Sunday, 27 February 2011


Got of the bus and hailed a taxi. Put my luggage in the trunk. Got in the car. Greeted the ajossi with the formal greeting: anyong assimnikka? Told him my address and added the respectful ga-juseyo (i.e. I want to go there, please). You can never be too formal, respectful, and overly friendly with an ajossi. Nonetheless, he still complained because I needed to pay with my credit card, since I haven't had time to stop at an ATM once I got off at the airport.

Patricia Park, at her blog, New Yorker in Seoul, gives some tips on how to handle ajossi. Especially those taxi ajossi.

To get a musical introduction to who/what these ajossi are, listen to Michael's song below.

Ek's by die huis -- 'n skokkende ondekking

Oppad met die bus vanaf Incheon lughawe na my woonstel tweet ek die volgende:

"On a shuttle bus on my way home from the airport. Did I just now refer to "Korea" as home? . . . I guess I did."

Ondanks my byna twee maande se kuier in Suid-Afrika, verwys ek na my woonstelletjie, my lewe hier in Korea as "home". Is dit waar ek tuis is? 

Wanneer ek in Suid-Afrika is, is daar dinge van Korea wat ek mis. Terwyl ek in Korea is, is daar dinge van Suid-Afrika wat ek mis. Hierdie laaste twee weke in Suid-Afrika, nadat ek duisende kilometers rond gerits het van een provinsie na 'n ander, van een stad tot 'n ander, van een vreemde bed, vreemde stort, vreemde handoek, tot 'n volgende onbekende een, is ek verlig om terug te wees in my eie woonstel. Ek het my plekkie, my spasie baie gemis. My "home" met my eie bed en stort en hangkas en eie bekende kosse in die yskas. Ek's bly om my eie huisplante te sien en dit was 'n lekkerte om hulle water te gee. My woonstel is vuil. Dis stowwerig en deurmekaar. Maar dit is okay, want dis my stof en my gemors. Dinsdag is 'n vakansiedag in Korea, dan gaan ek bietjie aan die kant maak.

Ek's terug. Ek's by die huis.

Ek weet my verblyf in Korea is ook maar net 'n tydelike een. Nietemin, vir wat dit werd is, geniet ek my huidige nessie, al is dit vir geen ander rede as dat dit my nessie is nie. 

Potchefstroom, a hop, a skip, Singapore

The last two weeks I've spent mostly in Potchefstroom. My visit to South Africa always include a relatively lengthy stay in Potchefstroom. I have a strong affinaty with Potch, where I've spent quite a number of years.

A priority for my Potch visit is always the Potchefstroom Taekwon-Do Club which I started in 1998. While not as strong as it used to be, it is still active.

Apart from martial arts, I also have a number of projects, with links in Potchefstroom -- the one being the 'Literary Terms & Theories' project that I initiated nearly three years ago. I am glad to say that it has gone live on the Internet, although we still have lots of editing and fine tuning to do before we can announce an official launch.

Then there are academic acquaintances, friends, and family in Potch whom I always look forward to see. Unfortunately there were a number of people I did not get to see, for instance Prof Annette Combrink or Aunty Marie. But such is life.

At this moment I'm sitting in Singapore waiting to board my connecting flight to Korea. I'm both excited to go back and apprehensive -- and such is life as well.
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Thursday, 17 February 2011

Die tandarts en my ma

(Die titel klink na 'n oulike kortverhaal, doen dit nie?)

Ek's tans in Potch en het gister en vanoggend my tandarts besoek. Gister se besoek wat net 'n vlugtige ondersoek, maar vanoggend het ons bietjie werk gedoen. 'n Kleingatjie was aan die ontwikkel in een kiestand en mos skoongemaak en gevul word. Daarvoor was dit nodig om die senuwee in die area te verdoof.

Elke keer wat so deel van my mond verdoof word kan ek nie help om aan my ma te dink nie. My ma was die slagoffer van beroerte aanvalle wat haar mondsenuwee gestrem het. Sy het gevoel in dele van haar mond verloor. Dit het beide haar smaak en haar vermoe om te eet aangetas. Baie gesteld op haar voorkoms het my ma altyd 'n servet voor haar mond gehou wanneer sy geeet het, uit vrees dat kos uit haar mond mag val en dit enige aanskouers mag verontrus.

