Posted by: madamm | February 1, 2008

See me

When I was a child, my mother and father took Blanche and I to Namibia a number of times. On one occasion, we all went “duning” on the sands of the Namib. Windswept hair, midriff tops, sand in our eyes and ears. The ecstacy of flying down the exquisite, almost artistically sculpted dunes, eyes shut tight and holding on, was never captured on photographs.  
There is only one photograph of us, moving slowly in the merciless heat of this uninhabited place, barefoot back toward the car. My memory of “duning” has distilled with this image and I am left, some sixteen years later, only with the thought that it was horrible because my feet were seared in the scorching sand and if only aunty Lucille would hurry up to open the door of her car for us. 
Having grown up since, learning about the pancreas, World War II, Stanislavsky, Italian neo-realism and what words like “cunt” and “ephemeral” mean, I think I’ve reached a new (sandless) zenith. And there are countless Kodak moments stored away in photo-albums where you only see me at the top. See me here, I am smiling (too widely, in my opinion) because the school photographer made me laugh on the night the school gave me all those prizes. See me waltzing in a moerse pink ballgown (it was a really tight fit): Shall we dance…(one two three and…) on a bright cloud of music shall we flyyy… See me falling in love with the boy who sang me songs. He used to write me long letters, pretending he is away at war during Ramadan.  
A chubby girl, I was. Effens geset, I remember my bespectacled friend from Kraaifontein said. See me lose 18 kilograms and feel like a “hotty”. Another boy came and kissed my lips a thousand times. But he was taken away shortly before his 21st birthday.” Dress to Kill”, his invitation had said. A borrowed gift from God.  
A Spinster of Arts doesn’t quite have the same ring as a Bachelor of Arts, I suppose. But by the time I graduated for the first time, acquiring this degree, that was exactly what I was. Unattached. See me looking at you from my graduation photo now. I am smiling (just the right amount).  Before then, I had turned 21 and lost another person I had grown very much in love with. See me laughing in Grahamstown where he was studying, for the camera. See me at my 21st birthday party, surrounded by friends and family. Happy for my “inconquerable soul” as W.C. Henley had said. See me at another pinnacle where I gained one more degree and more importantly, some life-long friends.  
They were all at my wedding less than a year ago. I find weddings so moving, said a TV character once, two people, so naïve and yet so incredibly brave. I loved again though there was too much of everything else in this world. The allowance of affectations superceding the divinely simple. 
And when the mirror looks at me in this “foul clutch of circumstance”, I search and I search. Those eyes (unsmiling) and that incessantly chattering mouth speaking to you, meticulously pronouncing words just like the recipient, adjusting to every context of other beings but never silenced (still).  
The Namib dunes are never the same. The nuances and curves of the sand change daily as it adjusts also to the ebb and flow of the adjacent Atlantic. I remember appreciating that it will never be the same after I had left. But please see me smiling (almost imperceptible) as I walk away from this peak, embracing everything I am, the happened the unhappened. Thank God I was never alone. “Bloody but Unbowed”, Henley said. My feet welcoming the ephemeral scorches of sands to come.

Hello Everybody

This will be this blog’s last post. Aside from the fact that I have now penned a book bound in the form of a masters thesis (and degree!YAY!) on this subject, I should like the opportunity to close this chapter in my life appropriately. I never did have the chance to traverse the sky to live and be with the person I married, however the serenity God gave to me accept this makes the pain bearable.

This has been an incredible time for me and I thank you for yours.

Posted by: madamm | January 5, 2008


Something compelled me to write a short post today.

It is time to start anew. I will send the link of my new blog to each of your email addresses (provided you’ve commented, of course) soon.

Posted by: madamm | December 6, 2007

I’m ready

I thought about writing an emotional post today. I mean, it’s not as if literally anything doesn’t set me off anyway. Emotional words to a song. Trying to hold back tears as I hugged a friend goodbye or even just sitting next to my father talking to him.

