Sunday, February 26, 2012

Plan A, Plan B, Plan C

Beginning of January, people went back to their respective places, Cape Town, Johannesburg etc.
Only a few of us, Someone included, stayed behind.

I was busy hunting for jobs overseas, and it hasn't been smooth sailing. I'd hoped to get a job by February at least. Plan B would've to go to Cape Town, do a 6month course while working part time and also do my BTech with Unisa. Plan C which would've been to go back to Johannesburg, do the BTech and act.

I was scheduled for an interview with the institution I was going to do the 6month course with. It was 2weeks away and in Cape Town. My sis Pru heard of a vacancy in Johannesburg and thought to let me know about it. Johannesburg was only my last option but I'd to consider it, it's not like I had a job waiting for me anywhere else (except for Georgia). This was Saturday, I was to call the person's office the next Monday. I tell you, I prayed a never ending prayer all of Saturday and Sunday. Pru told me to be the first call they got that morning. Deal!

By then, it was just my mom and I at home. Everybody else had left. She was out working everyday, and I was at home, cleaning and cooking and job hunting AND WATCHING GREY'S ANATOMY. I didn't tell her about the job lead. There wasn't much to be said about it yet anyway.

Monday morning, 8am, I dialed the number. They told me the PA would be in at 9. I tried again after 9 and got hold of her. I told her who I was, she told me she'd been expecting my call and was to sms me her email address so I could send her my CV (resume)
You know how you have different CV's for different jobs? I've recently been using my teaching CV. I looked at it and saw how it had nothing to do with the post I was applying for. I thought to tweak it up a bit but Pru said, no, don't do that! You're honest, be honest! Great! I had to use the cover letter to sell myself. That must've been the longest cover letter in the history of mankind! SENT! I got a confirmation and PA said she'd get back to me in due course. If only I knew when that was!

I could them 2 times for an update after a few days of waiting. The second time, I got good news. They had a better position for me and would like to interview me for it as soon as I could get to Johannesburg!

Sent from my iPhone

2011, The last days.

... Pru, bro-in-law, niece and I went grocery shopping. I called my brother from there and told him not to be surprised I was using my South
African number, I was roaming. I couldn't get hold of mom. I wanted to know when he'd be home so I could call and talk to mom. He called me back, I darn it!
Me: 'Hiiii, ssup?'
He: Baba, uphi wena ngoku? (Where are you right now?)
Me: I'm in France. Listen, I'm roaming, I don't know how much this call is going to cost me, so I'll talk to you later when you're at mom's? Click.
(I was thinking gosh, I hope he's not here at Pick n Pay as well, that would be so weird!)

I didn't hear from him that evening, of course, I knew he wasn't at mom's because I was at mom's.
He came over the day of the function. That was 2days after I arrived in Uitenhage. I was too excited to hide. A, my sis from Johannesburg, said uh uh, finish what you started! Go hide! Ugghhhh! Instead of hiding, I went and answered the door. He was surprised to see me of course. That was the end of the surprise spree. He brought over 3 of his sons and the wife to be.

The function went very well. It's times like that when you see that you've grown up. We had to do most of the 'work' ourselves. It's a very interesting ceremony, now that I got to part take in it. My brother played the role of the 'man of the house' as he was the only brother present. We drank umqombothi (African Beer). They gave some to my 3 year old nephew and he LOVED IT! They gave him more and more, he drank it and got so hyper. He's naturally a hyper kid, so you can imagine.

It was an intimate ceremony, so we had a few guests which we dropped off at the taxi rank afterwards. The next day was Christmas. Fortunately, everybody at home was grown up, we didn't need to do Christmas Stocking. Hallelujah! We'd made so much food for the function that we didn't have to cook on Christmas day. My niece wasn't too pleased about that!

The next day was more Christmassy than Christmas day itself. Pru, the chef cooked, the niece and I helped out as usual. We ate and were merry!

New Years wasn't that eventful. Which can be a good thing! We all were at home. We stayed up and talked about traveling and boys. Most of our conversations end up being about relationships. That night's wasn't any different. We ended up with my bro-in-law having a task to hook me up with his long lost cousin who's a Nazi. Yay, White Supremacy! NOT!

By midnight, A and Someone were fast asleep. We popped champagne and toasted to the new year. We called my oldest brother, who was in Cape Town and the nephew, who at the time was a Band Manager in Johannesburg. His band was performing that night.

It was as good as it gets: New year's with my favourite people! What more could one ask for?

We missed my late uncle very much, first Christmas without him. R. I. P. Tanci A. Z. Brook.
Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Umqombothi (African Beer)

21st December.

We had a ceremony to prepare for. It was going to be on Christmas Eve. We had to mad Umqombothi (African Beer). None of us had ever made it before. I ended up being the one to do the honours. Apparently, somebody that I'm going to refer to as Someone was on her way and she'd made the beer a few times before. She was going to coach me. We had to wait for her. We had the ingredients and the direction on them but we waited for Someone. Someone arrived, 2kids on tow, and worked me through the Mqombothi making process. By worked me, I mean, she read the directions from the ingredients. THAT'S what we'd been. waiting for the whole time! Breathe Brook! Breathe!

