Friday, 27 February 2009

Little bits of this and that from Kruger National Park

Satara Camp restaurant view

Weaver nests - sometimes the weaver lads have to build up to 5 nests before their picky weaver wifey says she is satsified.. haha... just the way it should be.... (kidding!)

Kruger National park sunset - we had just spent a while watching a mum hyena with her two cubs... such a special time. About ten minutes after this photo was taken my husband spotted a leopard - a beautiful creature, seen below in another post.

Kruger grass...

The giraffe and the thorns. I love this detail.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Still waiting...

With the turmoil of trying to have a child over the last 5 years... leading to us finding out in November last year that we won't be able to have our own biological child together... I have realised a few things. I am taking stock. Like I never used to before. I used to take things for granted...

'I would have a good education'
'I would marry a good man'
'I'd have lots of kids and be a good mum'
'I'd... I'd... I'd...'

... oops... reverse gear here! What was no. 3 again?

'God, did you forget no. 3 on my list?'

I thought he had. And for years it made me angry. Confused.

But, as I am coming to terms with my (our) grief in accepting we'll never have our own biological child, along with it comes a peace and a reprioritising. Not taking eachother for granted. Not taking our family (who all pray for us so much!) for granted. Not taking our health for granted - and this has hit me especially hard with my hospital admittance with my asthma (Today I sit with yet another chest infection... it was only a lil cold last week, but it becomes an infection so quickly due to my pathetic lungs).

Yes, they are pathetic. I'd sell them (give them away!!!) on ebay if someone would only take them...

But you know what? Even though my health is not that great currently, I still have my life. And my ever-loving and supportive husband. And my friends who care so much. My beloved family. And a God who loves me and takes care of me, in ways I often only realise retrospectively...

So Lord, even though we still wait on you to bring us our child... we thank you for your provision and love and faithfulness. Please forgive me for my selfishness and for taking my eyes off you...

Sunday, 22 February 2009

One-armed presenter...

Yahoo story about the presenter with one arm and the complaints the BBC have received...

As someone who is involved with childcare in the UK, there is a big emphasis on acceptance of everyone, of different races/cultures/religions/abilities/disabilities. OFSTED are quite fussy about this, which is good.

I chat to the kids about people in wheelchairs, people who where saris, people with down syndrome, people who have tatoos... we live in a richly diverse place and *difference* should not be something to be feared, but something to be embraced and accepted.

Unfortunately the prejudice shown this presenter are parent-led, not child-led. It's a good example of how parents should NOT behave. Kids are far more accepting and tolerant than adults are.

Friday, 20 February 2009


I had a bit of a turn last night again... inhalers and steroids didn't work, so had to be nebulised. Thank goodness I have a calm husband who helped me get through it. No need for the ambulance this time. He then sat up the rest of the night watching me sleeping, making sure I was okay, and never slept a wink. I got 3 hours at least.

It kinda put perspective on the paperwork for OFSTED I had been stressing over earlier in the day yesterday... my health is so much more important, I am so blessed to be married to this incredible man, PLUS I am darn fortunate to have that paperwork, because it means I have work... (and daily I am hearing of people being laid off here and in the US) :(

My problem now is my lungs haven't recovered fully yet from that attack. It knocked me for 6. I got a lil cold (pressie from one of the kids this week), and that is not helping, it so easily leads to chest infections with me.

I took my peak flow earlier tonight and it's less now than it was when they let me leave the hospital (eek!) in Nov... am seeing the doc tomorrow and am concerned they'll send me in for overnight observation. The 'overnight observation' last time ended up being 5 days. But if an attack is looming, it's best I halt things now, not leave it too late like last time.

That's why I am still up, I am trying to control my breathing and coughing. Lying down makes things worse.

Might try and see if I can fall asleep now (sitting up), I am knackered.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Do you have tertiary education?

... and was it worth it?

After high (secondary) school I did a 4 year degree in Graphic design. Worked very hard at it, plus had 3 part-time jobs to get myself through this rather expensive course! It was 90% practical, 10% theory. This gave me incredible skills which I used in my own design business for 5 years in South Africa, and then in publishing in London since 2002.

I had a career shift in 2007. I have years of experience working with kids, and opened my own childcare business. I am currently studying for a diploma in childcare.
Still freelance as a designer one day a week.

1 foot in each world = happy Jenniflower!

I was fortunate in that I knew from an early age what I wanted to study... if you don't know, then take a gap year off. Don't waste time and money on something you won't use/love doing day in, day out. That's my opinion. And if you are doing something you love, apply yourself. All the hard work will be so worth it :)

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Can an *immigrant* truly ever feel at home?

So there was this question asked in the Facebook group I chat in:

'Still pondering on this topic and wondering if those who moved permanently ( or for a long time ) to other countries, ever feel fully integrated or can truly share the concerns of their adopted country ? Does interest in your original country predominate or after time is what's going on locally of greater interest ?'

