Tannies Who Box and child neglect.
A lot has happened since I last penned my thoughts from the Lowveld.
The dog got caught in another snare. That is two snares in in three months. At first I thought he was a ducking idiot, but my neighbour pointed out he is in fact a Hero. Putting his body on the line for the greater good of Wildlife Protection. He is not chasing bokkies, he is saving them by ensuring snares are removed. Joining Anti-Poaching as soon as he can sign the indemnity form.
We hosted the Kruger2Canyon Challenge for the first time from what is now our boys school.
It is amazing what a difference it makes being a local. Two years ago, my request to borrow a stapler from the school kantoor (office) was declined (I did look like a gypsy & was camping on the school fields, so this was not entirely surprising) but this year, as a parent, I was given access to the kantoor itself to use the laminator (see previous post about wasps) and guillotine. The Inner Realm. Previously, I was welcoming the trail community to another beautiful venue. This year, I was welcoming them to my children’s school and the sense of pride was just different.
I have started to get used to being “tannied”. By my definition, this is a verb, to be called or call someone Tannie. “That boy has such good manners, he tannied me three times before I walked in the door”. Now for an engelsmens like me, this is a bit alarming. It is not common in English culture (or in my family at least) to call even my actual aunts and uncles “Auntie” or “Uncle”. It feels like pointing out someone’s advancing age. But in Afrikaans culture, it is a sign of respect to any older person to refer to them as Tannie or Oom. In fact, not to do so raises eyebrows. So yes, I can now proudly say that I am, in fact, a Tannie and have even tannied a few people myself!
I have also gotten serious about trying to meet people. Make friends.
I was spoilt in Howick, having been welcomed into a Wine Club (we didn’t waste time with books, the intentions were clear) as we moved to town, and moms from baby class became confidants and running partners – the best of friends.
I have two friends up here. An old school friend who moved to Hoedspruit with her family a year before us. We haven’t been in touch since high school, but it is amazing how comforting it is to have someone who understands the experiences of newness & settling in, as well has the shared history and knowing where you come from.
And a new friend, who finally convinced me to join the local gym. Except that it wasn’t a gym, it was a Boxing Studio… uuuum big problem for me.
Afrikaans “Tannies” are Intimidating…always so well put together. And they speak so fast… My poor Afrikaans vocab and standard attire of activewear or work-from-home-wear and never a lick of makeup in sight, meant I felt (still do) very much on the back foot already.
But Tannies Who Box?? Next-level intimidating. Plus, I am pretty hopeless with gym terminology in English, so a class environment in Afrikaans with Tannies Who Box…that was a No from Me!
But then Dorei won me over with the info that a new section was being added to the Boks Studio…a gewone gym. Where I can work out on my own, with my English programs and no one notices if I’m doing a kettlebell swing instead of a snatch. I even say hello to some of the Tannies now!
My other ah-ha moment for making new friends came at the expense of my children.
First week back at school, routine a bit rusty and I had succumbed to flu (The Plague). So a bit of a mess really. Weather was freezing and I was feeling sorry for the boys who wear shorts to school. At 1:50pm, as Andrew left for the 2pm collect (I was in no state to leave the house), I got the call from the teacher… “Did you get the boys? I sent them to the Kleuterskool when you were late.” My heart plummeted as I realized…school closes at 1pm on a Friday. An hour sitting on the school pavement on the coldest day of the year. Of course Charlie had a friend coming home with him. So not only did I had to confess my uselessness to the teacher (she was very kind), but I had the burden of having to tell the Other Mom how I left her darling son sitting outside the school in the freezing cold…my Bad Mom guilt was strong.
Well, the Other Mom didn’t bat an eyelid. Told me it happened all the time.
Ok I knew the second part was an exaggeration but who cares, she could be my Third Friend! So in the wise words of an old friend, “using public neglect as a gateway to friendship” might be my new method for finding likeminded, or at least tolerant friends. I will keep you updated on this front…
In other news, the pets all needed their annual vaccinations. With the abundance of wildlife and the high chance of break-away encounters with said wildlife, this was making me nervous. Now bear in mind a) my pets are out of control, b) my Howick vet was also my running partner and bestie…housecalls were a luxury I did NOT take for granted and c) car-trip-with-pets PTSD is prevalent in the humans. In the pets….well this was to be tested.
I would not wish to bore you with the details, but the basic summary is as follows:
Dogs greeted the trip like we were going for a run, chase some bokkies. Massive excitement.
Andrew looked like he had been thrashing around in a thornbush by the time the cat was secured in the crate.
Charlie insisted on coming with me. His observations, video recording and commentary along the way lead me to believe he has the makings of a behavioural scientist.
Dogs’ early excitement turned to unease as they started to realise we were not going running and might, in fact, be driving back to Howick.
The cat had started howling before we hit the tar, 500m into the journey.
The back-left bush and nut of Big Blue (our trusty old Fortuner) has dropped out of the suspension. I can’t say for sure, but there is a high possibility that the dogs’ expression of emotions on this trip is the cause.
We were 15min early for our appointment. Apparently anxiety makes me speed.
Monkeys gamboling in the car park sent excitement levels in the car to new heights. In fact, a second-hand parts dealer could probably recover a Toyota bush outside the Mareola Animal Hospital…
The vet’s assistant was seen with a muzzle in hand when we came charging through the door, cat howling, dogs salivating, and instructions being barked at Charlie. They probably thought it was rabies cases arriving.
One year until we have to go through that again. I wonder if I can invite Dannie for a visit around that time…?