This Is Me

I was born in Durban, South Africa during the 60s, one of 6 children, to Catholic parents. My father supported us on his motor mechanic's salary and my Mom stayed home to raise us. We never went hungry, but I do recall my Mom counting the pennies for the next loaf of bread or liter of milk, as month end approached.

I went to a very small, private convent for the duration of my schooling (it was girls-only from 5th grade onwards). I once had aspirations of becoming a nun. Then came the idea of marrying a Game Ranger, so that I could live in a Nature Reserve. Quite a turn-around, and not a very liberated approach!

It seemed to me that my 3 brothers had free reign to do as they pleased, and I resented being limited because I was a girl. I strove to be as hardy as them, and to never be put down because I wasn't as good or as strong as them. I was a tomboy. 

My determination to be better than my brothers paid off in school - l excelled at academics, and was awarded a scholarship to study at University. I attended the University of KwaZulu/Natal as a day scholar (the norm at the time). For someone who had been almost exclusively exposed to Catholic dogma, it was an enlightening, and eye-opening experience. I completed my Masters' Degree in Environmental Science in 1987, and continued working on the university campus as a Research Assistant, Temporary lecturer and Computer User Consultant over the next 4 years. 

My husband and I had quietly married in 1984, on Friday 13th, the day before he began his 2 years of compulsory military service (read about his experiences here: Seven years later, we decided to start a family, and moved to Munich when I was 6 months pregnant with our first child. I was unable to work in Germany without a Work Permit, so had no choice but to stay home with both our children for the duration of our nearly 3 year stay in Munich.

In 1994, we relocated to Massachusetts in the USA. When our youngest was 6, I was finally, legally, able to work outside the home. I became a substitute teacher and witnessed first hand the difficulties my children were experiencing in school, both intellectually and socially, including some disturbing bullying. Additionally, I had always felt strangely out of place at the bus stop at the end of every summer, when other parents expressed just how psyched they were about not having to deal with their kids anymore! By contrast, I always felt sad and empty when Fall rolled around, and I had to put them onto the school bus.

After much deliberating, we became a home-schooling family, and remained so for the rest of their school careers. It was scary at first, but I loved being the facilitator of their learning, and found myself growing along with them. I learned through experience about 'teachable' moments, teaching to the level of proximal development, and child-led learning. My goal of becoming a career woman had evolved into the reality of being a fiercely proud, career-Mom. It suited me perfectly.  

During this time, I became a Site Steward for one of our town's nature preserves, as part of a volunteer program run by the Open Space Stewards Organization, and proudly patrolled and cared for it as if it were my own yard.

Our children have since moved away from home and are now both married. My husband and I became caregivers for my ailing father, and he moved into our lakeside home in Maine for the last 3 years of his life. Now, it's just my husband and I, living blissfully in our retirement and following our passions. 

I adore yardwork, nature and the outdoors. I love just BEING outside. I fill my time with weeding invasive Milfoil out of our cove on a regular basis, and am a passionate natives-only gardener. I remove 'volunteer' plants and invasives, and strive to made my yard a sanctuary for indigenous species. I take great pleasure in photographing the overlooked and underappreciated details of nature. I pick up roadside trash, just because it upsets me to see it. I avidly recycle and re-purpose anything and everything.

I've discovered that I love writing! I belong to an informal writing group - we meet regularly to share our written work, and to hold each other's hands through the tribulations of our lives. I love reading, writing, watching Independent, Foreign and Indie films, docu-series, and crocheting. I like Sudokus, Scrabble and other word games. I enjoy baking, but not the consequences of indulging! 

I don't like winters in the Northeast - it hinders me from going outside barefoot, on a whim. And it's not sunny enough for someone from the sub-tropics. BUT, my piece of paradise happens to be in Maine!

No comments: