Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cinemagraph magic!

I don't usually post photos, but I guess these don't really count.

I've recently discovered these amazing pieces of artwork created by New York City-based fashion designer Jamie Beck and visual designer Kevin Burg. The took GIF (a type of file) to a new level and created "Cinemagraphs". Do Enjoy!

NOTE: Spend some time looking at the photo. Don't scroll by too fast. You'll see why...

Awesome right?


Friday, October 28, 2011

Cracked, broken and bare. . .

I live in a third world country. South Africa to be exact.
No, elephants do not roam our streets and we do not eat lion, to name some MAJOR misconceptions the rest of the world has about living in Africa.

There is something else though, something else that roams our streets. Poor people.

There is no such thing as a second world country, but I classify my country as one. We have incredible and beautiful cities with grand homes and quaint suburbs. We have five star hotels, restaurants and amazing schools with all their learners buttoned up in their blazers and briefs.
There is also immense poverty. Shacks line the outskirts of most main cities and with the instability of some of our neighbouring countries, refugees have poured in in the millions. Unemployment is a huge problem and government schools have hundreds and thousands failing per year.
Why do I chose to write on this today? Well, something I saw a few weeks ago hit a note for me and I've decided to share the pain of what I saw.

I am part of the privileged elite in my country. I go to a brilliant school, have enough food on the table every day and I have a proper home with my own room and a bed to sleep in every night. Nothing terrible has ever really happened to me, and what I saw that day kicked me the face with how amazingly blessed I am.

I was on the way back from an orchestra rehearsal and was looking out of the window when I saw a man begging for money in between the cars waiting for the robot to turn green. This was not an unusual sight to me as almost every robot has some kind of beggar asking for either food, work or money. I've seen children as young as 8 years old asking for food or money while their mother, holding her new born baby, leaned against the robot post. But this beggar had something else that was very distinctive about him.

He wasn't wearing any shoes.

He was a man of colour, but his feet were white from dryness and I could see the cracks in his heels as he walked over the stubbly tar towards the next car that refused to give him some sort of aide. I reluctantly looked down at my black school shoes and long blue socks, and to perfectly honest, I wanted to rip the them right off my feet and hand them to him through the window. I don't know if he would've accepted them, but I guess I'll never know. At this very moment in time - which happens to be at night - there is a huge storm over the whole city. My prayers are with that man and every other person in the same situation who is out there right now.

My dear readers, I want you to look at you shoes. Look at them closely, and think of them how a person with barely a shirt to cover their body with would. Think of them as the one way to stop the eternal pain that throbs upwards from your cracked, broken and bare feet. Look at your shoes, and never stop feeling grateful that they're there.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

(Not) Dancing in the rain. . .

Wow, last night was... wow... it was something alright. It definitely won't make my list of best evenings but I'm in the mood for a telling a story, so here it goes:

I'd heard about the event called On the Night for a few days but wasn't sure if I was going, until a friend told me all about it and, well, I was hooked. This was the event of the year and there were going to be fireworks and a live band playing. I'd gone shopping that day and had gotten this really nice vintage denim dress.
I decided to wear a long sleeve black top underneath, a gorgeous peach scarf and pair of peep-toe black wedges. I finished the look off with straighting my hair. Big mistake #1.

We arrived at the venue late afternoon and were just walking around. This was the event of the year so I didn't think any of it when I spotted someone I knew from the orchestra I play in. 
I'm a violinist, by the way.
Nevertheless, I didn't really know the person I saw so I continued to chat away, until I caught a glimpse of this guy I also know from orchestra. Just between you and me, I think he's a really great guy and again, just between you me, he has the most incredible smile I've ever seen. Of course it didn't take too long for him spot me as well, but sadly we didn't talk or see each other again that night.
The fireworks were about to begin and we all sat down on the stands of the big field we were on, waiting for the show to begin.

Holy mackerel! What a fireworks show! There were some incredible effects and that part of the night was one to remember.
It was already dark and my friends and I were all very hungry, but we decided to hand around on the stands a little longer. Big mistake #2.
It began to drizzle. We all thought it would be over in just a few minutes and then we could go get some food. Nope. 

