AureLie’s and a storm

AureLie’s Health and Lifestyle Cafe came highly recommended and it didn’t disappoint.  There aren’t many vegetarian eating places in Joburg, so when I hear about a new one I’m there in a flash. So today, my friend K. and I went there for lunch.

It’s situated in the new Waterfall Estate in Kyalami and easy to reach either via the N1 (Allandale offramp) or the R55 from Woodmead. Much of this large estate is still under construction as people buy land to build homes there. The roads were the first things to be built, so getting in and out of there is a breeze.

AureLie's Health and Lifestyle Cafe, Waterfall Estate, Kyalami
AureLie’s Health and Lifestyle Cafe, Waterfall Estate, Kyalami

The menu is quite extensive, with freshly squeezed juices (I had the Vitamin Booster), smoothies, wraps, salads, focaccia, and so much more. Not many eating places offer vegetarian burgers, and AureLie’s has a large selection. I settled on the the My Favourite focaccia instead with (amongst others) roasted aubergine, honey, wallnuts, rocket and goats cheese.

My Favourite Focaccia
My Favourite Focaccia

K had a yummy Rosa salad, presented in a gorgeous bowl.

Rosa Salad
Rosa Salad

AureLie’s is on a higher level than the surroundings and the area provides wonderful views eastwards towards Kempton Park, and northwards towards Pretoria. During our after-lunch walk we observed the approaching storm, and decided to rush home because it looked rather nasty…and it was nasty (more about this later).

The approaching thunderstorm - you can see 3 of them towards the north
The approaching thunderstorm – you can see 3 of them towards the north

The thunderstorms towards the east.

Approaching thunderstorms to the east
Approaching thunderstorms to the east

After dropping off K, the rain started. As I approached Alberton, the rain fell harder and visibility dropped to just a few meters. Surface water made driving not so easy and the water levels started to rise on the surface of the roadway. The little stream at the bottom of my street had broken its banks, so I had to do a U-turn to reach home through the top road.

It’s still raining outside albeit softly now. The back garden is looking green and lush, the tomato plants and other vegetables are loving the constant watering. The pool is filled to the top. The front garden is waterlogged. But in this land of scarce natural water resources, I am not complaining.

The seasons are changing once again

It’s been raining pretty much the whole week. Not the usual highveld summer thunderstorms that come in the afternoon, shower down, and then go away, leaving the ground dry once again. Instead the rain has been softly and continuously falling. Clouds are low and leaden. There is mist in the mornings.  For a province that enjoys sun light for most of the year, this time can be quite bleak.

The ground is waterlogged, saturated. There’s been floods in certain low lying areas of the province. People have lost their homes in the floods, those people who least need to have their homes swept away by the rising waters.

Pot holes have started to appear, slashing the tyres of the non-vigilant driver. Work crews have tried to work in the rain to repair the pot holes. Faulty traffic lights are a regular occurrence.

Temperatures have started to drop, boots and long sleeved tops have started to make an appearance in department stores. But the shops still have summer clothes on sale. The incongruity of all.

Soon the leaves will start to fall off the trees. Soon, the grass will be dry and the landscapes will become brown. Veld fire season will start, and the smell of the veld fire will once again remind me of my childhood in Mozambique.

This  is the begining of autumn; even though we’ll still have some scorching days, the earth is preparing itself for another change of season.

Time after time

The first cup of freshly brewed coffee on a Sunday morning, waking up slumbering neurons. The accompanying toast with butter pleasuring sleepy taste buds.

A cup of coffee and toast on a weekday morning just doesn’t smell the same or feel the same or taste the same…as that special cup of coffee and toast on a lazy Sunday morning.

Time after time, the Sunday coffee is a happy anchor on which the last day of the weekend stays itself, because the following morning, the weekday cup of coffee is waiting.

Featured image courtesy of FreeImages.

Kind of, like, I mean, you know…?

I love language!

Mobile technologies like SMS, BBM, email, and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, have spawned a new language. The purists are up in arms about it. I think it’s the evolution of the English language.

