me. The thought of having 3 hungry boys in her home almost gave my mother a heart attack. Poor woman, bless her.

Renate is the oldest, she is 22. I don’t get to spend much time with her as she spends her life working. But she is fun and provides some gold moments, like when walking into sliding doors! Shame. Ulrike just turned 21 last month and we had one of the best parties ever – that is how all the kak with sleeping over in other people’s homes started, haha. But it’s been one hell of a fun ride since then. She loves to have deep, intelligent conversations and though some of her ideas are still a bit na├»ve, you have to admire her strong beliefs and determination. She also provides me with some good advice in times of need, especially these days when I seem to have the worst luck with men (but that is another story, another blog). And she makes me laugh when she does impersonations. Her best is doing the Shakira, you go girl! This year we have threatened to do another ABBA duet at our church’s Spring Festival / Beerfest. You have all been warned!

Strangely enough, I get on best with the youngest of the three, Ingrid, who is going to turn 19 in a few weeks’ time. We get up to mischief when we are together though we have tamed down a bit. She can be shy and quiet at times but give her some encouragement and she will become my partner in crime in our latest prank or misdemeanor. I love her to bits. She has been there for me through thick and thin. We share the same taste in music, movies, clothes but luckily not men! Look through my photo albums and you will see hundreds of photos of Ingrid and I – usually before and after photos! I vaguely remember a drunken moment a few weeks ago while watching the rugby at a pub. I confessed that I love her as a sister – that ended in tears. Damn those Jager-bombs!

So, even though I don’t have any biological sisters, I thank God for giving me these three special girls as my “adopted” sisters. Without them, I don’t know what I’d do, probably just talk to myself the whole day!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Only when I am drunk...

It seems that drinking makes me do really stupid things. Doh, no surprise there, I am sure a lot of you know what I am talking about. I have had my share of bad experiences, ranging from making an ape of myself by dancing on tables, hitting on guys I shouldn’t, throwing up at a bar, doing the haka and thinking I can sing any ABBA song. Yes, I have done them all, and more. Try as I might to block them out of my memory, they come back to haunt me now and again. And you’d think I would have learnt my lesson by now. Not in a million years. The thing is, it’s very funny while I am doing it, and I provide a lot of amusement for my friends. It is only the next day, when I reflect on the previous night’s activities, that I cringe with embarrassment and think, “Good lawd, did I do THAT??!!”

Last night was a good example. What was supposed to be just a normal Youth Meeting for us church youngsters, turned into a massive piss-up party. Yes, we drink at our church. We even have an annual beerfest, on our church grounds (and incidentally, I am in the organizing committee). So anyway, we were all playing volleyball at some our youth members’ place (our local hangout now), being blown away by a bitterly cold strong wind, when the keg arrived. By late afternoon, most of us were dronkgat. The highlight of the evening being Renate (our pastor’s oldest daughter) walking into the sliding doors. Painful as it was for her, it provided many tears and laughter for us. Thank you Renate.

After trying to play 30 seconds with a slur, and several glasses of wine, we needed alternative entertainment. Now here is a note of warning for everyone out there: if you dare me to do something, there is a 99.9% chance that I WILL do it, but only when I am drunk. So be careful what you dare me to do, especially if I am going to end up getting hurt.

Since the wine was finished, the boys proceeded to inflate the wine bag and draw a cross on it. Since I was in my element, I was the target for their devious dare: I had to put the bag on the floor, jump on the cross and pop the bag. Seemed simple enough to me so I went for it. First try, nothing happened. I wasn’t satisfied so I insisted on getting a second chance – I wish I hadn’t. This time I really went for it. As soon as both my feet landed on that bag, I went flying backwards, landing on my butt and hands – both of which are now extremely painful. Ingrid and Uli both dropped to the floor and rolled on it laughing hysterically. The boys couldn’t contain themselves either until out came one of the older guys telling us to keep quiet before the landlord came over to complain. That was enough to sober me up, there was no way I was going to get into kak for this.

And the evening did not end there, unfortunately. Most went to bed but the girls insisted on staying and talking till 5 a.m. I find my usual spot on a mattress on the floor next to my 19 year old body warmer and tried to sleep. But it was impossible. I arrived home at 5:30 this morning with a headache, a bump on my left butt cheek (which now matches the right cheek bump when I fell down the stairs, sober, at the gym last year), an extremely painful hand and several bruises on my knees which I can’t account for. There is just never a dull moment with me, is there? I wonder what next weekend holds in store for me!!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Ag, please daddy wont you take us to the drive-in!

