Finally mobile!

I got my wheels this week!!!  I wish that I could have trainer wheels attached but sadly no.  No one here cares that you don’t know how to ride a motorbike.  They show you the basics and then you are on your own.  It’s quite funny that I learned to drive a car first, then a bicycle (in London) and now a motorbike.  How I wish I could have all the safety of metal surrounding me of a car, these days.  So, learning to drive the motorbike was actually super easy.  It’s an automatic so there really is nothing to it, as long as you can control your balance and how fast to go.  My problem is that in the face of danger I usually go faster – really need to learn to stop doing that.  The real danger is all the hundreds of other people on bikes on the road, plus they drive on the other side of the road here.  It is hair-raising to say the least.  Not only are there other bikes on the road but all the cars here are massive Hi-lux type vehicles or enormous trucks.  Everyone hoots ALL the time and its enough to give one a panic attack.  I am looking forward to getting on the open road and opening her up to the more than the 20 km/h I’ve been doing so far.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From tomorrow I will be on holiday for two weeks.  Here in Viet Nam we are about to embark on their biggest holiday of the year – TET.  It’s their New Year – they celebrate Lunar New Year – and it promises to be an epic experience.  I am going to Da Nang which is the third largest city in Viet Nam after Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in the South and Ha Noi in the North.  Da Nang is kinda in the middle – Central Viet Nam.  I’ll be staying in a backpackers right on the beach so my next blog promises to hold lots of news and even photos!!!  Thanks to my cousin James for advising on how to do that.  You would never say I was a digital project manager in my previous life! Oooooops! 😉

I know a lot about TET because its been the main theme in all my classes for the last couple of weeks now.  It’s a time to sweep out the old year and all the negativity and prepare for the new, hopefully successful year.  To prepare for this, people clean their houses and buy new clothes which they will only wear on New Years Day.  It’s very important to make sure that the first guest you welcome into your home in the new year, is successful, preferably wealthy and a good person as this will set the tone for the year to come.  Some people leave their house just before midnight and go back in just after, to make sure that the wrong ‘guest’ is not the first people to set foot into their home.  Flowers are very important for this festival and I can attest to this as I have seen truckloads of marigolds and peach and apricot blossoms being trucked all over the place.  People place flowers underneath trees in the street with sticks of incense leading up to this occasion as well – these are gifts to the ancestors.  Much food is prepared and the general feeling of this holiday is about family coming together and enjoying each other’s company.

I’ve been in Viet Nam just shy of a month now.  It feels far longer.  I have never been so alone and isolated in my entire life.  I wouldn’t say I am lonely (yet) but I fear that the age-gap between me and the other non-Asian people here might become an issue.  I have finally learnt to be responsible – people drink here and get on their scooters which I will definitely not be doing, but then instead of going out I would rather just stay at home, because what’s a good meal and good company without a drink too.  I might just have to change that philosophy if I want to actually get out at all!  I feel that I am going to be doing a lot of inner reflection in the coming months and really have to face who I am and what I want from my life going forward.

Everyone drives around with these masks on. At first I thought it was really weird but its such a good idea actually as it means no muggies or dust and sand can get into your mouth. With googles/glasses and helmut, your face is really protected. Wearing a helmet like we would wear in the UK or SA would not work here – it’s just too hot!
My expedition to the supermarket. See all those bikes parked? Mine is one of them!!!

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The daily grind :)

As I said in my previous blog my life consists of a 3 kilometre radius until I get my scooter.  This might seem boring to some but every day brings a new experience.

A couple of days ago I was sitting at the dining room table planning my lessons and this delivery guy walks into the house and starts depositing a whole lot of groceries on the floor.  I knew they couldn’t be for us.  So I tried to explain this to him.  What transpired was a 5 minute conversation where neither of us could understand the other, yet we managed to understand each other.  I asked to see the invoice so I could check the address, he showed me, I showed him that the address on the slip was not our address and then he asked me if I could keep the goods until 2pm when the neighbours would be back.  All done with hand gestures while both of us chatting away in our respective languages.  It was really funny!

