Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Time flies

It has been too long since I last updated everyone, is anyone actually there?  Even if you aren’t…here is the last 2 weeks in 5 a nutshell:

1.  Paella party.  Elise and I one morning at brunch read paella on the menu.  Immediately after this we hatched a plan to make the perfect paella (enough ‘P’s for you?)  Minding our Ps and Qs we planned an undertaking to make paella for some unassuming but willing guests, because cooking for someone is always more fun than not, neh?  A post work trip to Pick n’ Pay and a run around later we found ourselves in the kitchen cooking an enormous amount of rice, frying up onions, and chopping peppers.  A few washed shrimp and braised calamari later we were stewing and simmering it all together in a pot.  Our guests had arrived on time, but early for our miscalculated timing.  We chatted, sipped wine, and ooed and ahhed over the smells and color that exploded from the vat of paella.  Finally it was time to eat…scoop after scoop left the bowl on people’s plates but the contents didn’t seem to reduce.  Rice has a funny way of expanding as it cooks and seeming endless…
The colorful platters were decorated with red and green bell peppers, tomato, onions, a saffron tint, and bits of chorizo, calamari, and (albeit a bit overcooked) shrimp.  I couldn’t stop eating-even as the rice expanded in my stomach- it was so wonderful. There is something about watching your food develop.  Understanding what goes into it, what amount of time, what preparation means and how you can really plan your time around cooking.  All in all it was a success; empty plates and full stomachs.

2. Camps Bay. You come to Cape Town and you hear of Camps Bay and you hear of Camps Bay and you hear of Camps Bay and then you, finally, make it to Camps Bay.  It is a stunning beach.  White sand, Blue sea, and a row of quaint shops and a healthy breeze to make all your cares and worries fly…well, somewhere.  I darted off to the beach with 2 good friends for an afternoon of surfing in the frigid Atlantic Sea.  While they surfed I hunkered down in between a few rocks with my book (The Hunger Games, gotta check it out!)and my daydreams I relished between the sunlight and pages of my book.  What a life to be able to read and be on a beach in the afternoon and be playing soccer in the mountains at dusk- the magic of Cape Town.

3. Dr. G, Dr. Cynthia G.  This past week I met a woman who is not only now a mentor but one who managed to give me a crash course in monitoring and evaluation theory in a week- cra cra.  GRS plowed through data, discussion, and systems figuring out what it is we interested and capable of measuring within our programmes.  I learned a wealth of knowledge regarding programme design, other professions that are out there, who my co-workers are, and who I am as an employee in a new field.  What a job, where I basically get to learn every single day…learn more than I teach even.  Incredible!!!  We spoke about HIV, about youth, about psychology, about coaches and mentors, about sex, and all of the miraculous qualities that make GRS so incredibly passionate and well, make it what it is.

4. Rockin’ the Daises.  Music, lots and lots of live music.  Summer is fast approaching in the southern hemisphere and that means it is time for outdoor festivals, dancing, day drinking, and braiis!  Love the summer.  Every year around this time, festivals in Southern Africa kick off.  Last year around this time I was in Malawi for the Lake of Stars  festival and this year I attended Rockin’ the Daisies.  Such a unique festival featuring South African artists and promoting green living- there was a massive camp ground that bordered the appearance of a squatter community.  Dancing day and night, a resivour for swimming, and a scene out of a movie.  An hour North of Cape Town nestled in a valley between rolling hills and hectares of vineyards, farmland, and cattle is a farm with spectacular views and with a double identity.  Farm for the entire year, but one weekend, it gets to turn itself into a dancing, singing, and festive scene. 

Many artists passed through… one in particular caught my eye.  His name is Yoav and I am in love with him.  He’s geeky, sings beautifully, and has a calming presence.  Check out his stuff if you can!  Similarly there were bands ranging form folk to hard rock to electronic.  Toby2shoes, who is becoming one of my favorite DJs was out and about on Friday night!  All in all it was wonderful to escape the city, hang with friends, and listen to some live music.
5. Empty Nest.  Work is moving right along. Daily I learn more (and more about what I don’t know) and I am amazed by just how cool my job is!  Soon I am off to Durban and KZN and then back to Zambia for a bit to evaluate a programme that we are working on.  Excited to be heading back to a familiar place, to see good friend, and Kamba!

Until next time…no World Cup victory this year..sorry Spring Boks L