Finnish Jet Lag??

As you can see I haven’t written in a while… Haven’t been in the mood. And lately I haven’t been in the mood for anything else either. Ever since I came back from Finland I’ve been a bit moody… And cranky.

Is there such a thing as the “Finnish Jet Lag”?

As grim as the reason was for visiting home (grandma’s funeral), Finland itself was great. I love going home, especially in the Summer months. The seaside, the weather, friends & family, the sailing, being outdoors in nature, and the FOOD!!! All the reasons I love going home!

So after a great month in Hanko, coming back to the desert really sucks… Usually this phase passes in a few days as you get into your old routines, but this time it was not the case. For the first few weeks I slept later and later, not wanting to get up. So that led to morning walkies with Oubaas being late. And the later we go, the hotter the sun will get. The hotter I am, the grumpier I get. See the vicious circle?!

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Morning walkies used to be my favorite part of the day. I love being in the bush with Oubaas. It’s just a struggle to get there. Today I listed all the things that pissed me off during my morning walk. You’re welcome!

  • It’s HOT   (obvious, the SUN is HOT. Hot = grumpy Noora)
  • It’s dirty    (plastic bags are EVERYWHERE, as are bottles, glass, milk cartons, food wrappers. I mean how Efffffiing hard is it to put your trash in the one million bins lying around everywhere or take your trash home!)
  • It smells like s**t everywhere   (this is real. Donkey poo, Cow poo, Goat poo, Horse poo, and the worst; Human Poo. No one here seems to care where they poop or pee for that matter; people squatting in the bush or sidewalk while we walk pass with Oubaas. Just use the damn public toilets like normal people and pay your lousy dollar for it!)
  • Thorns   (they split through your flip flops, stings like hell)
  • Sand   (obvious again, we live in the desert after all… gets through every crack)
  • Flies   (everywhere, anytime, every kind. Normal fly, horsefly, fruit fly, poo eating fly… Worst of all mosquitoes! Very annoying and usually end up DOOMed!)
  • People are annoying & harassing me  (there has NOT been ONE walk since I came back that I can walk peacefully without trucks hooting or hearing the annoying -Hey Baby! comments or getting stopped because of Oubaas; they offer me money to buy him. And then there are the endless -Psssssttt pssssttt!! and  -*enter* kissing noises. So when you hear that every morning and every evening, I’m ready to punch someone.)
  • Other dogs & strays  (i am the ONLY one walking my dog. No one else walks their dogs, or locks up their gates or have proper fencing. So the other dogs roam free in town, they come and corner us, sometimes ending with a bite for Oubaas. Or me trying to yell and throw sticks to keep them at bay.)
  • People steal & beg   (living in Africa is not easy, especially those under the poverty line. But don’t think I will GIVE  you money every time at the supermarket when I worked my ass off to EARN my money. Try getting a job, STOP stealing you as***le!)

Rant over.

I have many more whiny complaints but those are on the top of the list at the moment. The mornings are worse now for a few weeks because of the road workers. 5 crews working on our home street (fixing potholes) so I have to listen to endless amount of comments, whistling and blatant staring everyday.

So Finland was a piece of cake compared to this. None of the complaints above would ever be on my Finnish list. To say I haven’t adjusted to life after holiday is an understatement!

I decided I needed to change the morning routine. I tried fixing the situation by waking up with Richard at 5 am for a few weeks. But I ended up falling back asleep on the couch with my coffee and woke up at 8 am anyway…

IMG_20190901_111340_638I was also fed up with living among boxes. It’s been 4 months since the big move but we are still living out of boxes and suitcases. We slowly started building our flat into a home with a few much needed purchases. The 2 new cupboards, nightstand and a few unpacked photos made a big difference! We are planning to buy more wood next month to build our own shelves and perhaps a coffee table in the living room. Eventually. Slowly slowly…

As I was feeling like crap and didn’t know how to get myself out of the rut I was in, I decided to:

  1.  eat vitamins
  2.  quit drinking (or minimize it atleast)
  3.  start exercising
  4.  get up earlier
  5.  eat more healthy

(jeez, they sounds like a New Years resolutions! In the summer!)

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So here I am at the moment eating salad like a bunny, stopped snacking, baking my own healthy wholewheat breads, waking up at 7 am (latest). Also I’m on Day 12 of TapOut XT and jogging 3 times a week… Still having a glass of wine or two on the weekends but, hey can’t give up everything in one go!!

On a positive note I’m feeling better!

