Jozi Food Whore – leaves no dish untasted.

30 Things I am grateful for:

1. My Tall, Dark & Handsome. The man has oodles of patience and tons of love and I am blessed every day for having him in my life, for those generous arms around me. And he brings me cheese.

1-jozi2. Friendships. So many amazing friends have blessed me with their light and love since 2010, when I first started “living life”. Countless, spectacular people who have come and stayed, come and gone, come and gone and come again. The list is long.

3. My brother. We used to be each others’ best friends until our respective partners came along but our connection remains deep and sometimes even just a gesture or a word or a look can have me in fits of laughter. That’s years and years and years of friendship right there.

4. My doggies, Spud and Lemon. They’ve been with me for 7 years now, and they’re crazy – completely abnormal – pavement specials. But I do love them. And they were there through the worst times of life, without ever ceasing their attempts to lick me! And that’s what you need in a good friend. Ha.

5. Family. We don’t always get along but when the chips are down, family is there for you.

6. Good people in hard positions. It’s tough to remain a generous, giving person when you’re in an ‘ard-as-nails job but I’ve met people who still remain kind and big-hearted even when they often receive only negativity in return. That’s a special characteristic I cannot claim to have but which I can definitely appreciate in wonderful people I know.

7. Food, glorious food. We are so spoilt when it comes to food. We must never take it for granted. Every single bite should always be appreciated and savoured. And when it comes to food, there are many many many things to love. So many. But some deserve their own line.

8. Cheese, all the cheese!

9. Baked cheese cake.

10. Eggplant

11. Cannolis

12. Pasteis de nata

13. Biltong

14. 90% dark chocolate

15. Coffee

16. Any paneer dish.

17. Peanut butter

18. Beer …

19. … and wine. Let’s be honest, people. Life is hard. But there are fantastic days that cannot be measured. Hot summer days where you get to put a cold beer to your lips, and swallow that goodness, and feel it tingle on your tongue, and tickle down your throat. And cold winter nights, when you sit around a fire, ignoring the fact that it’s freezing, and drink some lovely bold red wine from our very own shores. That’s when life is good.

20. Braai. Is there anything better than a braai? Tell me what. I will listen, half-heartedly. Braai has all the elements. Fire! Food! Company! Warmth! Community!

21. Laughter.

22. Sleep. I love my sleep and a good, solid, lights-out sleep is something I am extremely grateful for. It doesn’t always happen but when it does, I absolutely luxuriate in it.

23. Jo’burg thunderstorms. One of my favourite things is driving into Jozi from the north when a storm is just rolling in and you can see all the swaths of rain and the thunder going crazy from a distance.

24. My health. Though I’m not in peak physical condition (thanks, beer!), I’m in pretty good nick. I have a great many close friends and family members who are struggling with serious health issues daily. Never take your health for granted.

25. My job. I’m often heard bemoaning my day job and the fact that I can’t attend certain events as a result but truth be told, I was about to lose everything when this job came along so I’m more than a little grateful.

26. My phone. Oh, how I love my phone. This little treasure chest gives me all the functions I need to run my food-loving moonlighting life. Without it, I would be lost!

27. My car. There was a time when I almost sold it to get a scooter (cost-saving stories). But seriously, I would have missed my “Ossewa” (it’s a mommy wagon, basically) a helluva lot. Useful does not even begin to describe my MPV.

28. Nature and the great outdoors. Saffas don’t always stop to appreciate how amazing our quality of life can be. Step out your door, even in the urban sprawl of Jo’burg, and you won’t have to go far to find nature in all its glory: lush green spaces, trees, flowers, and beauty.

29. This city, Jozi. I’m not from here but I feel like I should be. If you ask me where I was born, I’ll say Rustenburg. If you ask me where I’m from, I’ll say Jozi. I love every single part of this city, even the grime and the dark bits. Yes, it needs a lot of work. Jozi is like a porn star who made some poor choices in the past, but who is also trying to kick some bad habits and come clean as a soccer mom: she’ll forever be edgy and a little dark but she’s trying to do the family thing. At least her kids will always be able to take the knocks and get back up again, even if they are a little dysfunctional.