Ek sit tans in a restaurant om onggendete te eet en doen dieselfde. Omdat ek nie gevoel aan die regterkant van my mond het nie, weet ek nie of daar stukkies kos of spoeg aan daardie kant van my mond wys nie, en hou maar die servet voor my mond, vee gedurig af, en dink aan my arme ma.
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My Week in KwaZulu Natal

Last week I spent in KwaZulu Natal. I stayed with my friend Joa in Pinetown, but also got to meet up with some other friends as well.

I arrived in Pinetown on the Sunday. The following day Joa and I met up with Mary. We went to the harbour to watch the grand Queen Mary II cruiser ship pass and then went for dinner afterwards. Another acquantance I met through Joa and was happy to see again is Mala. She recently returned from India. Her visit to India was in part to trace her Indian roots. Something I also recently attempted. Yet another acquantance I met through Joa is Yolandi -- we all went to see the brilliant film Black Swan.

Two other highlights during my Natal trip was visiting the Pinetown Stingers Taekwon-Do gym and visiting my friend Frankie. It wasn't a planned part of my Taekwon-Do stops, but definitely an enjoyable one. What I enjoyed about my visit with Frankie was to discover that our understanding of God is practically identical -- a God of such great Love that it takes one's breath away. My visit with Frankie stand in strong contrast to my visit with Freddie, a few weeks back.

As always, my time with Joa is very special. We are very close friends and our visits are always mutually therapeutic.

I departed on the Saturday and arrived in Johannesburg that evening where I stayed with Bryan, Joa's life-partner. It was great seeing him again as well.

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Friday, 11 February 2011

Mzansi fo sho!

On SABC1, one of the national television stations in South Africa, the slogan "Mzansi fo sho" is repeated ad nauseum. Since I've not been in the country for a year, it is still quite new to me, so while other people may be used to it, I'm still intrigued by it.

It is an interesting Xhoza expression. "Mzansi" basically means Southern -- like in, Southern Africa or South Africa. As far as I can tell, the latter part of the slogan "fo sho" is a pigeon of "for sure", which is used as slang to mean certainly / definitely / exactly / that is right. It is an expression of affirmation, agreement, even praise. In its entirety, "Mzansi fo sho" kind of means that "The South is the best."

I like it.
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Saturday, 5 February 2011

Eat, Pray, Family

My visit at the Taekwon-Do school in Pretoria went well. I spend some quality hours with my Taekwon-Do friends in Pretoria, before setting off in the afternoon to visit with my cousin Gavin and his wife Es.

We had the most wonderful dinner: Fresh bread with sundried tomatoes; feta and parmesan; olives; a mixed lentel salad, a fresh herb salad that included rocket, basil, dill, and freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest; big baked mushrooms topped with butter, garlic, chedder and parmasan -- a feast!

As is always the case when Gavin and I get together, we talk about religion. The two of us are both spiritual "seekers" of sorts. It is not that we do not know what we believe in, it is rather that we actively contemplate our worldviews and "share notes" when we get together. Es and I also have much in common, so it was nice for us, too, to "share notes".

I also got to spend some moments with Gavin's parents. I haven't seen them in many years, so it was a pleasant surprise to catch up with them. Gavin's mom gave me some photos of my parents from the 60's. My dad looked handsome and my mom was beautiful. "She was the most beautiful of the sisters;" said Gavin's mom, "we always said so."

Another aunt also came by, so they could see me. It was quite pleasant. Apparently they will have a family reunion next Saturday. I will probably still be in KwaZulu Natal then and will miss out on it, which is tragically disappointing as many of my uncles, aunts and cousins whom I haven't seen in many years will be there.
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Friday, 4 February 2011

'n Harem in Pretoria

Gister het ek uiteindelik in Pretoria aangekom. Ek het 'n Taekwon-Do klas gaan bywoon / gee en bietjie kans gehad om tyd te spandeer met baie goeie Taekwon-Do vriende.