 

EDIT:

Blog entry was sarcastically written. I know some people here have no money for public toilets and it’s not such a taboo here to piss on the street (although illegal!) But when you are on your hands and knees trying to get the pieces of human poop out of your dogs mouth, it’s not funny and I don’t care the reasons why the poo is there in the first place.

And I know not ALL people steal, or beg.

And I live in a small village of 1000 people so things are so different in bigger cities  than what I mention here.

IMG_20190907_085347_984[1]I started writing this blog entry two weeks ago. Now when I came back to it I was actually going to bin it, but decided to throw this out there anyway. Just to show I’m not happy ALL the time and that not everything is always fine and dandy in La La Land.

I have always tried to keep the blog very positive and diary based. Not to write anything too “scary” or to worry the people back home and deter people from visiting Namibia. I was in a very different place of mind a month ago, absolutely everything was pissing me off with this country. People, places, buildings… But now I’m back to my old self! Positive, happy, laughing self, don’t worry people! The Finnish Jet Lag is calming down… And as I have already eaten all my Finnish goodies, bread and salmiakki,  tomorrow I will bake Karelian pies (Karjalanpiirakoita) just to make the weekend even more great!

Cheers!

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Homecoming week

I am leaving Finland this week and I only have 3 nights left until I have to be at the airport. 2 nights in Hanko with my folks and 1 night in Helsinki with my cousin and her family.

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Usually I am either very sad or stressed out by this point. The last week is always the hardest as you know you have to say the dreaded goodbyes at the end of the week. And then there is the packing and luggage issue… I always end up buying too much that I have to remind myself of the maximum bag weight!

But this time I don’t feel sad.  (yet)   And I ended up packing my luggage without a struggle this time. I am surprisingly happy to go back home to Namibia. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’ve been missing Oubaas terribly (and Richard!) and can’t wait to see his waggly tail and go for walkies in the bush with him. Or it’s the fact that we have moved into our own place and this time it feels like I am actually going “home” instead of going to someone else’s home.

Also this week I finally got almost all the planned paperwork signed and gathered regarding grandmothers estate inventory and belongings (perunkirjoitus). Tomorrow there is still the last bit of bank documents to be signed at the estate broker. For my part atleast, since I had to sign everything beforehand. The rest of the family will have to sign all the paperwork when the actual meeting happens regarding the estate proceedings.

IMG-20190624-WA0001There is so much to be done in these situations, all a bit of mystery to me since this is the first time I had to be involved with the aftermath of the handling of the estate and belongings. But we managed fairly well and I must say the banks here are so helpful and tell you exactly what you need and where to go and what papers to get. Since Grandma had two different banks and two accounts, we have been running around paying the final bills, closing accounts, paying funeral costs, and trying to get hold of the important people regarding her loans and payments for the estate.

As I am mentioned in Grandmas Will I had to get some of my paperwork ready for the lawyers before I fly back. I also had to set up an appointment with a Publicus Notarius to get a certificate from the Magistrates Court to prove I AM ALIVE…! I had to show my passport there and they took copies of it and on Friday the Notary will file and sign the paperwork and send it straight to the bank. A bit of a pain in the ass because our small town does not have a Magistrates Court anymore. We have a joint building in the next  town of Tammisaari, 30km from us. So we had to drive there yesterday, just to show my passport to the officials.

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But the last 4 weeks have not only been about running around with paperwork. We also had Midsummer (Juhannus), then my birthday also on the same time, and my parent’s retirement party. Midsummer and my birthday was a bit of a disaster, but all ended well eventually. I had promised to be a dog sitter for some family friends. Doris the little mixed dachshund had been with us many times before and on the day of the dog sitting we also had a reservation at a local restaurant by the harbor to celebrate my parent’s retirement & my birthday. The owners said that’s fine because the dog will nap in the afternoon while we go out for dinner. So off we went and left Doris on the couch with her blanket. We came home and the dog was nowhere to be seen! We looked every inch of our house and she was not here! Then we took out the bicycles and started calling for her all over the forests near our house. For nearly 3 hours we had gone the whole length of the neighborhood and visited the owners old house and even the nearby cafe’s. But no one had seen her. It was time to call the owners! As it turn out Doris had gone home (a long way from us) and the neighbors kids downstairs had recognized her and played with her in the yard and eventually took the dog home. The neighbors had called the owners and she was safe the whole time! Thank goodness for that! Anything could have happened to her… I felt terrible but got to prove myself again as a dog sitter because the following week they had another trip and I got to watch over Doris for two days!