30. This land. Say what you want, political and cultural arguments aside, this place is in my bones. I was born here and I played in the red dirt, and when I played rough and the dirt rewarded me with scratches and scrapes, it mixed with my blood. I go away, and I miss it. I meet foreign faces in foreign places, and I smile when I think about my countrymen and women. I visit a land where the sun hardly shines, even for just a few days, and I dream of turning my face into the sun at home. Not everyone loves it. Not everyone believes I should love it. It’s irrelevant. I love it.

Find me on Twitter and Instagram as @JoziFoodWhore and on Facebook at facebook.com/JoziFoodHo. I also have a blog! www.jozifoodwhore.co.za

We love because it’s the only true adventure.

Break ups are hard. Torture. Soul destroying. Seldom does anyone ask, “So why you together?” but plenty are lightning fast to ask “So what happened? Why did you break up?”

I never liked him anyway…. You can do better than her … Never thought you should have taken on the responsibility of her kids anyway… Hates how he speaks to the children….. yes, if somebody couldn’t choose to be positive, you can’t make them….there is life after him….you are so much better off without her….now you can spend quality time with your children….it’s probably for the best….you will be fine…

You lived, you loved, you trusted, you believed, you share your soul – and then the darkness comes and shatters all illusions. We lash out in ways demons would be proud. Hell rejoices at your anger. We want to feel vindicated and set free, not wanting to own our part of the wrong.

 Disappointment, bewilderment, hurt, pain, disbelief and you are left questioning your core being. Where did it all go so wrong? What did I do? What didn’t I do? What could I have done differently? You sit in the shade as night falls on the floor…. and you cry. Not tears, deep to the core sobs filled with longing and regret. Why? Just why do you physically ache if a heart is an organ and there is no ‘undo‘?

Survival kicks in. You do what is necessary but you are not sure why because morning has no glory. You beg, borrow and short of stealing you do your best to provide for those that depend on you. You don’t trust your true self to anyone because the raw emotion may just push them away, and you… the edge is a thin line moist with an easier way out. So many mistakes, so much to overcome – is it even possible?

You pretend and smile saying how fresh starts all round is truly spring time for the soul. Fragile liar you are as you cry for what had been your joy.

Somewhere between broken and sunlight we found each other weeks later over tears, apologies, dissecting how we got in a deep black hole in the first place, how one can prevent such destruction and healing deep words.

The reasons are assumed by most, the truth known by few but hugely judged by many. The pebble in their own shoes lost for a moment as everyone’s gets to point, laugh, declaring a reconciliation a mistake withholding their congratulations …. and causing friendships to be questioned and others gratefully confirmed. Some celebrate that maybe, just maybe, love does conquer all and proclaims applause for bravery and a life lived to the full… most probably fearful for future pain…. but what are we if not vulnerable to live life?

Just perhaps the human spirit is stronger in fighting for life, than lying down to die… or lead a little life of safety. Maybe – regardless of the huge prices there are to pay in hard cash, in tender emotion or relationships that require healing for months to come, the massive life lessons learned and the deep regret that the darkness came at all.

He took me somewhere only we know. The hills were alive with his tears and mine. Heartfelt vows as the sun set on a beautiful day. No more Sunday, bloody Sunday.

There were no ‘till death us do part’ in the vows we wrote ourselves. God has a sense of humour but I don’t always like being the jester. My husband organized the wedding, the venue, the Minister, the chapel with as little religious overtone as possible, the helicopter pilot, my dress, a gift for me in our room with champagne and engraved glasses, perfect weather and kisses I will never forget. There were cupcakes and sparkles to drink, bubbles we blew in the air and laughter mixed with tears.

It will always be – somewhere, only we know.

Why are we together? I love him. He loves me. It is as simple and as complicated as that. Nobody else needs to understand it, like it or give approval. It is what it is…. We are excited as we go into tomorrow, dreaming of our children’s laughter and our delight that we dared the go big… and not go home.

Our words as we exchanged rings:

“With this ring, I give you my promise

that from this day forward, you shall not walk alone.

May my heart be your shelter

And my arms be your home.”

 

L’Chaim – to life.

 Pictures of our daring adventure