Category Archives: Writing

Donating School Uniforms

When I was a child my family and I relocated to different places. It was never more than 50 kilometres from the previous place, except for when we relocated from Mozambique to South Africa.

So when we relocated, it sometimes meant going to a new school. This caused nervous jitters because of having to get to know the teachers, make new friends and get used to new rules.

It also meant that my parents had to buy new school uniforms for us kids, always an expensive task. Which is why I loved reading the story of the grade 12 learners at the Eersterivier Secondary School in Cape Town who left their school uniforms in plastic bags on their desks, for future learners who don’t have any.

When I was still in school, at the graduation from primary to high school the tradition was to get our uniforms signed by all our teachers and classmates, a memento of the years spent together. The same thing happened when graduating from high school. I still have my high school uniform, with all the signatures and well wishes. I haven’t looked at it since they were signed.

So instead of getting the uniform all scribbled on, it’s much better to donate it to learners whose parents can’t afford a new one.

What do you think?

 

That’s Value Right There

Patina, thin layers brought on by time.

Yesterday Che and I were talking about restoring old things of value. Restorations are something Che loves doing. The love that he puts into bringing life back into an old and misused item is something that is beautiful about him. He recently restored an old oil welder. It was cracked and rusted. After a few months of tlc, it now looks very different. It’s usable now. That led us to talk about restorations and I asked about the cost/benefit ratio of restoring something. Of course, my frame is different to that of a restorer. There are some things that it is necessary to restore to look brand spanking new. And there are other items that need to be restored just enough to still retain the patina of age. That is what gives them value.

I came across this quote by John Yemma editor of the Christian Science Monitor, in his “open source” column for November 22, 2009, “On Thanksgiving: the memorial that time forgot” that beautifully describes this:

“Monuments are anchors in time. Epochs pass, weather erodes, people lose interest. This cannot be helped. But patina itself is worth appreciating. Patina is the value that age puts on an object.”

The same applies to other items such as cars, Fender amps and old oil welders. The patina is what gives items character helping them to retain their value.

The same thing can apply to people too. As one gain in years, people are imbued with a patina of wisdom, the passing of time creating layers of experience, layer upon layer upon layer upon layer.

Generally, in Western cultures, people who have these wonderful rich patinas are put away from mainstream society depriving the youth of learning from their wisdom. Many elderly people lose their purpose in life when removed from the family system, from their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A life without purpose is no life at all and often, at that stage of life, the only purpose an elderly person has is to be with their family.

I love the story of the students who live rent-free in an old age  home in the Netherlands in return for spending 30 hours with the residents, giving them computer lessons and cooking for them, helping to combat “the social isolation and loneliness in older men and women which increases mortality” – imagine the wisdom that they can tap into. This story was written in 2015 and I hope that it’s still ongoing.

John Yemma goes on to say,

(Patina) “It’s what makes an antique antique. It is experience, maturity, the soft sheen of time. Patina wasn’t present at the spanking-new creation. It comes from a life lived.”

How amazing is that, how incredible that as we become better versions of ourselves each and every day, we acquire the patina of a life well lived. That’s value right there.


Patina 

 

Immersion Or Emersion

Similar to immigrate and emigrate, these 2 words are often used incorrectly.

I use this easy way of remembering of distinguishing one from the other.

Emigrate and immigrate

Going away (the ‘from’ country): emigrate is when you leave your home country to go and live in another country – e.g. you emigrate from New Zealand.

Going towards (the ‘to’ country): immigrate is when you go to live in another country – e.g. you immigrate to Australia. Think of the letter “i” as in going in to another country…immigrating.

Emersion and immersion

Coming out or up: emersion is when you appear from, coming out or up of; emerging from something (e.g. water) or somewhere (e.g. a retreat or sabbatical).

Going in or down: immersion is to submerge, sink or go down into something; to become involved in, to cover oneself. Again, think of the letter “i” as in going inimmersion.

20 Inspirational Prompts For Your Next Awesome Blog Post

If you’re like me and sometimes feel uninspired that no topic comes to mind then this list is for you. I hope 😉

I have a few resources I consult that give me interesting writing prompts. Today none satisfy so I’ve decided to be on the other side – the prompt provider.

Here’s 20 to inspire you.

  1. Start your blog post with “It’s such a noisy, selfish and frustrating world!” Go!
  2. What is your must-have packing item for travelling?
  3. 5-star hotel or RV camper and why?
  4. What was your favourite childhood game?
  5. What are the things you do to keep busy when it’s cold out/snowing outside?
  6. Mauritius or Iceland holiday, and why?
  7. Are you a cat person or a dog person or both?
  8. What’s your favourite TED Talk?
  9. What is your favourite quote?
  10. What has been the most satisfying detour you’ve ever taken?
  11. Have you ever been on the road less travelled?
  12. Are you a DIY’er? Post a pic of a DIY project you’re ok showing the blogosphere.
  13. Have you ever left a message in a bottle?
  14. Have you ever found a message in a bottle?
  15. What is your super power (we all have one don’t we…)?
  16. Do you still write longhand or have you migrated to typing your thoughts?
  17. When was the last time you ticked off every single item on your “to do” list? What happened to make it possible?
  18. How many languages do you speak?
  19. Do you have a favourite board game? Tell us about it.
  20. When was the last time you went to a ball?

Over to you.

Feel free to link to this post.

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Reblog: 45 Ways To Avoid Using The Word ‘Very’

I don’t like using the word ‘very’ for various reasons:

  • It sounds insincere
  • It is overused
  • It is not professional
  • <insert your own>

And yet there are times when that is the only word that I can come up with, almost like a shortcut. The problem with shortcuts is that they are context specific and subjective which can lead to a lack of understanding. So a quick way to communicate can turn out to be just the opposite.

I was delighted to read this morning Writers Write blog post on 45 Ways To Avoid Using The Word ‘Very’ – click on the link to get a useful table of what words can be used instead.