We have also done a small sailing trip with my family last week. We were out for 4 nights and visited a few islands. (Route> Hanko-Högsora-Helsingholmn-Örö-Kasnäs-Rosala-Hanko) It was amazing! I love the seaside and basically grew up in a sailing boat! It’s the place where I feel happiest. The weather wasn’t too bad on our trip, sunny most days, but the winds where very strong a few days as well.

I have also tried my hand in BBQ’ing at home, but with no success and we ended up frying our meat in the frying pan after my coals died…!

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Other than that it’s been great being with my folks, meeting relatives and friends. But as all good things must come to an end, it’s my time to go back home.

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Oubaas! Richard! See you on Saturday!

I’m in Finland!

My plan was to continue writing about our new home town Karibib and how we are settling in, but instead I find myself myself sitting on my parent’s couch in Finland this week…

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A few weeks ago I received some devastating news from back home. Our beloved grandmother had past away on Ascension Day.

I decided immediately that I would travel to Finland as I did not want to miss the funeral. She was such a special person to our family and I loved her dearly.

I still had some savings in my account so after I received the funeral date I started looking for flights. Eventually after two days of searching and tweaking the return dates up and down, I managed to find a pretty decently priced return flight to Finland. Then it was time to book shuttles, airport taxis and a hostel for one night in the capital Windhoek. My flight was leaving so early that I knew I would not make it in time to the airport if I used the shuttle bus, so I would have to stay the night there.

So last Sunday I said goodbye to Richard and Oubaas, and I hopped on the bus to Windhoek. Early on Monday morning I was already at the airport and on my way to Doha with Qatar Airways. The flights were alright, some turbulence and pretty long but not crowded at all. There was plenty of space on both flights and I even got 3 seats for myself on the connecting flight from Doha to Helsinki. Tried sleeping a bit but it’s always hard on a plane, so I didn’t get more than 2 hours of snoozing time…

I landed on Tuesday and have been pretty tired all week. Grandmother’s funeral was IMG-20190613-WA0013yesterday, Thursday, so it’s been a whirlwind couple of days and emotions have been running wild. I met some family members from the middle of Finland that I haven’t seen in 10 years! The funeral was a quiet family affair and we can all breathe a sigh of relief that it’s done. My parents were happy that I came and it’s been though on them as they had to pretty much plan, book  and organize everything by themselves. There is still a lot to do with grandmas belongings and emptying the house but at least I am here to help everyone.

IMG-20190610-WA0003I decided to stay for 4 weeks in Finland and hopefully that will give me enough time to see everyone and spend time with family and friends. So here I am in my guest room, watching Finnish TV programs, eating rye bread and drinking coffee! I am missing Oubaas and Richard very much, and I secretly wished I could have taken Oubaas with me, he would have loved Finland! I think he is a bit bored at home, and I hear he’s been a little monster, getting into things he shouldn’t have. I’ve only been gone for 5 days but it feels like a month already!

Last few days have been gray, rainy and stormy here in Hanko but I hear the weather is about to change and it’s going to be a sunny weekend. We are leaving for a quick sailing trip tomorrow morning.

Cheers for now!

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First few weeks in our new home, Karibib

The last 4 weeks have been pretty stressful. Finally this week seems a bit calmer, and things are falling into place. It’s time for some reflection and stress free writing.

Richard finished his previous work on the last day of April. During the last week at home we tried to pack our lives into 2 suitcases, 3 backpacks, 20 boxes and countless black bin bags… Richard had one week off between the old work finishing and the first day at his new job so that we could finalize the move and get settled in. We were eventually packed and ready to go on Friday and got the move done in one day (Saturday) with two truck loads between Usakos and Karibib. We still have a few bits and bobs at our old place but majority of our belongings are here. We are grateful for the help we got from Richards new boss with the loading and transport between the two towns. Everything went pretty smoothly on that day, and we were sitting in our new flat on the living room floor having a breather by 2 pm surrounded by boxes.

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Oubaas -Smells like home!

The first night we just had enough energy to get the bed ready with linen and bedding and to dig around for our toiletry box for some shower stuff and towels. We also found coffee cups and put them ready for the morning and had the laptop plugged in. Rest could wait for the following day. As we did not have any pots or pans at our new home, cooking was out of the option and we bought some take-away chips from the petrol station shop to get something in our bellies before crashing into bed.

But sleep did not come so easily as we thought… New noises, new surroundings, trains running throughout the night (with Oubaas barking at the trains and noises until we eventually picked him up to sleep on the bed with us). We were up at 3.30 am making coffee! We tried sleeping again at 5 am but that didn’t work out either as the bakery staff started their bread making duties and rest of the staff came soon after to open up the shop at 6.45 am.

