30 August 2011

You speak funny!

18% of South Africans speak English.
But that doesn't mean that you'll understand us.

Yes, I do (on occation) bump into rediculously handsome Shia Labeouf look-a-like strangers

I used to get some very odd looks when I first started travelling and didn't realize that some words have different meanings in other countries. Regionalism is a term for certain words that are totally different but mean the same thing depending on where in the world you are.

I would order pancakes and be given what looked to me like crumpets, and when I asked for jelly I'd get jam. But slowly I learnt and biscuits became cookies, sweets were now candy and ice lollies became popsicles.

Here is a list of regionalisms that I still cannot get used to their "american version"

takkies - sneakers
jersey - sweater
costume - bathing suit
dummy - pacifier
nappy - diaper
full stop - period
bonnet - hood
boot - trunk
paw paw - papaya
candy floss - cotton candy
lift - elevator
trolley - shopping cart
shop - store
torch - flashlight

Although I have adapted my way of talking to suit the ears of the Americans around me, it did take a while to "learn this new language" and every now and again my husband still looks at me like I am talking in some kinda of alien language. 

29 August 2011

When Irene came to visit

This week was certainly a crazy one for us East Coasters. First an earthquake (okay okay, we hardly felt it... but still!) and then a Hurricane graced us with it's presence yesterday.

The mayor and the media did hype up the storm a little too much, but we prepared ourselves by watching as many movies as possible in one sitting (in case the power went out later) got out the one flashlight we owned (no spare batteries), lit a Yankee candle and scoffed our faces with Key Lime Pie (essential hurricane food).

Nothing too crazy happened around our apartment but down the road there was a lot of flooding. The next morning I went out to investigate and snapped these pictures for ya!

Thank goodness we didn't loose power in our area, and the City did such a great job of cleaning up. By the evening most of the roads were open again, water had been pumped out and people were working hard to clean away fallen trees and restore power lines.

Were you effected by Hurricane Irene? How do you prepare for huge storms?

23 August 2011


Hey guys!
I haven't actually gone fishing (not since a traumatic fishing experience when I was in Primary School) but I have decided to take the week off blogging. Call it a mini vacation of sorts.
I shall be back soon with some fun stuff and there is something VERY exciting on the horizon. Stay tuned!

18 August 2011

Home for the holidays

The tickets are booked! This December we will be jetting off (yes, I get the window seat) to South Africa for my FIRST trip back home after living in New York for 3 years. Add that onto the 3 and a half years I lived in the UK, tack on a 6 month stint in Maine, USA and that equals a whole 7 Christmas's celebrated away from my family. SEVEN!

Both my sister and I were married in the last 12 months so I am naming this Christmas the "Year of the Son-in-laws!" and with the added seats at the dinner table, it will definitely be a memorable one. 
This is Mike's first trip to South Africa and I am just so excited to show him the family home that I grew up in (even my old bedroom which is still stuck in its awkward teenage phase), my teeny tiny hometown, the Indian Ocean, African Wildlife, and for him to experience my culture for a change. 

I will be counting down everyone of the 120 days until its time for us to make that 16hr flight (HELLO jet lag!) And will probably start packing my bags way to early in anticipation.
I can't wait to see my family and I have a feeling that this is going to be The best Christmas Ever.

17 August 2011

Summertime 20SB Blog Swap!

Its time for The 20-Something Blogger Blog Swap! My partner for this Summer edition, is Alexandra who blogs over at The Tsaritsa Sez. You can go check out my post over there today too! 
When I was little I used to dream of attending an American Summer Camp, especially after watching the movie "It takes Two". Today Alexandra shares with us a story from her Summer Camp days. Enjoy!


PhotobucketHello Saffakate's readers! It's lovely to be here! My
name is Alexandra and my blog is called the Tsaritsa sez. I hope you check it out.

This is my summertime camp story.

It was the summer of my ninth year and my mom had signed me up for day
camp at a Girl Scouts camp called Shelly Ridge, just an hour outside
of the city. The "blue" bus picked me up every morning a few blocks
away from my house and dropped me off every night. The bus wasn't
actually painted blue, to my disappointment, but it had a sign in the
window that read "BLUE," printed from a computer. The bus rides to and
from camp never seemed to take that long-- I was always so excited in
the morning and so exhausted at the end of the day.

