Is something broken?

For a few weeks now, I have noticed that there may be something broken inside me.  My first awareness came when I decided that it was time to start dating again. Which I did. I joined a dating site and started to meet people. I did not really enjoy the experience of using a dating site at all – it all felt a little desperate to me, however, getting to meet someone when you live in the middle of the sticks is a little difficult so I pushed on.

I got to meet some really kind and interesting men – attractive men, intelligent men, some who were both attractive and intelligent and kind. Actually – the stats were really good. Hardly any goofballs made it to the final cut – and when one is using a tool such as an anonymous dating site – those stats are really something to be proud of.

I noticed the problem probably on about the third or fourth man I met – here was a really attractive man, kind, and mentally stimulating – fun to be with..blah blah..

And I felt nothing.  Dead.  Empty box where my feelings used to be. It was so bad that I could not even judge my own reaction to these gentlemen. And they were all really nice guys – my intellect could pick this up – my gut however was numb.

I guess that’s when I realised I was broken.  No use trying to sell damaged goods so I removed myself from the dating site.

I have got to keep some of the men I met as friends which is a nice thing and now I have to see what I can do about getting fixed.

A really good friend of mine is a counsellor and will be talking me through this – and after our first session has concluded that this is where I probably made an itsy-bitsy little mistake.  Remember this post just after my relationship broke up?

Because I am a naturally positive person, and I like being in “happy” mode – I packed up my baggage too fast – shoved things away without folding them, tossed stuff in boxes and locked them all away.  I really did a good clean up and returned to being happy me – and I am happy – still happy.  I just have a broken feeling machine.

So now I have to do what everyone hates to do – go in, dust of the baggage, open smelly boxes and examine and deal with the rotton contents, toss out what I don’t need and neatly clean and fold what I would like to keep.

I am hoping this will not spill over into my blog too much because I am really going to try to do this in happy mode.

Another of my blogging friends who calls himself  “The Idiot” is also going through a similar challenge and is working with a psychologist to sort out stuff he never dealt with a while back. He is brave enough to tell us all about it on his blog so I am learning a lot from him too.  Wish me luck.


My 1st Blogoversary!

Last year on this day I started this blog. It has been my company throughout the year and it has become a reflector of my life.
You have all been through a crazy year with me.
  • moving to the bush
  • starting a new job
  • buying my farm
  • settling in
  • the end of a long-term relationship with my partner
  • learning to be alone but not lonely
  • finding myself
  • learning to live a slow and happy life

Inspiration, company, happiness, knowledge, slowing down,  my spot for interacting with the world, my space for sharing my feelings,  learning about other people, making new friends, a part of my life. These all came true right here in this place of mine.

  • 231 blog posts
  • over 23,500 hits from all over the globe
  • 1 newspaper article about the blog
  • 1 post freshly pressed by WordPress

As always, it’s the readers who ultimately decide whether a blog succeeds or fails, so to you all  – I say thank you. You have helped make  this space such a wonderful place to be for me. Many of my regular commentors have become good friends. It wouldn’t be the same without you.  Thank you.

Homemade gifts

This year I decided to give homemade gifts to my family for Christmas.  My reasoning was not purely from a financial perspective but also from a green/recycling angle as well as how much fun and love goes into making things for loved ones.  I have been dying to show you what we made but had to wait till everyone had their gifts.

The Bean and I made some homemade tomato and basil jam which we wrapped up – a bottle for everyone.

We  gave each of the girls a homemade recycled handbag made from old curtains.  These were made for us by my colleague Charlie – a trade and barter deal.

and for my dad I painted this painting

I think this has been the most rewarding Christmas ever – I so enjoyed preparing the gifts.

Did you make any of your gifts?  I would love to hear about them.

Edit:   There is a great recipe for a homemade scented hand scrub in the comments of this post. Thanks Greg.

Driving home for Christmas

well it’s not really home anymore because home is here in Hoedspruit, but it’s where home used to be….once.  Yep, that’s right, The Bean and I are leaving tomorrow for Johannesburg to spend our Christmas with family.

