2.15.2015

the beginning of something new

Ok, it's not as exciting as the title sounds... and perhaps its not really something that new either... this year my goal is to be healthy. Sounds ridiculous and simple right? I mean healthy in mind, body, and soul (cheesy I know). I want to be strong. Both mentally and physically. Been running a bit - I have already ran three short races this year. One being a 6km trail run, and two were 10km road races. I loved them and also forgot how competitive I actually am. Not competitive with other people per say (but probably that too), but more with myself.
This week we are off to Dusi again, for R. Let's not even talk about fitness when it comes to R, he has taken that to a whole new level in the past few years.

1.28.2015

plugged in

Perhaps I feel I have nothing profound to say, or it could be that there are so many other ways to share what is going on with my life without having to get too deep ( ie instagram, facebook, twitter), that I have completely given up on this blog. Every now and then I think "Shit, I should write something", not for anyone else really - more for myself, because a blog acts somewhat like the new-age diary. A digital track of life. However, like Oscar Wilde said " The truth is rarely pure and never simple", so how can one possibly correctly record how they are feeling, or "the truth",  especially when they know that everyone will see/read it, including random "friends" from high school that you haven't seen in over 10 years? The digital age has somewhat transformed us into very "fake" people. I am not trying to sound negative, don't get me wrong, I love posting happy photos on instagram and seeing how many people "like" what they see and in a lot of ways, those photos are a good representation of my life as it is. Photos, however, only depict the happy side of life. People sit on their phones/computers/tablets and see all these happy photos and happy thoughts from people, motivational quotes about "going for a run" or "eating healthy", photos of people having a great time with a shitload of new friends and think that perhaps their life is not that great. Do these photos motivate them to have a better life, or does it make them feel forlorn? Is the grass always greener on the other side? I have recently started to do a bit of yoga, and I started following a bunch of "yogi's" on instagram - and on one side it motivates me to be better at yoga, and then some days I see photos and I think "shit, I will never be able to look like that, or do that". Has it stopped me from doing yoga? No. Has it made me unfollow a few people? Hells yes. I don't really know what the answer is, but R and I have both realised that we are far too "plugged in" and that when you step back a bit and experience this forgotten land called real life you feel a lot healthier and happier.
My goal this year is to spend more time enjoying life. See more friends, run/walk outside, read books and in general be more positive and happy. This isn't to say I won't be instagramming or updating my facebook, those things are so easy to do. I just want to make more of an effort to do the things that have become harder to do, like spending an evening in with R without looking at our phones.
So why am I blogging now? Who fucking knows, I felt like it.

11.08.2013

My Heart



 What a year to say the least. To keep a really really really really long story short, I found out earlier this year that I had a significantly large atrial septal defect. For those of you who don't have a clue what that is or what that even means (this included me before April of this year), it is basically a hole in the heart that you are born with. A heart "defect" if you must.
 Since finding out about this special hole of mine, I have been back and forth between here and Canada to sort out how and where I was going to have surgery. In the end, I decided to have it here in Nelspruit. My parents took the 25 hour long journey here to hold my hand, while R and his family did their best to entertain them while I was incapable of doing so.
 My open heart surgery went perfectly. What an experience. I have never been admitted to hospital before, let alone had any sort of surgery, so it was a lot of firsts for me. The experience was not fun and there has been a lot of ups and downs, but everything was a lot easier than I had expected. Yesterday marked a month since my surgery, and I am finally getting back into a routine and starting my life "post op". I am still recuperating, but feeling really good and I am so grateful for how well the surgery and my recovery has been. Modern medicine is absolutely incredible and I have so many things to be thankful for this year.

Without getting too gushy and philosophical on everyone, I would just like to say my patched up heart loves you. Life is wonderful.

9.18.2013

John

Growing up with an artist as a father has a few advantages. For one, my childhood included quite a bit of traveling in our hippie van across the continent to see art and experience life. More on that later, but another great advantage of having artistic parents, is growing up around their very talented friends. My dads closest friend John Blair is not only the kindest and most hilarious man I know, but also one of the most talented jewellery designers. Growing up (and still to this day, since I am a very spoiled special only child) my dad made sure to always do artist trades with John to score my mom and I some of the most beautiful jewellery around.

John finally has a website and I wanted to share with you some of my favourite pieces from the site on here, but you can check out the rest at www.johnblairdesign.com.

John Blair - Pendants

John Blair - Earrings

John Blair - Pendants

John Blair - Necklace

John Blair - Bracelet

John Blair - Ring

John Blair - Bangles

John Blair - Bracelet

John Blair - Pendants

This July I was also lucky enough to receive a very special ring, from a pretty great guy, to add to my collection. (p.s. I am engaged!)

All photos are from johnblairdesign.com and either taken by John Dean or Ric Kokotovich
You can purchase John's work at Rubaiyat in Calgary & Michael Dean in Granvile Island.

