What is my culture?

My 11 year old son (son no 4) has been asked to do an Afrikaans speech on his culture.  Now this is a rather difficult question from 2 angles:

The first is that none of my kids have managed to grasp the Afrikaans language – they couldn’t speak the language if their lives depended on it.  They do not see any point in learning to speak the language and have a mental block when it comes to all things Afrikaans.  (Just a note – I was brought up very Afrikaans – I married a Brit and have lost my Afrikaans accent / culture throughout the years)

The second thing is – what is our culture?  We are white South Africans with British ancestry.  Not sure how one explains that within a South African context.  I suppose we could say we like meat and enjoy braai’s – but so do Australians.  We like to do things as a family – but then so does most of the world.  We dress like normal people do – so does the rest of the world.  So that is not specific to our culture.  It is actually rather difficult to do and I think that white South Africans have lost their culture to a large extent – especially English speaking South Africans.

So I asked my son how he would describe his culture.  He replied saying he would describe himself as  atheist.

Now I am not religious at all and neither is my husband.  We both come from very different religious backgrounds and religion has not played a part in our lives.  We have never encouraged or discouraged our children from having a religion – we decided we would let them choose.  As long as they chose it, we would accept it.  Son no 1 and 2 both went out with Jewish girls and Son no 1 is now married to a Jewish girl.  Not an issue for us.  He can be whatever he wants to be and the fact that his wife is Jewish has not influenced him from a religious aspect either and he has not suddenly decided to become Jewish – his choice.

We have never had so much as a bible in the house and have never gone to any form of church service in any shape or format.  I must admit we do celebrate Christmas – not sure why – just a day where we spoil each other rotten and I make a huge lunch.  It has absolutely no religious connotation to us.

The schools teach them religion.  I was not against this as I think it is good that they do learn about religions so they can make an educated decision as to whether they want to belong to a religion.  I regularly hear the schools preaching the fact that good kids believe in God and pray regularly and the schools also like to say that good children have a good religious upbringing and religion is necessary to teach them right from wrong.

I categorically disagree with this.  I have 4 amazing boys who are extremely well behaved and have all done well in school.  My 2 eldest sons have turned into wonderful Gentlemen and they have never stolen, murdered, kidnapped, raped, done drugs etc etc.  So why do people insist that you need to believe in God to have any form of morals?

OK – so now I have digressed – back to my son believing that he is an atheist….

I asked him why he thought he was an atheist.  He said he just did not believe in God.  I asked if he could possibly be agnostic.  He replied no – he was an atheist.  Son no 3 now joined in this conversation and he agreed with son no 4.  They do not believe in any form of a Greater Being. 

What would I call myself – I am not sure.  I am very sceptical about all things religious.  I am not sold on any one God and I am not sure if this makes me an atheist or agnostic or maybe just stupid. 

So this morning I reached for the printing in my printer in the office and of course there is my sons speech on being an atheist.  I have put it on my desk to think about.  Not sure he should be doing this speech as this may cause a stir amongst the teachers at school. 

Perhaps he should think about his culture a bit more – perhaps a speech about our weekly family braai or something……

(I apologise if I have offended anyone)

What is my culture?

My 11 year old son (son no 4) has been asked to do an Afrikaans speech on his culture.  Now this is a rather difficult question from 2 angles:

The first is that none of my kids have managed to grasp the Afrikaans language – they couldn’t speak the language if their lives depended on it.  They do not see any point in learning to speak the language and have a mental block when it comes to all things Afrikaans.  (Just a note – I was brought up very Afrikaans – I married a Brit and have lost my Afrikaans accent / culture throughout the years)

The second thing is – what is our culture?  We are white South Africans with British ancestry.  Not sure how one explains that within a South African context.  I suppose we could say we like meat and enjoy braai’s – but so do Australians.  We like to do things as a family – but then so does most of the world.  We dress like normal people do – so does the rest of the world.  So that is not specific to our culture.  It is actually rather difficult to do and I think that white South Africans have lost their culture to a large extent – especially English speaking South Africans.

So I asked my son how he would describe his culture.  He replied saying he would describe himself as  atheist.

