Monday, June 08, 2009


Sorry I've been so quiet, this weekend was the sudden return-to-reality that I tend to get whacked with when I get back from fieldwork... I haven't been sleeping well because I'm not used to the noise of the city (even in my peaceful and leafy suburb) and because I've been flying through Green Wing, which I finished watching now and I'm at a loss for what to start next. Suggestions?

So anyway besides dozing off periodically, taking epic naps and falling asleep on my feet, I spent time with friends, went back to work and basically had a nice laid-back weekend. The weird coincidence was that I got a message last week from someone I hadn't spoken to in years.

We were at the same school, but in different years, so our mothers knew each other from school functions, and we had the same music-teacher and so we were put into our first orchestras at the same time (I think she started a year or so after me, I started at 10, and for my first concert I didn't know anyone, which made it rather scary!)

For our first few years in various orchestras (we were in our school orchestra together as well as the local junior orchestra) we were an absolute nightmare for conductors. We giggled constantly, played practical jokes, and often had contests where we would see who could play correctly with more bubble-gum n their mouths (wild-cherry flavour was the best, and I still can't eat it without feeling mildly ill as I remember the record-breaking 12 packs at one time from 1997).

The orchestra community is horribly cliquey, and this extends to children's groups, so there were two 'cool groups' one of them run by the two of us, and the other run by two horrible girls called Alexis and Whitney. We would audition every year for our orchestra and seating placement (you sit closer to the front if you're better than the others) and one year I did pretty well and moved up into the Youth Orchestra, while she stayed back in the junior orchestra for another year.

I doubt we were any different ability-wise, but I played the viola, while she played the violin, so I think I was more in demand, plus I was older and getting closer to the end of high-school and so they wanted to get me into Youth a bit faster. Either way as it happened, I went through, along with one friend who was desperately shy and didn't actually talk, and Alex and Whitney and their entire little group.

It was horrible! It took me almost a year to settle down, the music was difficult, the people were mean because you can't be a cool clique unless you exclude somebody and I was all alone there. it got better after a few months when a new violist arrived and we made friends very quickly and so we began to form a whole new gang, and by the time I was too old to be in the youth orchestra I was very sad to leave.

Anyway the girl I hadn't seen in ages was promoted up to the youth orchestra after a year or two, but by then we'd kind of grown apart. She'd moved schools in the interim and I hardly ever saw her, and as the baby orchestras performed first at every concert and we performed at the end, I don't think we'd spoken for ages. We stayed friendly, but not really close at all, and when I finished and went to university we kind of lost touch.

So anyway on Thursday or so I got a message from her asking if I remembered her and to see what I was up to. As it happens she's off doing community service (a year of community service is required for all health-science professions, two years if you're a doctor) in the middle of nowhere and was coming back this weekend. As she studied in Cape Town she doesn't know many people in Joburg and so she figured she'd get in touch.

We went for brunch on Sunday and it was awesome! As it happens, she's living in the middle of nowhere about two towns away from the middle of nowhere where I do my fieldwork! It was really nice to chat, particularly as she's as shell-shocked to be back in Joburg as I am and we were able to commiserate over the headaches, nosebleeds and insomnia that come with coming home. She also goes into Nelspruit quite often to use equipment at the hospital and to get meat (apparently she has a grocery store near her, but their meat selection is limited to feet, beaks and bones, heaven only knows what they do with the rest of their animals) so we know the same part of the world pretty well which lead to lots of

"And then you go and there's the two women in the car-"
"With the choc-chips! And then the people by the-"
"orange farm with the tractor! and the guy who takes his shirt off and-"
"He drives the tractor down the highway! Who is he?"
"He makes the broken-pot water-features things they sell them-"
"Oh I know that pace, I think they're quite pretty although the-"
"Guy with the shotgun is insane!"

And so on. It was very cool.

And now I'm so excited to go back on fieldwork because there's someone I can coordinate with so we can have shopping/town trips at the same time and coffee...


po said...

Woah how cool, and you didn't even find each other via Facebook, how quaint ;)

sarah said...

seems like that would make the world of difference, hels! yay! yay for old friends!

Candice said...

Good for you!

And I have to agree with Po! Reconnecting with old friends without using Facebook is rather quaint!

EEbEE said...

I've remained pretty close to my friends from school. We had a small class (25 or so) so it's easier. I see 5 of them quite regularly in Pmb (almost every week) and we have a class reunion every 2nd year to meet up with the ones from further away.

The friends you make at school are quite unique i find. (not better or worse than others but definitely a different category)...does that make sense?