To make it clear to everyone who’s asking, -what staff? -what shop..? -what bakery..? -petrol station..?

20190517_173237We live at TOTAL -petrol station where Richard started work. The petrol station is open 24/7 and has day and night staff & security guards. It also has a small shop, like a mini market & a bakery on it’s premises. We live in the small flat at the back of the shop. Next door to the bakery. To enter into our new flat we need to go through the shop and Richard’s office to get to our flats front “gate”. Richards new title is the Manager of TOTAL petrol station in Karibib. The owner of the gas station was moving to the coast with his family and needed someone capable and trustworthy to run TOTAL and the shop for him while he is busy moving and opening a new business in Swakopmund. He is still driving up and down between Karibib and Swakopmund while he is training Richard but will eventually come up only once a week to check up on things here.

So back to the story at hand… Sleeping did not happen on that first night! (Or for the first week to be honest) So the Sunday we were up early and after our second cups of coffee we were ready to hit the shops. We got some groceries for our empty fridge and a set of pots and pans to cook with. Finally a home cooked meal after two days of surviving on take-away burgers, chips and pizza! We also met most of the staff while we were running in and out between the petrol shop and our flat. The rest of the day we unpacked some more necessities and cleaned up the flat a bit. Monday Richard started work, after a few hours of sleep.

The first few weeks went pretty much in the same way… Richard at work in the office learning his new duties as a manager, me next door in the flat cleaning, cooking, unpacking and sorting out some boxes. We don’t have any cupboards, bookshelves, tables or anywhere to hang clothes yet so we are still living out of the suitcases and boxes. Most of the kitchen stuff is unpacked and all the electronics’s, but there is still a lot of boxes lying around as we have nowhere to start unpacking them. Books, CD’s & frames can still stay in the boxes until we get some furniture and shelves. Last week I have been running around town in the cheap china shops and PEP store to buy some kitchen & bathroom mat’s, hooks, tray’s and cooking utensils but the big purchases like a coffee machine and toasters can wait until the end of the month.  We can manage with what we have so far.

20190517_175825Karibib, our new home town, is an industrial town. It’s well known for the Navachab gold mine, and for Namagra  & Marmorwerke which produces marble and granite blocks, and there is a lithium mine. Though I have heard now that some of the mines are closed down and it’s really affecting the towns business… The trains run here throughout the night loading and off-loading granite. Also Karibib is home for the Namibian Air Force Base.

The town is busiest in the mornings and evenings when everyone is going to and from from work. But day times it’s not quiet either, surrounding farmers driving up and down, people coming for grocery shopping to the OK’s supermarket, people hanging around the stalls and vendors selling their vegetables. I walk with Oubaas every morning and evening and I have even come across a few joggers in the back roads at evenings. (In Usakos I was the only one jogging! Or walking with dogs for that matter.)

After a few wrong turns and side roads gone wrong we have finally managed to find the perfect walking route with Oubaas. It takes about an hour and a half and has an “off lead ” little path in the bushy gravel trail where Oubaas can go sniff and run as much as he pleases. We have also found a little park in town with a grass area, so when there is nobody occupying the park I let him roam around and have little fun in the grass. I have tried to keep the same routines for him as we had in Usakos to help with the transition to our new place easy for him, but I still see he is a bit lost and missing his buddies Luna & Peanut. I can also see how much energy the other dogs “drained” from Oubaas with their constant playing, while here he just sleeps or is looking for something to play with and it’s usually something he shouldn’t touch like socks, shoes, cables, toilet brushes(!)…

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Oubaas in the local park

For me, I feel like moving to a new town is a similar experience like the first time I came to Namibia.  Like in Usakos, I am the new “whitey” in town and I get stared at constantly, I get whistled at & people beg money by me everyday, and I get a whole LOT of QUESTIONS everywhere I go. Most are friendly enough but I have also countered the unpleasant people already. I will write about this on a other occasion… Richard is well known in this town already and the previous customers from his old work come to greet him on a regular basis and bring their good wishes for the new job. It’s been a few weeks now and he is doing really well in his new role. It is very hard to run a gas station and there is a lot to learn but he is doing great so far!

So at the moment we are managing fine and starting to set our daily routines and feel a little bit more at home here!

Cheers!

New beginning and the challenge ahead

I started this blog entry a while ago, always intended to get it finished the following day, but I see it’s been a draft for nearly 2 weeks… Time to get back to it!