And then I thought well, I’ve been pretty emotional lately so what about a fun post. One in which I talk about how I keep running into a guy who wears make-up and dark green contact lenses who works at the Estee Lauder counter in Edgars Tygervalley. I mean literally everywhere. Concerts, coffee shops, malls, etc. But that’s too random. And somehow it doesn’t seem quite relevant to my personal situation right now.

Maybe you’d like to know what it feels like to finally be able to prepare for a life with a person you took marital vows with more than nine months ago. The truth? It’s fucking scary. I mean, do not even get it twisted. How we’ve grown, matured and changed in two years. How did we do it? By the grace of God and an intense amount of commitment. And now, we’re finally going to embark on this life together as husband and wife. So am I the same foreign exchange student he met at a US college over two years ago? yes and no. Is he the same hot guy I saw on campus one warm North Carolinian afternoon? yes and no.

He took me to buy cigarettes at a store close by that same afternoon. In his red little sports car. He even let me drive but took over eventually. He still doesn’t think I’m a great driver by the way. Our first date: Ruby Tuesday. We talked. About religion. A lot about religion. And culture. They called it “talking”. They’re ” talking” now. We went to Church together. We went on vacation together. He took me home for Thanksgiving. We stayed up talking until early in the morning.

One night I cried inconsolably. How was I going to leave him? Would I ever see him again? I remember that night so well. He held me and held me and kept on holding me so tightly. I wanted to be with him forever.

There are so many things about us that are the same. But we’re also two completely different people. We like and want the same things in life. But our love has really stood some difficult tests. So how do you pack your things, after two years of separation knowing how much heartache and suffering you’ve endured and not wonder if things will be exactly the way it was when you were ” just talking” in college?

The truth is you do wonder. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, in fact, I think that it is to be expected. C and I have spent the last two or so days talking about this for hours at a time.  Has our love grown? Has it changed? In what way? Did we do the right thing?This is such a big step for us. For both of us. This is an incredibly sad time for me as I say goodbye to my amazing parents, my wonderful sister and fantastic friends. I wish I could have it all. I truly do. But life just does not work that way.

I am scared. But I’m sure, if you’ve been following this blog for a while you may have picked up that I think I’m also incredibly brave. I love this man. I love him with my entire being. And for all those nights that I prayed for his safety, I thank God. Also for bringing this person into my life one warm North Carolinian afternoon. This person who has worked so hard, set aside his personal goals and lived up to everything I’ve ever wanted in a husband. I don’t think I’ve always appreciated this but I do.

Our life together can finally begin and I’m ready.

Posted by: madamm | December 3, 2007

Just Blazin’

I’ve been home for one day and I’ve already heard that I need to pack my high school blazer.

Yes, the one with all the badges. That loud, ostentatious item of clothing I wore with a beaming smile in my matric year. Lord help me.

I mean, not only do I have half of my wedding gifts to consider, I also have all 65 20 pairs of shoes and all my clothes, not forgetting my books and other sentimental paraphernalia. But the blazer must find a spot in there somewhere, says Mom. She who wanted to frame the thing in the first place (I’m not going into it, that would really be ostentatious of me). Let’s just say I was a really eager beaver at school. Right now, I feel my eagerness withering away along with my patience though. Mom is insisting on items that don’t even fit me anymore ” to serve as inspiration”. You gotta love it. Because I know I am going to miss this. Even though it’s irritating the crap shit hell out of me right now. I just spent an entire day at the mall with my mother and we decided to start packing this evening.

Luckily we have guests right now and I can catch a break, but you know what they say…more is nog ‘n dag.

It’s really weird to be at home and not stress about deadlines or even what’s going on at work in general. I spent a lovely day at the cricket with my family yesterday and hippety hop all the way to the shops today.

No, it hasn’t really hit me yet…but believe me folks…it will. Soon enough it will. On the bright side, today will be the last montheversary C and I spend apart.

Posted by: madamm | November 30, 2007

I wish it were simpler

Date: 30 November 2007
Time: 11:10
Song: Suddenly I see- KT Tunstall
Place: My office chair (for the last time)

Dear Diary,

Could I start an entry in a more offbeat way? Could I start writing about this past week and not explain to the people who may happen upon my words how truly amazing I feel today?