Now I am not religious at all and neither is my husband.  We both come from very different religious backgrounds and religion has not played a part in our lives.  We have never encouraged or discouraged our children from having a religion – we decided we would let them choose.  As long as they chose it, we would accept it.  Son no 1 and 2 both went out with Jewish girls and Son no 1 is now married to a Jewish girl.  Not an issue for us.  He can be whatever he wants to be and the fact that his wife is Jewish has not influenced him from a religious aspect either and he has not suddenly decided to become Jewish – his choice.

We have never had so much as a bible in the house and have never gone to any form of church service in any shape or format.  I must admit we do celebrate Christmas – not sure why – just a day where we spoil each other rotten and I make a huge lunch.  It has absolutely no religious connotation to us.

The schools teach them religion.  I was not against this as I think it is good that they do learn about religions so they can make an educated decision as to whether they want to belong to a religion.  I regularly hear the schools preaching the fact that good kids believe in God and pray regularly and the schools also like to say that good children have a good religious upbringing and religion is necessary to teach them right from wrong.

I categorically disagree with this.  I have 4 amazing boys who are extremely well behaved and have all done well in school.  My 2 eldest sons have turned into wonderful Gentlemen and they have never stolen, murdered, kidnapped, raped, done drugs etc etc.  So why do people insist that you need to believe in God to have any form of morals?

OK – so now I have digressed – back to my son believing that he is an atheist….

I asked him why he thought he was an atheist.  He said he just did not believe in God.  I asked if he could possibly be agnostic.  He replied no – he was an atheist.  Son no 3 now joined in this conversation and he agreed with son no 4.  They do not believe in any form of a Greater Being. 

What would I call myself – I am not sure.  I am very sceptical about all things religious.  I am not sold on any one God and I am not sure if this makes me an atheist or agnostic or maybe just stupid. 

So this morning I reached for the printing in my printer in the office and of course there is my sons speech on being an atheist.  I have put it on my desk to think about.  Not sure he should be doing this speech as this may cause a stir amongst the teachers at school. 

Perhaps he should think about his culture a bit more – perhaps a speech about our weekly family braai or something……

(I apologise if I have offended anyone)

My son, the shit

Son no 2 (who lives in Dubai) has a new girldfriend.  I found out via someone else about 3 months ago that he was seeing someone.  Son no 2 said nothing to me about being in a relationship.  Not really an issue as I suppose they had just started seeing each other and had perhaps only had a few dates and there was nothing to tell just yet.

However, as time progressed, things have gotten a little more serious between them.

We have regular conversations with my son via Skype or Messenger and of course I have brought the subject up a few times (yes – I am a typical mother and want to know what is going on!).  I have asked leading questions and I get no information about her in return except for her name and the fact that she is South African.

He will not let me talk to her or have a conversation with her via Skype or Messenger.  Apparently it is not the right thing to do and he would rather I meet her personally. (sounds serious!)

I could of course agree with this if I was going to meet / see them soon.  But they live 9 hours away by plane and there is no trip planned in the near future.

So instead, I sit here missing my son like hell, can’t talk to him over weekends (as his girlfriend now stays over and I might see / hear her in the background).

My son is a shit!

Message to son – I have naked pictures of you! (And yes – I will be showing the new girlfriend when I meet her!)

My son, the shit

Son no 2 (who lives in Dubai) has a new girldfriend.  I found out via someone else about 3 months ago that he was seeing someone.  Son no 2 said nothing to me about being in a relationship.  Not really an issue as I suppose they had just started seeing each other and had perhaps only had a few dates and there was nothing to tell just yet.

However, as time progressed, things have gotten a little more serious between them.

We have regular conversations with my son via Skype or Messenger and of course I have brought the subject up a few times (yes – I am a typical mother and want to know what is going on!).  I have asked leading questions and I get no information about her in return except for her name and the fact that she is South African.

He will not let me talk to her or have a conversation with her via Skype or Messenger.  Apparently it is not the right thing to do and he would rather I meet her personally. (sounds serious!)

I could of course agree with this if I was going to meet / see them soon.  But they live 9 hours away by plane and there is no trip planned in the near future.

So instead, I sit here missing my son like hell, can’t talk to him over weekends (as his girlfriend now stays over and I might see / hear her in the background).