No, don't worry, I have NEVER asked my Dad to take us to the drive-in. I don't think he even knows where it is and frankly, I don't think I'd ever want him to! When I tell people that I am going to the drive-in they immediately think “Ooooo, kinky, bet you are not really going to watch the movie, right?” Um, not quite! Sure, my first few visits to the drive-in did involve me and one of my ex-boyfriends. We never made it past the trailers. Enough said.

These days, I go with a whole bunch of people, which includes my brothers, my pastor’s kids: Renate, Ulrike, Ingrid and Basti and a whole bunch of other friends. The more the merrier. And I have to say, that it is so much better than sitting inside a cramped cinema. We usually gather our camping chairs, blankets, tons of food and booze (which you can’t bring into a cinema) and camp outside. Not only that, but we get to watch two movies and only pay R48 per car – so you can do like a taxi and squeeze 30 people inside. That’s value for money.

And we have our share of fun. You can chirp, laugh, cry, scream as much as you want and show off your cool sound system in your car in between the two movies. It becomes a battle of the ravers vs the rockers. Ha ha.

We have come to love the drive-in so much that we even risk freezing weather and rain. Nothing stops us. I once even went just hours after been discharged from the hospital due to an illness.

Recently, one of our coolest friends from Port Elizabeth, Matt (aka vomitboy) came to visit for the first time in JHB. I think the drive-in alone was reason enough to convince him to eventually move here. He still talks about our local spot. He really enjoyed it. Hey, any place that allows you to bring your own booze is bound to be a jol!

So tonight, even though it’s expected to be one of the most bitterly cold weekends of the year, we are all going to the drive-in to see “The Da Vinci Code”. I have been waiting to see this film ever since I heard that they were making a film of the book. I cannot wait to see it and hope it does the book justice. I think I better take some brandy to keep me warm…

(As a side note, I got this link to an ideal job predictor today. Mine said my ideal job should be another Satan. How appropriate!)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Get ready for the World Cup baby!!

The 2006 Soccer World Cup is about to start in just over 3 weeks in Germany and I am starting to feel the excitement. I really can’t wait till it begins. When I was in school I was soccer mad as any typical Argentinean would be, it’s in our blood. I had big dreams of becoming a soccer player and would indulge in a game or two every Sunday with family and friends. I’d also try and watch every game possible on TV, buy soccer magazines and keep up to date will all the ins and outs in the world of soccer. Somehow, over the years, my enthusiasm for soccer waned and I became interested in other things which took priority in my life. I don’t know how that happened because soccer was my life. I breathed, ate and slept soccer, there was nothing else for me.

Last night some of that passion was revived when I watched Barcelona kick Arsenal’s butt in the Champions League Final. Normally I don’t support either team but last night I really did not want Arsenal to win so I supported Barcelona. I sat at a KEG pub, supposedly celebrating a friend’s birthday but I instead became glued to that TV set, on the edge of my seat. I groaned and moaned for the first half as Arsenal took the lead. I couldn’t bear to watch as the clock ticked and Barca failed to score on several attempts. But they eventually came back and beat Arsenal 2-1. I jumped up with joy and celebrated. Yes, it wasn’t really my team that won here but it was good to get that feeling of triumph back and the love of the game. Now, I am really ready for the World Cup. My brother Ferdi will be proud. Or he will just mock and say, “Ja, soccer wannabe fan” or something along those lines. Oh, well, I don’t really care what he thinks anyway.

Most of the games seem to be early in the evening so at least I will be able to catch most of the games live on TV. I am really hoping that this time round Argentina will do us proud. They are one of the favourites to win and have been placed 10/1 on the betting list – not bad at all. I am ashamed to say though, that I only know a bunch of the players on the national side. So it’s time I do a bit of research and get to know the team that will lead Argentina to glory a bit better!

Though, in hindsight, should Argentina not make it to the final, I will support my second team, which is Germany (since my grandparents all come from Germany). They have a very good chance of winning as they are the hosts. May the best team win.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Dreams of Paradise

Since the horrible cold winter days have been a constant pain in my neck (actually throat, but close enough), I have been thinking a lot about migrating to the north for a while and get some sun. I am tired of looking like a corpse. I want to look and feel healthy again. An island seems like the perfect getaway.