Diary, I want to ignore all the unnecessary detail of how I was told that I would not be receiving the visa because one document (which was the first document I applied for) had “apparently”expired. I don’t really want to talk about how I stood in the wrong queue for two hours, or how I was smart enough to bring three sets of photographs in black and white and colour because of discrepancies in instructional documents from the exact same place or how my caseworker got sick and went home on the day of my interview. 

I don’t even feel it necessary to talk about how utterly rude the man who assembled my documents was to me. I don’t want to talk about how I cried when I had to tell my husband I wouldn’t be able to see him soon. How I had resigned from my job and bought a plane ticket to the USA and how it was all shot to shit within a matter of minutes.

All the muscles tightened in my face. I was a wreck, only for the sake of Jane, I couldn’t let it show. She had stuck by me, drove me from point A to B, had me reapply for the document in question in the hope that we’d be able to get a new one within a matter of hours. My hope was waning and the tears were threatening again.

It was at this point Diary, that I realised that being with my husband was the one thing I wanted the most in the entire world. I had never felt so incredibly crushed before. Just how did we manage a long distance engagement and marriage for two years? I didn’t know anymore. I didn’t know how I was going to do it anymore. I felt perhaps that if he wanted to leave me, if it was too much, Diary, then perhaps we could come to reach an amicable decision. Because I was never going to see him again. I couldn’t believe that my fate lay in the hands of a stranger. And that I had no choice or say in this matter.

But when you’ve got two hours to kill before your (doomed) interview at the American Consulate General, you close your eyes, Diary. And you don’t care who sees you. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over. You pray. You ignore channel CNN, you ignore everything around you. You’re so fucking shattered. Nothing is simple anymore. And a prayer is all you’ve got. And you remember all your friends who’ve sent you their best wishes. And you hang on, because you can’t  walk out of this place without having tried.

She called me to the window. She asked me how I met my husband. She read the extremely emotional e-mail my husband had sent my parents asking them for my hand in marriage. I told her about our wedding. Our road trip to Lousiana. I showed her my very first Walmart payslip. She laughs. She’s from Biloxi, Mississippi. She sees a picture from there in my photo album. She looks homesick for a second. She tells me it’s over before I could guess that it was.

I raise my right hand. And pledge. I walk out of there. And when I get outside. I look up. A tiny sound comes from deep inside my throat. It’s a cross between a yelp of elation and the death of anguished crying.


Hello Everybody,

Today is my last day in this office. I am filled with mixed emotion (and renewed trepidation at the looming deadline!)

The party was held, the white wine was great, I left Johannesburg last night in tears from hugging my friend Jane at O.R Tambo International; To Jane, I want to express my heartfelt thanks for her emotional support during a rollercoaster of a day. I love you more than you understand.

To my friend Gnome: Thank you for making me your hero for your bday! What an honour. To me, it is important to let your friends know how important they are to you. And if you can help them in any way, why not Gnome? You’ve been one of my best friends for years, I’m glad I got you to elicit an excited yelp too! Love you so much.

Toby, for your love, phone calls and concern. I am so blessed to have you in my life, thank you for everything that you have been and will (hopefully) continue to be. You (like many others) will be on the other side of the world, but your friendship is irreplaceable. Love you always.

LT…you’re right…that I got the visa is all that matters! But oh, the dramah!!!!

To all my other friends, especially Bri, Abi, Ally and Molly and The Divine MISS M, your holding thumbs and prayers were instrumental in this process. Thank you for your love and friendship.

I am because we are.

Yes, folks…this is my last day at the office. It’s happened way too quickly. I don’t even have time for a proper observant goodbye. I leave South Africa in 10 days.

Posted by: madamm | November 26, 2007

The Nicest Drama Queen

Yesterday an article in the Sunday Times’ Lifestyle section confirmed that I am indeed a Drama Queen.

“The Drama Queen is one who turns everything into a major crisis no matter how small the problem and thinks she’s going to get fired when the boss doesn’t smile at her.”