My son is a shit!

Message to son – I have naked pictures of you! (And yes – I will be showing the new girlfriend when I meet her!)

Pussy Galore

Hubby and I have had various cats over the years.  It started off 25 years ago when we purchased
our first home in Durban.  The previous
owners graciously left their big fat ginger cat behind.  I was pregnant with son no 1 when we moved
in.  This cat used to drive me nuts – it
did nothing but meow all day and it just could not get enough food – it always
wanted to be fed and I used to trip over it all the time when I was in the
kitchen.  I used to spend a vast amount
of time in the kitchen in those days, especially after my son was born.  Disposable nappies were a luxury item then –
I had an old twin-tub washing machine and spent hours washing cloth nappies
every day.  I don’t remember what
happened to the ginger cat but we obviously got rid of it somehow.

After that we moved to  Amanzimtoti  and then to Centurion and then we moved into
our current house in Johannesburg 16 years ago.




Tiddles & Lick

We then took ownership of a cat named Lick – don’t
remember where we got him from.  He was
black and white.  He was very friendly
and used to lick everything and anything (hence the name).  We were of course obliged to get a companion
for Lick – a tabby called Tiddles. 
Tiddles was very timid and a lot smaller than Lick.  Lick used to enjoy the great outdoors and we
seldom saw him.  Tiddles spent her days
following me around and sitting on my lap and occasionally going for a wonder
outside.

So one day I went out shopping – I drove a Chrysler
voyager back then as I had 3 kids at that stage.  I drove about 1km down the road only to hear
a screech and saw a cat diving off the roof of my voyager in the rear view
mirror and running off.  Dear little
Tiddles had gone to sleep on the top of my car and I had not noticed her and of
course I drove off with her on top.  I
spent weeks looking for her, knocking on doors and even setting traps with the
help of my local vet after someone reported a strange cat around their
property.  I never saw poor Tiddles
again.  My family like to bring this up
regularly and have a good laugh at my expense!

It was not long after when Lick returned home one day
with all of his insides hanging on the outside. 
He was either in a bad fight or had been caught in some barbed wire and
his stomach had been completely torn open (shame).  Not sure how he had made it home alive.  He of course could not be repaired and we had
to put him down.

We then adopted 2 little kittens from the SPCA – Gizmo
and Slush.  They were both very cute.

Gizmo & Slush

We have a security gate on our front door that closes /
locks automatically.  There is a gap of around
5cm between the door frame and the gate. 
I went through the gate one day not long after we adopted them and
slammed the gate shut (as I always do). 
About an hour later we could not find Gizmo – we eventually found him
strangled to death in between the gate and the door frame.

We felt guilty about not having a friend for Slush and
started looking around for a companion for Slush.  I eventually found a little kitten at the
Fourways vet who was the offspring of a wild cat they had captured.  We named him Charlie.  He was not comfortable being around people
and it took us weeks to get him to come out of hiding and comfortable enough to
be held.

Charlie is still with us and is now very friendly.  He is more of an outdoor cat and will not sit
on my lap, but loves a good stroke and tummy tickle and likes to sit on your
feet.




Slush

I have left Slush for last,  we have had her for quite awhile now.  She is pure white and is a real
princess.  She is very set in her ways.  She is an indoor cat and does not like the
big outdoors.  According to my vet she is
deaf – although I swear she hears us. 
She likes to sit on my lap and sleeps at my feet at night.  She does not like other animals at all.  She spends her days in a box in my storeroom
hiding out and when I sit down and relax at night, she will come out of hiding
and sit on my lap.  She has this “I
hate you more” relationship with my cocker spaniel – they cannot be in the
same room as each other.  My cocker spaniel
lives outside (to keep the peace).  We
have a glass sliding door between our lounge and outside.  When the glass doors are closed – Slush will
deliberately lay on the floor right next to the glass door and tease him.  She will roll about and stretch and do anything
to attract his attention.  They then play
the staring game – my poor dog always loses. If you open the glass door, Slush runs back into hiding. She has got such a personality and she is like having
another child around the house.

I love my cats to bits and I suppose I need to treasure
them dearly as one day when all my sons have left home – It will just be me and
my cats…… ( and hubby of course).