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.
2. 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.
12. Pasteis de nata
14. 90% dark chocolate
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!
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.