Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Life On The Other Side

I know I have come across rather negative about our big move to New Zealand especially in this previous post and I won't lie I am seriously stressed about it and unsure. I hate change and in fact, none of us are big on change, we like our routine and creature comforts and New Zealand was never my choice and I didn't ever believe I would leave South Africa. I am almost ready to purge those thoughts but not quite ready so it won't be today that all those thoughts are splattered all over this online diary. What I am here to mull over is the wonders of life on the other side.

The other night [Thursday] I woke up at around 2 am and couldn't get back to sleep so I sent Mark a message on Whatsapp to see if he was on his lunch break and could chat. He was and it was 12.30 - lunch is 12.00 to 1300. He bought two-second hand cars the previous week so that when Chad and I get there we have cars. Most of the cars there are automatic and I don't drive automatic cars - strange but true - I refuse to drive them and can't drive them. That is not the point of this post and I digress as usual.

During his lunch break, he went to buy the Golf's license. This is done at the AA offices one block away from work. You can buy your license for 6 months or a year. Six months was NZ$40.00 and one year is NZ$80.00 so he bought for a year. Converting it to rands is pricey but in dollars not that much. We have to learn not to convert when he is paying for stuff with the dollars he is earning.

After he paid the license, he went to his favourite Turkish Take Away Deli and bought lunch and ate it and I messaged him at 12.30. Where in South Africa can you go register and license a vehicle during your lunch hour never mind have time to still go buy lunch, eat said lunch and then have 30 minutes to idle away. Even going to the post office to renew a license of a vehicle in your name is a good 30-minute queue and don't go into the post office at lunchtime unless you want to camp there for a few hours.

On Monday he arrived home from work and there in the mail box was his Certificate of Registration for his car. The process is totally different to how we do it here and you don't get car papers like we do. We have all this red tape to prevent theft, fraud, and corruption and it doesn't resolve any of those issues. It only irritates and inconveniences law abiding citizens. Did you know that here in South Africa when you do your driver licence test booking, you have to have proof of residence and not because you have to do it in the area that you reside (you know like way back when in those "good old days") you need it for some new legislation.

What is even more of a wow factor is that Mark's bank card was posted to his mailbox and PS - Mark lives on a Honey Farm in a cottage in a rural lifestyle area. His bank card mailed to his mail box!!! They talk about Kiwi Time and apparently, tradies [builders; tilers; painters; electricians etc} [tradesmen] are not very service orientated and you can wait weeks for a quote, but wow their government departments are top notch. Something we have never had in South Africa - remember those days of getting to a counter and you were not greeted and then ignored if you dare to speak English and not helped if you were not white - those good old days when service was great for some.

Apparently, there is a very high suicide death rate among teenagers in New Zealand. I am not dismissing the seriousness of it, but I am sure more children die on our roads over one Easter weekend than the number of teenagers committing suicide there in a year. It does make one wonder why there would be a high suicide rate there but like I told Mark before we decided to move there - no country in this world is free of problems. There is no Utopia and we need to go there with our eyes wide open. He is learning that slowly each day.

There is also a major drug problem and drinking problem there and apparently, it is because there is nothing for teenagers to do. We know there is a major drug problem here in South Africa  and what is there for teenagers to do here anyway. Nothing that doesn't cost an arm and a leg and a parent to drive them from A to B. What I did notice over there is that children have so much freedom that freedom and no adult supervision can be a problem in its self.

We had our stuff delivered to Mark's cottage - storage is ridiculously expensive through the removal agent. Storage in South Africa would have cost R1500.00 a month, which we paid and then shipped off our stuff 2 weeks later [stupid I know] Storage there for 10 days was R6000.00. Three people unloaded our household goods and they were done in less than two hours. They did not unpack but we had no less than 12 people at our house each day packing our stuff in South Africa. We were not allowed to pack our own stuff. Even the last day when there were just odds and ends and two beds, there were 6 people from 8 until 1. It boggles the mind the major differences in small things. However, the wages for those three people in New Zealand were probably more than the 12 people in South Africa.