Ever dream of being shipwrecked or lost on a deserted island? I am not talking about the never-ending nightmare as that experienced by those poor people in the series “Lost”, that is just too much to bear. I mean the type where you can escape from it all, the hustle and bustle of the mad city life to paradise, where just your basic needs are taken care of. Wouldn’t you just love to get away from it all, even if just for a day? Just picture it: no phones, noise, TV, annoying people, traffic. NO WORK!…aah, perfect.

My perfect island would have sunny days, warm nights, bountiful fruit, clear water fountains and whirlpools, decent shelter and a Greek God to keep me company. I don’t ask for much, hey? But seeing as, in this day and age, we are surrounded by luxuries that we practically take for granted, what essential item would you take with you to this island, if you had the choice? Just one item.

That choice seems rather difficult to me. I love the comfort of my own bed and the convenience of a bathroom – but those kinds of things would be a bit difficult to take with me, don’t you think? So what would I take with me? A book – nah, I have the Greek God to entertain me. My TV? I’d definitely miss watching Prison Break but after a while I’d get over it.
As I sit here, coughing and typing this, I am having a hard time deciding what I would take with me, if given the choice. There are just too many choices! But if push comes to shove, I’d go for coke, and lots of it. Not a day goes by where I don’t have a can of coke. It’s amazing how something so sweet and syrupy can make so many people, including me, addicted to it. It must be the caffeine.

Ok, better wake up now and get back to work. Actually, I am off to the vending machine to get me a can of coke!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Evil Cazzy Returns

I thought the days of jolling well into the next morning were practically over for me, but it looks like I am returning to that old life like never before. And it is quickly catching up with me, I need to get some sleep! Every weekend I swear to myself that I will have a quiet evening just like the ones I have been used to lately, but that doesn’t seem to happen anymore! Temptation gets the better of me. Especially now that I have been single for the past 2 months or so, I feel the need to get out and have some fun. And I do have fun, it’s only the next day that I suffer!!

This past weekend I must have slept a total of five hours, if not less. And who knows how much I drank. I stopped counting after the first drink! Now this week I was hoping to catch up on some sleep but I have just been told that there is another party happening tonight at our local pub. Part of me really wants to say no, I am too tired. But I just can’t do it, I can’t say no. I am the type that hates to miss out on anything. And I am not going to miss this tonight, not even for Prison Break’s Wentworth Miller (oh, what a hottie!).

So expect me to have a hangover, again, tomorrow. This is a short one today cause I am leaving now to partyyyyyyy!

(And never mind that I am still sick with the flu. Stay home in bed? Me? I’d rather sleep when I am dead, like that Bon Jovi song)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Have a phobia?

Some people have the weirdest phobias, like fear of vegetables (my brother) and fear of kissing!!! In fact, if there is anything, anything, that you can think of, I am sure that there is someone out there in this vast universe that is afraid of it. Ever since I can remember, I have been afraid of death, which I think is quite a common fear. More specifically, I am afraid of the after-life and the concept of eternity. Is there really an after-life? Will I be happy and resting in peace? How do you measure eternity? AAHH! It drives me insane just thinking about it. Why did I even bring this up?

Other phobias I have are the following: the dark, clowns, heights, flying, dentists, and lightning, to name but a few. Despite the fact that I love watching horror films and being deeply interested in vampires, the dark still scares me. Sometimes when I wake up night I get such frights when certain shadows make it seem as if there is someone in my room! It sometimes keeps me awake for the rest of the night! I can get really paranoid sometimes.

As for clowns, I blame that entirely on Stephen King and his demonic c-c-c-lown, It. I watched that film when I was 11 and it still creeps me out. Those evil creatures must not come near me. You have to admit that a person hiding behind all that make-up has to be creepy in some sort of way. Brrr, I am getting goosebumps already!

Fear of flying and heights are quite common too. The flying I am slowly getting used to, but looking down from a very high position still makes me dizzy. Dentists? Should I say more? They are evil too! Think along the lines of “Little Shops of Horrors”. And lightning – another childhood fear. Especially when they are so loud that your windows rattle and look like they are going to shatter.

Stars have their phobias too. Here is some useless information for your perusal:
Famous Phobics

AVIOPHOBIC (afraid of flying): David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Cher, Whoopi Goldberg, Kirstie Alley, Billy Bob Thornton.
HYDROPHOBIC (afraid of water): Joanna Lumley
AGORAPHOBIC (afraid of open spaces): Aretha Franklin, Kim Basinger
MYCTOPHOBIC (afraid of the dark): Anne Frank
SELACHOPHOBIC (afraid of sharks): Brad Pitt
OPHIDIOPHOBIC (afraid of snakes): chef Ainsley Harriot

Some more phobias…
Allodoxaphobia: opinions
Androphobia: men
Anuptaphobia: staying single (I get this, sometimes)
Arachibutyrophobia: peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth (!!!)
Caligynephobia: beautiful women
Dishabiliophobia: undressing in front of someone
Ergophobia: work (me!!)
Lachanophobia: vegetables
Mysophobia: germs
Odontiatophobia: dentists
Pocrescophobia: kissing
Philematophobia: beards (ZZ Top!)
Phobophobia: phobias

Friday, May 12, 2006

Lift Etiquette

I am one of those people that gets irritated quite easily, though I try to keep it under control. One of my pet peeves is people in, out, and around lifts. It’s amazing how idiotic and/or inconsiderate some people can be when they come near a lift. So now I have compiled my own set of guidelines on how to improve on your lift etiquette:

Press the button once. Repeatedly pressing/banging on it is not going to make the lift come any faster.
If you are going up one floor, or going down two floors, please take the damn stairs and stop wasting my time (actually, this is company policy here at work, but it’s amazing how many lazy people disregard that rule). Unless of course, you cannot take the stairs because of an injury/disability.
If you are waiting for a lift, when it eventually arrives, don’t suddenly make a run for it, wait till the people in the lift, if any, get out first.
Now, I am not a feminist, but usually, it’s common courtesy for men to let ladies in/out first. Shocking how many men forget this.
Don’t talk to me inside the lift, I am nervous of lifts as it is without having some psycho talk to me as if they have known me all my life.
If I come running and screaming for you to keep the lift door open for me, FREAKING DO IT!!! Don’t be rude and pretend you can’t hear me.
Don’t look in the mirror and pick your nose/fix your hair/smile like a goofball in the lift, there are toilets and nutty houses for that.

Hmmm, you can see I have a problem with lifts. Lately I have become a bit obsessed with this because our lifts are in serious need of replacing and that is only going to be completed by the end of the year. So there is a lot of disruption at the moment with lifts being placed out of order every now and then. Sometimes, when I am brave, I do take the stairs, but by the time I get to the fifth floor where my office is, I feel like I have run at 100km marathon. I have gotten stuck in a lift too, a whole five minutes. Sure, that’s not a long time, but when you are scared of small closed spaces like me, that seems more like five hours. May it never happen again.

PS. Have you ever been naughty in a lift? Lol.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Joys of Winter: Meet Mr Cold and Mrs Flu

This year winter has hit us with a bang. Normally we only experience the freezing cold around June/July but now we have suddenly been hit by one of the coldest months ever. And I am suffering. I am one of those people that gets sick immediately. It is only May but so far, I have had tonsillitis about 4 times this year. My tonsils have gotten so swollen that sometimes it is very hard to eat and even sleep. I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!

So yesterday I went to see an ear, nose and throat specialist after my colleagues practically forced me to do so – they were getting tired of my complaints. Turns out, I have to get these tonsils out. Now, I may be only 26, but generally a bit old for this op as most people have theirs taken out while they are still very young. Oh, well, I am going to go through this anyway cause I can’t afford to get sick any more. I can’t even remember the last time I went to the gym!

I got several warnings though: it WILL be painful, so much that I will probably be off work for at least two weeks. But at least I will be drugged – that should be fun. Then there is the possible risk of bleeding. The specialist assured me this should not happen if I don’t take any anti-inflammatories or homeopathic remedies 5 days before and two weeks after the op. And arnica as well. So that means no myprodol for me. What a tragedy.

This bleeding bit worries me a bit. The last two ops I had (a year ago, one three weeks after the other) ended up with me almost choking to death as my throat and nose were filled with my blood. Not a nice experience, as much as I love blood, I don’t like to lose my own. I think it all has to do with the fact that my blood is too thin. My previous doctor had run some tests but he said there was nothing to worry about. I definitely hope so because I do not want a repeat performance this year!