Unfortunately Mother Nature had different plans in mind and decided to give us harder rain with a dash of a gail force winds. We tried to take cover underneath the food stalls, but to our despair all 2000 other people at the show had had the same idea. The rain was REALLY coming down now and of course, I didn't bring an umbrella. Big mistake #3.
The friend that I had come to the show with shouted over the noise and told me that her mother was on her way to pick us up, but we had to get to the entrance. The entrance was two very open rugby fields away and I was wearing very airy 3 inch wedges. We decided to run. Big mistake #4.

The rain felt like someone had opened fire on us with an AK 47 from above. Ouch.
We were drenched from head to toe. There went my perfectly straightened hair, lol. I definitely did not look like Allie in The Notebook when she and Noah were in the rain. I didn't even want to picture how my mascara was running down my cheeks. Oh, and did I mention that this rain was not warm?
I felt like I was dying from hypothermia and I was shivering and shaking like someone had poured 10 jars of red ants down my back.

We eventually got to the car, but before we got in, my friend's mother took one good look at the pre-sopping wet Anthea and Giorgia leather seats and then allowed us to scramble in. No she didn't turn on the heater for us, but to my drenched self's delight she had dropped everything in the middle of dinner to pick us up and she'd even stolen one of the waitress's very dry - and thankfully, very clean - dish towels to give us to dry our faces. 
So in the end I arrived home sopping from head to toe, wearing a vintage dress, holding my pair of black wedges and with crazy wavy hair.
I don't have any immediate plans for returning next year and here are some photo's that can sort of help you to picture the night:

Gorgeous Fireworks!

What I didn't look like.

Mascara running. . .

Picture this without the umbrella,and
instead of a guy and a girl, just two girls.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ok, I'm going a bit deep here. . .

As I watch and read my favourite TV shows, movies and books, there's always a part of me that's left aching inside. As I watch the heroine find that perfect love, be betrayed by that love and then finally end up with him, I am always left with that sense of longing. Longing that I had the same.
Like every girl on this planet, or at least I think, I wish for that one great love that would mean the end of life as I know it.  Yes, I realise that I'm quoting P.S I Love You, and my reply to the silent "Ahem, you're stealing a line out of a movie," is yes, I am. It's a good line.

I long for that one person who I feel like a real individual to, not just a piece of meat, a "buddy" to hang around or "that chick". I yearn for that amazing guy who I can't wait to see that day, that amazing guy that takes my breath away with just one look. That amazing guy who doesn't care if I'm having a bad hair day, or that I'm snapping at everyone who twitches in my direction.
That guy that everything just flows with. . .

I wish for that one person that I could cry, sob and wail infront of who would just hold me until I was ready to calm down. I wish for that guy who would just chuckle after I broke a heel at my brother's wedding, and I wish for the guy that would convince me to dance bare foot.

I dream of what he'd look like sometimes. What do his eyes look like? Does he have an amazing smile? Does he have a kind face, or is there an air of mischief and playfulness somewhere in there?
I could drive myself crazy sometimes thinking about it.
I don't think I even have a type.

I don't care if he's short or tall, and I couldn't care less if he were rich. There's no place in my heart for cheating, and it doesn't matter to me if he likes rugby, soccer or even ballet. I'm not really the jealous type, but I guess I haven't had much practice to be that type. I've never had a boyfriend. I've been asked out, sure, but never by someone I actually really liked. I've liked many people, but somehow those ones never seem to see me the way I see them.

I've had my heart more or less broken before. I say more or less because after the whole story, my heart was saddened more than anything else. I say saddened, because well, this was a major deal for me if I could have the one guy I really liked, like me back. Oh, I guess it would have felt like I wasn't a complete loser when it came to guys.

I don't know. I don't feel like a loser. I figure my time will come.

So yeah, I dream of true love.


Friday, July 29, 2011

The advice I will never give again. . .