At Shelly Ridge there was always plenty to do. Besides taking hikes,
picking berries, exploring nature, arts and crafts, and playing sports
we also had a choice of which special class we wanted to take. At this
point in my life I loved swimming so I chose to focus on that. I
worked my way up from a yellow cap (beginner) to a green cap
(intermediate) and I was very proud. I can't swim for my life anymore,
but back then it was something I really wanted to conquer. At least I
can still float.

The last day of camp was a sleepover, which I was really thrilled
about. I brought my sleeping bag and picked a good spot to pitch our
tent, which I shared with a friend I made at camp. We had to assemble
the old-fashioned pole and canvas tent by ourselves. It was something
I had never done, before but it felt good to get our shelter up and
standing on our own.

The whole camp gathered together that night and we feasted on hot dogs
and hamburgers from the grill. Later on, as it got darker, we had a
campfire and roasted marshmallows to make s'mores. I gave my roasted
marshmallow (yuck, who wants to eat a burnt marshmallow skewered with
a stick found on the ground?) to a friend while I ate the Hershey bar
on its own. I've never really been a fan of marshmallows. Just
thinking about them is making my teeth hurt.

After the dessert feeding frenzy finished we sat around on our
sit-upons (a newspaper covered with a trash bag or other plastic that
you take with you in the woods so you have something dry to sit on)
and told each other spooky stories. I've always been a horror fan ever
since I was a child (I had a crush on Bela Lugosi's Dracula,
for instance, when I was four years old) and I told one of my favorite

ghost stories that I knew by heart from the book Scary Stories To
Tell In The Dark, a favorite series of mine at the time and even now.

Feeling brave despite all the creepy stories I heard that were
beginning to stir up my imagination, it was time to head back to our
tents and get some sleep. Of course before we would actually go to
sleep we would stay up for a bit in the tent and talk about the things
nine year olds talk about (Trapper Keepers, the show Family Matters
I don't really remember what else) until we got sleepy.

I quickly passed out, but was awoken when I felt something touch my
hand. It wasn't the hand next to my friend's sleeping bag, but the
hand next to the edge of the tent. My hand was actually outside of the
tent. I pulled it back in and examined it and it looked normal enough,
but I could swear I felt something touch it. Maybe a lonely ghost in
the woods heard our fun gathering and wanted to be a part of the fun,
but got sad when all of the campers fell asleep? To this day, I do not
know what actually happened, but it is certainly one of my most
memorable summer camp memories.

16 August 2011

From the kitchen ~ Mom's Chocolate Crunchies

This recipe really brings back memories. 
Chocolate Crunchies is one of my mom's specialties and she would always bake them for Church, School bake sales, birthday parties and family gatherings. 

I love to bake, but unfortunately my hubby is not much of a "cake kinda guy" (total weirdo, I know!) so I usually end up eating the whole thing myself. NOT good for the waste line!
I then remembered these little bites of heaven and thought Id give them a try. 
Mike LOVED them. Success! So go get your aprons on and whip up these "brownies on crack", as the Hubby calls them.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F
  • Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl

  • Rub in the butter until the mix is crumbly, but sticks together.

  • Press mixture into greased baking tray using a fork. Make sure everything is pressed down.

  • Bake in your preheated oven for 20 - 30mins

  • While it is baking, prepare the icing

  • Remove crunchies from oven
  • While it is still hot, pour on the icing and spread evenly
  • Cut in squares (also while hot, otherwise it will be too hard)

  • Leave to cool and allow icing to set

Mmmm! Enjoy. 


15 August 2011

This weekend we finally packed up our very dusty camping equipment and set off for our first trip of the summer. 
After plodding along in the hectic Friday afternoon New York traffic, we finally made it to our camp site in the Catskills and managed to set up our tent, inflate our brand new blow-up mattress and start a fire before the sun sunk into the nearby lake.
We lit citronella candles, piled on the bug spray and we could finally take a breath of the fresh nature air and unwind from another crazy week. AAAAH! 
But the tranquility was short lived when our noisy neighbour got into a fight with his girlfriend over the phone and I started learning way too many details about their relationship. 
(He calls her Boo and she didn't like his latest Facebook status.)
We took a walk to give our ears a break.
Upon our return, things had simmered down except for the noise of the annoying neighbour's engine running as he was now charging this dying cell phone battery. 
So with the sounds of nature (and the car's humming) we hit the sack.