Without evolving a language will die out. The world is quickly being divided into those who keep up with new trends in the language, and those who don’t. Kind of like those who speak new English, and those who speak old English…I mean, who speaks like Shakespeare these days?

If you haven’t already been there, make your way to Urban Dictionary, the dictionary written by everyone. Kind of like the Wikipedia for dictionaries. Kinda…

Each day, towards the end of the day, I get my daily word. And each day I’m gobsmacked at it. I mean who comes up with these words? Much less who uses these words. Depending on your frame, you may see some as downright rude.

When I was at university, the use of colloquial language in papers was frowned upon. Yet it’s these colloquialisms that eventually become part of mainstream language, used by everyone, students and university lecturers alike.

It’s these newly developed (invented may be a better description) words that are evolving the language and keeping it alive and relevant.

Did I say already that I love language?

The day I left

The then present

Kneeling on the back seat of the taxi, I looked at the diminishing form of my grandmother, weeping on the hot concrete pavement. She was staying behind. Not coming with us.

Framed by the rectangular back window of the taxi, I watched my grandmother becoming smaller and smaller. She disappeared as the taxi rounded the corner and it was then that her memory started to become bigger and bigger in my heart. That’s all I had left of her. She became larger than life – the one whose cool touch would no longer soothe my fevered brow, whose reassuring voice would no longer tell me real bedtime stories from her life, who would no longer teach me to sew or crochet, and who would never again pick me up when I fell on the concrete pavement in front of our house.

The rest of that day was a blur, me a bit player, following and doing what I was told. Arriving at the airport, I remember white gloved security officials searching through our bags before allowing us to pass through to the boarding area. I remembering feeling afraid of not being allowed to pass through, of not being able to join my Dad waiting for us in a strange land,  of being left behind. We were on our way to a new country, a new home, a new language, new friends, new everything.

Plucked from everything familiar, I knew anxiety and fear for the first time in my life. I spent the entire flight being sick. Arriving on the other side, my Dad was the first face I saw when we came out the sliding doors to the waiting area. He’d positioned himself right at the front, and I remember his gentle relieved smile full of love as he saw us for the first time in many weeks.

The then past

I should have suspected something was afoot when my grandmother had asked me, a few weeks before, how I would feel about moving to a new country.

“I don’t want to go” I remember saying, “English has a different alphabet, how am I going to learn?”

I don’t remember much more about that conversation. I don’t remember the process of packing in my house. I don’t remember saying goodbye to my neighbours and friends. I don’t remember saying goodbye to my nanny since birth, Eliza, or our cook, Armando, who used to make special dishes for me, lightly spiced, so that I would gradually get used to eating hot food. I don’t even remember saying goodbye to my uncle and my aunt and my great-grandmother. All I remember is my grandmother making new dresses, for me and my sister, in her little sewing room under the stairs. The room I loved to hide in, escape from homework, to spend time watching her making beautiful clothes.

The then future

Even though I was with my Mom, Dad, sister and brother in the new country, I later came to realise that overriding the fear and anxiety on that day, the 25th October 1974, was a sense of abandonment. Even though I had moved forward to a new life, I had left a part of me behind, in the land of my birth. I had left a part of me behind in that house in front of the hospital, in the little sewing room under the stairs, on the concrete pavements where I had played hopscotch and skipped with my friends.  The large extended and close-knit family of my initial years was gone, involuntarily split forever on that day.

To my 9 year old mind that was as bad as it got. Trying to make sense of that single defining moment, for decades I marked the day in my mind – it became a count-up to the number of years spent in my adopted country and the number of years apart from my grandmother. I stopped counting in the year that she died – 2008.

The now future

The story narrated above was not unique. It played out in many families at the time in the land of my birth. It is still being played out, as you’re reading this, in countries and families too many to count without feeling a sense of desolation. 

And as I often relive the memories of my Grandmother and of the country of my birth, I am reminded of something Marcel Proust, author of the French novel “À la recherche du temps perdu” (“In Search of Lost Time) said:

In the midst of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer!
 - Marcel Proust


Agile Coach and Social Entrepreneur, chief wide eyed in wanderer, wonderer and bottlewasher…Inspecting and Adapting is my mantra


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