Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Leaves are green.

No! Really? I thought they were pink with yellow polka dots…


This week has had its ups and downs, which is OK if they are normal little ups and downs but not ok if there are more downs than ups and the downs are DOWNS and not downs.

From Sunday: I had a hugely productive, satisfying weekend, because I set myself goals, but little ones. I met every single one of them. So I felt productive, and because I felt productive, I felt satisfied. Sunday was also the day for SWC final, so I watched the closing ceremony. Now, I haven't been exactly supportive of the WC – it took me a while to warm to the fact that it was even being hosted in my country (traffic was a nightmare), but eventually I watched a few games. During the closing ceremony, I had goose bumps on my entire body. I felt so proud that my country could pull off a closing event that was so spectacular. Maybe I was biased because they had elephant “puppets”, which were really really well done, or the fact that the light projection was absolutely amazing, but I was really wowed by the show that we put on, and the fact that we pulled it off :) If you didn't see the show, I'm sure you can find a copy of it on YouTube.

In case my last few blog posts haven't been obvious, I haven't been my usual chipper self lately. Part of it is because in my life, everything goes wrong at the same time. Some of it is a bit too private to share on this blog, some of it is just mundane and thus too boring to put on this blog, but the stuff about varsity life I can…

For a few weeks, I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Staff Member Responsible for assigning Teaching Assistant duties. I worked my ass off in the beginning of the year, just so that I wouldn't have to do these duties in the second half. But I was still assigned, and the relevant staff member had scuttled off to America on holiday, only to return this week (when the term started). She didn't respond to emails either. So, when I explained the situation (nicely, of course), she told me to find a replacement… So I did, but then the replacement let me down at short notice. So I went back to SMR to tell her, and she told me that I’d have to do the lab for this week (from next week, there is no way on hell I'm TAing…). So I did it today (grumbling all the way, of course), but I realised that I actually really do like TAing, even if its just because I can say really strange stuff and they have to listen to me. Which is fun. And I can draw and write on the blackboard (they totally are mutually exclusive), and they get to think that I’m weird, because I talk about stroking plants and stuff (or something to that effect). Mostly its just to get them relatively ok with the fact that plants aren’t just blobs of green stuff, and can be cool, if you allow you mind to let you think that…

Oh, the post title comes from one of my favourite things to say to undergrads about annotating their drawings (i.e., if they annotate a label showing a leaf with “green”, I WILL write No! Really? I thought they were pink with yellow polka dots!)

Saturday, July 10, 2010


I have always had issues with that gigantic thing called “trust”. Probably because I have been hurt so many time by people who were close to me. From family doing the whole “teasing a shy girl will make her less shy” routine (it only made it worse, until I grew up enough to tease back) to friends in school sharing confidences, turning on me or worse.

So, understandably, I’m not entirely comfortable trusting people. Even close friends, who have never given me a reason to distrust them. Once my trust is broken by a person, good and proper, I find it exceptionally difficult to ever confide in them again – to which some people will testify even today. So, in the spirit of sharing bad poetry (I have no idea where that sentence came out from)…

Fragile, porcelain Trust


On cold, hard Life

Fine shards never fit back into place

Partly fixed?

Partly whole?

Can Trust ever be truly absolute again?

Wholly restored, like a broken vase?

They say


Is the best healer

Anyone else feel similarly about trust?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Unhappy times.

Right now I'm not a very happy person (in fact, its 2.45am, I've been awake since 1am, and I cant get back to sleep...). I'm hoping that blogging will help!

On my mind:
  • My Msc. Its not going too well at the moment, and I'm very stressed out. More so today (actually yesterday), because one of my pieces of equipment shattered into roughly 10 000 000 pieces, and I'll have to get another one made.
  • Ill have to start recording another experiment in the meantime. This means that Ill have to try and fine-tune EXACTLY what I'm going to do, plan for the worst possible scenario, and then expect that the worst WILL happen (inevitably, in this project, it really will...).
  • I haven't been scoring data like the machine that I should be. This past weekend, I worked late on Friday, did a few hours on Saturday, and nothing on Sunday. And nothing today either.
  • I'm worried about my brother, although it has been totally awesome to have my "normal" brother back!
  • My parents - I fought with my dad over a relatively minor issue yesterday. I hate fighting. And my mom is questioning my relationship with KCB, which brings me to my next point...
  • KCB. Maybe I'm just way too stressed out so that every minor thing is a huge one, but I'm not coping too well even being in a relationship right now! Things like "he isn't treating me right cos he didn't pick me up to go to that wedding" (Thanks for that one, mom), to "he knows I'm super stressed out, why doesn't he frikkin phone instead of gchat?". In retrospect, I'd probably deal with all of the issues a whole lot better if I was calm and rational. Instead, in my head they are all blown up to these humongous things, to the point where, when I was tossing and turning earlier, I just wanted to call everything off.
  • I just want a holiday. And to cry. My neck hurts, my sinuses are not behaving themselves, and I just would like to find myself a nice mountain that I can go and be a hermit on. Bugger the masters!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Uh, help?