What was not so funny was that remember I told you that I felt like there was a small child living in the cupboard downstairs trying to get out, well today I found out what is living in there as two big rats nudged open the door and jumped out!!! Worse is that I could still hear noises once they were gone which means there are probably babies in there!  I emailed the school and they had better to something about it pronto!

Yesterday was the first really hot day since I’ve been here so walking to and from the supermarket was a real challenge.  I looked like I had a 60 minute cardio workout when I got home.  First time I had a cold shower in the day – I feel lots of those will be happening in the near future (sorry to any Capetonians reading this) :(.  But if you need a long, hot shower, my door is always open!  Everyday I have so many people on their bikes offering me a ride.  I am not sure if I would need to pay at the end of said journey so I just smile and shake my head.  The kids always shout ‘Hello Teacher’ even though I’m not their teacher but I guess, why else would I be here.

Teaching these kids is teaching me a lot.  I am learning to think on my feet so much!  No matter how much I prepare a lesson, things crop up which means the lesson often doesn’t go according to plan.  I am learning patience, especially with the younger kids who I have so much respect for as they sit through an hour and a half practising the same thing over and over in a lesson.  So I aim to make the lessons as exciting as possible.  One of my class’s themes is At the Supermarket and the main words they are learning are melon, lemon, noodles, onion, cucumber, cereal.  I need to teach them that while you can say ‘a lemon’, you can’t say ‘a cereal’ and for that you need to say ‘some cereal’.  They have flashcards for these words but I also went and bought all the items so that (a) they can associate the flashcard with the real thing and (b) we can play a supermarket game where the one student is the shopkeeper and the other students can ask for things.  While those are the main words to learn I can also incorporate other words they have learnt previously so I will also be bringing along juice, eggs, bread and a few other things.  It’s really challenging teaching them the actual rules of English because their English isn’t good enough to grasp concepts and understand what I am saying without the help of imagery.  Also because I am new to this I don’t have a vast well of knowledge and I am just drawing from what I think will work.  So I may not be the best teacher around but I know how to show these kids a fun time! 😉  It’s very rewarding to walk into the classroom and have all the kids clearly excited to see me.  Sometimes some of my games get them really riled up but luckily it doesn’t seem to matter and its the Vietnamese teacher/teacher assistant’s job to quieten them down.  I like that I don’t have to discipline, just teach.

Once I get my scooter and can spend more time out of the house I probably won’t be spending as much time preparing lessons but by then I will have stocked up on lots of materials and fun ideas that I can use, re-use and adjust depending on the age and lesson.

The other thing that happened a few days ago, was that my phone broke.  It just stopped charging.  I tried it with various chargers and none of them worked so it was obvious that was the issue.  But now my phone is on 8% and I need to find a place that can repair my phone.  So basically I cannot rely on Google maps.  I have to do this one alone!  I look on Maps before I leave from my laptop to get a general idea of where to go and thereafter start my, what turned out to be a very long, but completely successful venture.  The first shop I went to sold iPhones.  I explained in sign language that it wasn’t charging.  So he also tried and ascertained my prognosis was correct.  So then I needed to find out if they do repairs so we eventually resorted to talking over Google translate.  In that way I found out that they don’t do repairs so he wrote down the address of another place (luckily I was clever and had pen and notepad in my bag).  And, the address he gave me was of a road I know well!  I’ve been noting the names of the streets in my head every time I go out and this paid off!  And I even found the street based on having done so much walking around in the last while.  I can definitely take ‘directionally challenged’ off my list of weaknesses these days.  Then I got to the place (and believe me it was not close by, I must have walked about 4kms all told by now). It looked very similar to the other place so I thought that was a lost cause and then I saw, about 2 shops down, a shop that looked like it was a repair shop.  You must imagine that NOTHING is in English.  In the big cities everything is in English but not here. So in I went.  Again explaining my charger story in proficient sign language.  Them going Ahhhh, showing me a plug to put the charger into, me saying No, that isn’t the issue, but yes please, try it and see that it won’t work.  Once they had ascertained that it was a charging problem, he did the whole cleaning out of the insert point – even had a little blasting machine – but nothing worked.  Then he showed me that he would need to replace that part by showing me what he would replace it with.  I said Dong? (Vietnamese currency). He showed me how much it would cost with notes he had.  150 000 Dong to replace and I must come back in 1 hour.  I came back in half an hour and it was done and it cost me R80 or £5.  How’s that for service?  I was well impressed.  Then I still had to get home on my own because even though fixed it had hardly charged by the time I collected it.  Anyway, the walk home was long but at least I had achieved something.  I had serious doubts before I left home that morning that I would even FIND a shop, let alone three and then have the matter resolved.  Feeling accomplished!

