“What have you been up to?” facebook asks. Kuiering. Now I know there is no such word in either English or Afrikaans, but the Afrikaans word “kuier” does not translate easily. The dictionary says, “visit” or “stroll”. But it is so much more than either visiting or strolling… Let me explain. In the village I met Jake Heese who said to me, “I want to show you something. This is Stanford… I left my house more than 2 hours ago, and all I have bought so far is this… And I haven’t even had my breakfast yet!” With that he opened his shopping bag and took out a bag of fresh baby spinach. Jake lives in the village, two blocks from the shops. “When I left my driveway, I first had a half hour’s chat with my neighbour Jenny ‘Metal’, then another hour’s chat to my other neighbours, Cath and Simon, then I met… and then… and now you.” And as we were talking Glenn and Willa from Cape Town walked past and I introduced them to Jake. They own a house almost “in the river” as Glenn said, on the floodplain or what used to be the vleilande (wetlands). Their status will shortly be changed from weekend visitors to fulltime residents. We talked about the weather, the rain patterns and the floods and the otters in the river, and the fish people used to catch in the river. One of my most memorable meals was a fish braai at Eric and Marlene Swart’s house in 1997. Eric braaied springer (also known as skipjack or tenpounder elsewhere) caught upstream near the lagoon! Oh, man, never had fish tasted so good! My mouth still waters… But sadly springers have grown quite scarce these days.
I then quickly rushed to the market where Calli was waiting with our bread, and there I met Jan and Sue from Baardskeerdersbos, an even smaller village ± 45 km from Stanford, and Peter Thomas of Stanford.
As I crossed the street to where my car was parked, I was stopped by Henriette Derby, another friend from Kleinmond, visiting friends in Stanford for the weekend. She introduced me to her friends, Charmaine Lacock’s mother, Nelly van de Poll, and Christine Schwarz also from Kleinmond. Charmaine and her mom, Nelly, recently moved to Stanford and from what I have heard they make the best coffee south of the “equator”. Christine bought one of my books and we had photos taken and what then transpired was so awesome we all ended up having to wipe away some tears! (I lifted these photos of them from their own facebook timelines!)
After big, warm hugs we each went our own way – I to have coffee with Lin Morris, Sarah and Matt at Graze Slow Food Café. More magic and awesomeness! An outing to the village sums up life in Stanford – it’s a life made up of “magic moments” which in the end makes the hard times so much more bearable. A place where you won’t survive by keeping up appearances and pretence. In the words of author Emma Kriel, “What I have come to know and appreciate about Stanford is that here you absolutely have to be yourself.” And as Matt said, just this morning, “That’s what I’m really good at – just being me.”
I also had to stop to take a photo of Ivan May, Jessica Phillips and friends on their way to the shops with babies in strollers and Ivan carrying a rather large cool box.
Only on my way home, two and a half hours since I left it, did I realize what I had written in Nelly’s book. In and between all the hugs and emotion, I wrote: “May you be blessed out of your feet”, in stead of socks! But maybe it’s not such a bad idea after all. May we all live a “winged life” here soaring high on the wings of Love and Life, Forgiveness and Kindness! And may there be many more kuiers for all of us here in this little place under the sun!