Thursday, January 07, 2010

A review of the decade passed

2001: little fledgling caz left the nest and moved 1100km to the other side of the country to attend Stellenbosch University. I enrolled for a BSc I stayed in residence for the first two years. Quite stretching living with a bunch of girls after growing up with 3 older brothers and no sisters. Classes in afrikaans were also challenging. Homesick caz was encouraged at every turn by my gran who wrote to me just about every week from the time I left home. I have a massive pile of blue envelopes in the cupboard next to my bed today. Played waterpolo and attended the South African Universities tournament at the end of the year, representing the Maties team.

2002: the classes were now much smaller as we had moved from general BSc subjects to subjects specific to our focus. My particular focus was only started for the first time with our class – BSc Conservation Ecology. For the most part we were only about 20 students. Adventures included weekends in Kalahari National Park. I remember on the first day looking around and thinking “Seriously, these are the freaks I have to spend the next 3 years with??”* Great year which ended with a trip to the Okavango Delta where I worked on a crocodile research project. I was annoyed when I discovered that one of my freaky classmates would be there as well. We ended up having fun together though and hitchhiked all the way back to South Africa together.
*One of these freaks was to become my husband, many of the others my lifelong best mates.

2003: I moved into a townhouse with some friends and it was great! A tumultous start to the year though... were there feelings between me and aforementioned croc hunting classmate or not? A 5 day hike along the wild coast answered that question! so the great romance between The Band and I was begun. I worked at Waterford Wine Farm. Learnt plenty about the SA wine industry and loved the job. Many adventures through the year, but finally for the South African summer, The (at this stage “future”) Band, The Josh (classmate and future bestman and current work colleague etc) and I went to the US to work at a ski resort for 2 months. New York City was awesome... Lake Placid less so... It became known as “Lake Flaccid, the town that never rose to the occasion”

2004: Our final year together as a class. Good times, good adventures. Ran my first two half marathons. The (future) Band and I began to realise that we were both in this thing for keeps. More adventures – including a trip to Madagascar - and the year was rounded off with some camping and hiking in the Drakensburg and another hike along the Wild Coast.

2005: All my friends had moved on to travel or start working but I decided to continue my studies with a Bphil Journalism degree, also through Stellenbosch University. What an intense year. 20 students I’d never met before who I now spent pretty much all my waking hours with in this little converted house. Something like 36 subjects ranging from International Journalism to Radio Broadcasting to Media Management, ethics, etc etc. We had to do the news on the local radio station at least once a week as well. I went to Madagascar with the (future) Band on a church trip in the midst of all the work. In August The (future) Band proposed. No guesses as to my answer! Finished off the year (amidst wedding planning) with a one month internship at Getaway Magazine.

2006: February 11th was the big day. A gorgeous, perfect wedding surrounded by all those nearest and dearest to us. Life after honeymoon was to be an adventure... at that stage The Band was earning about R6K (gross) a month, I was to be studying my masters degree and our rent alone was R3500 a month. Ya... Luckily we got many woolies vouchers among our wedding gifts so the poorer we were, the more Woolworths food we ate (foreigners, Woolies in SA is like Marks&Spencers in the UK). I was soon offered a job and decided to work and study at the same time. The job for awful. For the first time in my life I was spending my days doing something I was completely disinterested in. Marriage, however, was great. We were living on a farm up in the mountains. When we drove home at night we’d shine a spotlight and see genets, owls, porcupines, baboons and buck. Gorgeous.

2007: Throughout the December holiday I had nightmares about going back to work. I was truly dreading it. That told me it was high time I started to look for something else. Through a series of coincidences and chance encounters I was given a job at WWF, the conservation organisation. Brilliant. I loved it. Back in the land of adventures! Trips to game reserves, to rhino releases, to bird trails and more and more and more. Finished my masters degree which looked at how the media report on climate change – what an incredible sense of achievement after slogging away for 2 years! Spent the summer holiday doing a lot of cycling including some unforgettable cycles at the Wild Coast with brother Mark, my dad and the Band (3 of my favourite men in the world).

2008: Another good year workwise. My graduation was held early in the year and my parents and very proud gran were there for it. Rode the Argus Cycle Tour and loved it. In August we were all set to travel to East London for my dad’s 60th when (a few days before) I was woken early by a phone call. It was my dad telling me my gran had died. I was devastated. All the “she had a good innings” comments do nothing to help. Yes, I am forever grateful that we had so long with her, but that doesn’t mean I miss her any less or that losing her is any easier. She was one in a million. Heart of gold. Wicked sense of humour. My strongest supporter. But if you’ve been a reader for a while you’ll know all this. Ended the year with an incredible adventure. My gran would so have loved to hear about it – she was an adventurer herself. We (The Band, The Josh and The Harry) spent a month travelling Southern Africa – Bazaruto and the rest of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, The Victoria Falls. Incredible. Unforgettable.

2009: Just a few weeks after returning to “real life”, life was to be turned upside down again... two solid lines on a pregnancy test. A year of preparing, preparing our hearts, our home, our budget, our lives. Debating names, building and painting cots and compactums, baby shower after baby shower. Antenatal classes, hospital tours, giddy conversations. Swollen ankles. Swollen everything! Anticipation building, hearts swelling, excitement bursting. FINALLY my last day of work. Severe back ache and days later, blood. The hospital. No heartbeat. The world crashed down. We sunk. I’m still sinking. Labour. Birth. Shock. And then... silence. Our baby girl. In our arms. And then it was all over. Month and months and months only to return to the same house. Packing up the nursery. Watching the flowers wilt and fade. Endless days. The weather warming. Summer creeping up on us, without her. Time passing takes us further from her, but perhaps closer too. Despair. And then the fledgling beginnings of hope.


Shayne said...

Again I have to say that you are an incredible woman.

Time is a healer.

I can hear there the optimism is slowly creeping in again.

time, time time.

Caz said...

Thanks lady :)

Anonymous said...

I hope this decade brings you more hope and some kind of return to good times!

I love Waterford wine, btw :)

Emma's Daddy said...

Wow!! I can't remember what I did last week, let alone over ten years!

I love reading your entries they make me think, then laugh, then educate (Woolies).

Like, Irishdad says, I hope this new decade brings with it good things.

phillygirl said...

Sounds like you had a very full 10 years, it was very special to read all about them.

Caz said...

thanks guys x

Tamara said...

Another beautifully written post, Caz. My prayer for you is a new decade filled with more adventures, hope, the chance to laugh freely again and times of intense joy that is all the richer for the sorrow you know.