I am in the middle of a few days of feeling completely wiped, but this synchroblog from She Loves magazine was too irresistible, so I have indulged in some gentle therapeutic writing, to give you an idea of my family background. The template can be found here – try it, it’s fun!
I’m from London but only for a year, and then for twenty more the small city with a big cathedral. I am from cobbled streets once walked upon by saints and writers, now overpopulated by buskers and French tourists.
I am from not really belonging, living between two continents. I hold in me the hot blood of Africa: open plains, bold colour, white sunlight, angry storms, burning sunsets, shared food, bare feet and mango trees. I am from the land of rainbow waterfalls and springbok, and I am from the land of damp grass and cucumber sandwiches.
I am from a line of strong women with weak bodies, who fought domestic injustice and scrambled out of poverty.
I am from socially-conscious happily-marrieds, who had parties and went to the theatre, and charmed with their witty stories, worked hard doing good for their community behind the scenes, and won praise for their speeches. I am from colonialism, domestic servants, poodles, and Flanders and Swann.
I am from always having an opinion on everything, even if we know nothing about it. I am from using twenty words when we could use one.
I am from the semi-detached house with tumbling aubrietia over the the rockery, and pine trees in approximate topiary. I am from happy clutter and years of mess. I am from pencil markings and stickers on the bathroom wall that etched our growth each year.
I am from Kia Nyama, the house of meat, constant summer braais, barbecued ribs and chicken kebabs and marinated steak piled high; koeksisters and boerwors, lemon meringue pie so sweet you could feel the sugar sitting on your gums.
I am from the fridge that had a diet sheet on the front and so much food within that you never reached the back. I am from the house of seconds, and feasts, and dinner parties, and takeaways, and every week random people from church invited round for a Sunday roast.
I’m from ‘home sweet home on the doormat’, ‘all out for a bottle of stout, all in for a bottle of gin’, ‘bed time at the Rockies’ and other unintelligible sayings.
I am from bookshelves stuffed with stories, poetry, fairy tales, school text books from decades ago (kept just in case), Bible commentaries, and inspiring Christian biographies of heroes of the faith.
I am from “I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart”, and
“Wide, wide as the ocean”, and
“I wanna serve the purpose of God in my generation.”
I am from Dire Straits, Abba and Supertramp.
I am from piano played enthusiastically, and Les Miserables duets; drumsets and electric guitars and abandoned woodwind instruments.
I’m from eating roast beef and Yorkshire puddings and tiramisu at Christmas because it tastes better than turkey and Christmas pudding. I’m from foreign holidays, and child-cooked anniversary dinners, and grace sung loudly before meals in five-part harmony (even in restaurants).
I’m from “English people are so parochial”, and
“it doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are where God has called you”, and
“it’s all about relationship, not religion”, and
“the world will hate you because it hated Jesus”, and
“eat your cabbage because there are children starving in Africa”.
I am from laughter, late night debates and competitive board games. I am from interrupting each other, and shouting what we really feel, and slammed doors and teary apologies. I am from being late, and driving fast, and impromptu decisions.
I am from massaging shoulders and kneading dough: we pummel in order to restore.
I am from the weeping willow tree in the back garden, which silently swayed and sighed in the wind. I am from somersaulting on the trampoline, flying on the swing, sitting alone in the pear tree.
Over to you: