Thursday, April 16, 2009

How do you love your job?

It is my second last day of my 40 hour internship at The Herald and my thoughts are far from what story I did or did not get to follow or how to look busy or whether or not I should inform them that there is no more rooibos tea. Instead it is rivetted on the upsetting reality that I am part of a generation that is interested in everything but committed to nothing. I used to think that this is because I am good at everything but not brilliant at anything, which is why nothing holds my attention for too long. Now I see that it is because there is too much out there that I could do, too much that I am fed and so I only want to skim surfaces. Many may see this as an excellent developement because finally we are not limited to what our parents or eduactors thought we ought to be. But I feel that I just can not commit to one idea of what I wish to do with at least part of my life. This is because I can not decide who I am, I have not had the chance to really look at who I am before the next mediated idea whizzes through me.

So here I am pursuing my dream of being a journalist but every few seconds I burst into cold sweats and strain my heart at the thought of having to do this for any length of time in my life. To calm my heart I rush over to the design section, the passion above all passions of mine and experience the same doom and gloom. I watch the designers hunched over their keyborads in nicotine and caffeine induced shakes and I pray to God that He will take me from this earth before I ever subject myself to such mindless torture.

Everday this week I have returned home and searched the eyes of my brother and sister who have chained themselves to desks for many a year and I drop to my knees, cling onto their ankles and beg for divine wisdom as to how they get through it knowing that from now till the day they die, they have to climb back onto the nine to five treadmill. They look down at me with pitiful eyes and in the softest voices reply, "I can do it because I love my job".

But how do you love your job? How can I ever love all the millions of possibilituies that are laid down before me enough to pick one that I will be able to spend five to ten years on, without turning into a haggard mess?

I have become lost in this mediated world. All I know is what I do not want, which is not the answer that I want.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

That's MY family!

She enters in shades and folds of emerald and although the years have moved on rapidly, her face seems to freeze time and hurtle us back to a childhood of grandpa hugs and wet granny kisses. The Smorenburg and Meiswinkel family is once again united in a swirl of the four South African provincial flavours and it is beyond wonderful. The location has changed and I search the space for the missing faces that have not managed to make it up the dusty Calitzdorp mountain and into the cool interior of my uncle Michael and Aunt Judy’s house, but nothing is really missing because the faces that smile back are filled with the faces left behind. Everyone gathers around the turquoise lady who takes one look at us and exclaims, “I’m old”. But the way she jokes, chats, moves and smokes shows that she is as youthful as the young adults who bustle about in the kitchen. Our dear aunty Bonnie, who I stare at intently in an attempt to pull from her face the warm body of my grandfather, her brother, whose presence I yearn for most at times like these. I am now 20 years old and crave my family and the escape that they offer. An escape into a private world, which will open to accommodate a stranger and I guarantee that you will end up with hands clutching at ribs in order to prevent them from bursting through giggling skin. And after you have left, the space will be filled with smells of Mathews cooking, the uncontrollable laughter of my sister, the powerfully gentle touch of my uncle, the sharp energy of cousin Kate, the riveting humour of both Papa and aunty Judy, the warm and watchful eye of Aunty Linda, the intense gaze and silly jokes of my brother Antal, the reassuring figure of uncle Ron and the clumsy wisdom of Mommy and as soon as I have spent more time with great aunt Bonnie and her daughter Margot, I will whip their characters into the delicious cream of my crazy family

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Almost back to blogging!

I cannot wait to start writing again but first have to finish with exams, which is an experience that could fill many posts! Two left and then I have successfully finished my first year at Rhodes University

Sunday, October 26, 2008

JMS Critical Media Production

After my isiXhosa test I quickly rushed to watch the third year journalism students’ visual and audio presentations. Unfortunately I had missed the snacks and the first presentation but was just in time to chuckle at the “Bum Campaign” created by the ‘Whine into Water’ group, whose purpose was to bring attention to the water issues in Grahamstown. Their particular display offered water tasting from Joza and from the “middle class” areas and the difference in quality was shocking. This was according to a brave friend who tested the water, while I cowardly stood back shaking my head in disgust but also because I had spent a difficult 45 minutes in the isiXhosa test because of something I ate in the dining hall. When we went back to the display after the show almost all of the “middle class” water had been drunk and barely any of Joza’s water. The next group, ‘Take a Leap’ focused on brining awareness to the municipality and showed distressing footage of children who have shingles from playing in their faeces because the municipality no longer collects the rubbish. ‘Ukulima Grahamstown’, talked about cultivation and food gardens using a character called Dr. Green Thumb, which is also a character Cypress Hill sings about but with completely different connotations. ‘Common Ground’, had the difficult task of bringing attention to the cow issue, where farmers are having problems with their cows escaping and walking the streets. The next group, Green Inc. also struggled to bring across an interesting message about awareness and participation in green industries but did bring publicity to ‘Kisma Kreative’, which is an ‘upcycling’ shop in Grahamstown. ‘Upcycling’ is different to recycling because you take junk and create something new and creative instead of creating the same or similar product again through recycling.

