People love asking questions about future plans. Especially if you've just graduated. But no one asks me questions that I know the answers to. I'm still working out how I plan on saving the oceans and 'living in spitting distance of the sea' doesn't seem to satisfy 'where do you see yourself in 5 years?'.
Why hasn't anyone asked me what I want my life to SOUND like? (Like this: Animals by Baths and this: Bourgeois by Co.Fee). Or what I want my lifestyle to FEEL like? (here we go: Billabong x Oracle Fox). Why doesn't anyone want to know about the delicious monsters and banana leaves that are going to infest the gardens of my little paradise or find out about the extensive balcony that will house all the wetsuits, surfboards and dive gear? No one's asked about the wooden window shutters or the mix matched pottery that will make up the crockery.
It seems a pity, because my dreams have known the answers to those questions for many years :)
I do hope you get to dream about a fun future too my dear sea gypsies :)
I like every letter in the word 'adventure'. Same goes for 'sunshine', 'magic', 'seaside' and 'retroflect'(what the Agulhas current does when it meets the Benguela at the tip of Africa). In these first few weeks of being in London, those words seem to have been replaced with letters that form words such as 'overwhelmed', 'lonely', 'unsettled', 'grey' and 'lost'. These are less pleasant.
I can't quite describe it, but after a particularly low week and spending a lot of time pondering and praying, I have some sea gypsy clarity. Here it is:
-Firstly. Magical, gumption filled adventures are sweeter and on another level of special when your surroundings are ordinary and underwhelming. Much like finding invincible internal sunshine in the depths of winter, you can find magic in naming the neighbourhood pigeons & squirrels/ in public toe tapping & air piano playing. I have found magic hiding in particularly lovely songs and in spreading my aeroplane wings while I go for a run. Adventure has been hiding in treasure hunting: for special clothing in charity shops and online, for signs of spring, for evidence of both big opulent and sneaky hidden art in this big city.
- Secondly, life's an education. All of it. Learning to be alone, learning to go to interviews, learning to be better at directions, learning to communicate with people from different cultures, learning details about Argentinian beef and double macchiatos, learning to talk to yourself during a colliewobble and learning to trust the Lord. Realizing that these are all learning experiences that will help form my character make me a more willing student.
- the combination of these above two things in my mind lead to growing up without becoming a grown up. A prospect that I can now say, is very exciting.
As such, I have new found enthusiasm for all the adventure and education that this year will bring. Here is some evidence of both adventure and magic from the last few weeks :)
In the year 2014, I, little Tal completed my honours degree. A task which resulted in most of my time being spent with my head buried in scientific papers - focused on butterflyfish, tea, the ocean and the people directly around me. It was all quite 'Cape Town, South Africa.'
In the last few days I have realised that 2015 is most certainly not going to be such a year. In fact it is going to be a year of 'All continents of planet earth'. HOW EXCITING IS THAT? All of us little biologists yearning and dreaming of adventure are finally out having them! From Tasmania to Thailand and Mauritius to Munich. And it makes you realise that this earth is so very little. We have progressed from communal 10:30 tea to cross continental conversations.
Last year most certainly had its life-changing adventures (I look forward to sharing them with you as I get the chance in the coming months!) but right now we are heading into very new territory. THESE adventures are going to largely be about becoming a slightly more grown up seagypsy - learning to be independent in one of the world's greatest cities. BUT ALSO: playing like a seagypsy! Island hopping in Greece and tracing the mediterranean coastline, painting pretty things and eating ALL THE ICE CREAM! These are the exciting adventures which await.
But for now, welcome back to my blog- thanks for reading :) And here are some this years first photos from a snowy London!
I have a soft spot in my heart for turtles. Their vulnerable state, resilience in the wild, glorious grace as they move and quite simply, those little faces and big eyes :) I also have a dream of how I want to live one day. It involves palm trees, hammocks, the sound of the sea as you fall asleep and water temperatures above 25' C.
These past few days I got to experience both the above- lucky girl.
Along with one of my project supervisor, her 2 kids and a local contact we roadtripped from Durban to Hluhluwi up to Bhanga Nek (right on the Mozam border!).
Through herds of cows, national parks and local villages we drove. Over sand-dunes and through tropical jungle we made our way.