We still haven't decided when we will leave - it won't be the 15th of August as that is in less than three weeks and I have an obligation to my cat, who is doing well on most days and my little Jingles who is also doing so well with no digestive issues of late. Chad also has a love obligation and confusion and all round challenge, so we procrastinating on a fly out date.

I came across Mindvalley Academy just before we went to New Zealand and it was something that crossed my path for a reason. It was a Google Advert - I think and I don't really know why it would register on my Google Ads but it did. I ignored it and ignored it and one day I just clicked on the link and discovered the Marisa Peer free Master Class. I would not have flown across three time zones with such ease had I not listened and gone through her free Master Class. Since then I have discovered Emily Fletcher and each day I meditate and even had both Chad and Mark agree with me that there is so much truth in How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything.

Through MindValley Academy and time on my hands, I have come across different life coaches and meditation gurus, for lack of a better word and through my attempt at meditating each day I am trying to become more mindful to manifest a better life and new adventure.

Right now I am still manifesting a life in Hawkes Bay. The You Tube video I chose in my previous post does not do Hawkes Bay justice. It errs on the negative side so here is two more. One very upbeat and the other more Kiwi Style reserved.

Life on the other side where mail is delivered to honey farms and bees are buzzing aplenty. Still not sure if they called Honey Farms or Bee Farms but if the chips, biscuits, yoghurt and ice cream don't drag me there, the thought of honey everywhere will get me there. The copious amounts of honey I consume, plus my new found coffee, honey and cinnamon morning beverage, initially for health benefits and now for taste benefits -  I need my own bee farm 😉

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All content, words, and images, on this page is, (C) Chad Life Us and may not be copied, shared or reproduced in any form by any person or entity.

Friday, 14 July 2017

A 19 Year Honour and Privilege

If it was not for my animal dilemma, and Chad dilemma, I would have been on a plane with Mark [and Chad] and would have started my new life already. Chad's visa entry is more complicated than just a dependant visa and I may or may not have mentioned in previous posts that he can only get in on a holiday Visa for three months and then he has to leave. He can come and go for the next three years as long as he does not stay in New Zealand for more than 3 months at any given time.

Our dogs can only go in November because although there is no quarantine period in South Africa, the process starts 6 months before they can fly. We could have and should have started the process a long time ago but it is not cheap and we were not entirely sure that we would even go to New Zealand or if our work visas would be granted. It is a long process and not as easy as we once imagined. Just getting a holiday visa was a nail biting stressful experience. It must be fantastic to just hop on a plane and fly to another country without baring your soul and financial state to the immigration departments. The joys of living in a country not wanted by other countries. Just PS - until November last year you could go to New Zealand for a holiday without first applying for a visa. You completed forms when you landed and that was it.

So to say this was a stressful procedure or adventure is putting it extremely lightly. For one when we went to our initial interview, there was no mention of Chad having to leave after 3 months. We did have a discussion around JD coming and going every three months [that is another heartbreaking story for another time] but Chad was our dependant and there were no issues. We did know that no airline would fly our cat who was 18 at the time. She was 18 even though I was stuck on 19 for ages.

We even had thoughts of lying about her age because in 19 years she has had max 5 or 6 annual injections. Putting her in a car all but kills her as she stresses so badly. I won't go into detail but she surrenders to her surroundings in the most awful way. Strangely enough moving here, 60km's away from home was the least stressful for her and us. Perhaps because two of the dogs were with us that she felt a sense of calm.

I have had many bouts of anger, guilt, tears, and sadness over her and her future. Since moving here, she has hardly gone outside. If she does it is on the Patio. She either sits on the lounge windowsill or she sleeps on the couch and there is almost always a dog next to her.