That’s me through and through. I stress about EVERYTHING and make it my life mission to pick up when people don’t smile or greet and then spend days beating myself up about it asking what I’ve done wrong. I don’t know why I’m like this, I just am.

Some of my friends have accepted this as part of my often fickle but very lovable* personality and others I am sure skinner behind my back and say mean things about how touchy I am and how I need to get over myself.

Moving swiftly on…I am boarding a (hopefully safe) plane tomorrow afternoon for the all important, much anticipated visa interview for my k3 spousal visa in Johannesburg on Wednesday morning. I don’t know whether to be excited or petrified, quiet or loud, ingratiating or distant…I don’t know what to wear. I have no idea what to expect or even how long it will take.

This information is not freely available like that. I mean there is this one site that claims to give you all-you-need-to-know-about-visa information and according to them I may be asked what our favorite sex position is (for verification purposes of course, I am not kidding) but I think that’s in really extreme cases.

Also, I don’t know how forthcoming I should be about my skills, qualifications and abilities. What is more favourable? To emphasise how much of an asset you may be or to not say much since the most important consideration is of course the fact that you want to be able to live with your husband.

Yes, these are things to consider and I’ve been stressing about it over and over and over, but I guess all I really want is for it to go well. The whole year has been about this interview. It’s taken a very very long time to get to this point. I am sure everything will go well. Please hold thumbs for me, it just seems as if there is so much going wrong at the moment.

For instance I am extremely upset with a few people at the moment. And maybe I’m making a drama queen moment out of it, but I feel like I should trust my intuition on this. My life should not be spent worrying about mere acquaintences.

I wish I could write about what’s going right now. I wish I could express how much I actually detest that people plak themselves onto you and then just assume that you’re up for the party and their conversation. I wish I had a way to get rid of taai people.

You know the type. You’re never rude to them because they never did anything to upset you. But secretly you actually cannot stand them. I’m not a bad person, honest. I’m actually just too fucking nice. And that’s my biggest problem.

*I assume some people may think I have a loveable personality, though some would argue I’m about as interesting as a clipped toenail.

Posted by: madamm | November 23, 2007

Par for the course (NOT)

En toe hou hulle mos ‘n bleddie draw.

My poor dad. After positioning himself as one of the top players of the day, he came home last night with a goodie bag. After 18 holes of near perfect shots in crazy howling winds in a competition hosted by Bellville’s biggest mall (Tygervalley), he came home with a goodie bag. There were big screen tv’s, dvd players, digital cameras, weekends away for two, Givenchy gift packs, the list continues. And all he got was a goodie bag.

Everybody got a fucking goodie bag, he roared. It’s because there are people who play skelm that they decided to draw names from an effing hat. Daddy hated everything about yesterday’s extravagant Golf Day. “Die bleddie emcee was Carlos Perestrelo van 7de laan, kannie fokken Engels praat nie!” he shouted in between mumbling the same word a few times that sounded distinctly like “megapixels”.

My dad is a grown man, but I could see he was really upset that they decided to arrange the prize giving like that. After he’d played his little heart out. But wait, there’s more…

Apparently there were some foreigners playing in the golf day as well. When Dad came out of the men’s room, this one guy who he knows happened to be from Germany looks at him and shouts in passing: “I left my shoes on the window sill there for you to clean.“.

Dad says he was too shocked to respond. But he was more upset that someone else had heard this exchange: “Die regte shoe cleaner het hom fokken in sy moer gelag vir my,” he said before sulkily peering in his goodie bag for a mini Bar One.

God, I love my father more than I could ever explain.

Posted by: madamm | November 21, 2007


In one week it will all be over.

In one week I will have been in an office with the people from the American Consulate in Killarney, Jhb. And they will have told me my future by now.

I’ve been doing pretty great not thinking about it too much. I’ve gathered all my forms. My photographs, my unabridged marriage and birth certificates. My passport. Yes, I have it all.

And still I have no clue what these people will be asking me. Q: How did we meet?
A:We were neighbours on campus in the USA.

