You know what we were saying about flexing our socialising muscles? This past week we were granted ample opportunity to do just that. It must be something to do with it being December and that feeling of a work year coming to a close. In this part of the world, summer holidays flutter on the periphery of our senses, with the possibility of seaside holidays, family getaways and down time flashing past like a signpost on a long road trip.
“Are we there yet?”
That sleepy, or restless, or frustrated query from the child in the back seat, impatient to get to the destination.
The answer is, as it always is, a regretful, “No, there is still a way to go.”
There is still a way to go before we can let go of a collective sigh and disappear to our various holiday spaces, even if they are to Remainhere in the quiet of deserted suburbia.
Relaxing in deserted suburbia
Not seen for so long
This week, as we emerged from party planning, house guest hosting and assignment marking, it came as a shock that we have not seen so many friends for so long. The last minute, “We have to see you” invitations dashed in urgent letters across Whatsapp. These, along with end of year markets, art exhibitions, music and theatre productions, piled up and the diary shuffle started.
A quieter house, yawning with fewer bodies, was soon vacated for a flurry of other activities. One such activity was a personal journey into ancient history through messages from the body. Specifically, Matthew participated in a one on one session exploring blocks and opportunities in his life. For him it was revelatory and profound. The process he was taken through is different from ours yet with a similar outcome.
Taking part in another’s work is both personally valuable and professionally stimulating. Reaching out and swapping techniques builds partnerships, supports mutual interests and fosters practitioner bonds.
Matthew likes 🌶️ chillies. Can you tell?
First Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays
We scuttled off early on Thursday evening to attend First Thursdays in our suburb. Two art galleries were open to the public offering two very different experiences at opposite ends of the culture continuum. The one, contained, conservative and attended by an older contingent. The other, full to overflowing, vibrant, diverse, loud and much younger. We loved the variety, colour and energy of the second offering but were chased off by the decibels.
“I think we are getting old,” remarked Chantal, happy to hear herself sigh in the less loud of the car.
“Not necessarily,” replied Matthew, “Maybe we just don’t want to yell to be heard.”
Yes, we go to these places to talk to people, and to listen to them. A bit difficult against electronic beats and the volume of voices turned up to shouting.
Saturday found us scouting out another market, one of many competing for people’s Christmas budgets. We went primarily to support someone close who has courageously ventured out on her own. Her crystal jewelled candles, tiny crystal terrariums and art offerings hold such promise and shone with potential.
Making new friends
Across the aisle from her stand Christmas gnomes dressed in African shweshwe prints beckoned us to peek at the mountain of handmade decorations sparkling and winking and threatening to topple. Matthew made two more friends, Leanne and Robyn, a charismatic creative couple from Sleighing It who are saving up to go to Lapland. Chantal offered them some input on more African styled baubles.
“We need kudus under acacias, rather than reindeer under pine trees. Fewer snowmen and more rockart, and a hadeda on a rooftop.”
“We have a hadeda,” said Robyn, waving across the table full of crafted delights, “His name is Naas.”
Sure enough, there he was, a Joburg standard, greeting us on a card, ready for a gift.
Naas the hadeda. Because he’s naas. Get it?
Friends and fathers
Later that day we trundled across to a neighbouring suburb for an early dinner with friends we hadn’t seen for a year. A whole year! How could that be? But it was. A sad truth. Our busy lives had kept us close but apart. As we left having had dessert by candle light, thanks to load shedding, we vowed to meet sooner. Sixty-five days will be too long, never mind 365!
And then Sunday, we parted ways as Matthew and Tristan did a Dad and son day at Ellis Park (branded as Emirates Airline Park) watching the Gauteng Lions trounce the Scarlets. This is rugby we are talking about and the last days of the United Rugby Championship. Chantal Ubered to Sandton to meet with a group of girlfriends at a reinstated monthly gathering, interrupted, as so much was, by that pandemic.
Father, son, braai, rugby and sunny skies. No Chevrolet though.
Our socialising muscles well and truly flexed, we entered the new week pleasantly satiated and boosted with cheer. It is only the beginning, there is much more in store. It feels remarkably like “the old days”, BC & LD (Before Covid and Lock Down) which bodes well for all of us. Connecting, collaborating and building networks is the food of life.
As we all trip and trail through the first half of December, rather tired from a long, long year, yearning for that rest, may we find the last spark to reconnect and rejuice the friend networks. And, by venturing out into our neighbourhoods, cities and lands, reclaim our place in our communities and society as valuable, loving, concerned and caring human beings.
Until next time.
Yours in feeling,
Chantal & Matthew
About the author
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