Last week on Tuesday at around 4pm she vomited bile [in the lounge]. It is not unusual because for as long as I can remember she has moments of puking. I just cleaned it up and put her on the chair on her packet. She is the strangest cat ever. She needs a packet to sleep on. Not a bed or a pillow but a packet, especially a new packet. Nowadays she has this aura about her like I am a senior citizen, a very old lady and I have the right to do as I please and don't say a word. I am not big on feeding animals off my plate or allowing them near me when I eat but at the moment our living area is pretty open plan and we have our old lounge suite and the animals are in close quarters with us. Well, they always were but I am indulging the senior citizen moment with her and allow her closer to me when I eat then I would normally allow [it is called guilt]. She tried to steal butternut off my plate and she has been eating a lot lately. Like she is permanently hungry and I didn't think it was worms. She was dewormed in October last year and had her vaccinations.

Back to last Tuesday night - I had just finished cooking and she jumped off the chair in the lounge and fell over - she collapsed. Chad saw her jump off and noticed that something was very wrong with her. It first looked like her leg was broken and then her back. She walked weirdly and went almost rushing to get food and water.

If it wasn't so sad and serious it would have been funny. Obviously, we consulted Doc Google and the diagnoses ranged from Kidney Infection to Gun Shot Wound which was highly unlikely for a cat that never leaves her couch.

We live 10 km's from the nearest Spar Supermarket that we use when desperate times call for desperate measures otherwise known as where your standards come to definitely die and we had no idea where we would find a vet in this area at night. Our vet[s] being more than 60 km's away. We just made her comfortable and Mark was sure it was a stroke {we sent him a video or 6}. We made her comfortable on the couch and I stayed up for most of the night to check up on her and the next day we had to make the decision of whether we find a new vet or drive the 60 km's to our normal vet.

Heather, our landlord/neighbour/cousin-in-law told us about a vet by the said Spar and after a long story at that said vet and his promises that he was on his way to his surgery and then an hour and a half later said he had run out of petrol and airtime - a vet yes - whose assistant told us he owns a farm with 18 horses and and and. His assistant was a very helpful friendly man but could not help our cat but did offer to put her in a cage and we could come back. We had seen a vet that looked deserted down the road - the assistant said he was on holiday. Turns out he wasn't on holiday and had hadn't been on holiday in years or planned to go on holiday.

He said straight away she had a stroke and would recover anytime between 3 days and 6 weeks. He gave her a cortisone injection, cortisone pills, and other blood-thinning pills. He was such a sweet old man. He also warned that she could have another stroke and said we mustn't rehome her. The kind thing would be to enjoy her until we leave, make her comfortable love her and then euthanize her.

It is so awful knowing that we are going to end her life. I don't know what the right thing to do is. She, of course, got better and refused to have her tablet. She refused to eat her food for a whole day when I put her tablet in her food. I tried to do it the way vets have shown me in the past. Put it in her mouth and gently blow in her face and then she ripped my hands up and I left her.

The Morning After The Stroke

Yesterday morning, I watched her strutting around the lounge like she is going to outlive us all. No indication of a stroke. Chad and I went for our afternoon walk, she was sleeping on the couch, like she does all day every day. We came home and after about 10 minutes, she jumped off the couch and collapsed. She had, had another stroke in her sleep. Her front paw was turned over just like a human's hand goes after a mild stroke. The night before I was watching Isidingo and she was lying next to me and her head jumped up like she had an electric shock going through it. I managed to give her a pill (her 1/4 dose) and she was so dazed and spaced out that she swallowed it yesterday after she woke up and collapsed and I made her Haddock and hid the evening dose in there. Today she looks and walks with almost no sign of paralysis.

I know the end is near and it is like waiting for an old person to die. It is sad and tragic and it is breaking my heart. It is a privledge and honour to have known her. She is also proof that it is nonsense that cats are nocturnal creatures that have to hunt at night - she neither hunts at night nor during the day and has never gone out at night wanting to hunt.

We were planning on flying to New Zealand on the 15 August 2017 but now I am once more undecided because my cat, The Old Lady, The Senior Citizen may still have so much life left in her and may still outlive all of us. Where will you find a human being of equivellant age walking unaided and jumping up onto chairs and using the toilet [litter box] unaided.

