Day 9_A Maze of Memories


I lay in my bed trying to recollect my dreams, grasping on to the few remaining wisps, but alas, the majority long forgotten. I went on a morning run, taking me back to all the early morning runs I used to do in the Korean mountains along the rice paddies. It feels like ages ago, a long forgotten dream coming back to me. Korea is truly a beautiful place, each season an explosion of different colours. The luscious green mountains of the warm humid summer, the bright reds of the maples and yellow aspens in autumn, the glittery snow of the winter and the bright new greens in spring... and oh the cherry blossoms. What a place(1).

I ran past a house with a garden covered in cacti and it reminded me of my grandparents' house. They used to have this enormous rock garden in front of the porch with giant succulents of all sorts. I think about that old house a lot. Entering the front door, feeling the cool slate tiles under my feet, closing the door with the yellow stained glass panels behind me still hearing the traffic of Ontdekkersweg in the distance. The study to the left with the plastic mat underneath the rolling chair and the cabinet that opens up to form a writing-table. The living room to the right, feeling the soft brown and beige carpet under my feet. Passing the cupboard with all the glasses and little bells from different countries and the little musical organ box that I used to wind up to bring about its metallic notes. Making my way to the closed stoep (porch), the warmest room in the house and the place for drinking tea in the winter. The square table in the corner where the giant Christmas tree would stand. Going back through the living room, passing the TV where my cousin cried as Dawie die Kabouter turned into a pink tree when the series came to an end(2) and walking through the dining room where many a Sunday lunch was eaten, special days celebrated and Christmas-cake  (fruit cake) drenched in brandy was set alight. The kitchen, with the grey-, yellow- and pink-striped plastic table mats, where we would sit and drink tea with vingerkoekies (boudoir biscuits) or drink brown cow (milk and coke which sounds disgusting if I think about it now). The long hall and the room to the left with the hollow mirror on the dressing table containing round cotton candy-coloured cotton balls and the room to the right with the two blue beds and the painting of a boy in the shade next to the river playing with his sailboat. The bathroom and then the master bedroom with the giant dressing table and the blue circular container with face powder and of course, the two single beds. I can go on about the swing outside, the rose bush in the corner, the fruit trees and the giant sunflowers and all the mud fights we used to have, but by this time I was back from my morning run.

I spent the rest of the morning, writing in a coffee shop with a quote against the wall:

Moenie wag tot die storm bedaar nie, gaan dans kaalvoet in die reën ." (Don’t wait for the storm to ease, go dance barefoot in the rain).

What a whimsical picture. I backed-up my phone and saved my photos and went through some of my voice recordings, thinking how very Pretorian I sound(3). I honestly don’t sound like that in my head.

I had a lovely afternoon drifting in and out of sleep with Tame Impala, Feels Like We Only Go Backwards playing. Afternoon-dreams are always the weirdest and afterwards, I’m never really sure if I were actually asleep or just lying there half awake in a semi-conscious state of mind. I wish I could paint all the images in my head or find some alternative way to express them. Like having a device that records dreams and displays them as some kind of movie or hologram. How cool would that be? But until then I’ll just keep on feeling like M.C Escher, tormented by not being able to express all that goes on in this head of mine(4).

It was my last night in St Helena Bay and I shared an amazing dinner with my hosts. They cooked a mouth-watering Thai-inspired meal with tastes I can't even properly identify. It was splendid. They shared some wine with me, and we watched Sri Lanka absolutely destroying us during the final over of the Twenty20(5). I went back to my room with The Little Prince on in the background. Another story about holding on to the child in you, beautifully congruent with the other movies that crossed my path over the previous few days. I love the old pilot and can imagine my house looking like his one day. The part where the little girl lights up her room with the glowing stars reminded me of my own room when I was young and also this one time a had the privilege of swimming in the stars - one of the most memorable moments of my life. I was on Koh Rong Island off the coast of Cambodia, where two friends and I went for a late night swim at a spot filled with bio-luminescent plankton. As we moved the water around us, the plankton started glowing. Magical does not even describe it. Swimming in a sea of lights, below the shimmering night sky not knowing which side is up and which is down, is a feeling that will never fade away.

I went to bed watching an old rerun of 50/50 in which they were still busy campaigning the Brenton Blue Butterfly case. What a lovely success story. Two decades later and we have a beautiful nature reserve dedicated to a group of endemic, critically endangered butterflies(6).


(1) I keep bringing up Korea in my posts. Bare with me. I lived there for two years and it played a big part in my life. It served as a stepping stone between an old life, which I wasn't always all too pleased with, to life now, which is quite wonderful, to say the least. The beautiful countryside also inspired a lot of art which I took great pleasure in creating.

(2) Dawie die Kabouter is one of many children shows I watched when I was young. It's a magical show about these little gnomes, living in the forest riding on the backs of animals, protecting the forest from human damage. I'm referring to the ending of this episode. (Here in Dutch, since it was the closest to Afrikaans I could find.)

(3) Pretorian Afrikaans. We have a bunch of regional accents down here, with people from Pretoria usually over-rounding our "a's".

(4) I once came upon this passage in a book about the graphic artist M.C. Esher, The Magic Mirror of M. C. Escher.  " times I have been nearly demented with wretchedness at being unable to express these things in visual terms. In comparison with the thoughts, every single print is a  failure and reflects not even a fraction of what might have been."

(5) Twenty20 is a shortened game of cricket which is played in an afternoon.

(6) The Brenton Blue Butterfly is one of the rarest butterfly species in the world and their existence was threatened by a housing development in the late 80's. 50/50 is an environmental show that did a number of features on the butterflies back in the early 90's which eventually resulted in the establishment of the Brenton Blue Butterfly Reserve.



Ontdekkersweg 500

Photo Album

  • My Grandparents in front of their house

1 Comment

  1. Thank you Annika! This was a real trip down memory lane for me, I enjoyed it so much.

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