So I am booking my op for the end of the month. I try not to think about it too much but I can feel myself getting all tense. It is a pretty standard procedure so it should be alright. I am just not looking forward to the pain.

Even now in this cold weather, I can feel the flu coming back. How am I suppose to function like this? It is nonsense! I want my bed!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Lost in Translation

One of the funny things about living in a country with 11 official languages is that it is so easy to get your panties in a knot when trying to communicate with people. When I got to SA, I was fluent in Spanish, knew a bit of Portuguese, some German and very little English. In fact, all I could really say was, “I don’t speak English”. I will always remember my first day at school here, at Jeppe Preparatory School. We had only been in SA for a few weeks and I was terrified! My teacher held me by the hand, introduced me to my classmates and suddenly I was bombarded with 10 000 different questions from the kids. I didn’t understand what they were saying. I kept on repeating “I don’t speak English!” until I screamed it out loud for one last time, “I DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH!”. That kept them quiet.

Eventually I learnt da Engleesh, but not without the funny episodes where my friends would make me say stuff that I thought meant one thing but actually meant another. I must have told several boys that I loved them when I was 10.

My Portuguese improved quite a bit since some of my friends were Portuguese and I owe them for teaching me English – they played a huge part in that. I started to attend a German Lutheran church as well so I learnt several new German words. My German is still kak but I am learning more and more each day.

Now, just when I thought I had mastered English, in my second year in South Africa, they throw at me the most complicated and horrible language known to man – Afrikaans. I am not trying to offend any Afrikaans speaking people but you have to admit that this language does not sound like music in your ears. I struggled for several years but I think I have gotten the hang of it now. Ek praat baie kak Afrikaans, ne?

Then we started with Zulu, which was quite easy really. All you had to do was add an e- or i- to every English word and you were sorted, ha ha. OK, no, just kidding. The thing with Zulu was that it was usually taught by our Guidance/Bible Ed teacher and most of the time she tended to forget to teach us Zulu. So we didn’t learn much.

Eventually I found I had a knack for languages so I took up French in high school. Since it was similar to Spanish I learnt it very quickly. It’s true what they say; French IS the most romantic language in the world. But now, the trouble with knowing so many languages is that it’s so easy to get confused. For some unknown reason, whenever I wanted to speak in French, all these Afrikaans words would pop in my head and just take over! I still haven’t figured that one out. Afrikaans and French are like oil and water, they don’t even sound the same!

So yeah, it can be to my detriment at most times to speak several languages. I struggle sometimes to say just one sentence, though luckily no one really seems to pick up my mistakes (or maybe they are just too polite to point it out?).

Ay caramba mi culo esta en fuego!!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Working in downtown Johannesburg

I have been working in the middle of town for the past five years now for one of the top South African banks and I must say that it has been a helluva ride so far. Over the years I have become quite street-smart, know when it’s safe to go out venturing in the streets, which places to avoid etc. And there is always some sort of commotion going on here. For example, when some union decides to go on strike, they parade, or “toi-toi” just 2 blocks from the building in which I work. So if you look out the window, you can see them dancing and singing (if the crowd is plus 50), even from the fifth floor where I sit now. Lately, there is a strike going on just about every week. Some have been quite violent – last month one of our security guards got shot because he refused to take part in the strike. And it’s a nightmare to get out of the city in the afternoon because they affect traffic so much. Makes me think that I need to relocate to a “safer” place.

My youngest brother has been mugged twice here, in one month, while he was still in school. I have also seen several smash-and-grabs. It’s amazing how these guys suddenly appear out of nowhere, smash your window in one quick second or two, take whatever is on the your front seat and then run like hell. I have never seen one of these guys get caught. They are just too fast.

Now, in light of the Jacob Zuma trial, this place is quite a riot. For the past month we have had to endure his supporters, protesters and heavy traffic. Since the court is just two blocks away from me, I get to see most of the action, live. But it’s definitely no picnic.

