Category Archives: Mom Diaries

Our South African Summer – Part 2

Following on from Part 1, Miss E and I recently visited my family in Cape Town. And it was glorious. But it was also a little challenging. For more on that, read Part 1 here. For the most part though, I enjoyed the time spent under the African sun, with my family. Miss E was able to spend a proper summer, getting to know the side part of her family.

My German Safari - South African Summer


I grew up surrounded by lots of people. Blood relatives as well as ‘uncles and aunts’ who just happen to be part of our everyday lives. Both mum and dad have several brothers and sister. And this meant loads of cousins for me and my two sisters. I don’t think we ever had one weekend where we were just us, alone. I remember actually having one cousin live with us for a few months – this brings back memories of pretend-playing Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (I was Trini, the yellow Power Ranger).

Now that I have my own family, quality time spent with family is extremely important to me.

My German Safari - South African Summer

So of course, on our recent trip, it was a main focus for me: to have Miss E spend quality time getting to know her cousins, spending quality time with her aunts and uncles. And of course, build on her relationship and bond with Grammy and Grampy.

Summer sun…

I had a difficult time adjusting to the heat wave that had spread across the Western Cape. And I tried really hard to ensure Miss E was still comfortable and enjoying the weather. It wasn’t difficult: what with my parents having a pool in their yard! We also bought a slide which she enjoyed as well. We spent lots of time at the beach as well. And this brought back so many good memories for me. I sure do miss the ocean.

On the odd occasion that we went to the mall, I found it a bit strange being back. When I still lived in Cape Town, my younger sister and I would go to Canal Walk almost every Saturday. It was like a ritual for us: take the bus early morning; have breakfast at McDonalds; play a few games at the arcade, usually billiards after putting coins into the jukebox for some pop music; then head to the movie theatre to watch the latest movie release.

My German Safari - South African Summer My German Safari - South African Summer

So it was really awesome to take Miss E to the exact same arcade (lots has changed though) and have her play some games or go on the rides. It was great to experience this with her.

Beach Days…

We spent almost all our beach days with my older sister and her family. Miss E loves the water and at first was very excited to run out to meet the waves as it crashed against the sand. At a certain point though, she didn’t want her feet touching the sand – I think this was due to several small creatures jumping up out of the sand each time she took a step.

My German Safari - South African Summer My German Safari - South African Summer

I really enjoyed those days at the beach, because I could spend this time with my niece and nephews. And I was also able to have proper conversations with my mother and older sister. We haven’t not spent this much time together in a long time and I had not realized just how much I craved it. I have come to understand now just how much I miss my family.

My German Safari - South African Summer

Ratanga Junction…

One thing I really wanted to do on this trip was visit Ratanga Junction. It’s a Theme Park in Cape Town. The Park used to be operated all-year, then it only opened during the school holidays. Now, however it will soon be closing its doors completely. It is a shame, because there are not many Theme Parks in the Western Cape and I’ve only been there once before. So we decided we would go for one last visit.

My German Safari - South African Summer My German Safari - South African Summer My German Safari - South African Summer

Grammy tagged along with all three of her girls and all her grandkids. It was such a great day! I went on some rides with my niece and nephews, and even Miss E could do some. She got her face painted, we ate junk food and enjoyed some entertainment in the main hall. All in all a wonderful day was had.

It is very sad that Ratanga will be closing it’s doors. I am very happy that we managed to go one last time.

At the end of the day…

Family! That is what I got out of this trip the most. The importance of having loved-ones around you, who still care. No matter how far away life takes us, family will always be there. Skype is great, but being in the same room with these crazy people is priceless. And my first post was all about how I didn’t get to do exactly what I had planned with this trip. But I soon realized that it was in fact the need to be with my family that made this holiday perfect.

My German Safari - South African Summer My German Safari - South African Summer My German Safari - South African Summer

I can’t wait for us to all get together again. And make memories!

My German Safari - South African Summer

Miss you guys!

A very huge thank you to the Williams Family for some of these pictures!

Our South African Summer – Part 1

Miss E and I have just returned from a lovely South African Summer: nearly 2 months of sun, fun and relaxation. And I guess it sounds super glamorous and all. But really, it wasn’t as fancy. It was meant to be a relaxing vacation for me to kind of get back to who I used to be. This Mama has been an exhausted zombie for all of 3 years, suffered from PPD and still has seasonal depression at times (living in Germany can have that effect with the dark long winters).

