Second Christmas



Today I am in awe of time. Time can creep and fly by at the same time. So much can change in a year, it can leave you looking back on your past life as if it was some dream you had and vaguely remember. How you get from point A to B can seem like mystery, but ironically when you look back on that journey it can also feel so connected and meant to be. We are approaching 2013, my second Christmas in Swaziland- this either feels outrageous or somehow falls short– I haven’t decided yet.


When we returned from the USA, we moved straight into a new house. Literally, walked in with our suitcases were confused where to go. We spent the first couple days unpacking boxes, along side our suitcases, and slowly turned our new empty rooms into a new home. We didn’t have much time. Georges new job he was suppose to start in January, started in November. He quickly began disappearing in the wee hours of morning and returned after dark with just enough time to shovel dinner into his mouth, take a splash and then crash heavily on the bed willing the night to stretch just a little longer that night.


I spent my days, mostly on my own, listening to loud chick music and lugging a HUGE concrete drill around the house as I attempted to be not my typical crafty, but “handy” self. This drill was like driving a formula 1 car, but heavier and scarier. The first time I pulled the trigger I immediately set it down on the floor as I sat across from it and proceeded to have a staring contest. Eventually I gained confidence and soon I ran out of holes to drill into the walls. I was impressed I didn’t seriously harm myself. Although there was a slight incident while hanging the curtain rail in the bathroom… while standing on the toilet lid and drilling a hole, the plastic lid cracked and scattered, sending me plummeting to the ground as my left foot staid behind, stuck in the hole at the bottom of the toilet bowl. I often stare at our narrow, oddly situated bathroom and wonder in bewilderment at the many hard surfaces that surely should’ve cracked my skull in two.


It only took a few days to get our little cottage looking like home. There was a few surprises however. You see, this property is actually quite amazing and beautiful. This cottage especially SHOULD be way out of our price range, but when we discovered this hidden jem it was still unfinished. The owners had run out of funds after renovating the main house (which sits a whole 3 feet away from the “cottage”), so the cottage renovation was finished off by the owners brother, who we have never met, but I assume is a recovering alcholic or serious drug user with absolutely NO building experience what-so-ever. The cottage LOOKS beautiful, if you are in a room for no more than 60 seconds at a time. You must just kind-of squint your eyes and glance over the room. If you look too long, you will realize that all of the light switches are slanted, there is no more than 1 outlet in any room, and they are in the most useless places (except for the bathroom hallway where there are 3 in less than 2 feet from each other). The geyser (hot water heater) was never hooked up, the lights were wired to the outlets, and nothing was labeled right in the fuse box. And my favorite part is when the water is on in the main house our water doesn’t work at all, or vice versa. Its been a challenge, but I have learned a lot about home improvements- I feel like I should own one of those pink tool belts and rock it around the house.


Along with the house up-grades, I have been non-stop working on my graphic design enterprise since my return. I am constantly amazed at the need for marketing skills in Swaziland and how my name has become among the top choices. A friend of mine told me the other day she overheard a group of businessmen talking about the new graphic designer in town (me) and how impressed they were with the quality of work; as it turns out, i’ve never even worked with any of these men. When I decided to move to Africa and do a little freelance on the side, I couldn’t imagine that in 6 months I would be on my 3rd order of business cards. This month I have had a full plate of work everyday. I am now working with 2 design companies. One that sends me overflow work and a new company that aims to boost all swazi owned businesses into a new marketing realm. All out africa has also kept me very busy as we are launching a revamped marketing campaign (I will be telling you about very soon). I have also been considering starting an art class for kids a couple days a week- something in the mix for next year.


Although we have only been home for one month, the states seems like a distant memory. With all the new exciting and occasionally challenging events November has brought us, it is really hard to comprehend we have passed halloween and thanksgiving and are now coming upon Christmas and a new year. We had big plans for bringing in 2013, but now George and I are looking forward to a few days when everyone else will be celebrating and therefore not emailing or texting us for a few days. George’s family will all be traveling for the holidays, his brother to Zambia to visit his wives family and his sisters to Cape Town for vacation. Our friends will all be with their families and then heading for an epic beach party for NYE. I will be content sitting in our shabby-chic house, trying to get my hands on a copy of the Christmas Story and drinking a glass of wine.


Happy Holidays!




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