Q: When did we get engaged?
A: Shortly before Thanksgiving in the USA.

Q:What do I like about my husband?
A: His wonderful love, ambition and ability to let me get over myself.

Q: Why did you decide to live in the US./
A: C is studying, and I have completed my tertiary education already.

Q; Do you get along with your in-laws?
A: Does planning our road trip to Charleston, SC count as getting along?

ooooh, I hope it goes well. What am I gonna wear? Should I get my hair did? I plan to spend three days with Jane. This should be fun.

In all seriousness though…this visa is very important to me. You know I’ve been married for nine months and seen my husband for only 20 days. Please hold thumbs, kay?

Posted by: madamm | November 20, 2007

Bot and Bothered

Bot. (pronounced bôt)

I bet I wasn’t the only kid in high school who used this synonymn for “boring”. Everything was so bot.

Your math teacher’s jokes were bot.
Mr Solomon’s history lessons were bot.
Prefect gate duty was bot.
Shakespeare was truly bot and the same person getting first prize for every grade since you entered high school was too bot.

Now, when you’re on the eve of so-called adolescence, not only are things bot but you tend to be bothered a lot. I am bothered by disgusting blog posts while I eat. I rarely have time to have a sit down lunch somewhere and spend about 30 minutes a day eating my lunch while reading blog posts. So it is rather unpleasant to read about puke and shit while snacking on your prawn and avo sarmie. This is not the bloggers’ fault however. Still…it bothers me.

I am also bothered by Home Affairs who didn’t pay their phone bill which means you can’t get hold of them telephonically at all. I raised all hell there on Saturday and nearly led a toyi-toyi through Voortrekker Road over this kak. Mothers with babies, sitting down next to shit-infested toilets, waiting and waiting. Because they’re only letting in one person at a time.Fucking unbelievable, I tell you.

I think Oom Oubaas is right about this global warping. People were not intended to fly. I am getting more and more apprehensive about my flight to Johannesburg next week, because this shit is still happening.

I am reading a book by Dalene Mathee that is deeply affecting the way I used to think about things. History especially. I don’t know how to feel about this except to just feel it.

I am trying very hard to not think about the short time I have left here in South Africa. If all goes well next week, I don’t plan to stay all that long.

Honestly I don’t even have the energy to fight the good fight here. My job bores me to tears.

Small things people say and do. It irritates me very very much. Thoughts like: Get a life already and Ag, jy’s vol van jouself, hou jou bek run through my mind. I don’t think the candidates read this blog however. Good thing too, or else I might’ve been more venomous: Like, go drown yourself already.

Oh my word, I just read that again. That’s so mean. Now I feel bad and awful.

Posted by: madamm | November 18, 2007

My two cents about this whole fiasco

The Sunday newspaper, Rapport showed how appallingly wimpish the South Africa media muscle can look when they sacked (read succumbed to irate Christians in a Jyllands-Posten-cartoons-of Mohammed manner) the controversial mr Deon Maas last week.

I have no need to justify any personal belief or lack thereof at this point. All I really want is to express my horror at it all. Personally, I find Maas a little tedious and even when he spent an entire column writing about things that may have affected me personally, I couldn’t be bothered to bat an eyelid, really. He (and the editorial guys) loved the chaos of it all. You ignorant losers. And you fell for it everytime.

You wasted what little airtime you had left over after spending your time and money on other kômmin activities to have your say about Deon Maas. Make your voice heard. (A good thing of course) And then you went  and spoiled it by going completely anarchic and losing your minds.

You realise there are more worthy causes out there, right? You do know what freedom of speech and disclaimers mean, right? You did read his first column in Rapport within context right? Or did you?

Given, most things sacrilegious is bound to raise more than a few hackles, I do believe that this signals hypocrisy. If Muslim people want to burn newspapers down over cartoons, might they be allowed? I know, I know…stand for something or you’ll fall for anything right? But I really have to wonder what good bombing all and sundry every other day in the name of religion has brought the world.

Religion is so incredibly powerful in this world. But so is ignorance, apparently.

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