I had hope that going to stay with my family, that I would get a bit of rest and recuperate. One of the main goals was to learn to let go of the negative energy that had been building up in my life over the last few months. I tell you: Motherhood is one of the hardest jobs around. There is no clocking out at the end of the day; no vacation; learning to enjoy hours-old cold coffee and tea; I can go on and on. And as rewarding it is, sometimes you just want to take a step back.

And when my mother offered to have Miss E and I come to visit them – of course I took her up on that. Here is Part 1 of our 2 month vacation in Cape Town.

Our flight…

Eurowings had just started a direct overnight flight from Cologne-Bonn Airport to Cape Town for a reasonable price. So we just decided to go with that. I will admit, I won’t be flying long-haul direct again, and certainly not with Eurowings. For us it makes better sense to break up a long-haul into two legs.

Good job, Eurowings 🙂

I had decided to take the Car Seat into the cabin and strap Miss E in for the flight. I had hoped that she would sleep most of the way, as it was an overnight flight. But she only slept about 4 hours and also only in bits and pieces. And she hated being in the car seat as well. The service on board the flight was also not the best. I guess you get what you pay for. If I were to travel by myself, it would be fine, but I will definitely not be flying with them again with a toddler in tow.

Our arrival and adjustment…

Miss E didn’t need any adjustment. It took her about 5 minutes before she started just talking with Grammy and Grampy (of course in German and I had to translate). It took this Mama a while to adjust. We had left a 2 degrees in Cologne and arrived into a 27 degrees, blue skies heatwave. And as much as I was looking forward to spending some time in the sun, at the pool, I wasn’t looking forward to the heatwave. Also, I think that I have acclimated to the temps in Germany and I was not coping with the heat in Cape Town. My parents have a large house with no AC. Some mornings we woke up at 6am and it was already 29 degrees outside.

Here Miss E was giving Grampy instructions on how to build her step for the bathroom...

It was super hard, and I don’t know how I got through the 2 months. I spent most days indoors with several fans running , when the temperatures got unbearable. But that also meant that Miss E was inside and that was no fun. Taking a drive anywhere was also torture, because just being outside and moving made me sweat like crazy and it also made Miss E very miserable.

My goals for this trip had gone out the window...

I knew that this vacation wasn’t going to be like a regular vacation where we do the tourist thing and go lots of places. It was supposed to be a time for me to rest. But rest didn’t really come. Miss E still needs lots of attention, in that she can’t entertain herself. She can’t play by herself for even 10 minutes. So any sort of rest and relaxation I had planned went out the window.

When it was super hot and Miss E wanted to play outside, we bought a 'sandbox' and put it on the covered porch where we added water and she could still splash about without being in the direct sun and Mama could watch her through the living room window...

I was up at 5am and literally ON until 7pm. And by that time, after Miss E fell asleep, I too was ready to call it a day, which meant I wasn’t really getting any time to myself to kind of enjoy anything. I would sit with my family and try to keep up conversation, but was so exhausted I couldn’t keep up. We would watch a movie and I would not be able to follow along.

I felt like my entire purpose of this trip was crumbling. And I was beginning to doubt myself as a mother. I was getting frustrated with Miss E for not giving me a break. And with all of that, I was (I realized later) not enjoying my time with her or my family.


And then as I was lying awake one evening, not able to sleep, I had a mental lightbulb moment: Either I could accept my circumstances and enjoy what I am able to enjoy; or I could let the frustration take over and be miserable and miss this time with my family.

The days we did go to the beach, Miss E wanted to go straight to the water. It was such a relief to be in the cold water, even when the wind was quite rough...

And so even when I was being woken up at 5am most mornings and not getting 5 minutes to myself during the day, I was still able to close most days with a full heart. I switched off my phone most of the time and didn’t turn my laptop on until Miss E was asleep.

On the rare occasion that we did venture outside the house, we would go to the beach – which was often windy; or visit a mall and Miss E and I would go to the arcade and play games. The only tourist thing we ended up doing was visit the Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront (more of that in another post).

Going to the arcade was one of her favorite things to do whenever we headed out to the mall...

All in all, we had a lovely time with the family. Miss E had started speaking mostly English the last month and she had this amazing bond with her Grammy and Grampy. I may not have spent time on my writing (as I had planned); I may not have done too much reading; and I may not have fully recuperated; my body still very much exhausted and I have definitely picked up a few kilos. But having had this time with my family has taught me loads about myself. Spending this time in the house I grew up in and also showing Miss E things I used to do as a kid and games I used to play. That! That was all worth it in the end.

