Festive fun on a budget

Some of you, blessed people, will be getting your 13th cheque soon. Once that happens; you will be on a vur vai. You will live large for three weeks. Partying at places where you have to pay entrance fees and sipping champagne dahling.

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Yup, after 11 months of getting up to go to work even when you didn’t feel like it, splurging in December feels justified. You’ve worked hard for your money. So what if you choose to be a moreki in Dezemba, right?

Well the problem is come January, you will be lamenting about how long the month is. Our timelines will be flooded by Januworry this, Januworry that. I know this because this happens every year. Workers are balling in December; only to take out loans in January.

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So if you want to do things a little different this year, I’m here to give you some pointers. Obviously ifestive mayifane nenye. Just because you don’t want to spend a lot of money, doesn’t mean you want to be locked indoors, dying of boredom either.

There are many free concerts around the city at this time of the year. There is a series of free live concerts at the Amphitheatre at the V&A Waterfront this summer until February next year.

If you are into art, there are exhibitions all over the place. Go out there and check out upcoming and established visual artists who are exhibiting at the various galleries.

Getting together with friends doesn’t have to be expensive. Eat at home, only carry cash that’s enough for snacks and drinks. You can go to the various picnic spots around the city for #picnicvibes.

You can also spend an afternoon at the beach. To save money, go to your local supermarket to buy snacks. Remember, drinking at the beach is not allowed. Alcohol will be confiscated. Don’t forget to pack water so that you can stay hydrated. You don’t have to buy water. Our tap water is good enough to drink. If you are all about healthy eating, make a salad at home and smoothies. Just make sure to have a bit of cash for ice cream. What’s a visit to the beach without ice cream? If you’re an impulsive buyer, leave your card at home!

Think-About-It

By now you are wondering where are these so-called free concerts, right? Make sure that you check out your community newspaper for what’s on. There are so many activities that are free of charge in and around the city. You just pack a basket, great company and voilà fun times.

It doesn’t matter which city you are in; municipalities have budget for public entertainment during the festive season.

Another thing, braais are always a good idea, provided everyone contributes, if they are in a position to do so. Buying a ready made braai is also an option. Food, friends and good music – make sure Banomoya is on the playlist, then you are guaranteed to have a good time.

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So that’s December on a budget. If you’re a penny-pincher or just want to try something different this Dezemba – knock yourself out. Whatever you do, do it responsibly. January is only four weeks away. The salary that you will be getting mid-December needs to last you until end January. Happy holidays!

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Rediscovering pants

Yesterday I wore pants. For the whole day and I was comfortable. I think I’m actually going to get myself a new pair of pants & boyfriend jeans just for control.

You must be wondering so what if I wore pants? Womxn wear them all the time. Well, not me. I stopped wearing pants over seven years ago. In my teens, I mostly wore pants. I’d only put on a dress on Sunday for church.

I felt uncomfortable on Sundays because all of a sudden I’d need to be conscious of how I sat and would rush home after church so that I could change into pants. Ma would buy me a skirt now and again and I’d refuse to wear them. I just didn’t want to. I also didn’t like my legs:( That’s a story for another day.

Anyway, fast forward to varsity. One day out of the blue, I felt like wearing a skirt. I had to have a conversation with myself about my issues with my legs. I did and I made peace with ingcondo zam. I tried on a skirt that I’d had for years. By now, I was no longer going to church because I had a weekend job and that meant I no longer wore dresses at all.

I put on the skirt. I was expecting discomfort to follow soon after. But it never came. Instead I enjoyed the airiness of the skirt. There was something feminine about it and I quite enjoyed it.

So I decided to wear a dress/skirt at least once a week. I was still on a trial run. Ma was excited. She started buying me dresses. I fell in love with them. Months later, I stopped wearing pants altogether. I was also tired of the struggle of finding pants that fit just right. I have a tiny waist with a bit of a bum. So jeans would fit around the hip area but be big on my waist. Finding the perfect fit was a mission.

I had just discovered how comfortable dresses were and I loved how they made me feel. I guess I was also making up for all those years of only wearing pants. I gave away my pants. I only kept three because one was brand new and the other two were for just in case I changed my mind about the wardrobe transition.