My next challenge is to find a beauty salon that does waxing – it’s going to be very interesting to try and show them what I need doing, especially when I get to explaining that I need a hollywood!

I’m loving that I can start every day with yoga practice.  It is so good for my soul and of course my muscles which are getting back into shape.  I am grateful and happy.

p.s Remember to follow me on Insta to keep updated on the pics side of things!  mariafkyle

Good Morning Viet Nam!

I can’t believe it has only been 2 months since I last posted on my blog.  So much has happened since then!  When I last wrote I didn’t even have a teaching job secured and yet, here I am, over a week into my teaching stint in Viet Nam!

I have had so many conflicting emotions since I arrived here.  I wasn’t sure what to expect and had no expectations, which in hindsight is good, because it was such a hardcore culture shock as it was, that if I had had expectations, the conflict would have been more huge than it was when I got here.

The first major change was the weather of course.  All the locals here think it’s freezing and are wearing jerseys and boots and things – at a mild 25 degrees I am in my element and embracing it as the temperature and humidity here apparently soar to unbearable heights.  The weather is already not doing anything great for my hair but at least now I don’t even have to TRY and straighten it because there is just no point.  Curly is my new state.

Not knowing anyone and not knowing how to get anywhere was a real challenge in the beginning.  I am not teaching at a school but rather at an English centre which means the English being taught is extra English for the kids.  So I teach every day but only in the evenings for one or two hours and the majority of my teaching takes place over the weekend – Saturday and Sunday are really busy and at the moment I am teaching 21 classes a week ranging from 4 to 12 year olds.  The teaching is going well!  I am putting a lot of effort into lesson preparation which takes up quite a bit of time.  But time is something I have so much of at the moment!  Because I only teach in the evenings my days are free.  Because there is no such thing as public transport here and the language barrier is just that – a complete barrier to any understanding between me and the locals, the only exploring I can do at the moment is on foot.  It took me a week to find the actual supermarket where there are tills and everything but it’s a 2.5 km walk one way and while this is doable now, while the weather is still mild, it would be pretty much suicidal to try and attempt this once the temperatures start rising.  So I do need to invest in a scooter (even a bicycle would be silly in the heat) so that is something I need to organise.  Everyone here rides scooters and it’s amazing to see.  Women in high heels and smartly dressed ride their scooters.  Families of 5 all manage to organise themselves onto one scooter and everyone rides around hooting merrily.  You can imagine my shock at all the hooting when I first arrived.  No-one hoots in London, and if they do, it’s seen as very impolite.  But apparently here it is the norm and completely acceptable.  So is going through a red light if you are turning apparently.  They actually have the green man light for pedestrians to cross but woe betide if you just cross – it’s still a dodge-ems game no matter what the lights are telling you.  However, no one drives fast and it all seems to work.