My reply:

'Yes and no.. in my work (design and childcare) I feel fully integrated and part of the team always. They don't in any way single me out as being different, but see me as a professional and co-worker.

But often when I have met English people socially, at someone's home or at a pub, the fact I am South African is nearly always brought up, and it's not a biggie for me, there's loads else to chat about.

I am very interested (and concerned if need be) in everything that still goes on in South Africa, yes... but am equally interested (and concerned if need be) about things that happen locally in England.

I do feel a certain kinship with England, not because I have lived and paid taxes here for nigh on 7 years, but because my grandparents were all English, so I have strong roots here. Even though I know I am technically an immigrant, I don't feel like one at all tbh.

But that's possibly because I have gotten involved with local stuff, have made an effort to see as much of the country as I can etc. How else could I have settled here happily?'

Thursday, 12 February 2009


I am currently working through thousands (yes, thousands!!!) of photos and videos of our holiday in South Africa. When I have selected a few really cool ones I will post them here. In the meanwhile I have been thinking of why I am here at this time.

Why am I, as a South African, living in London currently?

Have you ever emigrated? Why did you emigrate? I'd love to hear from you.

Here are my thoughts.

I moved from Joburg to Cape Town for 7 years when I graduated, to start my business there, plus I had family there, and was born there. Made loads of pals and settled in easily. But I was a social butterfly, I didn't sit at home all day. I got involved with the community.. and it was a small community in a valley. I also met Mr Mac there, so twas a good move :)

Moving to England was never seen as a forever plan for us, just a time for us to travel and get to spend time with the English side of the fam we had come to know and love, prior to settling down and having kids.

We've been here nearly 7 years now (merely a lowly immigrant that's me! haha) and have had good times and bad, have lots of friends, good jobs, I love my business, I love London itself - the architecture and history is incredible, theatre is incredible, I love the countryside - we go out often. I think we've seen more of England than many English folk :)

We've travelled to countries we never thought we could have, London is such a good place to travel from. Us being English speakers helped us settle here for sure. We would have learnt another language if need be, but I do think it would have hampered our settling in as quickly.

It's home for now but not home for good. Our hearts are in Africa. We miss our family there. I have nieces and nephews growing up and I miss this (aside from the fam I have in the USA too!). I prefer the adoption system there. The schools are more disciplined and kids are better behaved. Weather is nicer for sure, but when we moved here we knew what it entailed, and less glorious weather was par for the course :)

There are problems there, but there are problems here too. There is good and bad in all countries, and I think you have to prioritise what is right for YOU and your family at this time in your life (realistically!). All governments are full of cr@p at the best of times, so they are no indicator of whether to move there (unless it's run by a dictator like Mugabe of course!).

BUT... I do believe everything in life is what YOU make of it. Whether it be emigrating to another country, or starting a new business or relationship. It's worth taking the risk. I am glad I am here as this is the right place for us at this time, but I will be glad when we move back to South Africa, as we'll be entering a new and exciting phase of our lives then :)

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Greetings this (not so) new year of 2009!


Hello all! We are back from our holiday in South Africa... had a wonderful time and have loads of stories to share... and I have started with these fine cats from the Kruger National park in Mpumalanga! I don't know why they're all facing left - I just noticed that...

This leopard was hiding in some bushes to the right of the road we were travelling on. My husband had a spotter light with him and he saw him. Colour is funny as we didn't have a decent flash with us. We took video footage too.

We were on a sunset drive, just us too and two guides - so spoilt! We exchanged lots of stories and had fantastic chats with the guides about their homelife, what their job means to them (these guys are keen conservationists who have a genuine love of the animals and flora and fauna etc.), what their vision was for the future - for them personally, and the country etc. A very special time indeed.

We were really spoilt this time in Kruger (were there for 5 days), we saw 3 leopard! Saw loads of other animals, birds and insects, but seeing leopard is harder as they are so elusive, and we saw 3 in 2 days. Incredible!

Hubby saw all 3 before me (typical hehe), the first leopard was stalking some springbok across a road we were on (I was too busy photographing waterbuck behinds to see this unfortunately, happened too quickly to photograph), and the second leopard came through the reeds to the Lower Sabie River, for a drink. We were staying in tents on the river so had a great view of it. Too quick to photograph too though. The third leopard we saw was the one above. So special!
The colour on the leopard isn't great as we had the wrong flash with us, we got some lovely video footage though!


This lion was lazily enjoying the sunshine alongside a river. It was taken between Lower Sabie and Crocodile Bridge. There was another lion nearby. Self drive

This lovely cheetah was calmy walking parrallel to the road between Lower Sabie and Crocodile Bridge. Caused a right traffic jam! Self drive.