Friday, January 03, 2014

ending 2013 - part i

it's now 2014: happy new year! i'm a bit behind on posting, and for an exceptionally good reason - this new year's saw me off the grid, it was insane and magical and a description of it, however vaguely rendered, is deserving of its own post. so as i sit here on this beautiful afternoon, a little too tired and sunburned sore (don't worry, i managed to be responsible and it's minor... and in odd places...) to be out enjoying the sun i'm going to catch up on the run-up to new year's. so without further ado, i present the tail end of 2013!

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after the travelling covered by my previous post, my internal rhythms were totally buggered and so i experienced no jet lag whatsoever! in fact, it startles me that i've been running so well on so little sleep - i've been feeling better than ever over the past week and i've managed not to enter any sort of sleep cycle. my body operates better when it doesn't know what's happening, it appears :)

the only contact i've had with french since i've landed has been demonstrating to french speakers here that i'm not ready to communicate. i desperately need to rectify this.

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friday:

dis-chem is an awesome store with extremely helpful and knowledgeable employees. within no time we had vegan protein powder, creatine and vitamins b12 and d, and all for less than protein powder costs back in canada :)

visiting my aunt:

1. the local single kiss on the cheek versus the montreal double? leads to awkwardness.

2. uncle puberty and biggles were on a roll, things got ridiculously funny and that was very welcoming :)

we returned home, i hurriedly dressed nicely for dinner and we were off.

dinner:

1. there were a lot of people, half of whom i hadn't met before and had trouble keeping track of. that's been a theme, actually, over the past week. what's terrible is that i've had trouble recalling people i met years ago when they remember me. awkward. and then trouble keeping track of people's names when i've spent hours on end with them. super awkward.

2. nobody told anyone that i'm vegan. whoops! good thing there was another vegan!

3. it was great seeing the people i care about! not on that list is my ex-brother-in-law. i'm very glad he didn't make more of an effort to talk to me. his sisters are nice enough, though, and i was pleased when my opinions on israel (which they asked for) were accepted without offense.

4. i almost didn't recognize my uncle, he's been struggling with cancer for years but it's the first time the effects have been so visible.

even though i was really tired, when i got home i checked for messages from sq and she'd sent me a way to find her online presence. this accidentally (using google to search instead of going directly to the page she's set up for work) led me to yelp reviews, and i figured that if she'd checked me out on facebook then i could do the same using yelp. lesson learned: yelp is a dangerous source for online stalking and should be avoided. the negative reviews are stacked towards the top and they can paint a pretty ugly picture - you have to be patient (fortunately, i was in spite of my exhaustion) if you want a balanced view. sq explained that yelp uses that as leverage to get small businesses to pay for better control. i think that's disgusting both because it's essentially blackmail and because that skews the reviews and is a corruption precisely of what yelp is supposed to be offering that nobody else does.

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saturday:

i slept amazingly well - surprising, right?? - and got up early to shave and go to the synagogue in honour of the wedding. as it's been years (probably about three or three and a half) since i last shaved with a razor, i posted a photo to facebook that my mum took. i was disappointed to see later that that photo received more likes than anything else i've posted in seven years on facebook! because it shows that most people do not share my taste in how i should look. i mean, i knew that already, but i didn't have actual evidence in hand :(

shaving wasn't a problem at all, but the days after i remembered one of the main reasons i don't like doing it. in-grown hairs and general skin irritation. nothing visible, but very annoying.
*sigh*
i'd laser my beard if i didn't enjoy having the potential to grow a solid beard. just in case, you know ;)

the synagogue experience was really weird. i was surprised at how many old faces and names i remember (in contrast to the rest of my week's experiences cited earlier), specifically of the choir members. it occurred to me that i sang in the choir almost exactly twenty years ago, and aside from one or two guys (like the choir master) who've since passed away half of the current members were already ancient then. also in the synagogue were a few guys there that i went to school with, too, but they're people i have even less connection to.

picking up my rental was a good excuse to leave early :P

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i'd reserved the cheapest class possible and got a little fiat for my troubles. it's a cool car, but there's something bizarre about constantly being complimented on how cute it is. it's a *car*, people, it's not even mine. i loved my opel kadett, and nobody ever said anything nice about that one :(
when i gave the agent a dirty look after discovering that the car had gp plates (gauteng province, notoriously shit drivers) he told me that everyone will think i'm from out of town and chill.

buddy, you've never driven in cape town, have you?? the hate you get when you drive with gp plates is palpable!

no matter, it's a stick shift and it's taught me something about my driving. i haven't enjoyed driving in many years, and i now understand why: firstly, because overseas everyone drives automatic and i've never liked not being in full control of the car. i like to DRIVE, man, i like to really drive. secondly, there are few places as enjoyable to drive as cape town simply because there's no grid and everything's on or around the mountains, so it's *interesting* to drive. when i drive over to camps bay side i feel like i'm on a rally course, and i drive accordingly ^_^
thirdly, i drove a lot in cape town in the two years before i left - far more than anywhere else - and knowing the layout and the local behaviour so well lends a level of confidence i don't think i'll ever have outside.

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my mother and i met up with godmother and yang at canal walk. i can get lost in canal walk because it's so big, i don't like malls or shopping in general and i couldn't find anything i liked that wasn't marked with american prices. wtf?! it's been two years since i was last here, i'm perpetually shocked that the rand has devalued so much. everything's still cheap by tourist standards, but by south african standards it's unbearable :(

anyway, my mom and i were both stressed and out-shopped by the end of the day. she doesn't like shopping either. that means we both left with nothing after all that, and we'd been in the busiest mall on the first day of post-christmas sales. ugh!

we headed off to jou ma se comedy club to celebrate shadowslight's birthday. in addition to it being a fun evening spent with nice people, they had a vegan meal on the menu that wasn't bad and the comedians were all really good. piet potgieter had us all in hysterics!

...

it's strange to find a breeze at 19 degrees chilly when i've gotten used to -15. it's all psychological, i'm telling you!

[continued...]

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