And...The Experts still maintain we are the superior species 🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔

A Few Hours After The First Stroke

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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Creature Comforts and Sweet Slumbers

Is there anything more comforting than climbing into bed with clean crisp linen enveloped in the subtle but comforting fragrance of fabric softener as you slip between the sheets. Mondays and Fridays are clean sheet days or I should say were clean sheet days and now that we are living a minimalist communal life, I have very reluctantly reduced linen change to once a week. Whatever we have now has to fit into 2 suitcases each weighing 23 Kg's or get thrown away/ given away. We [I] no longer iron linen either so even when my linen is freshly washed and fragrantly pleasant it is no longer crispy ironed. I lie, I never ironed my linen previously, I paid someone to do it for me and when she was on leave for the past I don't know how many years, I took our ironing to the laundry. Now it is washed, sun-dried and packed away. We do have a cleaning lady one day a week, but she can't iron and we saying goodbye to her this week.

I am craving my creature comforts and just want to move on and start our new life. I have been following Marissa Peer on YouTube for the best of this year and it is so true that what you put out in life you get back. I was panicking and bitching about having to be in New Zealand before the 8th of August and now we have another setback. Mark is taking strain on his own in New Zealand. He is very much an absence makes the heart grow fonder type of person and I am more of an out of sight out of mind person. And, they say opposites attract - yea they do but can also cause a lot of drama and stress. Jokes and facetiousness aside, I live every day of my life without Clinty and it does not make me think of him less or stop loving him or not imagine he is right beside me all the time, There is not a moment that I do not think of Clinty or not love him but I have to live [and survive] without him and I can, therefore, I can live without anyone.

We are sacrificing for a new life or a new adventure and that is what we need to do. It does seem like I am being terribly materialistic and superficial missing my creature comforts and not Mark [I do miss him] but creature comforts mean home and right now we don't have a home as such but have to, at the same time, be grateful and appreciate the roof over our heads and what comfort that brings - and we are grateful and appreciative.

We are very grateful and thankful that we can stay here, lease free, with our animals until we make the big final move, but it is not home. The other day Chad was helping me bring in our laundry and he said, "Seriously mom, there is far too much sleepwear on the line, just look, there are hardly any of my clothes... you need to start repeating clothes". I don't repeat clothes and have only started re-wearing jackets and scarves since I gave up smoking. I will get up, shower, get dressed, go about my day. If we go out, throw clothes in the laundry basket, shower. change into clean clothes, come home, bath throw clothes in the laundry basket, put on PJ's and in the morning throw into the basket and shower. That is just how I have lived all these years and each time I bath or shower it is a new towel - so to say we have loads of laundry is an understatement. Now I have to re-wear sleep attire 😭😭😭😭😭.

I also pile on the clothes in Winter so it is more than just a pair of jammies. I am of the opinion that a gift wrapped package is better than an unwrapped one, whereas Mark is just a jocks and T-Shirt sleeper in Winter and sometimes just jocks in Summer, I pile it on. I wear a sleep bra/sports bra - making up for my 50% braless youth... as if that can even happen. I wear panties, socks. a long sleeve vest, pyjamas and a gown. I lie, I do re-wear gowns. It also depends, but I can wear my gown for two or three days if I don't lounge around in it for hours on weekends or off days.

I am not averse to naked sleeping or near naked sleeping and when I was younger and my body was a bit slimmer and less likely to roll and flop around in bed, naked sleeping was an option. However, living a life where home invasions are a reality, covering up at night makes me sleep better even if the sleep gurus advocate naked sleep as the best form of sleep. The other night, Mark was in bed and heard an explosion and felt a massive [his words] earth tremor. There was a 4.4 Earthquake in the area he lives. Apparently, his town is above two fault lines and you know when the Earthquake is coming because you hear the explosion first. 'Help what have we gotten ourselves into...' I will be sticking to my gift wrapped nightly sleep routine thanks, although Chad has bets on that with all the rain in New Zealand and no household help and a full-time job, I will be repeating clothes like they are my only ones and changing linen one day when 😜.