To female readers: Keep reading
To guy readers: Here is your chance. Ever wanted a manual to the female brain? Well, this post is chapter 125797558744578, subsection 56798965567 write underneath the reason for hysterical crying. The many reasons, but nevertheless, this post may be your one and (possibly) only opportunity to pick at our brains, well, mine anyway, so keep reading as well.
                                                             *          *          *

Well, well, well, guilty as charged. On many an occasion I have said these four little words, not understanding what they meant and how hard following them was. Any guesses what those for four words are? Hmm, I'll give you a clue. They're four little words I will never be saying again: Just talk to him.
Yep, you heard me right. I, the daydreaming blogger, have major guy problems and only recently have I come to understand how freaking hard "just talking to him" is. 
I don't really want to go into my situation, but lets just say that this guy asked me out and then well, just kind of didn't talk to me for two weeks. Why? I have no idea, but in those weeks I had scores of friends telling me what a loser he is and even an ex-girlfriend of his telling me more or less the same thing. And naturally three weeks later, I, after hearing many stories of bad, ill-decided and pig headed things he's done, was completely put off.

You'd think after all that time of him not talking to me he'd realise there was no hope. Nope.
Just a week ago I received an sms from him asking what we had to study for the up coming exam as if nothing at all had happened. Do you want to know my thoughts on that little sms?
I'm not your personal homework diary. If you really want to know what to study, maybe ask your five other friends. Or maybe you should have just looked up from your Blackberry in the class and bothered to take down the work.
I said as much in my reply, ex the "maybe ask your five other friends...just looked up from your Blackberry" part.
Oh and I also added in the magical words "We need to talk 2mrw".
Did we "talk 2mrw"? Nope. Did we talk the next day? Nicht. The next? ไม่มี. I think even you can guess what "ไม่มี" means.
And here I am.

Guys of the world, answer me: why is it so hard to talk to you? I know we, the female race, over-analyse everything, but still, why is it so hard?
I can be very hard hearted when I want to be, but what is it about getting you alone and talking to you that freaks the hell out of me? Is is as bad for you? Must be, because I could have sworn this guy has been avoiding me ever since I sent him that sms. Or is the avoidance technique used by him alone? Oh, the questions. . .

Well, after much, much thought on the matter I have come to the conclusion that whatever happens, happens and I need to get this whole story off my back. Wish me luck.

The book explaining women. . .


Saturday, July 9, 2011

The life and climbs of the daydreaming blogger. . .

When somebody asks what the most amazing experience of your life has been, what do you say?
Some people answer with the basics like 'my first kiss' or 'my holiday in Mauritius', but my answer would be a bit different. My answer would go back three months ago on the 7th of April when I summited Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa.
This is my story.

For three long, gruelling months I had trained for my climb and finally on the first of April the day came that I would leave for Tanzania. Kilimanjaro is along the border of Kenya and Tanzania so on the way we had to stop in Nairobi Airport in Kenya, we being a team of 11 people who were going up Kilimanjaro.
In our wait for our flight to Tanzania, the team sat in a very small cafeteria, enjoying a beer or a two in the time, and we all got the chance to get to know each other. Did I mention my father decided to come along as well? Well, my father and I sat in that cafeteria and we met some of the most interesting people. Something I realised that day in Nairobi was that people had a million reasons for being in the middle of an African airport, Kilimanjaro was ours.

The people in our team were very different indeed. There was a chartered accountant, Ian and his brother, Kevin who came especially from Australia. There was a medical company executive, Mark Warran and his daughter Jade and Mark's best friend Cecil, a taxidermist. We then had two sisters and one of the sister’s husbands, and lastly we had Sibusiso Vilane.
Sibusiso Vilane is the first black man in the world to climb Mount Everest, twice. He has also climbed all seven summits of each continent and this trip to Kili was his tenth time.
Oh yeah. . .

Four hours later we were on a night flight to Kilimanjaro Airport. It was pitch black outside through the window and at one point in the flight the captain announced that we were now flying past Kili and if we looked very hard we could possibly see her slopes.
I think he was being a bit optimistic, but anyway, a while later we arrived in one of the smallest airports I have ever seen. As we sat in airport chairs there was suddenly a very unexpected noise, a low "NIIIIOOOOOOooooo" and the whole airport went dark. 30 second later, "niiiIOOOOOIIII" and the lights came back on. This continued for the next hour as we filled in form after form. This was definitely an African airport, no offence to African airports.

