Author: KokkieH

and everyone had to stay home

and everyone had to stay home

Since my last post, only a week and a half ago, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa has increased more than ten-fold (currently 709 according to the official government website). So on Monday evening our president once again addressed the nation to announce the next step: lockdown. As of midnight tonight, for the next three weeks, all South Africans except those providing essential services will be confined to their homes. We can leave to go to the doctor or to buy essential foodstuffs and medicine only.

It’s scary. Neither the missus nor I have been sleeping well, and since yesterday I’ve been walking around with a spasm in my neck muscles so severe that I can’t turn my head or raise my right hand above shoulder height. (And I thought my stress levels hit the ceiling when I found out on Saturday that the beach had been closed…).

But I also know it’s the right thing to do, and I’m glad the powers that be are doing this sooner rather than later.

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Once upon a time, there was a virus

Once upon a time, there was a virus

I think if one looks back through history, every generation likely encounters an event that changes the way the world works for them, that makes them re-think their assumptions and ways of doing things. For my grandparents’ generation it was World War II and the Great Depression. For my parents’ it was probably 9/11. And for mine it will likely be COVID-19.

Last night our president addressed the nation and declared a national disaster.

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Trans-Atlantic Movie Reviews

It’s that time of the year again when Automattic flies all of us from our 70 different countries around the world to one place for our annual Grand Meetup. Located at the southern end of Africa as I am, that means quite a lot of flying for me – around 21 hours flight time, with 33 hours total travel time for me this time around.

Being stuck in an uncomfortable chair with a stranger in your lap and a man-spreader digging his elbows into your ribs, you do what you can to maintain your sanity. For me, that’s making full use of the in-flight entertainment system to catch up on some movies.

Here’s what I watched on my way to Orlando, and what I thought:

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On Safari

Last weekend we went on safari. The oldest proclaimed game reserve in Africa, the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, is only about an hour’s drive away from us. We’ve been living here two years, and have never been there. So when my mom came to visit for the minion’s birthday, we decided the time was ripe to give it a visit.

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A letter to my daughter on her third birthday

A letter to my daughter on her third birthday

My dearest Elizabeth,

Today you are three. Thank you for letting us be a part of the most amazing year. One where you’ve learned how to express what you want and feel, where you’ve spent every moment learning and discovering new things, on where you’ve started to make friends, and realised it’s okay to venture out on your own sometimes. One where you’ve revealed that you have the most incredible imagination, and that you care deeply for others.

The so-called “terrible twos” did not exist in our home. It was just a year of endless wonder.

Today I only have one piece of wisdom to impart:

It’s not about you.

I don’t expect you to understand this yet – many people go their entire lives without ever understanding this; I’m not sure I do yet – but I hope one day you’ll read this and understand.

You are amazing. You are beautiful, you are so smart it scares me sometimes, you are precious, you matter, and to your mother and me you are the most important thing in the universe.

But this life…it’s not about you.

The second half of the Great Commandment says, “Love your neighbour as you love yourself,” which is really just another way to say, it’s not about you.

The person you are, the gifts you have received, are not for your benefit. You may most certainly enjoy what you’ve been given, but never forget that ultimately your purpose on this Earth is to do good to others. For their sake, not yours.

In practical terms that means be considerate. Think how your actions, even your well-intentioned ones, will affect others. Put the needs of others ahead of your own. Be willing to come in second if someone else really needs the win. Do what’s right, even if it doesn’t feel good. Treat everyone with respect, even if they don’t give you that same courtesy. Share what you have freely, and never pass by an opportunity to serve another.

It’s not easy to live this way, and I think I fail at it far more than I succeed. But it’s the key to a fulfilling life, and the secret to fixing this mess we’ve made the world into – things are the way they are because everyone just tries to take as much for themselves as they can, but you have the power to change that. Each one of us has.

I hope this makes sense to you one day, and I pray that I’ll be able to set you an example of what it means to live this way.

With all my love,

Dad