Shamefully we slipped out after this because our journalism projects called for attention but it was both exciting and scary to get a taste of what is to come in third year. Every journalism student who hates group work should have gone and watched because each group consisted of 12 or 13 members. I could barely keep our group of four together so do not even want to begin to think of the difficulty of pulling 13 heads into one. It also helped to see exactly what is to be avoided when creating a visual audio show and what works, which is always helpful and which is why journalism students need to attend events outside of our “journalism comfort zone” even if it means missing the snacks and having to sneak out near the end.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Be certain of what you rant and rave about

A very long time ago, this guy I knew was viciously beaten up at a party, thankfully this rough neck that we had just met came to his aid and started smacking left, .right and centre. I was so grateful for his courage and willingness to help an absolute stranger. A few months into being my friend’s boyfriend, he started to smack her around and naturally I was outraged, ready to tear him apart.

I have written so many blogs on slipping student behaviour in lecture halls and basically in every academic area. This week I was overcome by giggles in two politics lectures, which was fuelled by not being able to laugh because I was in a lecture. An d was reprimanded by lecturer and told to “Shush!” by a fellow student.

On Wednesday I wrote a blog on racism and condemning two guys for their racist outlook on life but just the other day I had a “that’s typical” i.e. “that’s black” behaviour.

I also criticised girls in my post, “Silly Girls” on their predictability when it comes to boys and how their intelligence goes out the window as soon as a guy shoots them a drunken look. Yet I do the same thing religiously.

I hope you can see where I am going with this...

Every time something terrible, distasteful or disagreeable happens I am the first to get on the blogpost-band wagon and criticize the hell out of these incidents but as soon as I am faced with the similar situation I end up condoning
1) Violence
2) Disrespectful behaviour
3) Racism
4) Acting like a bimbo

It is never a bad thing to aspire to overcome bad traits and just because you are not Mother Teresa does not mean that you have no right to write. We just need to be aware of how easily it is to let what you so strongly believe in slide out the back door when we find ourselves in similar situations.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fear of the unknown

I remember about three years ago, I came to Rhodes with my mother for a family friend’s 21st birthday party. I can still remember the feeling of intense fear while walking through the campus. At that time I had not decided to come to Rhodes but the institution itself and what it represented and the fear of the unknown scared the living daylights out of me. I had that same feeling today while standing in the JMS department. I had just finished handing in my journalism portfolio and my friend and I decided to explore the colourful passages just to get a feel of where we would hopefully be spending the next three years. But with each step and after each peep into certain rooms my steps slowed in the fear of what each room represented. My friend was jumping in excitement and I just wanted to get out. This was until I walked down a passage and saw magazine designs done by fourth year design students and a ball of burning excitement jumped into my stomach and lit up my face. I was so thankful for what I saw and even more thankful that my desire to design had not died in the fear of the unknown. So for anyone who feels that their passion for journalism or anything has disappeared through uncertainty, take a walk through the success of another’s work and I assure you that if it is truly what you are meant to do, it will not hide away in the darkness of doubt.

Silly girls

I allowed my relationship issues to dominate my day and so instead of being productive I spent the whole of Saturday burning my white legs in the sun and simultaneously trying to burn the problems from my mind. I barely got a tan as I am a red headed, white skinned individual and of course the issues were still as evident as the stinging sun burn. My dear friend, who lay next to me in the sun, was still cringing from her long drunken French kiss all over town the night before and the other was trying hard to swat a guy away who despite having a girlfriend was desperate to see her that night. By 11pm we were all sitting on the floor because we felt that it matched our mental state and then decided that we would just go out and mingle with other teenagers for a reason I am still trying to sift out because I felt even more irritated after our excursion. All around us girls were flinging themselves at boys, crying in bathrooms and sitting dejectedly on the stairs all because of some guy issues. I felt incessantly irritated not because they looked like idiots but because I know that I look just like them and so was dealt a double blow of stupidity. Grahamstown is teeming with intelligent women who have strong personalities and are confident individuals and yet we still get ourselves all messed up over some guy who mutters, “I love you” as easily as “Can I get another drink”. It drives me insane with embarrassment and frustration but the truth is that love or like or lust trumps reasonable thought and so I can guarantee that my friends and I will be twisting in pain and cringing in embarrassment once again instead of being productive.