We arrived at our small hotel at 12:30 am and a very kind manager had kept food for us, so at 1 am we had a full dinner complete with dessert.

The next morning we met the chief guide, Rajab - or Raj, for short. He has been chief guide for 25 years and he and his team of forty-seven other people were going to guide us up Kilimanjaro. He briefed us on basics and then it was time to embark on the 3 hour drive to the Kilimanjaro National Park gate, where we would be starting our ascend.
As we drove through town after town, there was something so special about seeing what a rural African country looked like. It was rainy season so the land was lush and green and there were more banana trees than I care to describe. We could see woman and men plowing fields in the backdrop of the scenery.
Forget office blocks and skyscrapers, this was not a first world country.

While driving through the towns there was so much beauty, but there was also some incredible poverty. Small things you took for granted before, well, not after that trip.

 We eventually reached the gate and started to get ready. Ready as in put on gaiters - special rain guards for your legs - , hats, sun block and other things of the sort. Before I knew it the team and our newly appointed guide for the first day, Mathew began hiking very slowly up a small path into a thick pine forest. "very slowly" is in bold because that exactly what I mean, because you see that there in the mountain there is this very unfortunate thing called altitude sickness. The higher one goes up, the less oxygen there is and the slower one has to walk. If you move too quickly, the unacclimatised body can't take it and you will begin to feel nauseous and sick. Not a great feeling.

But anyway, along the path there were many different things to see but as we hiked upward the phenomenon of Kilimanjaro walked past us. The porters.
On Kilimanjaro there are many different jobs, you have the guides, the cooks, the waiters and then you have the porters.
Being completely acclimatised - meaning their bodies were used to less oxygen - and very fit they sped past us carrying up to 30 kilograms (66 pounds) on their heads or backs.

It took us 4 hours to get to the first camp and we were pleasantly surprised to find a whole camp complete with small tents for two, a very small cooking tent and a mess tent for eating. We were soon called for dinner.
Out of some of the many expectations I had, the brilliant food was not one of them. We were fed cucumber soup for starters and at first I will admit, I was more than a little reluctant to have a taste but after my first mouthful I couldn't get enough. The food that followed was also very good and I went to sleep with a happy stomach.

The phenomenon of Kilimanjaro - The porters
The next day was long and far, 18km far, 7 hours long. At first the weather was quite hot, this was Africa after all, but soon the rain began to pour down. We all quickly got into our rain jackets and continued for the next three hours through hard, pelting rain, but eventually we reached the next camp.

The guides had told us that our third day would be short, steep and grueling. They weren't lying, but out of all the days the third was one of my favourite. That's because on the third day we went through the clouds.
They were thick and moist and you could barely see your hand in front of your face, but once we were through, the most spectacular view was visible.
Going through the clouds
It was like seeing the whole word right in front of you, it was totally amazing.
Soon after, we arrived at the third camp, my favourite of them all. Not that the camps before weren't great, but this one had a little something special about it. This camp was right below Kilimanjaro's sister mountain, Mawenzi.

Camp at the base of Mawenzi, Kilimanjaro's sister mountain.
We planned on staying in the third camp for two nights, which was our extra day, so we had plenty of time to enjoy a few recreational activities. One of them being a good card game of Rummy. I won, to some of my team mates annoyance, but we had some good times.
One of the funniest times of the trip, voted by team, was that night in the mess tent. Unfortunately, I was very part of that funny moment. Let’s just say that you should never trust an unopened tin of milk powder. That specific night I had felt like a cup of Milo, it had gotten much colder now we were higher up, so I had spooned in all my Milo powder and sugar into my cup and then as I pulled back the seal of the milk powder tin the powder explode upwards, covering me from head to toe in a yellow ash. I had only opened up about 5 mm of the opening, and then the next thing I know, my whole team bursts out laughing.
Apparently the look on my face had been priceless and they were never, ever going to forget this. Oh goody. . .