About two years later, I moved out of home and left the pants behind because I knew I had lost interest in them. I had to contend with the question of why don’t you wear pants? Is it a religious decision? It was none of those. I just didn’t feel like wearing pants.

I continued my fabulous relationship with dresses. When shopping, I wouldn’t even look at the pants section. As a results, my wardrobe space is mostly taken up by dresses. I have a stunning dress collection, though I say it myself:)

For years I never had the urge to buy or wear pants, but that changed earlier this year. I started thinking about owning at least a pair. I quite like the sneakers and pants look on Fridays. I decided to wait and see how long this feeling would last.

It persisted so I decided to give pants a try. I didn’t want to buy pants just in case it was a fleeting feeling. I went home to get the old pants I’d left behind.pants

They still fit so I wore one about three weeks ago. I was a bit uncomfortable, but I tried again the following week. They were OK, except for the fact that when I go to the loo, I have to deal with the belt, button and zip. It’s such a process! Dresses are easy. Or they’ve made me lazy.

Anyway, yesterday, I wore them for the third time. I quite enjoyed walking around with my hands in my pockets and I think I’m ready to wear them again. Baby steps though as I’ve been out of the game for so long that the thought of shopping for pants is a bit intimidating.

Side note: Initially, I planned to include a picture of myself wearing pants from yesterday:) However, as an awkward person, taking pictures can be daunting. I don’t know how to pose and I get annoyed with myself so I don’t take lots of pictures. Anyway, I took three pictures, but I wasn’t happy with them. I asked my neighbour’s six-year-old to take pictures of me. He obliged. The pictures were OK, but my awkwardness came through. So I decided to delete them. Yup, that’s me. The struggle is real.

Confessions of an awkward person

I think of myself as a good friend. I’m a good listener, loyal but honest with my friends. I have a small group of friends because I believe in quality over quantity. And being an introvert means large groups drain me. I’m also a very private person. All of my friendships are over 10 years old. Actually, since I started working I haven’t made any friends. I’m not talking about acquaintances.
  
I mean friends that you meet up with over weekends. People that you play 30 Seconds with. You hang out at each others houses. Do picnics together and all that stuff.
Before you judge me, let me explain. I’m an awkward individual. I don’t know how to make friends. Where do I start? What if I come across as a freak or end up embarrassing myself?
  
So when it comes to friendships it’s always been the other person that makes the first move. I suss them out. If they’re my people – I slowly open up to them. The people in my life understand me. However, lately it’s been bothering me that since I became an adult, I haven’t really made friends. I cherish my old friends, but I’d like to have at least two more new people in my life. Preferably womxn [I have nothing against male friends] who are from a different culture because I want to be exposed to new experiences. Obviously, I won’t shun my tribe because we have the spice. Who can say no to that?
  
Earlier this year, I met this girl at a music festival. We were introduced by a mutual friend. I didn’t think much of her. I bumped into her the next day. She asked for my number. It hit me that we could become friends. I, who never gives away her number, exchanged contacts with her.
  
I went home. I told S that I’ve met someone who’s going to be a new friend. Obviously, S laughed at me asking what do I know about making friends? I admitted that it’s not my strong point, but for this girl I’m willing to put myself out there. Few days later, I reached out via Whatsapp. She seemed happy to hear from me. I mentioned that we should hang out sometime and she agreed. Weeks later, I sent a message proposing a tea date. I didn’t say I wanted to be friends because I wanted to suss her out properly first. She told me she was going through stuff and declined. 
My awkward self was ready to retreat back into her shell, but I decided to try again a month later. I really liked her. It seemed like we belonged to the same Whatsapp group – so to speak. This time she had someone visiting from another province so she was playing tour guide. I understood and told her to get back to me when it’s convenient to her. She never did. That was in June. 

awkward

That was my last attempt at becoming friends. I stopped because it felt like I was forcing things. Maybe she wasn’t interested even though she was new in town – assuming she hadn’t made friends yet. So since that failed attempt, I haven’t tried to make friends again. I meet people that seem to be my people, but I don’t do anything about it. What do I say to them? Not forgetting that some people are content with their childhood & varsity friends. How do I make new friends as an awkward adult? 