Jokes aside, I am missing my stuff. My head has been firmly planted in the sand and Mark was meant to fill out a form for the removal company in New Zealand and I just forgot about following up with him. He has to get printing/scanning stuff done at work and the boss has turned into an arse without a face [more about that another day]. Well, I decided to get my head out the sand and look for the email and I thought our furniture was only arriving in New Zealand on the 10 July [that would be today, I have just noticed]. I find the email and as our procrastinating life would have it - our furniture landed on the 27th of June. I was looking for the email on the 1 July 2017. So I complete the form on the 2nd, sign on Mark's behalf, stretch the truth a bit and blame the boss and frantically email it off to the moving Company. The lady from the removal company responds with an invoice from Biosecurity. The inspector had completed our check on Friday, I was reading the email early hours of Monday morning. They are 10 hours ahead. Our furniture went through customs and was fine. New Zealand is very strict and we have not heard if we had to pay anything besides the NZD550.00 = R5500.00. It was so stressful and our stuff is now in storage, clocking up the zeros.

We are all very much fear of change people and this year we have been stepping out of our comfort zones at a rate of knots. It sometimes feels like something is carrying me along. Sometimes, our tastes and likes and dislikes change without consciously deciding to. The other day I was chopping fruit and green veggies for my juicing. I am amazed at the juices I drink these days. When I first started juicing, I struggled with Grapefruit and lemon and fennel and apple juice. I would freeze it and take hours to drink it and it was so much better frozen. Now there is nothing better than a freshly made Grapefruit, fennel, apple and lemon juice. I have even stepped it up to celery, lemon, apple and cucumber juices.

I now chop up the fruit and freeze it because we are living this very minimalist lifestyle at the moment. All my creature comforts are out of a ship and into a storage unit so it is easier to make one big mess and bag the pieces and I also have no excuse to not chop and juice. Whilst I was chopping, I had this uncontrollable citrus craving but for the grapefruit, not the oranges we had. I drink grapefruit juices but eating it on its own - ewe. The only time I have eaten grapefruit was once when I was a teenager and decided in a moment of madness to go on a grapefruit diet. I covered the grapefruit in sugar [because, naturally, you can lose weight, eating a bowl full of sugar as long as it is on a grapefruit 🙄] Needless to say, I tasted the grapefruit coated sugar and threw it away. This fine afternoon, I decided to feed my craving and ate a piece of chopped grapefruit, then another piece and another, until I ate the whole grapefruit. Now I eat grapefruit like I eat oranges and eat them for breakfast, lunch and even supper.

We eat a lot of eggs and I always say I don't eat a lot of protein, forgetting that protein is far more than red meat. We eat omelettes and French toast a lot. We can have eggs every second day and we have been getting eggs from the chickens on the plot. At first, it is all like, imagine I crack open the egg and a chick pops out, kind of squeamish thought. The rooster on this plot is a very randy old cock and chases these poor hens around, so humour me on this one. Fowls are not on the top of my list of cute animals. I love ducks, all ducks, big small and wild or tame, whatever I love them, but hens and roosters not so much, except the day old fluffy yellow ones. The eggs we get from these hens are amazing. The yolks are big and bright yellow almost orange. One morning I made Chad French toast with these free range eggs and mine with shop bought free range. The difference was unbelievable. The only problem is that these hens are TOTALLY free range so that means hen crap everywhere, [there are only 5 of them] but they starting to grow on me and I love how they come out their hen run in the mornings and go running off to find food. It reminds me of the story Henny Penny and Chicken Licken - I think that is the name.

We also managed to go out and look at Keringa Pet Wings as we decided that out of all the places we have contacted regarding flying our dogs, out of the few that got back to us, Keringa was the most professional and detailed in the procedure. We went without notice and without even agreeing to accept their quote, which wasn't necessarily the cheapest, but they did discount the extra two months. It really looks well run and clean. All the animals looked happy and our dogs can stay together. The area that each cabin is in, is spacious and secure. One giant tick in that box.

Just more heartache regarding Garfield our cat and Jingles our Jack Russell. More on that another day... Other than that everything is just slotting in like this was meant to happen. I know there is a giant hiccup with Mark's boss and a couple of other hiccups or heartaches, but overall it is like whether we like it or not, this was going to happen.

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