That night it was bitterly cold and the wind blew our tents back and forth the whole night. That morning we found out why is was so cold. In the night it had began to snow over Mawenzi and her jagged peaks and all around us everything was covered in snow. Did I mention that it hadn't stopped snowing when we realised this?
This was the final day before summit night, a day where we would hike across a large open plane called The Saddle. I have no clue why it's called that, but apparently it was a very dusty and dry area. That day, it was not dry.

Hiking to the base of Kilimanjaro
To say we hiked through a snow storm would be a bit of an exaggeration, but the snow was definitely coming down.
Face first.

"Snow Storm"
It was also raining and after a bleak hour or two travelling through The Saddle, we came across something very unexpected.
A plane crash.
At first we didn't know what we were looking at, but then our guide explained to us what happened. 
Last year a small plane carrying three passengers and a pilot crashed into Mawenzi and then hit the area around The Saddle. Unfortunately, only the pilot survived but the crash was definitely a sight to see.

Plane crash
5 hours later - yes, that long - the team and I arrived at Kibo Hut, the last camp at the base of Kilimanjaro. We were given 5 hours to sleep that night, because at 12 o'clock midnight we would start our ascend.

11:30, we'd just had some tea and biscuits for energy and it was time to start leaving. I was introduced to my assistant guide, Bana Juma who was to help me along the way. Since I'm a young person - and a woman - I was assigned a helper. Apparently the Kilimanjaro Park wants more women and younger people to summit the mountain, so they give us assistant guides for summit night to better our chance of reaching the top.
12:00, we started to climb.
It was pitch dark and the only light you could see was from your small headlamp and those of the team. We were all dressed in thick summit jackets and many layers, but we still couldn't feel our fingers.
All through the 5 days the guides, and Sibusiso, had warned us that the hardest part of the climb was a two hour slot before we would reach the 1st of Kilimanjaro's three summit points, Gilman's Point. They were right.
About four hours into the climb, I began to feel the lack of oxygen. At first I thought it was all the layers, but I began to feel incredibly claustrophobic and I could only take shallow breaths. This scared the hell out of me.
I was in a bit of a panic at one point, but I eventually came to my senses and I knew that if I kept on going I would get used to it. I did.
For 6 long hours we climbed up the extremely steep zig-zag path leading to Gilman's point.
At one point though, about an hour from the stop, I felt like I was suffocating. I had my buff over my nose and mouth and it was hiked up in my beanie over my head. It was as close to a panic attack I've ever had. I began frantically clawing at the buff to get it off my face. Of course, I couldn't do this while climbing so my momentary lack of air caused a bit of alarm among the others who were wondering what was going on and why I'd stopped. My dad did mention how he noticed that the last 2 hours or so before Gilmans had thinner air than lower on the mountain. Well, he's right.
I thought the zig-zags would never end. We climbed hour after hour and it all seemed endless, but when I reached Gilman's Point, I knew I was there. I will admit, I got a little teary when I reached that snowy sign. 6 hours is a long time, enough said.
One hour past and we arrived at Stella Point, the second point. There is no sign for Stella Point so when we "got there" the guides kind of just jumped up and said "You've arrived at Stella Point!". Talk about improvising. . .
It then took us half an hour to get to Ukhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa. 5895 meters high. The top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Reaching the summit
Do you want to know what the view was like? It was white. The snow was everywhere and even if we didn't get to see that "I'm on top of the world" view, the beauty of it all was overwhelming. As great as being in a winter wonderland was, the top of Kili was also very cold. -13, to be exact. Could I feel my fingers? No, but everything else was nice and warm thanks to seven different layers of fleece, thermal vests and a trusty summit jacket.
Of course, we took and few pictures and then we realised we needed to get down. The cold and high altitude were beginning to take their toll. Even I was starting to get a head ache from the lack of oxygen.

We descended the mountain in 4 hours, but the last part from Guilman's Point to Kibo Hut was some of the most fun I've ever had. The ground along the slope leading to Guilman's Point is very lose and sandy, so when Bana Juma told me to take hold of his arm, I knew what was coming, so Juma and I literally skied down the slope of Kilimanjaro.