I did part one of mixing the ingredients, covered it up and wrapped it up in really thick and warm cloths and hoped it came out right. It took 3days for it to finish, and we only had 3days. It had to come out!

Oh BTW Someone 'also didn't know' I was coming. Mom called for my other sister to open, I decided to go to surprise her. When I got at the door, she went, 'I heard mama calling out Pru, Pru! Pru! Pru! I was expecting her to come and open. Even as you were approaching the door, I heard the foot steps and thought it was Pru! Seriously! I thought it would be Pru'. I stood there wondering: is she surprised?

Day 2:
I'd to make the fire outside and cook some of the ingredients. I let them cool down and mixed them up with the stuff I'd made the night before and covered them up once more.
My nephew kept calling my mom, we'd to keep reminding her that I'm not here. Ugh, there's no end to this. He kept telling mom that he was coming the next day, until today!
My other sister from Johannesburg, let's call her A (as in exhibit A, just kidding) called Someone. They talk often. Someone went out of the room, I'd already seen A's name on the phone screen and we signalled for Someone not to tell that I'm home.
Before we knew it, we overheard her going, 'yeah! Yeah, we're making Umqombothi. In fact, Babalwa is! No! Not Pru, Babalwa! Yeah, she's here, she's home'. I WAS SOOOOOOO PISSED OFF! How dare you come all the way here and ruin my surprise like that? What the heck's wrong with you! As soon as she walked back into the kitchen, there was silence. Awkwardness! I asked her, 'Someone! Did you just tell A that I'm here'. Yup! She didn't even seem to care. It felt like that day when you find out that Santa Clause isn't real? Yeah, kinda like that! And the person that burst the bible was oblivious to the fact. I asked her, 'you know that we're keeping this as a surprise, right?' No, I didn't know! Just like that, flat tone. Not an inch of a bother in her voice. She didn't care. That explained why she was acting so weird she she saw me open the door for her. She didn't care if I was here or not, or whatever, she just couldn't be bothered.

I got a message from my niece who I was chatting with the entire time when this happened. First, I got one from A. It read, 'The secret's out. You know Someone, she doesn't keep secrets. Welcome to South Africa! See you 2morrow'. I responded 'uhm, WHAT?' I had to try maintain the facade. My niece massaged me, 'A says you're here!'. I replied, 'oh is that what she was talking about? I just got this message from her -' I sent her a copy of the message from A. I must have went on and on and on about how people should be considerate and not be b!tches about other people's feelings and secrets. No matter how minute they might seem to them. What annoyed me more about the whole thing was the fact that, she didn't see anything wrong with what she did, she just walked away, into the lounge and watched Generations. Generations! That's what you're going to watch when you piss someone who just came back from the most weirdest experience of her life and you just ruined her surprise! Go on! Watch Generations!

Whew! Of course, I'd to share a bed with Someone that night, there I was sleeping with one eye open. I didn't know if she was going to get up in the middle and literally skin me alive.

Day 3:
Someone told mom that Mqombothi was ready! She seemed excited! Mom asked if she opened it up and checked. She told he she could just smell it. She's the only one that was smelling it. It was far from ready, as usual, I don't know what she was talking about! A and my niece arrived that morning. They called asking to be picked up. Mom wasn't home, and I'm the only other person that drives her cars, and I couldn't because I wasn't here, remember!

We didn't know whether my brother was going to pick them up or they'd take a cab. I was with Someone in the house when I heard Pru talk to someone outside in Xhosa. I was like Oh My gosh, they're here, let me hide. 'I don't think it's them.' Uhm, then who is Pru talking to? 'I really don't think it's them'. Uhm, whatever, I'm gonna hide anyway. So there I was running like a headless chicken, trying to find somewhere to hide where they wouldn't walk straight into me. I went into my late uncle's room and stood behind the door, behind the book shelf. I didn't think they'd want anything back there. I put my phone on silent and tried not to burst out laughing.

The floors are wooden, so I couldn't even move! When I heard they were close by, I messaged my niece and asked if they arrived safely, she told me they were close. they walked in through the back door and camped up in the kitchen. I was dying to get out and hug them. I missed them so much. That's my family from Joburg, we went though so much together. I couldn't wait to be reunited with them. A asked if I was home. Pru lied and said I wasn't. They didn't dwell on the subject. Pru just talked her Someone was mistaken when she told her I was here, SHE (Pru) is the one that made the mqombothi.

I sent Pru a message telling her to say hi to everybody when they got home. I told her I heard, they weren't that far. Pru, being the actor that she is, (by the way, did you see her on the Short story Baby Johnson last year? I believe it was on MNet?) she told everybody, 'Babalwa's good! It's as if she knows you guys just walked in, she said to say hi.' I was still hiding. Trying not to laugh.
About ten minutes or so later, yeah that long! I came out. My niece was so surprised! A, not so much cos Someone ruined the surprised and planted a seed of doubt. Plus, A is the one from whom I'd got a missed call. Apparently she was trying to call someone else, and accidentally dialled my number, that gave her the impression I was here.

Yay! Finally reunited with the family. Wait, that's not everybody...