I am living in a massive house with one other person, who, surprise surprise, is also South African.  He is 24 and has been teaching here for over a year.  I feel like I was told there was going to be 4 teachers living in the house (but that could also have been a lost in translation thing) and so was a bit surprised to learn that it was only going to be the two of us.  We are literally the only non-Vietnamese people for miles around.  He works at a few other centres (he has a scooter and can get around) and because he has been here for a while has a support base.  I have met some of his friends once so far and I am sure will again but he is often out of the house on his own mission so a lot of the time I am in this big old house on my own.  Well, not entirely on my own.  I have seen a few rats, loads of gheckos and there is something living in the cupboard downstairs that sounds like it’s a small child trying to get out!! (Trying not to think too much about that!).  I am hand washing my own washing at the moment because the lady he goes to lives too far away for me to walk to and at this stage I don’t know of anywhere closer.

My room is about as big as my little house in Noordsig was – it’s enormous!  So I have started a new daily regime.  First of all every morning Dan and I Skype.  The time difference is 5 hours so when I am waking up he is going to bed!!!  If he goes to bed at 2, that is 7 my time which is perfect.  We Skype for an hour then he passes out and I get up and start my day.  Which as of 3 days ago starts with a peaceful 30 minutes of yoga, then a 30 minute cardio session followed by a meditation session that lasts as long as I want it to.  After that I have breakfast, go out for supplies if I need to, and then settle in to some lesson preparation.  I panicked at first thinking I would be bored but I’m not.  I am loving the quiet solitude and space and warmth that is allowing me to get healthy again.

The food here is cheap and interesting.  I have had some amazing, tasty food and I have also had some dishes that I could not stomach due to the consistency and lack of taste.  Most things are cheap here!  0.60p for a beer or R10 (not even sure if that is cheap in SA anymore but it’s certainly cheap in the UK)!  Cigarettes are extremely cheap at around £1 for a packet (not that I’m smoking but my housemate does) and so is eating out.  Eating out is an experience.  First of all you can smoke anywhere here and when eating out people just throw their butts on the floor along with anything else that forms part of the meal.  We had a clam chowder dish the one night and I was told to throw the shells on the floor.  Beer cans too.  Once your party is done they just come and clear it up!

The people are super friendly and I have become quite the local already as I walk my route to the supermarket most days.  Everybody shouts out hello (unfortunately that’s where the conversation ends) but I do feel like quite the film star here as people do stare and wave and smile.

Working at the centre was also very challenging at first.  Even though its an English centre and all the teachers can speak English, their English is not great (and I see now why they employ foreign teachers to help out because the kids would not get far learning English from their Vietnamese teachers).  Their pronunciation is SO different and often it takes me ages to understand what they are saying and vice versa.  But I am learning to speak slowly and everybody just takes it in their stride when the communication is lacking.  We all just try and try until the penny drops.  Teaching the kids is different every day.  Some days the class goes SO well and I really feel like they enjoyed it and I made a difference.  And then other days it’s just mediocre.  But I put so much effort into preparing each class that I am not beating myself up about it when it doesn’t go well.  There is a syllabus they are following and some days no matter how hard you try, you cannot make it interesting – especially when you are covering the same content for the 5th time!  The younger kids are by far the hardest to teach as they don’t understand and they get fidgety quickly but they are so cute!  Luckily the Vietnamese teacher stays in the class so they often explain to the kids when I can’t get through to them.  It requires a lot of thinking on my feet and it’s very challenging, especially when the kids don’t want to participate, but it also feels like I’ve been doing this for a million years and I am on such a high each evening after classes are done!

I can see why teachers need so many breaks though!  I am SO looking forward to my first break which is in just under a month’s time.  Also because I can use that opportunity to go and explore a bit of Viet Nam.  But more about that in a future post.

For now I am just so grateful that I am settling in and starting to see the positives in the space that I am now in.  I am going to embrace it and use this time to be the best teacher I can be, and the best me I can be.  Last year I felt I was becoming a very negative, angry person and I can already feel that this environment and all the positives I will be putting into my life and my health, will only benefit me and put me on the road to being the positive, at peace person I want to be.

P.S.  Because transferring photos from my phone and laptop to WordPress is such a nightmare I won’t be posting many pics here but mainly on Insta – you can follow me there – mariafkyle.