Remember that brand new inflatable mattress I mentioned earlier? Well I am sure there is somebody at the mattress factory who thinks its funny to poke a small hole in them at the end of that conveyor belt because I have yet to sleep on one that actually stayed full of air all night. 
We woke up in the middle of the night with our backs flat on the hard floor of the tent platform. Grrr... We had sprung a leak and had no choice but to accept our fate since the air pump was way too loud to use at 2am.

Despite my broken nights sleep, I loved waking up in nature. There is just something about those few early hours of the morning when things are still a little hazy and its just you and the other early birds sharing in the glory of the crisp air and the long sunbeams that break through the trees.
I cooked eggs and bacon for breakfast and we spent most of the day in our camp chairs reading and relaxing. 

At one point, Mike spotted a deer in the woods behind our tent. It then got closer and closer and at one point it was so close that I felt like I could reach out and touch it. Amazing! I then followed it back into the woods (I am the deer whisperer) where she showed me her 2 little spotted babies who were just too cute for words. We were then joined by another mommy and baby and suddenly there I was, in the middle of the forest surrounded by 5 deer, all circled around me. What a great moment!

We cooked delicious spicy BBQ chicken for lunch and took an afternoon nap for as long as the mattress allowed us (like a deflating alarm clock). Hamburgers (my husband is the burger master) were on the menu for dinner, followed by mandatory s'mores for dessert.
We then moved our tent off the wooden platform and onto the leafy softness of the forest floor so that we might have a chance of a better night's sleep. 
No such luck! It started to rain.

At first, the rain was kind of charming. We were warm and snuggled in our tent and our mattress was still 75% inflated. I spend most of my nights falling asleep to the sounds of rain on YouTube and getting to listen to the real thing was very soothing. 
It then began to POUR!
The sides of the tent were soaked, so we huddled in the middle of the (now 30% inflated) mattress. 
A few minutes later and puddles were forming inside
By some miracle I had drifted (literally) off to sleep again, only to be woken by Mike who thought he heard the sniffing and footsteps of a bear.
Any chance of sleep for the rest of the night was out the window. 
In the first light of morning we packed everything up (leaving a big, square dry-spot in the forest) and decided to make the journey back home to our leak-free apartment and cosy sofa-bed.  

Despite the drama, not even a leaking tent or deflating mattress could have ruined such a fun weekend getaway with my hubby. I had a blast and have so many more memories for the memory bank.

It's never too late for a last minute Summer camping trip! 

12 August 2011

We're going camping!

We are headed upstate for a weekend of camping. I am beyond excited!
I absolutly LOVE camping. I think it's because as a kid I never got to go on those typical camping holidays. I now can't get enough. 
 I started to gather things all week long and had already packed the car up on thursday night ready to hit the road straight after work on friday in order to (hopefully) get there, unpack, set up camp and get a fire going before sundown.

11 August 2011

My Celebrity Crush: Russell Brand

When you ask most people which celeb they are crushing on, I'm sure they will swoon over telling you their feelings for Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, George Clooney or maybe a Jonas Brother (are they still cool?)

Well, not me!
Give me the big haired, loud mouthed, Russell Brand any day!

I used to live in England, and from the first time I spotted the charismatic Brand hosting a TV show called 'Big Brother's Big Mouth' I was hooked. I then found out he had a radio show and from that day on my Saturday nights were reserved for tuning into BBC Radio 2 while arranging my flower deliveries for the week (I used to be a florist) and laughing for a solid 2 hours listening to the antics of Russell Brand, Matt Morgan and re-occurring guest Noel Gallagher on their hilarious talk show. 

Russell then started acting in movies and became more popular in America about the same time I came over to the states. I was so happy because more people got to experience the wit and hilarity of this crazy character and less people thought I was weird for crushing on someone who wore more eyeliner then I did.

When Russell was in New York filming his comedy special, I found out he was doing a book signing at Barnes and Nobel in The City. 
I was on the next train into Manhattan.
I literally RAN across Union Square with minutes to spare and joined the snaking line to meet my biggest idol.
I almost hyperventilated.