Easter came and went. In our house it was a quiet event. Nothing special was planned or eaten… I did not even get Easter eggs. That’s the mini-markets fault though, not the Easter Bunny’s. Our mini-market did not stock any Easter stuff here in Usakos. I’m sure the bigger grocery shop in Karibib had more than their share of eggs.  They could have shared their stock a little … hint, hint, my way! We did however eat lamb ribs but that was more of a coincidence than a planned Easter Meal on Good Friday. (nothing else in the freezer that day). We did also have a braai on Saturday like so many other houses around us. A Very chilled Easter!

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My Easter decoration in Finland 2017

I guessed early on this one was going to be a sad weekend here, due to the fact that last year this time Richard lost his father on Good Friday, so we did not want to make any big plans or get an organized gathering for the holidays. And that was fine. Richard had a good rest from work, lot’s of naps and plenty of good food and wine!

In Namibia Easter break seems a little bit bigger event than in Finland or the UK. In Finland people tend to gather and sit down with family or friends for a good meal or retreat to their cabins if the weather allows them to. While living in London this was probably the biggest party weekend in my younger days… Here though everyone seemed to be going places, making plans and having an extra long weekend. The kids are off too for Half Term and schools are closed for nearly 2 weeks. I mostly saw cars and shuttle buses speeding past our little village on their way to the coast on Thursday already.  We had the same plan back in March, we hoped to spend the Easter break in Swakopmund, but when I tried to get a hostel everything was already fully booked for this weekend. (at the end of March already!)

I mentioned in my last entry about the big changes that might be happening in our lives.  Well now those little pieces of the puzzle are finally settling into their places bit by bit, enough so that I can share our news.

We are moving to Karibib!

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Richard is starting a new job!

He got a new and exiting opportunity, which he is grabbing by both hands. This new job offer also comes with a 1 bedroom flat right behind the workplace so that’s where we are moving to. A big change for the both of us, but hopefully for the good, and we are very exited about starting this new journey. It will be a big role for Richard and a new learning curve but I am confident he will be great at his new position. Me on the other hand have a few opportunities coming my way which I will write about later. Once I have found my “path” in our new town.

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Oubaas on a mission in the Khan Riverbed

Karibib is just 30 km from Usakos, a town Richard knows well due to his current job being there and from now on he doesn’t commute 30 min. each way. It’s basically the same size as our little village, but somewhat different in a way… Another drive through town for sure.  But not a touristy stop-over town like Usakos.  They have a bigger food store which compared to our mini-market is a SUPERMARKET,  There is also a lot more other random little shops, 2 clothes stores, 2 Banks, 2 Gas Stations, AGRA (agriculture shop), Butchery, Restaurant & Bar; called Western Saloon, 2 China Shops (These shops might have a name but we all call them China Shops because they are run by a Chinese family and they sell cheap stuff from China like furniture, clothes, pots, pans, shoes, electronic, toys, make-up etc…).

I have only been in Karibib a few times, mostly while helping Richard’s work with stock counts so I don’t know my way around there yet. I promise to write a proper post about my new hometown once we are settled in and I know more about the town and the locals.

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My boys working hard

So exiting times ahead! This will be our very first “HOME” together in Namibia with Richard. We have been living with his parents in their family home for so long, which was just suppose to be a temporary stepping stone when we moved over here from London and we had always planned to move into a place of our own eventually. A few years of unsuccessful pig farming later, Richard got a “proper job” as a salesperson, gave the pigs up, and with me running off to Finland for work every year for 3-6 months so we sort of got stuck. A lot of moving plans were made but we never really followed them through…

Ever since leaving London 2013 I have felt a little “homeless” . Maybe that’s a tad over dramatic (because homelessness is a serious issue!) probably should use “rootless” instead. We had a really nice flat in London, a home, which we decorated together, lived and build our lives together. I have never regretted leaving London or questioned the reason we came to live in Namibia. But I always missed the feeling of “having a home together”. (If you know what I mean..) Of coarse this house has basically been our home for the last 5 years and I am grateful for having lived here with Richard’s parents but it was still never the same as our own home. Then again I get the same feeling thinking about Finland. There is no home there. I left from Finland for London when I was 19. I created my own home were ever I happened to stay at the time. In Finland there is always a place to stay, my parent’s lovely home, but it’s not a “Home Home” for me. Maybe because there is no childhood memories there, in their new house anyway. But I don’t think HOME is connected to a property or a house either. It’s just a feeling you get.  -I am home! -I am comfortable! I am in my place of zen!  I haven’t had that feeling in a long while. And I am hopeful I can find it again somewhere.

