for the love of seasons

Dusty little tangerines lie next to rosy-cheeked pomegranates, and as the moon falls deeper into the sky, the fruit man pushes his cart away and all the fruits slip and slide and socialise. I walk quickly home and sneeze once. Maybe someone is thinking of me? Superstitions aside, I must say though, I really do believe in this mercury retrograde malarky. Weird, unexplainable things keep happening. A foot-bridge in Shenzhen just collapsed, an apartment/office block went up in flames, my colleague is stuck in America because of some silly visa procedure changes, my phone deleted ALL my photos, my computer randomly shuts down whenever it pleases, I hear people fighting more often and my nose is a waterfall. But come October 9th, when mercury is no longer in retrograde, everything will go back to normal, right?

This too shall pass and autumn is here, so at least we’re not dripping sweat all over the city anymore. I love the slight chill that is becoming more present and the way the morning light coats the trees in a rusty shade of bronze. Everything seems softer and there is a warm, romantic glaze settling over the tops and tips of the buildings on my street. Is it strange that I’m getting excited for winter already? I like wearing big, cosy cardigans and being able to see my breath drift up into the air. I guess once a Northern Hemisphere baby, always a Northern Hemisphere baby. Seasons make the world go round, and mine too. I always struggled in South Africa where everything was reversed. My June birthday was spent shivering and the run-up to Christmas was a sticky, stifling bubble of heat. It’s nice to mix things up a bit once in a while, but oh my, for me Christmas should be a little snow globe.

Before I adorn my winter coat though, I will first embark on a tropical adventure to Singapore and Bali. Seriously, I love Chinese public holidays. This will be my first solo trip in a long time, so I’m really looking forward to having no plan and just going to wherever the rice paddies lead me. I want to swim with turtles on Gili Meno and read my book next to the green fields. Just looking after my wanderlust, you know? She is extremely greedy and is already mischievously plotting the months ahead, and I have to fulfil these needs she has, because she is feisty! Sometimes she books trips without me even realising…Well, at least for Oct, Nov, and most of Dec I won’t be going anywhere. There are some exciting projects taking place in Shenzhen that I’m a part of, and so during those months my wanderlust will be taking a backseat until I whisk her off to Scotland and Ireland for Christmas. Yay!

This year has been a whirlwind. Actually, this month has been a whirlwind, hence the lack of writing here. I just haven’t had time, or maybe I’ve been lazy? I’d say both. Chiang Mai was just what the doctor ordered, and in between climbing up waterfalls, eating the most delicious home-cooked Thai food you’ve ever tasted, getting massages and talking non-stop with old and new friends, there was even time for a road trip to see the incredible White Palace in Chiang Rai and the creepy, but cool Black House. It passed so quickly, and feels like forever ago, even though it was just a couple of weeks back. The fun didn’t stop there, as only a few days later my best friend popped up to China to say hello for the weekend and an early morning hike with a dip in the ocean quickly led to a moonshine-fuelled night and a hazy day spent under the dusty sun in cafes. And I get to see her again in two days in Singapore. I feel lucky. Sometimes there is no time to sleep, but that’s OK because then there is more laughter, more memories, and I have all winter to hibernate under my mountain of books.

Last weekend I didn’t really go anywhere. Those weekends are fun too. The ones where you lie in bed until 2pm just doing nothing but dreaming, smiling, reading. There might be a sneaky trip to a rooftop that doesn’t belong to you to take some photos, but otherwise you will probably stay in bed looking at the clouds, listening to music and hugging. That’s when you know summer is coming to a close, when hibernation takes a hold of you and there’s no escaping those cosy claws. Embrace it. It’s good to just rest.

Singapore and Bali await, so see you when mercury is flowing forward again. Be safe and go kick some backward mercury butt!




Photo by my lovely friend Olya.


As the evenings get a little darker and the mornings a little cooler, my body struggles to adjust. Leaves start to change colour and my hips begin to ache. I am tired and no amount of hiding beneath the covers with my head buried in a book or a blur of dreams can pull me out of this mini hibernation. Impromptu planking sessions that slowly turn into child’s pose beneath my desk give a temporary boost of energy, but it quickly fades and I fall back into my inbetween-seasons slump. It’s the city life. It doesn’t bode well with the changing of the seasons. You can’t smell halloween on the horizon and there are no conkers trickling along the path at your feet. Leaves fall and turn a shade of gold, but there’s no crunch to them like there is back home, in the countryside. Oh man, I miss fresh air. Yes, I know I sound moany right now, but sometimes you just need to acknowledge your feelings and be honest with yourself. I miss nature. I kid myself that I can survive in an urban jungle, but I’m not sure I really can. Panic crawls around in my insides when I’m squeezed onto a bus with hundreds. Car fumes and nicotine swirl around the air and creep into my lungs. I am actually beyond craving the smell of wet grass and clean rain drops, I need them in my life right now.

A few weeks ago I had a massage for the first time in about a year and the lady was shocked by all the knots in my back. No amount of kneading could untie them, and deep down I know the only way to get rid of them is to run through an emerald field with no other people around me. That’s when I am myself, when everything slides away, when the stress rolls back to the city and I am left, light and free, in nature again, where I am supposed to be.

And it’s all my fault. The knots and the grey hairs and the heart palpitations. I brought it on myself by choosing to live in a city. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret it for a second. I love the convenience of life here, the buzz, the opportunities. But most of all I love it because I know it won’t be forever. I know that sooner or later I will slip back to a simple village life where the only sounds will be the wind blowing through the trees and the waves flirting with the seashells lying on the beach.

We are seriously crazy to live on top of each other in cloud-tickling towers, with our neighbours so close we can hear their every breath, but we choose to do so, and so let’s rather be content with it and find ways to enjoy it. And I must admit, it is pretty handy to be able to be awoken by my neighbour’s alarm clock every morning. I guess this city life does have its benefits…

But really, let’s get back to the root of things- to nature. The smell of the forest and moist earth. Mud caked on your shoes or even better, between your toes. The wind in your hair and salt on your lips, fresh from the sea. An elephant just around the corner, not behind a cage, and cats roaming the alleyways like kings. Strangers smiling and laughing, just because. Mid-afternoon monsoons that cleanse away all the dust and stress you brought with you from your urban jungle. Let it all go.

It’s gone.

And on that note, I am off to frolic and flirt with nature in Chiang Mai tomorrow.



p.s. Any tips on dealing with Urbanjungleitis, as I like to call it?