Gisteraand het ek 'n vreemde droom gehad. Ek is na 'n harem geneem en my plig was om die vroue in die harem te bevredig. Ek was bietjie senuagtig oor al die aandag, maar nietemin gewilig om my pligte na te kom. Ek onthou dat die rede hoekom hierdie verantwoordelikheid my toegestaan is, is iets te maak met my as vegter.

In 'n sin is dit 'n baie primitiewe droom. Die vegter / sterkste mannetjie in die trop, kry toegang tot die wyfies. Hoekom ek nou juis so 'n archetipiese droom gehad het is minder duidelik.

Aai, die manlike psige darem!
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Thursday, 3 February 2011

Bus Blues

South Africa's public transport is not the best. I've reallised that I'm spoiled by the great public transportation of South Korea and conversely irritated by South Africa's mediocre public transportation system.

The chief method of travelling, if you do not have a car, in South Africa is by bus. Unlike Korea where express busses travel around the hour or more from city to city, in South Africa there are usually just one or maybe two or three busses, and only on main national routes.

For the last couple of days I've been struggling to get a ticket for a bus from Limpopo Province to Pretoria, the capital. The bus I wanted to take -- Translux -- was off-line, so that I couldn't book tickets. Eventually a friend was able to book me another ticket with another lesser known bus company. When the bus eventually arrived I had no idea that it was the bus I was suppose to get on to. The company's name -- South Africa Road Link -- is nowhere to be seen on the bus!

This is how it is supposed to look. Instead, the bus that picked me up was brown with a giant casino advert on the side.

I sat at a roadside stop from around 6:30 this morning until just now -- just before 14:50. That's more than seven hours! I bought a People magazine, read it from cover to cover, filled in the crossword puzzles and did the sudoku puzzle. I read emails and replied to them. Even reread my own article published in this month's edition of Totally Tae Kwon Do magazine. I also read a few chapters of a textbook, A Short Guide to Writing About Film, that I am considering using in one of my classes this coming semester.

The waitresses at the Wimpy (a South African burger franchise) where I sat the whole morning was very friendly and even upsized my cuppacino for free. Someone even tried to organize me an alternative ride to Pretoria so that I could depart earlier. Unfortunately it did not work out.

Another two hours and I'll be in Pretoria. Tonight I'm attending a Taekwon-Do club there and will spend the next few days visiting with friends and family. I plan to depart for the KwaZulu Natal Province on Sunday.

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Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Limpopo Friends

The last number of days I spent in the Limpopo province, particularly in Tzaneen and Polokwane (Pietersburg).

I spent Sabbath with Lester and Hannelize in Tzaneen. One thing I'm really pleased about was that I was at last able to give them their wedding photos. Their wedding was nearly three years ago and I took most of the wedding photos, but left for Korea soon afterwards. Although I did give them their photos in digital format, I was never able to give them the developed / printed photos. During this last visit I was able to do so at long last. I had a couple of enlargements made, including one A3 photo of the couple standing in a garden.

Sunday I went to Polokwane to spend time with Jaco, his wife and son. As I mentioned of my visit with Jaco last year, Jaco is the friend I have known the longest. We started elementary school together and continued through high school and university.

Also in Polokwane I got to meet with another friend whom I haven't seen in ages. I'll just refer to him as F, as I am not sure how comfortable he is with me mentioning his name on a public platform like this. It was wonderful to see him again. We met at university; if I remember correctly, we met during a Creative Writing class. Although he is a frequent reader of this blog and therefore is quite up to date with what's happening in my life, I'm not in the loop with the occurances of his life. It was therefore great to spend some time with him, even though it was just for a short time.

Monday and Tuesday I spent with my adopted mom and brother Michael. The last time I saw Tannie Jenny she was battling cancer. At the end of my previous visit we practically said our last goodbyes as we did not know if she'd survive the year. Thankfully her treatment was successful. What a wonderful relief it was to see her again, much healthier and very hopeful for the future. Michael and I also got to spend time together. We spent Monday night talking and watching food programs such as Master Chef, Nightmare Kitchen, and Jamie Oliver's Road Trip USA.

Currently I'm in Bela Bela where I'll teach a Taekwon-Do class tonight.
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