I really don’t enjoy going to the city but the call of all things family, and Christmas with loved ones overrules the dislike.  I am really so excited to see them all and feel the warmth and love that surrounds the festive season in my family home.


So, to all of you, I would like to wish you a really fantastic festive season, a merry Christmas (if you celebrate it) and an awesome new year filled with love and laughter.


Photo: Graeme Robertson/Getty Images Dec 23, 2003


I will try to post as often as possible during the next week, however it certainly won’t be everyday.

Thank you

Thank you to all the kind folk who have donated clothes to Hlengiwe and her friends.  Another delivery went in on Wednesday.  The children were so excited!

We are still short of smallish baby clothes, and we have one older girl (around 13)  that also needs some clothes. I will be doing one more drop off before Christmas. Anything you have would be most welcome.  Also looking for toys and picture books.

To the Johannesburg donors I will be there to collect all your goodies just after Christmas.  Again, thank you to you all!


Something nostalgic for the holidays……

First delivery

My apologies for not posting yesterday – my blogging time was spent taking our first delivery of goodies to Hlengiwe and her friends.  The children’s mothers have arranged for a caregiver to look after the children during the day at their homes. For now, that is the best we could do until such time as these women get birth certificates for their children and identity documents for themselves.  Our delivery was small but most welcome – a few girls clothes and some toys and a little food.We want to also supplement their protein intake so will be providing some eggs, cheese and meat.  I took a few pictures so that you can see the pathway that Hlengiwe constantly escapes down as well as the conditions in which she, and the other children and families live.

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Above you can see Charlie and Fanuel ahead of me.

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This is Thandiwe. She is a little chatterbox and seems to be the most confident of all the children – although she does not speak English she is the one the other children look to, to communicate with us.  She is as bright as a button, is usually the cleanest and best dressed child there.

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Despite all of this, these kiddies are so happy and full of laughter and fun.

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Hlengiwe was in a really bad mood when we got there as she is no longer allowed to run away.  She was sitting on a little stool scowling at the wall. She was in the same clothes that we left her in on Friday and she had a wet bottom (no pampers/nappies here.) This is the first time we have seen her with shoes on.

Thank you to all of of you who have committed to helping these children.  It is greatly appreciated.


Meet Hlengiwe

Today I awoke to wet and rainy world – it’s so beautiful here when its overcast and dripping. Lying cozily tucked into my bed watching droplets fall from my thatch roof outside my window, I wondered about the little baby I told you about yesterday.

This morning she was brought in to the packhouse – she was sopping wet and covered in mud.  She was again found on the same farm road.  We cleaned her up again and found her some clothes.  This is Hlengiwe.

This time we did not go to fetch her mom.  We took her to a colleagues home to be cared for, for the day.  On our way back we stopped on the farm road where we keep finding her and, in the sopping wet rain and mud, we walked through the bush tracing her tiny foot prints.  500 meters along a winding footpath we came to the compound where she lives.  It is a really, really horrible place.

We heard noises and walked around the dilapidated building to find…….. wait for it…………..  5 more tiny children sitting in the mud.  They were eating flying ants and porridge.  They thought we were very funny people and laughed at us – chattering away in their language (those big enough to talk).  We stayed there for about 15 minutes with them – and then we had to turn around and walk out – leaving them behind us.  They kept calling out to us as we walked away. It was very hard to do.

Today we talk to the authorities.

In the meantime, I am collecting old clothes (1 year to 6 years), old toys, maybe some kiddies tables and chairs and some type of gazebo or covering that we can erect to shelter these children during the day (from sun and rain).  If anyone in my area has anything that they can contribute to making these children’s lives a little better, please let me know – I will collect.

The one good thing is that they seem happy and well nourished although one little boy of about two looked a little ill and miserable.

More about Tristan

Further to my posts on Tristan Smit which you can find here and here,  we have received this great news.

As you know Tristan is now in Texas under the care of the MD Anderson Cancer Center.  He was declared terminal by doctors here in SA.  After many tests and scans the doctors in the US can find no evidence of the cancer in his spine (which had supposedly spread there from his brain tumour).  This is such great news as he now has an 80% chance of survival after he has a course of proton radiation which is not available in South Africa.  Unfortunately this is going to cost a tremendous amount of money.