After this vacation, Miss E has no fear of the water...

Parenting is hard work. It is exhausting. It is often thankless and without reward. And I may never really get back the energy I used to have pre-kid; I may never again know what it feels like to go to the bathroom alone. I do know though that I would not trade in any of those for the hugs and love I get from my kid. Sometimes, when I am having a bit of a rough day, she would come to me, out of the blue and give me a hug – just because. And for that, I would give up the perfect, quiet, calm life I had once hoped for.

More on our Summer Vacation coming up soon. And the next post will be a little more lighthearted 🙂


The Village

They say ‘It takes a Village’. Back in the day, many many moons ago, it literally took a village to raise a kid. There was grandma and aunty this and cousin that. And not to mention the village elder and medicine man. All of these individuals not only lent a hand in raising the child, but they had some (no matter how little) influence on that child’s character and what he or she grows up to believe in.

Now, these days a village generally is family and sometimes close friends. That’s also what God-parents are there for. When Miss E was born, however I didn’t have a village. In fact, I had 1 good friend who literally made up my village. This is part of being an expat: sometimes you just have to make do with what you got!

My experience...

I had once or twice complained to Papa Bear that I wish I did have more help in terms of people doing things for me whilst I was recuperating from major abdominal surgery and trying to adjust to life with a new born. But now, here on the very public blog, I take that back. I am actually thankful that I didn’t have a typical village.

I recently realized just how much I grew as a person and as a mother. By not having a village, I was forced to figure things out for myself. I learned what I was truly capable of. I had to learn to make do with my own two hands.

I became a stronger person. I grew up – I had to. I put hopes and dreams I had on a back-burner because there was now a tiny human, a living person who depends on me. My priorities changed. Life has a different meaning now that I was a mum.

And I know in my heart that I could not possibly have come to that realization if I had several people ‘holding my hand’ as it were, on this journey of motherhood. For me, personally, I believe that had I had the luxury of a village, I would have taken advantage of it to the extent that I would not really know my child. And I really do know her. Of course, I am only speaking from my own personal experience. I am in no way judging anyone else who does have the village (just want to put that out there!)

Don’t get me wrong:

Of course it’s great now when Oma and Opa come to visit and they ‘babysit’ so I can go on a date with my husband. But it’s not an expectation from my side. I can make do with getting Miss E into bed on time so I can have a romantic picnic on the living room floor with Papa Bear. And that right there is the little things you learn to do when you have no village.

What is your opinion on having or not having a village when you have babies?

I look forward to hearing from those who are fortunate enough to have them and those who don’t.

PS. Pics all for attention

My 2018 Reading List

In 2017, my good friend Sandy told me about Goodreads and how she uses it to read books that she usually would not read. I decided then that one of my Goals for 2018 was going to be to read more; get through more books. I love reading and before Miss E came along, I would go through a book every 2 weeks or so. Over the last 3 years though, I have managed to only finish 4 books and start but not complete 2 others.

With the Popsugar Reading Challenge 2018, I have challenged myself to make use of the Reading List Prompts and read as many books as I can in 2018.

In January I started with my first book and am thoroughly enjoying it. The prompt was: Read a book made into a movie you have already seen. I chose ‘Atonement’ by Ian McEwan. The movie was beautifully shot and the characters so well portrayed. And so I decided to give the book a try and it has been brilliant so far.

Now the list by Popsugar is quite long. And I have decided that since I am getting back into books slowly,I would not do all of them. Here is the list of prompts I decided on. Throughout the year, I will post about some of the books that I have enjoyed on this challenge.

Reading Challenge 2018:

  • A book made into a movie you’ve already seen
  • True Crime
  • The next book in a series you started
  • A book involving a heist
  • Nordic Noir
  • A novel based on a real person
  • A book based on a country that fascinates you
  • A book that is also a stage play or musical
  • A book that you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift
  • A book by two authors
  • A book by a local author
  • A book about time travel
  • A book with a weather element in the title
  • A book set at sea
  • A book with an animal in the title
  • A book about or set on Halloween
  • A book from a celebrity book club
  • A childhood classic I have never read
  • A book that’s published in 208
  • A past Goodreads Choice Awards Winner
  • A book set in the decade you were born
  • A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn’t get to
  • A book that involves a bookstore or library

What Reading Challenges have you made for yourself this year? Or are their any books of a certain genre that you enjoy and keep reading? Tell me about some of your favourite books! I’d love to hear from you.

Cheers and Happy Reading!