9.11.2013

Maputo

maputo
oh, Maputo. I have such a love/hate relationship with you. Since living in South Africa I have spent a handful of weekends away in Maputo. Some nights were just spent stopping over (like on our bike trip), others were planned weekends away with Roger, but mostly we are just passing through on the way to Bilene.
What can I say, Maputo is a mindfuck. Admire the beautifully run down architectural buildings, experience the intense traffic and traffic jams, taste delicious pastries and amazing seafood, drink hot coffee and cold 2M's, encounter aggressively corrupt police officers, walk on broken sidewalks between piles of garbage, watch the rich and poor Mozambicans interact, drive between expensive cars and old asian jalopies, go to the markets markets and more markets, drink cocktails at the bar in one of the many expensive hotels, dance the night away to jazz music, visit interesting museums (see the natural history museum full of stuffed animals), buy buckets of fish, take a scary ride in a tuk tuk, find amazing street-art, etc. Everytime I am there I notice something more.
Maputo
clockwise: praca dos trabalhadores statue | street art | railway station | tuk tuk | outside clube naval | the promenade | inside costa do sol | sunset

I am obviously no Maputo expert but here are just a few of the things we have done and enjoyed:
  • Seafood dinner at the Maputo Waterfront restaurant. Such a fun vibe, always live music playing at night and the seafood is delicious. Its not cheap, but Maputo isn't cheap.
  • Drinks & lunch by the pool at Clube Naval de Maputo. I like to pretend I am ├╝ber rich when I am here, sipping a 2M by the pool at my private beach club of choice. 
  • Sun-downers at the Hotel Cardoso. Really cool panoramic views of Maputo and the beach - perfect place to watch the sun go down. ( another great place to pretend you are rich)
  • Prawns at the legendary Costa do Sol. The food isn't THAT good, and it is a little pricey, but you just have to go to Costa do Sol. We have also stayed here a couple times, in the hotel and in the park homes out back. Again, the accommodation isn't that great either - but it is a really beautiful old building. Have some prawns washed down with plenty 2M's and if you stay there into the night you get to watch (or join) all the locals across the street having a fat party.
  • The Maputo Central Market - have only done this once, but it was an experience. There is another street market that happens right outside the fort on Saturdays, not sure what it is called, but they sell better goods than the market if you are looking to buy gifts.
  • The Railway Station. You have to see it - it is magnificent. See it by day to take it all in, but come again on Saturday night to check out the Jazz club. Roger and I did this one weekend and we were pretty blown away. Could have just been a good night? who knows - but we loved it.
  • Make sure to stop at a local coffee shop/ pastelaria. I don't remember any of the names - but there are so many downtown. Go to one that has a lot of locals, it is sure to be good.
There are of course, plenty of other "must-do" places in Maputo ( The Iron House, the old fort, art galleries, etc). Our times in Maputo have always been an experience. I love finding more.

9.04.2013

Almost a Full Year

It has been almost a full year since I have written in this blog, and our other blog, There and Here, has also taken a break. Sometimes the online world seems to be too much when your real world also has a lot going on. This year has had a lot of ups and down (I suppose every year does, but this year in particular has been a real roller coaster for me). I have been back and forth to Canada twice, and I am finally back in the Lowveld now after an extended summer visit there. My parents will be in South Africa in exactly a month today and it will be their first visit here. A lot of exciting times ahead, so I am hoping we have jumped over most of the hurdles that life has thrown in our way this year. Besides, "a calm sea does not make a skilled sailor."

So with that being said, I would like to return to the online world. It may be slowly, and infrequent, but I will do my best.

a year - 2013 - Charlotte Senini
 clockwise: Roger & Jean in Capetown | Kananaskis | Tofino | Kruger Park | Engagement Ring by John Blair | My Girls | at Lion Sands | Ruby

10.25.2012

The Bush

The Bush - Charlotte Senini


The term "The Bush" to most South Africans (at least in this area) is synonymous to South Africa. To spend the day in "the bush" is a very romantic occasion. I would say that they feel "at home" in the bush. When a South African is living abroad, "the bush" is something they will speak of fondly and express that that is what they miss the most about home.

Since being in South Africa "the bush" has also become very special to me. When I have been back in Canada for an extended period of time, the first thing I want to do when I get back to South Africa is head to "the bush".

The Bush
When someone in South Africa says they are "headed to the bush this weekend", they are basically saying that they are heading somewhere up north in South Africa to a game reserve, game park or possibly just the Kruger. The area that we live in in South Africa is considered part of "the bush". When I picture "the bush", I am either drinking a sundowner on the veranda of a thatch chalet listening to hippos down by the river, I am stopped in a really hot bakkie while impalas cross the road or I am laying in bed in a tented camp listening to the sounds of the frogs down by the river. To each person who has experienced "the bush", a different very distinct memory or feeling is evoked when it is spoken of.

This term is also used quite commonly in other countries like Australia, New Zealand and interestingly enough in Canada after doing some research. In Canada la brousse has been used by the french Canadians to describe communities that are unreachable by regular roads.

Roger and I headed to "the bush" last weekend, and of course had a fabulous time. There is nothing more relaxing then drinking some wine on the veranda while making a braai and listening to the wilderness around you.

Photos from the Bush - South Africa - Charlotte Senini