When it was my turn, I stepped up to him (legs wobbling) and tried my best to stay calm. We ended up chatting for a bit when he heard my accent and when we parted he gave me a big kiss ON THE LIPS!
Phew! How much better could meeting your star crush go?

The next year I found out that they were shooting the 'Sarah Marshall' sequel, 'Get him to the Greek', at the Today Show stage in NYC. 
Of course, I was on the next train into Manhattan.

I joined a big crowd and stood around for ages watching them set up filming. 
This is when I did a pretty crazy thing~
I saw a gap in the metal barriers between the crowd and the film extras. I snuck through the gap and found a sticker on the floor that indicated to the crew that you were an extra on set. I stuck it on and blended in. We then began filming and suddenly I was in a movie!
We ended up doing the Today show stage scene over and over and over again. 
I absolutely loved it. Russell came out into the crowd and we were instructed to act crazy and grope and grab him. Something that my level of acting skills had no problem with.
I pinched his butt!

Although there were a lot of people in the scene, you can still spot me a few times and whenever I refer to "Get Him to The Greek" it's always called "My movie".
"Would you like to borrow my 'Get Him to The Greek' DVD... you know, MY movie?"
"Oh have you watched MY movie yet? Its a knee-slapper!"

Whether its his acting skills, radio shows, interviews or stand up comedy; Russell Brand makes me laugh. And you know what they say? Girls love guys who can make them laugh. 

Who is your celebrity crush?

10 August 2011

Christmas gifts in August

I've heard of Christmas in July, but apparently we celebrate it in August too!  Santa (a.k.a hubbylicious) was running a little late with the gift giving this last year as he had something very specific in mind and after 8 months I can say it was worth the wait.

So, what was the gift? You may ask. 
Tickets to Cirque du Soleil's Zarkana at Radio City Music Hall.

First, we headed into the city and searched for a place to eat.
Right near Radio City, we found a great pub called Heartland Brewery where we had lunch (Chicken Caesar Salad for me and Smothered Steak for Mike) and tried out their unique freshly brewed beer.
Everything was just scrumptious and if you are ever catching at show at Radio City, I highly recommend stopping by Heartland Brewery to fill your belly.

We have started a little tradition of collecting coasters from places we share special meals together and writing the date and occasion on the back.

This was the first time visiting Radio City Music Hall for the both of us and to step into the largest indoor theatre in the world was just breathtaking. Thinking of the rich history of this venue as we strolled around with our souvenir popcorn bucket was absolutely fascinating. 

After hubby caught a flying lady who had tripped down the stairs and we settled into our seats overlooking the 144ft wide stage, we were definitely ready to be amazed.

Do you remember that scene from 'Knocked Up' where Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen get high and watched Cirque du Soleil in Vegas? Well let me tell you, they needn't have bothered with the shrooms, because the show is pretty trippy all on its own. We're talking; singing walls, aliens on bouncing balls, giant snake ladies and a spider with leaping bugs in it's web. Not to mention almost going into cardiac arrest watching a 2 person 'wheel of death' act and a man-on a chair-on a board-balanced on the shoulders of 2 other men balancing on a high wire. Phew!

By the end of the night you have pretty much surrendered all laws of physics and probability and given in to the crazy world of Cirque du Soleil.

9 August 2011

Now you have touched the woman, you have struck a rock

The phrase above is the english translation of a protest song that has come to represent women's courage and strength in South Africa.

55 years ago today, 20,000 women staged a march at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa to petition against legislation that required African persons to carry special identification documents called the "pass". Since August 9, 1994, the day has been commemorated annually and is known as "Women's Day". 

Today we celebrate those brave woman. 
Happy Woman's Day, South Africa!
Wathint'Abafazi Wathint'imbokodo!

8 August 2011

Midsummer Bucket List check in

Today marks the official halfway point of Summer. 
Are you holding onto your bikini with your strongest grip? Or are you excited for some cooler weather and the red/orange/yellow tones of Fall?
Before Summer began I posted my Summer Bucket List so I feel like today is as good a time as any to check in and see how many things we can cross off the list. 

