An Ode to 2018

Playing with baby hammerheads in the Azores

The clock struck midnight after a long-anticipated countdown into 2018, a few close friends and I sat on the beach welcoming the new year; as people who live near the seaside usually do at the start of a brand new year. The moon was so full and the sky was crispy crystal clear! I decided that a swim would be in order and off into the sea Mona skipped!

a last few dives in Cape Town with Nina

As the water became waist deep I just stopped, looked up and around and finally I didn’t think about anything else but where I was at that exact moment and it was two minutes of blissful mindfulness – it was me, the sea and the sky. It was the perfect opportunity to sneak a few wishes and set some intentions for this fresh year so I gently just asked for change, some extra courage and opened my heart to it. Oh boy oh boy was I heard, maybe it was because the southeasterly wind wasn’t howling for a change!

New years day in Simonstown Cape Town 2018 (Photo stolen from Nina)

This year was so massive! In February change came knocking on our door since I pretty much asked it to pay me a visit and that extra little bit of courage came sprinkled along with it! During this time it was wedding season among friends, peak season at work, time to start planning a move and resign from work. With a tornado welling up in my belly and my head jumping into all directions we started breaking the bittersweet news to the people close to us that we are leaving Cape Town to start a brand new life in Europe.

My Darling bestie Dayna’s wedding day, Photo by – Carla likes photos
Nina’s wedding day

In June I stuck my nose against the aeroplane window to bid Cape Town one last goodbye for a while and off to Portugal I went! After spending two or three days in Lisbon just to recover from the past five months we headed off to Pico island, the Azores to start with a new job and settle into a new home for a little bit more than four months. I learnt about a new culture, I found a new family in a new country and picked up a healthy amount of Portuguese!

Jumping off the wall at Cachorro – Pico island , The Azores
The VIA gang , Pico’s watering hole
Festa’s and friends

I got to dive a whole bunch of new dive sites , I got to hang out with a black Manta for almost 40 minutes, swam with baby smooth hammerheads and blue sharks bigger than me, I made friends with a group of Mobula rays 48miles off Pico island and I got to hang out with them pretty often – don’t even get me started on the turtles! From waking up sleepy stingrays to being chased by triggerfish on dives the Azorean ocean was so kind to me!

a Friendly Mobula and a clingy remora at Princess alice bank
a Juvenile smooth hammerhead

a Big blue in The Azores
It’s always an honor to be allowed in their space

All of the underwater photographs is taken by Marty

I had opportunities to be brave, to prove myself to others and to finally get to do what I have always wanted to do, I find myself so many times pinching myself or rubbing my eyes to make sure that all of this is still real. I surprised myself a lot and did things that I never thought I’d be able to do.

After a busy season in the Azores, we went off to the Netherlands to spend some time with Marty’s family. We now stay in a little home in the back of the garden against the forest and it is still just the best adventure ever! We just recently got back from Spain and Christmas was different from what I’m used to in Cape Town but I loved it so much! It was my first Christmas out of South Africa, it is now going to be my first new years out of Cape Town as well as my upcoming birthday!

Christmas day 2018

I always try and live every year as if it was my best one yet and I do my best not to resent the tough times and bring old grudges or anger into a fresh year. I was put in a few uncomfortable spots this year- I had to adapt, know when to keep quiet and stand my ground when I needed to. a Life of moving around, travelling and adapting is honestly not what you get to see on mine or other peoples social media platforms; homesickness doesn’t come with medicine, watching people back home moving on, achieving milestones and growing without you around to celebrate with them can be a hard bitter pill to swallow. This year made me so strong in so many ways and I can’t imagine a different life right now.

Texel lookout 2018

Dear 2018 – all that I can say is thank you. You’ve shown me kindness in unimaginable places and beautiful people, you taught me bravery and you gave me opportunities to act it out. You gave me space to put myself out there and showed me how to play the game when the ball is in my court. You showed me the magic of the law of attraction and that absolutely anything is possible. You were the year of change, opportunities and growth. I grabbed you with both arms and squished you so tightly and now I will lay you to rest and I will never, ever forget you!

The Forest

To the people of 2018 – Thank You to the ones who stood with me and believed in me, you know exactly who you are. a Massive Thank you to my legend of a husband for unconditionally loving me with all of my little questions and curiosities along the way and for keeping me safe and letting me hang on your back and sharing your air with me under the sea when I went into 20 minutes of deco on that one dive..I’m still sorry but at least we saw a turtle!

Saying good morning to a loggerhead turtle

I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am for 2019!

Happy new year everyone ! May 2019 be nothing but wonderful to you.