Perhaps I’m nesting…! 🙂

Over Analyzing again… Going to stop now before this blog turns sarcastic.

 

 

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At my parents lovely house in Summer 2017

Cheers for now, more about move and our house next time once we are settled in.

Noora xxx

Challenges & Sugar hangover

I woke up today not feeling so good as I have been lately… My head was pounding, legs were heavy, couldn’t get my ass out of bed and my eyes felt puffy. I retraced my steps from yesterday. What did I eat, what did I drink. I went digging in the bin and found my empty lemon beer in the trash, but no change during the night; it still said Non-Alcoholic beer… So this was not a hangover.

Me and my Non-Alcoholic Lemon Beer

Then I went over my food from the day before, which seemed not so bad. Brown rice, some meat, veggies, oven baked carrots & pumpkin & beetroot. Egg sandwich for dinner. Sort of healthy.

Aaaah finally I got IT!

When we woke up from our afternoon siesta, we both felt like having “something” but we didn’t know what that something was… So into to the car we climbed, and drove to a Shell gas station that has a convenience store with the basics. Richard opted for a soda. I on the other hand still didn’t know what I wanted so went a little overboard and I convinced myself I can celebrate since it was a public holiday. (Namibia’s 29th Independence Day) I bought peanuts, Magnum Ice Cream, Cookies & Cream white chocolate bar. I ate all of them as soon as we left the parking lot!

I had a SUGAR HANGOVER!!!

Day 1 TapOut XT

It’s been about two weeks now since I started the “New Me” project. To be honest this was suppose to start after New Year, just like everyone else’s when they make their promises of getting fit, eat healthy, loose some weight and have a dry January. But for months I came up with excuses not to start. Or as I always said to myself -I will start NEXT Monday. Week after week that Monday came and the same thing, -Next Monday. Until I just had enough! This was it! Now or never moment!

My exercise calendar

I decided to start TapOut XT again from the start, 3 months, and then progress onto TapOut XT2 for another 2 months. So a full 5 month exercise plan.  (I’ve spoken about TapOut so often here and I’m not going to bore you again with the details of the workout! But definitely google it if you are interested! An ass kicking workout program for those who love MMA workouts & the UFC). I’m on week 2, and feeling great. Sore but great. Truthfully my plan was just to get fit and get some muscles back not so much to loose weight. Well loose a little bit obviously since you cannot see abs under a layer of fat..! Hahahaa.. Plan is just basically to get back to where I was 2016, the me I knew and liked.

 

That is not the only challenge I threw at myself. I also left alcohol for a while. I have been thinking of doing it for a while now but never really thought I could do it. It was such a habit of ours while we lived in London to have a glass (or two) of wine once you get home from work everyday. That habit followed us to Namibia. To kick the habit I did really well last year and I used to only drink during the weekend and leave the week alcohol free, but since Christmas I sort of fell back in to it. So easily done here. Everyone drinks here everyday. Drinking became a norm in every occasion. If it was a “good day” or a “bad day”, visitors popped around or a evening braai; the event was a cause for a glass of wine (or BOX in our case!).

To be honest I did not think I would get further than the first weekend and would fall at the first hurdle; SATURDAY EVENING. But no, I am on day 14 at the moment and feeling quite proud of myself. I am in my “training mode” for sure! And I found out all the crap about when you leave alcohol for a while -you sleep better, -your skin clears up, -you feel energized, -you have motivation, they all turned out to be true! I feel Great! 🙂 Although the sleep thing might be due to my Spike Mat which I started up again and lie on every evening before bedtime for 10-15 minutes. I also found out not every occasion needs alcohol and I still do the same things and I have started exploring Non-alcohol beers and refreshments, they taste just like cocktails.  I am not taking this challenge that seriously and I am not saying I’ll be a non-drinker for the rest of my life, but my first goal is just to go alcohol free until Easter. If I want a glass of wine at Easter I will have one, if I don’t feel like it or don’t want to break my good streak, I will not. Then I will try go without alcohol all the way till my birthday 21st of June. Midsummer! 🙂