  • Beach it up and get a tan: We have only made 1 trip to the beach so far (here) but I have been  spending many days at the pool for "work", that counts right? 
  • Canoe on the Hudson River: Thanks to some sewage leakage (eww!), they closed off all activities in the Hudson for a while. So I'm giving that a rest till a little later down the line.
  • Watch an outdoor movie: After 2 heavy thunderstorms in a row, our movie screening was cancelled until September. Stay tuned.
  • Picnic at the Ladies Pavilion: We spent a fabulous day in the very spot we were married for our half year anniversary. (here)
  • Attempt to play tennis: Hubby has just started coaching again, but finding time to play has been hard.
  • Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden: Not yet.
  • Central Park Summer Stage: Hubby was working the day my favorite South African band was playing. More then bummed!
  • Mountain Jam: Took a backseat due to finances
  • Lots of hiking: Great hike up High Tor can be found (here) And more to come this weekend.
  • White Water Rafting: Not yet
  • Coney Island: Not yet
  • Host a big 4th July BBQ: Fun day with the family (here)
  • Camping: Don't know why I left it off the original list, but we have a campsite booked for next weekend.
4/13 so far? What?!? Okay, so it might not have been the most productive Summer just yet but, can we boil that down to me working 11 hour days and Hubby working most weekends? Excuses excuses!

Is your Summer running away with itself?
Do you have a Summer bucket list?

5 August 2011

Future Llamboks vs. My childhood

Definition of a Llambok: On our wedding day, my sister presented us with a wedding cake topper she had handmade which had a Springbok (South Africa's national animal) and a Llama (a very popular Peruvian animal) representing both of our backgrounds coming together as one. It was then decided that if they had babies, it would result in a new species called The Llambok. Hence, our children will be little Llamboks.

Sometimes I worry about my future Llamboks. What will their childhood be like? Will they be brainwashed by all this new technology? Will they know the smell of an old book? Will 2 year olds own Smart phones? Will MTV feature any music? 

I have been thinking a lot about my own childhood. I am so blessed to have 2 amazing parents who loved each other, stuck together and provided me with a stable home. When I think about growing up, I have nothing but fond memories to draw from. My mom is a very special individual. She always involved me in the kitchen and encouraged my love of cooking and baking. She would sing Xhosa songs and rock me to sleep, even when I was way too old for it. She made up stories about the baby monkeys in our backyard who didn't have "dummies" (pacifiers) so that I would not be heart-broken giving mine up to them. My Father worked really hard to provide for us. He made smiley face lunches like he was Picasso and packed my lunch box for school everyday. He taught me how to "braai" moving the coals around with my bare hands and we spent many hours in the garage together. (I think I was the son he never had.) He even bought me tampons in the later years and always referred to us as "His girls."

Childhood photo~ Mom and Dad totally rocking the 90's hair-do's. (eek!) That's me in the Mini Mouse dress that I hardly took off. I also remember that hair clip to be my very favorite and special one.
I never had much technology growing up, although I don't think many "kids" my age did. We were especially out of the loop living in South Africa and my husband is really shocked when I tell him we only had 3 TV channels for a long, long time. Most of my youth was spent playing imaginary games with my sister or my best friend, riding my bike, swimming or doing crafts.

My Llamboks will grow up in America. As a child, I could only dream of living in The States and was so envious when I watched American TV shows or saw the adverts for soda flavored lip balm in my imported comic books. My children will be given more opportunities and a lot more freedom then I had growing up and that kind of scares me. Fear of the unknown, I guess. No matter what happens, I will always do my best to follow in my parent's footsteps and provide the best environment, teach high morals and keep them grounded. With the combined South African/Spanish upbringings we will definitely have some well behaved kids. He he!

Thanks to pinterest I have been re-living my childhood by pinning all things 90's! Check out my board here.

Can someone hurry and invent a time machine to take me back to the good old days?
What are you favorite childhood memories?

4 August 2011

From the kitchen ~ Hawaiian Flatbread Pizza

Sometimes the day just runs away with you, and after finishing an 11 hour day at work, you realize you have neglected to plan dinner for tonight. Right? Well instead of calling the pizza delivery guy, why not cut half the cost and half the calories with this quick and easy alternative?

While your oven is heating to 400F, prepare your pizza by spooning a layer of sauce over the flat bread and sprinkling with chopped garlic. Add your toppings and sprinkle with cheese. Easy right? 
P.S. I realize I should have probably chopped the ham instead of just ripping it apart, but lets just call it the rustic look, okay?

Bake in the oven until flat bread is crispy.