The best laid plans …

What is it they say about the best laid plans – they often go awry.  Well, in my case that has indeed happened!  Hello, avid fans – all 11 of you! 🙂  My daughter has been moaning at me to resurrect my blog even though most of you know what’s going on in my life anyway. But seeing as I am mostly sitting at home twiddling my thumbs  these days, there is no harm in putting fingers to keyboard and giving an update to those who may not be totally up to speed.

When I left you 3 months ago, I was pretty certain of my plans for 2018. I would continue working in London until May and then follow my dream of teaching in Mexico and saving turtles in Costa Rica.

That all fell apart when the company I had been working for, for over a year, told me that my services were no longer required and gave me a week’s notice!  Considering it was only meant to be a 3-month contract I feel very grateful that it lasted as long as it did!  However, I already had a holiday to South Africa booked and because Khaya was coming back from Thailand on a certain date I couldn’t move the trip forward.  So I ended up being out of work for a month already before I got back from SA and could actively start looking for a job again.  I very quickly realised that this is the wrong time of year to start looking for a job.  Also, the process in the UK is SO slow.  First of all there is a cut off date for applications and they don’t look at any of them until that date.  Thereafter there is a first interview (usually a phone call). Then one or two more interviews before the candidate is chosen.  So the whole process can take months, which I do not have.  I was literally looking for anything – temp, permanent, contract, even secretarial work.  Signed up at various agencies, a couple of bites, but mainly crickets!!

So my thoughts turned to what else I could do and to be quite honest, the thought of continuing in the digital space doing the kind of job I have been doing, was not filling me with great excitement.  I knew that the next job I got, I would not be so lucky with regards working so close to home etc.  It was then that it dawned on me that I should just push the teaching plan forward.   Yes, it changes my plans a bit (Mexico and saving turtles will have to wait) but hey, I’m learning to roll with the punches and not take changes in plans so seriously.  To my mind it’s still better to have a plan than none at all.

So this is where I am at the moment.  Still jobless and with absolutely no idea what the future holds.  I’ve applied for some teaching jobs but because my dates are so specific – I really cannot afford to wait longer than January to get a job – it narrows the teaching jobs down as well.  I could still get a job in London but my heart has already packed my bags and left the country.  At the moment my strongest leads are in Taiwan and Vietnam.  So after never ever believing I would go to that side of the world and teach, it seems that fate is pushing me in that direction.

How am I filling my days you ask?  Besides the lack of monetary income, I cannot lie and say that I am not enjoying this forced holiday.  First of all the weather is perfect for my current lifestyle.  I still wake up early but then I lie in bed and drink loads of  coffee and read and catch up on emails etc. before I even think of arising.  Once I have arisen I do any errands that I need to – usually food shopping and then I get on my bike (I would say weather permitting but hey you gotta take the bull by the horns in this climate and roll with the punches again!).  Luckily, I have figured out the English weather.  It very seldom rains in the morning.  It looks like it’s about to pour ALL the time, but it usually holds off until the afternoon so you have a fairly good chance of making it home dry.  So, my mornings are filled up well.  The afternoons are for watching Netflix, reading some more and making dinner.  It’s dark by 4 so if nothing else is going on I am often asleep by 9!  This is made easier by everyone in SA being 2 hours ahead now so they are all turning in at 9 too (except it’s 11 their time which is far more respectable).

I’m loving having the time to explore my hood on my bicycle.  It has taken me many months to build up the courage to go out on the road on my bicycle and I am still so nervous every time I do.  But it has allowed me to explore so much more of this awesome place I live.  The past 16 months have been a such an awesome journey.  I feel very happy that I am getting to spend the last while I am here exploring and being active.

So that’s my life in a nutshell at the moment.  Had such an amazing SA holiday and now counting down the days until Dan and then Nick come for possibly their last visit to visit me in London!!!!

It feels weird not knowing what my future holds!

Watch this space … more to follow soon!