My Weights made out of bottles and sand

My wall of Motivation and exercise equipment, bands, spike mat…

The third challenge I threw in the mix was to start the 5.2 fasting program. I am not going to say DIET here because it is mostly a lifestyle way of eating and you could do it for the rest of your life (eventually 6.1) and not “diet your way through it”. But I was on it in Finland a few years back and I really got good results (lost 10 kg in 3 months while also doing TapOut). You feel lighter and have way more energy because you are not so “stuffed” all the time. I was in a bad way last year and I really need this!  (the method is you eat normal for 5 days and keep 2 fasting days a week when you only eat around 500 kcl.) Although this is probably the hardest challenge of the three I am sticking to it. Also on day 14. It’s harder here than in Finland where everything is labelled so you know how many calories you have left during your fasting days. Here it’s usually my home-cooked meals so use myfitnesspal as a guideline for calorie consumption. I struggle watching Richard stuffing his face in the evenings while I get a piece of salad on my fasting days…!!! Every Tuesday & Thursday. I have started to “save” most my calories towards the evening so I can also enjoy some meat with my salad. Or it’s Soup and vegetable purée all the way… I get so cranky and ill tempered towards the evenings on fasting days! Hangry!

We have a bad habit of eating heavy meals in the evening as it is our main warm meal of the day. So imagine stuffing meat, potatoes, rice, gravy and veggies at 21.30 then sleeping by 22.00. That was our life for years, even in London already. I obliviously  know it’s not good to eat so late or so heavy but that was our way. I’ve made adjustments lately so even on normal eating days I tend to just have protein and veggies and leave all the pasta, rice, potatoes out of my evening meals. Richard can eat as he pleases!

I threw so many challenges for myself at one time, one is surely to fail! Which one, I don’t know yet… So far 2 weeks and all 3 challenges are going according to plan. 🙂

Motivational quotes on my wall

As I mentioned earlier yesterday was Independence Day. It was a public holiday and Richard was off as well. Most companies had planned to be closed for Friday as well so many people had a long weekend here in Namibia. The road to the coast has been super busy. The school hostel opposite us was closed too and the kids had a long weekend so we didn’t have the annoying alarm on at 4.30 am this morning! Independence day didn’t seem like big deal here, but there was some celebrations in bigger cities and the capital.

Oubaas supervising the braai

Morning walkies and breakfast at the riverbed

Oubaas is growing fast, he is already 4 months old! And he did his first “big boy pee” with the leg up yesterday, such a proud mom moment!! His character is also growing, and we need to be firm with him sometimes, he’s just like a hurricane if he wants to be! I really suck as a trainer and I’m sure he just sits because he sees the treat bag and not because I ask him to sit. I’m still trying to figure out how to get him to -stay and -come with the commands, sometimes they work sometimes not… But I’m enjoying the Beagle ride!

There might be big changes happening in our lives in the near future but more about those when our plans clear a bit later on…

 

I can also report: Still NO RAIN! Not a drop… And rainy season is nearly finished. Another dry year. Days are getting shorter and shorter as well. Soon it will be dark already by 6 pm and winter is coming our way.

 

Welcome to 2019!

Sooooo after so many months of “quiet time” in my blog I have finally managed to get going again… 🙂 I’m a slow starter to 2019!  Frankly, I did not feel like writing anything and every time I started, absolutely nothing came.  Zip! Zero! Nothing!  Nothing to make you guys an interesting read anyways. A lot of crap came yes! Those were all deleted.

I’m not going to dwell on the last few months gap or do a big recap of our Christmas & New Year except to mention they were nice, peaceful and full of joy and baking!

I’m going to mention though that the joy came from my new puppy, which I bought beginning of December last year.

And Yes, I know I know I know… ALWAYS ADOPT before you SHOP!!! This has been my mantra for years now. Since my last hound dog past away nearly 3 years ago, it’s been my dream owning a beagle. A pure beagle or a mix, didn’t really matter. I had been looking for one for over a year already and I was scanning all nearby SPCA’s pages every month religiously! No beagles… And I kept on seeing Facebook adds in different groups -Beagles for Sale, all over Namibia. I started slowly contacting people through the adds in September last year, but I did not found the correct fit, or the location was too far for us to go collect the puppy. And my mantra was kicking me inside my head.  -Don’t buy a puppy since the shelters are full of brilliant pavement specials! Argh!

Until finally November, I had been speaking to a lovely couple and had seen a lot of photos of their puppies that were for sale and pictures of the pups parents. There and then I made up my mind. This little fella is coming home to me! Paid a hefty sum (+ a deposit) and a week and a half later I was on the shuttle bus on my way to the capital Windhoek to collect him! (I had managed to hush my nagging mantra voice but still feel SO SO guilty for buying and not adopting. Maybe I will do donation to the SPCA to help with the guilty conscience)

Let me introduce you to :  (drumm roooollll…..!!!)  OUBAAS!