So, it turns out that I'm pretty useless at social etiquette (who would'a known??). This past week, I went to a wedding - KCB's mates were getting married. Now, not I didn't know the bride and groom from a bar of soap...

Typically, when I have no idea what to do, I froze with a (probably awkward) grin on my face (and may have mumbled a congratulations, but I cant be sure in the panic of the moment), after the ceremony... How awkward. What on earth is one supposed to do??? Most other people were congratulating the couple... Does the same apply to a complete stranger?? AAAARG!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Milk expedition...

For an exceedingly funny see Luke's account of our expedition to find some milk.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Malawi (part 2)

In short, Malawi was beautiful. As I said before, the official reason for me being there was to do a tree project, while the unofficial reasons were to visit KCB, and to have a holiday (by that stage he had been away for about 3 months, which is a long time in my books...) and to have a holiday.

I was pretty shattered after the bus trip, and the day after we got there, we rested. We were staying at a missionaries house and doing some work for them, so we got a bit of an orientation that day. I suppose I was overtired and rather emotional, but TP presented his view of religion which I intensely dislike - his rather bull-headed approach is the one that makes me shudder to be called a Christian... The following day, KCB and I, and the rest of the team drove to a remote village where the missionaries do their work, so that the rest of the team could build a water tank system thing (it slows down the water and acts as a filter for sediment, I just have no idea what it is called!). KCB and I spent the night there, and headed back to the base to do our tree project.

Only, we didn't land up doing the tree project while the rest of the team were doing water stuff, because KCB got malaria. This was possibly the scariest thing that happened during the trip (I have never ever seen someone shake so much), and one of those times where I discovered that I cared for KCB more than I thought I did (soppy moment, yes, but it Happened and was Significant, and therefore will be Included in this post). Anyway, the team came back before KCB had fully recovered, and our hosts were throwing a birthday party, so we did no further work that week, except help with the party preparations. The party was... not my cup of tea. I'm not the world's biggest social butterfly, and being completely out of my comfort zone, and really only knowing the team didn't help matters much. Anyway, the party left me with a nasty stomach bug, which kept me and two other members of the household, in bed and feeling awful for the rest of the following day.

We had aimed to do the tree project during in the next few days, and KCB hauled me onto my feet and into the forest. I learnt some important lessons that day, mainly about the importance of carrying a panga, the difference between a temperate forest and a tropical forest (read: jungle), that the forest can distort sounds that a baboon can sound remarkably like a hippo... The second day of tree sampling was much better than the first, and the third day (although physically the hardest) was the best. We had to try and find a path (it's impossible to hack your way through the jungle) to the top of the mountain, and we had heard that there was a fort there: Fort Mangochi. Where do you find a fort? At the top of a mountain... Or so we thought. We marched up to the top (or rather, KCB, Triathlete and the guide Marched, and I Tottered, feeling like I was going to vomit from exhaustion), and we carried on going, because we had set our sites on the fort and I at least was rather curious. When we eventually found it, we discovered that the ruins had been neatly signposted... Only, the signs had been covered by thick swathes of tall grass... At times the grass was so thick and tall that you could lose the person in front of you (and the path) if they were more than 2m away from you!

The rest of the week we quite relaxed - we went to the market at Chiponde, which was rather fun, and the next day we went to Monkey Bay on lake Malawi, where it was windy but beautiful. KCB and I took out a sit-on-top kayak with our snorkel gear to try and find a relatively sheltered spot where the viz wasn't too bad to see the cichlids. We did see them, eventually, but being so windy, the viz really wasn't great, and I actually had more fun paddling, watching the leguwaans and the fish eagle. We also watched a man fishing from his home-made boat - a structure made out of a single tree (which reportedly only cost less than double what we had paid to hire the kayak). We were due to leave the following morning, and after much packing (the rest of the team had been in that particular spot for about a month), we set off for Blantyre.

We took Organiser (one of the team mates) to hospital that night, to check if she had malaria... Turns out she did, and she had it badly. Over the course of the next few days, while we were travelling, she took three courses of anti-malarials, and eventually flew home from Mozambique to recover.

From Blantyre, we crossed the border to Mozambique...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Im working on it!

So, Helen has promised that I will be posting lots more on my trip to Malawi. I really am working on it, but in the meantime, I'm working harder on getting better. I seem to have picked up a random virus or something on my travels. Or I picked it up in dear ol' Jo-burg, I cant decide which is likelier!

So anyway, I will be posting as soon as I can!