National Wills Week

Death. It’s not something we like to talk or think about. We all know that it doesn’t matter who you are or what you have, ultimately our journeys end with us six feet underground. But our fear of mortality often leads us to not preparing for it. 
Last month, I went to a women’s summit on financial wellness.The main speaker gave us six steps to achieve financial wellness. But she also spoke about the importance of having a will. She said it doesn’t matter what you own, but everyone should have a will. This stayed with me. I’ve been meaning to have one drafted for a couple of years now, but procrastination always gets the better of me.
Two weeks after the summit, I read in the newspaper that it’s almost time for the National Wills Week. It happens annually for one week in September; where you can visit an attorney and have a will drafted for you for free. I quickly went online to search for one closest to me because I wanted to have it done during lunchtime.
There were a few because I work in the CBD. I chose one that’s a street away. I emailed booking an appointment. Two hours later, there was a response confirming date and time. I made a list of my possessions and what should happen to them should I pass.
Yesterday at 1pm I went to the attorney’s office. She was friendly. The whole process was simple. She explained the legal terms and then drafted my will! Forty five minutes later, I left their offices will my will in hand.

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I walked away relieved knowing that I’ve done the responsible thing. I know that in the event of my passing, my books which are very dear to me, will have a home where they will be appreciated. The NGOs that are close to my heart will get a little something from me. I went back to the office feeling like I’ve clocked adulting! 

Beloveds, embrace sleep

Why are some people so opposed to sleep? What did sleep ever do to you? Why do you insist on shaming those who choose to rest?

I’m talking about those who equate success to a lack of sleep. One Escobar tweeted, “Can’t sleep 9hrs a day and expect your life to change.”

anti-sleep meme

Some of us love our sleep. It’s a form of self-care. We believe in getting a good night sleep before facing a new day. Enough rest rejuvenates our bodies.

5-AM sleep

Did you know that poor sleepers have a greater risk of heart disease and stroke? Poor sleep is also linked to increased inflammation. While sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels.

Good sleep has been shown to improve problem-solving skills and enhance memory performance of both children and adults.

So, I suggest you get a bit of sleep. It’s good for you. And please, repent from sleep shaming on social media.

Being sucked dry

If you know me then you know that I’m a cheapskate. I don’t like parting with my money. But being an adult means there are bills to be paid. Places to be seen. Furniture to be bought and so on and so forth.

What has me hot under the collar at the moment is that I have to give away more of the little money that I have. I don’t have much say in the matter.

Our complex is in need of a fresh coat of paint. There’s no denying that. It’s there for everyone to see. I have been pitying it for a while now. However, I didn’t know that it getting a face beat would bring me misery.

Yesterday, I received an email after missing a meeting alerting me to a special levy! Trustees of the Body Corporate have decided that we should contribute a fee every month to raise funds for painting! I pay my levies every month. Which I believe are more than sufficient to cover any maintenance that’s required. But no, on top of that, I now have to cough up an additional R350 for the next two years!

Painting will be done in 2020. My heart is so sore! Now, I have to further cut down on my monthly expenses. I’m running out of things to trim from my budget!

Just recently, the fuel price went up. It may go up again next month! For me, being an adult feels like being cheated out of my hard earned money non-stop! In the words of Robbie Junior, “It’s too much!”

crying Kim

A lifestyle of saving water

I know water saving is no longer a hot topic since DA leader Mmusi Maimane came out to say we’ve defeated Day Zero. I won’t dwell on why a DA leader who isn’t part of the leadership of Cape Town was the one to tell us this. I am sure you’re aware of the dangers of blurring the lines between party and state – in this case it’s the city but asikho lapho.

Mmusi day zero

At my place, I use prepaid water. The last time I bought water it was November last year. We’re now in mid-April and I’m still using the R100 water from last year. Yes, I live alone but I also know a bachelor who buys water every month. So let me blow my trumpet here. I’m a water saving warrior!

I know some people never believed in the whole Day Zero concept. They saw it as nothing more than a tactic to get people to use less water. Well I believed it. I still do. South Africa is a water scarce country. I remember researching and writing about this in 2010. One expert told me that SA may run out of water by 2030. That stayed with me since.

I became water wise even though I was never wasteful to begin with. When the city urged us to have two minute showers. I did. Still do. I reuse water all the time. For example, I use a bucket to wash my hair. I then use that water to flush the toilet.