As I am writing this, I can hear the crowds of people singing and dancing on the streets. Yes, Zuma has just been declared innocent of rape charges. While the verdict is not surprising to most of us, we certainly hoped he’d be found guilty – something is just not right with this man. In fact, he should be jailed just for being stupid by stating that he took a shower to minimise his chances of contracting HIV! What a dumb remark! After all the work that AIDS activists have done to educate people about safe-sex, he reverses everything with this simple statement. And the fact that he knew his accuser was HIV positive AND had sex with her without a condom is preposterous! A man in his stature should know about the dangers of having unprotected sex, albeit with an HIV-positive woman!!!! What message does this send across the crowds out there? But never mind – they still support him, no matter what.

Yes, I have strayed a bit off topic here but I needed to vent a bit. The crowds are still going nuts so now I am wondering when it is safe to go home. Several cars went past, with people hanging onto them. It’s definitely not a good sight. But at least this madness will be over for a while – until his next court case that is. Bugger, I need to find a new job.

Oh, but I have just heard that the next trial will be in Pietermaritzburg. Thank goodness. The circus has left town!!

(I actually wrote most of this yesterday, but could only manage to post it today).

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Surviving the weekend madness

Another blue Monday. I am surprised to be still alive right now after the weekend I have just had. Lately they seem to be getting worse and worse – too much partying, not enough rest. Not that I am really complaining because eventually my late nights will come to an end. No more boozing, getting up to mischief till the early hours of the morning, chatting up the boys, giggling with my chick posse. Yeah, eventually these nights will be replaced by cooking for the family, getting the kids into bed and watching TV. Yikes, I just got chills running down my spine. I can’t imagine that kind of life right now. Don’t get me wrong, I do want to get married, have kids, and live in a white picket fence house, blah blah blah. But only in the far distant future. I still have lots of parties to go to, and damn, I am enjoying them.

I must say that these past few weeks have flown by with all the activities that have gone down. Take this past weekend. Friday night I went out with a big group of friends to a local pub. We braved the cold and sat outside, till 2 am. The alcohol wasn’t doing its proper job of keeping us warm, not matter how much of it we drank. Luckily I came prepared with a thick jacket and scarf, which was quickly repossessed by the guy sitting next to me. He was still frozen, and so was I, so we tried to keep each other warm, to no avail. So, eventually after we all lost feeling in our toes and fingers, we finally decided to call it a night and go home. I was praying hard that no one would suggest moving on to another place because I did not want to be the one to admit that I was tired. Well, no one said anything. It seemed everyone was feeling like I was – totally smashed and buggered.

So I thought, ok, tomorrow is Saturday, I can sleep late and try to recover in time for the next party. Not a chance in hell. First of all my feet were frozen to the core so I couldn’t fall asleep. By the time the sun came up, there was so much activity going on in the house I decided to stuff it and get up. Maybe I could sneak in a nap after lunch. Not a chance in hell, again. I pretty much did everything in slow motion till I had to get ready for the highlight of our Saturday evening: the guys at our church were preparing a special dinner for everyone. I have to say, there is nothing better than seeing men hard at work, in the kitchen. The women didn’t have to do a thing. And the men were very happy to serve us. I could do with a man like that, for sure, since I am not very domesticated myself!

After the dinner we girls were ready for another party. Not the men, since they had worked their butts off the whole night. But we were adamant and went to the boys’ place for some wine and chit-chat. We called eventually called it quits again. But I didn’t go home. Instead I slept over at a house my friend, Ulrike (the pastor’s daughter) was housesitting this weekend. The worst was yet to come. Her sister Ingrid also came with – and there was only one bed. It was a big bed but 3 girls sharing a bed can become quite tricky (I was just thinking, that could be every guy’s ultimate dream – 3 girls in a bed, lol). So, I didn’t sleep much.

We had to get up early in the morning as we had to go to church. Normally I go to the late English Service at our Lutheran Church but this time I decided to go to the early German Service so I could then go home and get some sleep. We met up with the guys at the church and they looked like death, just like us. I fell asleep several times, especially during the Sermon since I couldn’t understand much of what the pastor was saying. As soon as I got home I climbed into bed but before I could get any shut-eye, lunch was ready and had to get up. I forced the food down and went back to my room. But again, just before I could get any sleep, Greg and Martin, my dear poopypant friends, came over for a visit. We went to the flea market and as usual got tickled, poked and licked. Never mind that I was feeling kak and sensitive.