 

 

 

Life Update

As forewarned dear readers, the next few months are going to be quiet as I put my head down and concentrate on my studies and keeping on the straight and narrow.

Having said that I am very excited as I start planning for my travels next year.  As has happened a lot in my life so far, I have had to bide my time and wait patiently (or not so patiently) for things to fall into place so that I can realise a dream.

So my first plan of action has been to enrol in a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course.  Easy right.  Thousands of kids do this every year and go on to get amazing jobs overseas.  Well, the easy part was enrolling – nothing since has been!  I’m not sure what happened between leaving school 27 years ago (really!!!???) and what they expect to be taught these days but it is HARD.  Or should I say difficult, complicated, onerous (see I know all the big words but apparently not only are they adjectives but they can also be nouns when used in a certain way!) And, if used in another way, may be a gerund.  And don’t even get me started on past present continuous and the like!  Anyway, luckily Khaya is in Thailand teaching English and I get the sense that what you need to learn (and get over 75% for) is not necessarily put into practice quite so formally in the real world, so that makes me feel a bit better.  Except I still have to get 75% for every single assignment of which there are many in order to continue and ultimately pass.

The other exciting thing that happened is that I have already found my school!  It’s in Tehuacán, Mexico.  I had a Skype interview with the supervisor yesterday who asked all sorts of weird questions – like if you had a superpower what would it be?  I said, to be able to read people’s thoughts (Yes, I was an avid Misfits watcher!).  If I could choose between flying and invisibility which would I choose?  I chose invisibility.  How would your boss describe you?  I said ‘annoying’. 😉 Anyway, after a 45 minute chat he told me that he never does this on the first Skype interview but I’m hired.  He found my ‘quirkiness interesting’ and has a good feeling about me.  Well, I hope he does not say that to all the prospective teachers.  Anyway, its a long way away still but as soon as I saw the advert for this school, I knew it was the place for me.  I have 4 months there and am going to travel for 2 months and already I have changed my mind a hundred times about where I am going to go.  But more about that later.  As I type this I received the confirmation email saying that they want me to join their team! I am so excited!

I am thankful I have all these things to keep me going and occupied because life is hard and lonely in London when you aren’t doing much and are trying to save money.  It has literally rained the entire summer so far.  I bought a bike recently and have not really been able to ride (except for weekends) because every night when I get home it’s drizzling or pouring with rain.  I am really missing the boyfriend so much and and there is no sign of an imminent visit due to his expanding business which in itself is leading to huge stress because the Skype dates of old are very few and far between these days.  But on the plus side, his business is booming which is amazing.  I am so grateful to have this man in my life who will keep the home fires burning while I get to follow my dreams (with the general expectation that one day we will live and make a life together!)

 

The WEIGHT Blog : Chapter 2

I’ve decided to blog about my weight quest in the hope that by blogging about it, it will keep me on the straight and narrow and more determined to have a positive outcome to this endeavour.

I started my new eating regime on 20 June 2017.  This was the day after we came back from Amsterdam and I knew that I had to do something and fast!  I wasn’t entirely sure which diet I was going to follow at this stage, I just knew I needed to eat less so I decided to just count my calories.  Inserted my height, gender, weight etc into some app online and voila, it told me how much I needed to eat in order to lose.  At the same time the boyfriend was urging me to start Banting as its always worked for him and he believes it’s the best eating plan one could ever be on.  So after doing some research I decided to give it a go.  The premise behind it sounded good – if your body doesn’t have any carbs to burn energy, it will turn to the stored fat in your body and start burning that.  Sounds foolproof right?!  And it kinda is – if you can stick to eating the correct amount of protein and fat.  Unfortunately you have to eat a LOT of fat on this eating plan and I didn’t feel like that was working for me either.  I like that there are no carbs, except certain fruit and veggies but trying to get the right amount of fat in meant eating a lot of meat and cream and cheese which wasn’t really working for me and I didn’t feel like I was losing weight.  At first I didn’t worry too much about the scale, as I have enough clothes in my cupboard that don’t fit anymore and those are the true test.  But yes, I wasn’t feeling much difference in those clothes either.

