Posted by: savayla | September 23, 2009

Dutch Courage

I wrote this in February, it is now September and I am living in Langkawi.

Sitting at the poolside in Borneo.  An ordinary South African.  I am not a celebrity, I am not wealthy, I have never been published (that is my first lie ), and I don’t care (that is my second lie .. . more to come  as I progress ).  I have been living here for  1 month, two more to go until I leave on my visa run to Thailand.   I am sharing a delightful Valentines lunch  with my special half of 20 years.  In fact, we met two days earlier, 20 years ago.  I go on tangents and I don’t apologise for this.  This is normal and all editors can go to hell if they don’t like it, which they don’t.  My husband , Kyle, is a very practical man.  This day 20 years ago, we were at a Rhodes Memorial Valentines bash, and I complained that I was so hot.  Mr. Practicality simply poured some Castle Lager down my top.  Now I was cool.  Sticky , but cool.  I have still not decided whether this was to cool me down, or if the main intention was for me to remove my top.  It didn’t work , that only happened at the Shirt and Hat party two weeks later.

Tangent finished.

What has brought us here to Borneo, when almost all of the 1 million South Africans that have left South Africa in the past 15 years have headed in the direction of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand ?  Our hearts.  Yes, it is that simple.

Dutch Courage, that special courage that is formed from drinking.  I am not talking about getting drunk, that causes  people to do stupid things they regret.   Every single major decision that we have made has been made over a bottle or two of  good wine and some decent cheeses.  Is this a co-incidence ?  No.  It is what Dutch Courage is all about.  Without it , we would bandy around the same old bullshit about why we shouldn’t be making the changes that we should.  In 2002 we were living in Noordhoek, Cape Town.  A drive to Kommetje to celebrate our 15th anniversary.  A bottle of Merlot, and we decided that enough was enough.  We did not have enough money to save to build our yacht, there were dead bodies lying 100 metres from our house from the township, so we would leave to NZ.  Within three months of this decision we had sold up everything we owned and moved to NZ.

Dutch courage gave us this.  It enables one to sift thru the bullshit, to lays one soul bare and testify to exactly what you want out of life, what you need to do , and where you have gone wrong.  Without it, you tend to make up all sorts of excuses, based on what you term “reality” of what you should do.

10 Months later, and we were back in South Africa after a wonderful backpacking experience through Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and New Zealand.  We were not happy but life had handed us a lemon.  1 year later and we had made the lemonade.  We had bought a classic wooden yacht with the thought of fixing her up and sailing her to New Zealand.  Did I mention that we had two young girls aged 3 and 4 1.2 years?  After three years of living on her and learning a lot more of life and what it has to offer, we were off again, and here we are in Borneo, although our yacht is still in South Africa for now.

This is my wine and I am proud of it.

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