Here is a message received on my friend Mark’s blog written by Tristan’s mom Helen.

Hi I’m the mommy of this little angel. We are in Texas at the moment. In SA dr ‘s told us Tristan is terminal and we must let him go with no pain. We found a hospital in US Texas, M D Anderson. They diagnosed him correctly and can treat. Will get 31 sessions op proton radiation, it s not available in SA. Dr told us 80 persent chance of never coming back. Better than terminal or what do you say! Only problem, proton is $80 000, and believe it or not annestetics $80 000. Then still dr’s costs. My baby has got a chance now. He will live and survive!

Further to this, we got this news on the weekend. It must have been terribly frightening for his parents.

Cancer takes a person on such a roller coaster ride. We were on the top of the world a couple of days ago with the good news and then yesterday the tracks just took us back down to earth….
Tristan has got a VP shunt in his head. After the first tumour was removed a shunt was placed into his head to help with the drainage of brain fluid. Without the it the brain fluid builds up and causes intense pressure in his head. This leads to headaches, vomiting, eyes not dilating and can even cause seizures. Very serious if not treated as soon as possible.

Little Tristan started vomiting yesterday morning before sun rise. At this point we thought it was just baby feeling sick and nothing serious. He went back to sleep. Pierre and myself woke up later and got ready, but Tristan was still sleeping. Eventually I went into the room and picked him up, but He really did not want to wake up. He’s eyes looked very funny and later turned wild and really big. He was very lethargic. I was in tears because I expected the shunt was blocked and it was not part of the plan!!! If he got operated on would this could set back his proton therapy, as the proton dr wanted to start as soon as possible with the mapping and we were fulled with what if’s?

As we were still with our friends Mike and Wendy in Austin, Wendy then raced us off to ER room see a specialist at the DELL Children’s Hospital (built/sponsored by the DELL computer company). To make a long story short, after the Neuro surgeon saw the CT scans that were taken, Tristan was rushed into the operating room before we could even proses anything. The shunt starts in the head and ends in the tummy. I did not want my baby to go through another operation on the head. But like my friend Wendy said: “God has got Tristan’s back”.

The Dr came out and told us that the blockage was only at the bottom of the tube that leads into the tummy and he only had to open Tristan’s stomach and not his head. Thank God again! As this was an emergency we are hopeful that our medical aid should cover this procedure, because it is an emergency of a pre-existing condition. We have overseas cove for emergency’s. They want to observe him for another night and hopefully we will be discharged tomorrow if all goes well. This little setback will not influence anything. Not us coming home or Tristan starting his proton therapy. Which he really needs urgently especially now that we know that it has not spread and we want to prevent it from spreading anywhere!

Please pray for Tristan’s quick recovery and that the pressure in his head goes down quickly. Will keep you all informed.

God bless.
Lots of Love.
The Smits.

If any of you are in a position to make a donation please click on the link below.  No amount is too small.

or his bank account details can be found on this website.

Birthday time

Tomorrow my Bean turns 18

Party preparations are well underway – it is going to be a little different to any of her other parties.  Friends will meet at the farm and then go on a sundowner game drive and spend some time at the river.  When they return the dinner will be set up outside under the huge Marula tree next to the swimming pool.  The colour theme is black, white and red.  We will have candles and fairy lights.  The meal – Italian starters, Japanese main course and something oozing chocolate for dessert – the Bean’s favorite foods.  There will be a bonfire burning all night and they will be sleeping around the fire weather permitting.

Happy birthday my angel

Me and my girl

You can see it in their eyes,
in tender hugs and long good-byes,
a love that only moms and daughters know.

You can see it in their smiles,
through passing years and changing styles,
a friendship that continually seems to grow.

You can see it in their lives,
the joy each one of them derives,
in just knowing that the other one is there…

To care and to understand,
lend an ear or hold a hand,
and to celebrate the memories they share.


~ Anonymous