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Valentine’s Day

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Finland’s Independence Day -Blue and White

Oubaas is Afrikaans and translates ruffly to Master, The Big Boss, Maestro… You know, the Man of the House! We started calling him that as a joke, but it eventually stuck and no other name we tried just compared.. (funnily I actually thought we were calling him Oupa’s which means Grandpa, until Richard corrected me.)

 

He is not the only newcomer to this years mayhem. We also woke up on Christmas Day to a surprise and a half… A yard full of tortoise babies! They were on their way out of their hole when our dogs pointed us to the right direction. Since then we have had baby tortoises from 3 different egg holes around the yard and the total count today is 16!  Sadly we have lost a few, one was a rotten egg, one was dead inside the egg when we checked and Oubaas killed one by snatching it up from their baby pen and playing with him. Needless to say we have made plenty of upgrades to the baby pen since January.  And these little ninja turtles CAN EAT!! They could eat all day if I had enough salad in the house! We are still trying to figure out what to do with them. We cannot keep so many tortoises at the house (you actually need a license to have one, which we don’t even have for Big Momma & Scully, so sshhhh…) they will just keep growing and would eventually need more space, and our yard is not safe. We could give them away or release them, but that can’t be here in Usakos. It’s so dry here, there would be no natural food resource or water anywhere near. Perhaps a large nature park somewhere with green grass and with a good rainy season would be best for them. We haven’t had any rain yet. We did found a pet store in Walvis Bay that would maybe take them, but do we really want to be selling forward natures finest creatures.

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Other than the animal side of things, I was at work with Richard this week.

I got to go and do stock-take with them at the store.

Was a long hot day for me, but normal for Richard, and it was fun as always working with him. It’s always good to get out of the house for a while! 🙂

Mentioning getting out and about… We did a few days in Swakopmund as well this month. It was more of a “business trip” than a relaxation trip but we got both done. We had booked a cottage again by the Jetty Selfcatering Apartments, which I can’t praise enough. If you need a recommendation of a place to stay, stay there! They are always so friendly, welcoming and the rooms are just perfect selfcatering units. We had to book into a much larger cottage this time and not our usual twin room because we had Oubaas with us. We needed a room with a private yard at the back which are dog friendly units.

The reason for our two day visit to the coast was to get Oubaas his second round of shots done by the vet, and for me to get an eye exam. We also had previously tried to get both of us dentist appointments but everyone was fully booked at the time of our visit. Our Swakop trip was coincidentally booked for Valentine’s Day (unintended) and we managed to get a nice meal at our favorite place Tiger Reef with Oubaas (another brilliant recommendation for you and dog friendly!). He got his first taste of fish and calamari! He did very well in Swakop and stole everyone’s hearts. We could not walk further than 50 m until we had to stop for someone to scratch him and people wanted to chat to us about him. He was pooped-out though towards the end or our trip, and I think all the city walking tired him out. Maybe his paws were also hurting from the pavement as he was only used to sand here in Usakos. We had a really great two days by the seaside and it was a big change for us desert people, we had packed all of our winter clothes and woolly socks and relished the cold sea breeze and the noise from the seagulls.

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Richard finally went to the dentist last week after months and months of pain. He came back home with a mouth full of cotton, one swollen cheek and two missing teeth! Auts! They were apparently too loose so the dentist just pulled the two back teeth out, did a full clean and fix one hole. Richard says it’s my turn for a check-up next time… NO!

My eye-test went fine as well with a very friendly optician, no change in my prescription from the last one (2016) so I need to find out another reason for the reoccurring headaches. Also needed a new batch of contact lenses since my stash from Finland is finished. But as I found out after called several opticians in Swakopmund, they do not stock contact lenses in their stores.   (-What!?!  Why everything has to be SO hard here!) They get ordered from South Africa and take up to 3 weeks to get there… I can just order them online from London and get them delivered to Usakos in shorter time than the opticians. But then again there’s no guarantees that I will receive my lenses. Mail often “disappears” here in transit (=stolen). Last time my mom sent me contact lenses from Finland I received them 1 year later. Well at least they were eventually delivered. Many of my Christmas parcels are still in “transit” after 5 years…

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The Evening Sunset from our gate

Not to complain but it been very very hot here lately. The older I get, the less I can stand the heat. It just feels unbearable and tires you out and the joints swell up. Perhaps the heat is the actual cause of my headaches. For 2-3 weeks now the temperature during daytime is minimum 35’C – max 42’C. Evening and the night it doesn’t drop much… Maybe to 28-30’s. We sleep with cold & wet towels around our feet.

Here’s hoping for rainy days…

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Cheers!

Noora