So, when did I get to eventually go to sleep? In the evening, of course. Now I am cranky as hell and heaven help the next person that says “good morning” to me next. If weekends are going to be much like this one from now on,when am I supposed to get my beauty sleep now? ZZzzzzzzzzzz
Um, no, I could get fired for sleeping on the job. Oh, dear me…

Friday, May 05, 2006

A new home

Seeing as how it is Friday and I am not in the mood to think, let me tell you how an Argentinean girl ended up in the wilderness of South Africa. That’s me, in case you haven’t clicked!

Back in the Dark Ages, 1989 to be exact, faced with a declining economy and no job prospects for my father, we were in dire straits as he was the only bread winner in our family then. That’s until an ad appeared in the classifieds for a job overseas. My dad didn’t have a clue where in the world this job would lead us to, but he decided to go for the interview anyway. The job was in Johannesburg, South Africa.

He got the job, with promises of a car, house and all the trimmings. So he went first to get everything settled before my mom, my two brothers and I joined him. When he arrived in SA, to his dismay he found out that the company where he was supposed to work, had been sold. He still got the job, but had no house, no car, nothing. Thank goodness we didn’t travel with him. So while he took the time to get everything ready for us to arrive, we struggled back in Argentina to make ends meet. Six months later, 8 August 1989, we finally made our way to South Africa. It was my first trip on an aeroplane so it was quite an adventure for me, which included a stop in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as well as Cape Town. I was so excited and thinking, naively like most foreigners do, that I was going to live in a jungle, surrounded by wild animals. You can imagine my surprise when I saw that Johannesburg was a city like any other!

I was worried about having to communicate in a new language with the people here. Back home I took some part-time lessons in English but it was not sufficient to defend myself here. But being nine years old, eager to learn new languages, it wasn’t a problem for me to learn the lingo.

It’s been 16 years now since we arrived in SA, and since then I have only returned twice to Argentina. I miss it dearly, my relatives, my friends, the FOOD! It has been difficult to adjust to South African life but I think I have gotten the hang of it by now. While I miss my home country, South Africa is now my home and I am here to stay.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hello there, earthlings

Yes, I am following in the footsteps of some of my fellow friends and starting a blog. Call me a sheep, call me stupid, hell, call me anything for all I care, I am basically writing this for my own amusement. I have always loved writing and to this day I regret not following my dream of becoming a writer. Well, I am still young (contrary to what some of my “younger” friends believe) and anything is possible, I can still achieve my dream.

As children we all have these big, and sometimes impossible dreams of becoming, for example, a doctor, a movie/rock star, rocket scientist, an astronaut, you name it. As we get older we become a bit more realistic and settle for a somewhat mediocre office job or something to that extent. At least, most of us do, the lucky ones get to become that movie/rock star. And parents can most certainly get in our way of following our dreams too. Does this sound familiar? “My little Timmy is going to become a doctor when he grows up”. Never mind that little Timmy would rather be an interior designer, because that is what he loves to do. But no, his parents want him to study 20 years of medicine instead.

When I was a child I had several dreams. The first one, much to my aunt’s amusement (and much to my horror, when she told me this tale 15 years later) was to become a maid. Yes, a maid. One afternoon, when I was 4, my aunt and I were playing with my dolls and having a tea party when out of the blue I announced that I wanted to be a maid when I grew up. Thank goodness I soon faced reality and realized that being a maid was in no way a glamorous job (unless of course, it involves a French maid’s outfit – but that is another story).

So eventually I moved to other wild ideas: a singer, a pianist, a soccer player, an actress, journalist and writer. I became very close to becoming a journalist. As I love watching soccer, rugby and cricket, I wanted to become a sports journalist and planned to study journalism in Argentina. Somehow, that didn’t happen. So my second choice was to study Sports Management here in South Africa. I enrolled at the Rand Afrikaans University and planned to study a 3-year course on Sports Management with a possible deviation into Journalism once I got enough credits. For some stupid, dumb reason, exactly 5 minutes before registering, I changed my mind and opted to do a degree in Economics. I don’t know what possessed me, maybe it was my parents, maybe it was uncertainty. Who knows? All I know is that now I am stuck with an Honours Degree in Economics and not sure what the hell to do with it. I don’t even like Economics! It is so boring that I use my textbooks when to cure my insomnia!

So yeah, I could go on and on about this but I don’t want to bore you. Plus I have to go back to my mediocre office job. Stay tuned.