We stayed in little huts overlooking the mouth of an estuary that leads to Bhanga Nek. We showered with bees, frogs and cockroaches, ate with ants and slept with mosquitoes:P
The beach below, Bhanga Nek- is sight to the turtle monitoring station established by George Hughes (my hero!). Every year, adult turtles come and lay their eggs here and every year, just a few months on, the babies hatch and make their way to the sea. We got to witness the second! :) A night trek along sand dunes, revealed nests of newly hatched loggerheads scampering down to the sea! It was quite overwhelming-watching these little beauties so determined to get to the ocean, knowing that they are going to face so many difficulties and obstacles, that only one in every thousand is going to live long enough to come back and nest in 20 years.
Other adventures over the 4 days included snorkling in warm water! (glorious!), enduring 95% humidity, driving through a KZN thunderstorm at 3 am and getting stuck (and unstuck) on sand-dunes in the jungle :)
What a treat and privelage to see something so special and to live amongst the palms, pineapples and sugar cane of the tropics. To be able to live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun in the truest sense :)
it's a perfectly calm, contented day today. a slight breeze, clear skies, subtle humming noises. minds are at ease, bodies relaxed, smiles soft.
it's meant to be a day of serenity and repose, where clean, fresh washing is slowly drying and blowing in the breeze and the occasional hibiscus bloom falls from the tree.
it isn't an adventure day so to speak-not in the exciting 'pocket-handkerchief-packed-lunch-sea-gypsy-wetsuit-bright-music-lots-of-friends' sort of way. No, instead it is more of an 'adventure-remembering' day.
Like that time we wandered through the jungle down to the sea, where we swam, dived under waves and were kissed by the sun. Where we wore hats and ate frozen yoghurt. Or the time we found the secret garden, made exciting summer lunches and scrambled up the mountain to watch the sunset and the moon rise.
yes, today is a remembering sort of day.
And it is quite lovely to be able to go about your beautiful, yet slightly more ordinary business remembering those adventures-knowing that there are endless more waiting to be grasped.
Simply not today. X
so here's the thing: happy new year (15 days late :P)
the beginning of the year is always so utterly exciting. thinking ahead i imagine all the 'first times' i will have, all the new people i will meet, the new music i will listen to, all the challenges i will face...and overcome. i think about how my existing friendships will change and develop and how i will grow in character as a person.
i really do hope to become 'better' every year. to become healthier and fitter, more confident within myself and more steadfast in my convictions. i want to grow in patience and optimism. i want to be a better daughter, sister, friend, diver, daughter of the King, marine biologist and adventurer.
i want to become a bit more mature, but not grow up. i hope to save my cash dollars, but give away alot more.
i hope to worry less. to trust the Lord more.
i'm going to run a half marathon.maybe more than one :)
i want to watch with glittering eyes; because the greatest secrets are hidden in the most unlikely places and those who dont believe in magic will never find it (roald dahl).
standing at the cliff of what will be my last year of studying (for the moment anyway), my last year of living at home (hopefully), my last year of preparation before some tropical, warm water, banana leaf, world saving adventure-fills me to the brim with butterflies.
this is definitely a year to make memories so bright and technicoloured that they put last year to shame.
i am beyond excited. you better be too :)
hands filled with snacks and towels, snorkels and fins we clumsily walk down the sandy path..
there is a tree-a big one, doorway to a white sandy alcove and 2 perfect, sheltered, little blue bays.
the one bay is open, with beds of sea lettuce, tongue weed and codium. like sweets on the seafloor; urchins, sponge and starfish are scattered all around. schools of little fish swim this way and that-ocassionally joined by a curious penguin.
the other bay is a forest. a kelp forest. much deeper, the dappled light hits the box jellies and sea breams speeding through the alleyways of kelp trees. with deep breaths we dive down and join them, following their routes, tumble turning under the water.
its the best thing really. being with the most wonderful of people, in a hiding place from the rest of the world, surrounded by the wild ocean and her astonishingly beautiful creatures.
followed by fluffy towels, pineapple and mint water, tired hands carry adventure equipment back past the tree and along the sandy pathway;
heads in the clouds, hearts left in the sea