So during this time I am reading and researching and trying to figure out what will actually work for me and I find a term call ‘intermittent fasting’.  Banting advocates it and I believe the 5:2 diet does too.  It has been around for thousands of years,  not as a diet but as a way of life. I am not going to go into the in’s and outs here – there is a vast amount of reading material on the internet – but this one struck a chord with me.  For so long I have been eating every 2 to 3 hours worrying that I will feel faint and dizzy if I leave too long between meals.  And if I did have longer breaks, I would feel like faint and dizzy.  But that’s only because of the all the carbs I was eating.  If eating a healthy, balanced, nutritious diet, people can fast for extended periods of time.  It sounded crazy to me that there are people on the internet advocating only eating ONE meal a day!

Anyway, so I have started on the lowest one you can get which is sure to make a difference and that’s 16:8.  With this one you fast for 16 hours and then ‘eat’ for 8.  You don’t obviously eat for 8 hours straight but you have your food during that time.  So my normal day is – you tend to work backwards on this one as it depends on what time you finish having dinner.  Generally I have eaten by 7:30 so 16 hours later is 11:30.  I eat what I guess we can call brunch.  It usually consists of an omelette – 2 eggs, spinch, peppers, mushroom and cheese.  Then a bit later I’ll have a bowl of fruit and yoghurt and then for dinner is a huge plate of veggies with some kind of protein.

I was crapping myself when I decided to do this, but at the same time reading about it, felt so right.  The science behind it made so much sense to me and also I had been limiting my carbs to next to nothing for two weeks by then so I reckoned that I would not feel dizzy and faint if I waited 2 extra hours to eat instead of eating at 9. And I was right!!!  It was SO easy!  The most difficult thing for me so far has been not to have a snack AFTER dinner.  I get peckish around 10 and then want to have an apple or something but NO – that immediately puts your body into receiving food mode again and so even just a little apple or a cup of yoghurt upsets it.  But in the morning, those extra hours fly by and to be honest, I’m actually not ever technically starving when I eat, I just eat because I still feel in my head that if I don’t it’s wrong.  I’m going to take a while to work myself up to fasting for longer – if at all.  The change in mindset has been surreal.

I’ve modified it slightly now so that if I feel like eating a slice of health bread, or a sweet potato, or half a cup of unsweetened muesli with my fruit and yoghurt, then I do.  For my body,  I feel that some carbs are necessary – you know when you just know.

I am eating FAR less than I was and have completely cut out sugar, bad carbs, beer, wine – it’s all good, healthy food so I feel like I should have lost more in the time I have been on this diet – which is 6 weeks.  For the first 4 weeks there was no change on the scale.  I deliberately didn’t start an exercise regime because I wanted to be able to see the change on the scale and not get confused between losing fat and gaining muscle.  Nada.  I was feeling despondent.  Then I read some more and most of the articles say that nothing will happen for at least 6 weeks and then the weight will just melt off.  My clothes however, were feeling less snug – although I have not yet attempted to put anything on that I couldn’t fit into anymore.

I left the weighing in for 2 weeks and on the 6 week mark I weighed myself – moment of truth readers!!

The sad truth is that on the scale, I’m lucky if I’ve lost half a kilo.  BUT on the upside – I went clothes shopping about 6 weeks ago and I found this amazing pair of pants that I liked.  They were so amazing that I thought to myself I cannot buy these in a size 14 as I will lose weight and they won’t fit so I bought them in a size 12.  They cost a lot of money and I thought if this isn’t incentive, nothing will be.  When I bought them I couldn’t even button the top button!!!!  Put them on this week and I can button the top button up – so yeah!  It really is true about not getting on the scale but rather using your clothes as a yardstick.  I still can’t zip them up or wear them but I’m getting closer!!! 🙂

 

My one year Londonversary!