Skiing down the slope of Kilimanjaro
When I get to the bottom it didn't hit me that I actually just climbed Kilimanjaro, but on the flight back home we were told to look out the window, and there Kili was. Then you realise, oh my word, I was there.
Out of the plane

Anthea (P.S. If anyone would like to know more, I'd be so happy to elaborate a little further into my incredible experience)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

As easy as stealing candy from a baby. . .

What kind of evil person steals from little children?
How low does one have to be to think taking things from a school is okay?

I swear I am so angry I could just scream! Today was meant to be a celebration with music, dancing and a community coming together to commemorate Greek National Day, but then you get that one little spoiler who ruins the whole thing with a case of petty theft.
Petty theft sounds so minute when you think about it, but what happened today was just plain wrong.

This morning I arrived at our school where the celebration was taking place so I could perform with my dancing group. We all put our bags in a class room where everyone, as well as all the children had left their stuff. We assumed it would be okay to leave our phones and watches in our bags since the room would be locked and there were burglar bars on the inside of the doors. We assumed wrong.

Three hours after we left our bags in the class room, just before we were set to go on stage, a girl comes running towards us crying, red faced and traumatized. In a few gasped words between sobs she explained that she had just walked in on a man rummaging through the room where we, and all the small children, had left our bags. Phones, money, watches and any kind of valuable were all in the pockets of this vile man.

According to the girl, as she walked into the room, the man -realising that he was not alone - grabbed for the nearest thing he could reach and ran out the back door.
We eventually calmed her down, but we were all a little shaken up. Do we not have the right to feel that we and our possessions are safe at a school, on a national celebration day?

"It's as easy as stealing candy from a baby," you would say, but my question is "Why is the candy so easy to steal?".
Evidently, I think my phone was stolen today and it would be the second phone stolen from me this month, so of course, I'm less than thrilled. I say would, because my bag had been locked by accident in the classroom before I could get to it. This all sounds so bad , but what annoys me the most is that out of all the places this person could have stolen from, he picked a school. A school?

Now thinking from the thief's perspective, he needed the money cause if he didn't pay back his landlord - or quite possibly his gang leader or drug dealer - he was going to be in serious crap.
This is a private school, so it's filled with little children with rich parents who wouldn't mind getting them another phone or watch if it meant helping his little situation out. Sure, he would feel a bit bad about scaring that poor girl who came in while he was searching for "the goods", but I guess he thought the little incident was justified since she shouldn't have been there anyway while he was doing his 'work'.

It's that kind of thinking that's ruining our security. We don't feel safe in our homes, so we put up electric fences, get big dogs and install alarm systems. We don't feel safe at our work, so we call in security guards and put in cameras and motion sensors. But now what I'm asking is, Why do we not feel safe at our school?

The problem. . .

The supposed solution. . .

Anthea (P.S. I apologise if my pictures don't show up. I'm experiencing some technical difficulties at the moment.)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What an eye opener. . .

Yesterday was one of the most amazing days ever. . .
I started my morning off by waking up insanely early, so I could leave to pick up my friend for our community service day at the Little Eden Fete.

Every year a home for the mentally handicapped, Little Eden, throws a huge fete to raise money for their cause, and even though I go every year, I still feel awed at all the people who show up to support.

We got there at 7 o'clock and started packing out all the donations we received of clothes, toys, cupcakes and Easter eggs. We just about had a truck load of contributions, which in itself, is brilliant.
Now at about 8 o'clock a bus arrives with about 40 people inside, and I'll let you guess which stall they went to first.
Have you ever seen two women fighting over a pair of shoes that 'they saw first'? Picture that, but times the amount of women by 10, add in 20 men, 5 tables of clothes and toys and two volunteers frantically rummaging through all those piles trying to find the second shoe to a pair of baby trainers that I'm pretty sure only consisted of the one shoe.

So, basically our little stall was the busiest part of the fete for a while, but it did calm down eventually when those 40 people suddenly realised: "Oh shucks, how am I going to get all this home?".

5 hours past and yes, I was still manning the stall with my friend. I'd been promoted to giving change and if I don't say myself, I was rocking it! I was having so much fun and it was a real eye opener to how lucky I am.

"I saw it first!"

Little Eden Logo

Rocking the change

Eye opener. . .


Friday, February 18, 2011