Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Al lĂȘ die berge nog so blou

Freedom Day.

Whilst people at home celebrate the first democratic elections of 1994, I did yoga, cleaned the apartment and went to the market. When people yell supposedly cheap prices at me I cannot retain the semblance of self-control and end up buying 3kg of grapes for 2€ that I will never be able to eat by myself. Luckily tomorrow we are meeting up for a brunch at a friend's place, where a fruit salad will come in handy share some of my purchases (mangos! watermelon! strawberries!). This meet-up is a bit of a ruse as well: I am apartment scouting, as one of the rooms is freeing itself up in June and it might be an opportunity to move.

Always moving and living out of suitcases and boxes. I think my grandmother emigrated to SA with one large crate of things, and that was it. A life encased.

What is it that makes us want our things, want our clothes, want our spaces to belong to us? What is it about having and owning that drives us?

Waiting for my flight to Berlin in March I noted in my diary:
On the way back.
Say what you will, but this remains home. Maybe it is the people, maybe it is those still here; what remains is binding.
I couldn't lessen this, because this is simply part of what moulded me.
Despite my whiteness, despite other influences, I'll always be South African.
A strange thing to write.
This clinging to nationhood in far-away places. The taking along of reminders of home.
Peppermint Crisp. Marula Jelly. Cushions.
Things my mother gave me.
The boys in the queue behind me doing the same: brandewyn, chutney, aromat, sweet chili sauce.
The tastes of home we take with us. Rooibos. Baking powder in a metal 'blikkie'. Spray 'n Cook. 
The tastes of home ringing true - I went to Galeria Kaufhof yesterday just to buy Mrs HS Balls Chutney.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Future People

Tomorrow marks a month of having left the motherland. Having left the mother, who sends me images of recipes she is going to try out and FaceTimes with me while I sort through my books. Having left the friends who communicate through words on screens. Having left the sun, as here the cold holds on tightly to the days and the nights. Having left having to drive. Having left Afrikaans being spoken. Having left a strange sense of belonging.

Berlin offers up bureaucracy. I have never signed my name to so many papers in all of my years. Paperwork left and right, that is what uncertainty means here. But Berlin also offers up hope in many forms: that spring may come soon, that summer will be good and that somehow, somewhere, things will start falling into place.

Monday, 4 April 2016

That there/ That's not me

Suddenly what was supposed to be dinner
erupts in sound.

Loud yelling
something about driving him up palms
and not provoking him.

I pretend Radiohead is playing,
I pretend to float through walls,
I pretend to be far away.

The body remaining
not me.