I have been in London for a year already!  The time has flown!  What an exciting, exhilarating, amazing year this has been for me!  If I had told my 20 year old self that this is what I would be doing with my life at 44 I would not have believed me!

It’s weird because on the one hand I have had lots of time on my hands to do nothing, but when I put it all down on ‘paper’ I  can see just how much I have accomplished. This post is a tribute to my first year in London – all the places I have been in London, all the places I visited outside of London in the UK and my travels to other countries.  It’s a pretty impressive list, even though I say so myself!

July – Arrival which was coupled with a few stressful moments –  finding work and the accommodation debacle. Thank goodness Cait and I had our day out in London!  – Cait, Tait and Bi-Bim-Bap

August – I started work in August but prior to that I managed to get myself around quite a bit of the UK.  Nottingham (to visit Dan’s gran), Gloucestershire (to visit an old friend from SA), Cheltenham (to visit my cuz) and Malvern to visit my old friend Annabel where we had a marvellous time hobnobbing with the rich and famous! Also attended my first big festival in the UK: Nottinghill Carnival – what an absolute jol!

September – After only being in the UK for 2 months my only living parent (of which I had 3 originally), passed away suddenly.  Here is my tribute to my step-dad – On Becoming an Orphan

October – Little did I think that I’d be going back to South Africa so soon!  But I had to go for the funeral and sort out my dad’s affairs – I spent a hectic week in Cape Town

November – Went and saw The Lumineers as part of my birthday weekend and went to France for a long weekend!!!!

December – Went to Reading to my cousin for a few nights for Christmas and then of course, the main attraction of Dec 2016 and January 2017 – the Kids visit!!!!!

January – The Kids Epic Holiday in London

February – I did Dry February and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes this month.  MFATGG was the show I went to alone (but with Dan in my pocket)!

March – Back to South Africa to visit the family

April – Long weekend in Portugal – Lisboa you beauty!

June – I always love when I have visitors to the UK as it forces me to get out and about in London which I don’t tend to do when I’m on my own.  Extra special because it was the boyfriend who visited and we really got around this trip! Dan and Maria do London (and a bit of the countryside too!)

June – I LOVE AMSTERDAM!

July – Summer Concert in Hyde Park – main act was Green Day but we also got to the see The Hives, Gorgol Bordello and Rancid.  Hands down the best production I have ever been to!  Hands down the most sober I have ever been at a concert so maybe that’s why! 😉  Green Day played for 2hrs 45 minutes and their stage presence and interaction with the crowd was just amazing and heartwarming and yeah, I’m gushing.  🙂  We were in the middle of a rowdy group of people who moshed to most of the songs and everyone was making friends with everyone else, people were pissed and having a great time.  There are LOADS of videos on YouTube of this crazy event but the part that blew me away the most was when Green Day had a quick break and they played the music to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and the crowd sang every single word.  Watch this video to see and also to see how insanely BIG the crowd was – 65 000 people!!!!  If this doesn’t give you goosebumps, nothing will!

I’ve been in the same job since I arrived here and that too has been an interesting one as there have been times when its been super slow and boring and I was constantly weighing up the pros and cons of the job.  But for the most part I am really grateful to have a job with a great salary and very importantly, that I am able to walk to work, the little bit of exercise I do still get!

I will admit that the travel bug has bitten big time and what I’ve learned from all these quick adventures to other places, is that I would like to immerse myself into the culture of a country, to be able to take time to explore and learn things more deeply than you can when you go for a few days.

Which is why I am doing the TEFL course so that I can go to South America and stay there for as long as I can afford to, living with the people, learn a new language, and really explore … the country, and myself.  I love London and I am so happy here but I definitely feel like I do not want to just be here now.  I need new experiences and new adventures and that is what I am working towards with London’s help – as its paying me the salary I need in order to save enough! 😉  No more travelling for Maria this year!  It’s all serious from here on out – study, save and get slim is my new mantra for the next six months!