Recently, I have found another way to use even less water & that means I continue to pay less! When out, there are usually bottles of water that are half empty. Water snobs have this tendency of not finishing their not so cheap water. I pick them up & take them home. I use that water to mop my floors or flush the toilet!

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Some may still be skeptical but the drought in the Western Cape hasn’t broken. It’s now autumn and we still haven’t had any decent rain. So we could experience another dry winter. My cheapskate tendencies aside, it’s very important that we all get onboard and be water wise. No one wants to have to queue up for water. Some of us don’t even know how to carry a bucket on our heads and we hope to never learn.

Valentine’s Day

It’s few days before Valentines Days. We are bombarded with adverts on what to get the one you love. This used to bore me. I was never into Valentine’s Day. This sort of changed a few years ago.

I say sort of because I’m not crazy over the materialistic advertising. I find it, actually most of these holidays, promote reckless spending. So I have always been skeptical. As a cheapskate, I’m always looking of ways to save my money not using it on some marketing gimmick.

Anyway, in 2015 I met S. Few weeks before Valentine’s Day he asked how I felt about it. Told him I don’t celebrate it because I don’t believe in the whole hoo-ha. S listened and then in no uncertain terms told me we would be celebrating. I was told to stop being anti-almost everything and just go with the flow.

I was uneasy, but I wanted to prove that I’m not rigid so I reluctantly gave in. Now, I was under pressure to do something in return. I believe in give and take. You can’t just take and take from people. It’s not on.

So I sat down and thought about it. I wasn’t about to go for the tired red and white mug or cologne. I went to the store. Bought a pack of envelopes. Went home. Took out my notepad and wrote my first love letter!

I wrote about how much I appreciated him and so on and so forth. Yes, we tell each other these things throughout the year, but my Valentine’s letter affirms him. It’s special because once a year, I sit down, hand-write a letter and seal it with a kiss. Cheesy, I know.

It’s a small tradition that has become to mean a lot to the both of us. PS: I still use envelopes from that pack I bought for R12. I get a page my notepad and use a pencil to write. This shows that you don’t always need money to celebrate love.

The baby question

baby-sign

Recently, I came across a thread on twitter by Melanie Bala. It was about motherhood. Women were sharing their experiences of motherhood. Some said had they known how much of a fulltime job it was, they would have never done it. While others said they would have waited a bit longer before having children.

They spoke about how they never discussed it with their partners how much their lives would change once they became mothers. They LOVE their children, but feel like they’d lost themselves in the process. I enjoyed the conversation because mothers were speaking honestly about their experiences. Some admitted that they didn’t enjoy motherhood, but never said anything because they were ashamed.

This reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend recently. He had a baby last year. We met up for lunch. I asked how the baby was doing. He shared a bit about fatherhood which he enjoys and then asked when I was having a baby.

I told him that I didn’t want children. He looked up from his plate and told me in no uncertain terms that he’d expected me to have come to my senses by now. He again questioned my reasoning. Something he’d done years ago when I first told him I wasn’t planning on procreating.

Again, I explained that I didn’t feel like being a mother. I like children but don’t want my own. I have felt this way since I was a teenager. It’s nothing new. I even told my mother years ago. Not sure if she took me seriously.

My friend wouldn’t let the matter go. He insisted that as a woman, it was my duty to bear children. I got annoyed and told him where to get off. It’s my life, my body and my decision. His last retort was “few years from now you’ll change your mind.”

Few weeks later, I had the same conversation with two other friends. There was also that hope on their side that one day I’ll change my mind and become a mother.

Which got me thinking. What if I don’t change my mind? What if I never have children? Will my womanhood be questioned because I chose not to bear children?

I respect motherhood. I take my hat off to those who’ve done it. It’s one hell of a job. The thought of being responsible for another human being doesn’t appeal to me. If I change my mind years from now – I will bear children. I don’t believe this as I write it. I can’t imagine myself being someone’s mother. If I don’t change my mind, I will still be a woman. Womanhood doesn’t mean motherhood.

What got me hot under the collar was being made to explain my decision. I don’t question those who choose to be parents. Why am I questioned because my choice isn’t the popular one? I hope as a society we will learn to respect people’s choices. If one chooses to have a baby – good for them. If another chooses not to – that’s still fine. Stop telling people how to live their lives. Live & let live.