The other day, our electric kettle packed up, and because it costs more to have the element repaired or replaced than to buy a new electric kettle, we decided to purchase a new one.
Satisfied with our purchase, we left the grocery store and went home. We couldn’t wait to use our new electric kettle for the first time, so we were very excited to get home.
The first thing Des did as soon as he was in the kitchen was to open up the box which contained the kettle. But after opening it and packing ot the kettle, he found no plug for it. This infuriated him of course, because if we didn’t have the plug for it, it would be of no use to us as it can obviously not work without the plug. This also meant that we had to drive all the way back to the store to hold the staff accountable for the condition in which the item purchased was delivered to us.
It wasn’t the fact that we had to go back to the store in itself that bothered Des so much. To him, it was more about the time he’d have to waste, because he needed time to do some work which he brought home from the office and which needed to be completed before the next day.
When we got to the store, I stayed in the car, because it was near the end of the day, and I really didn’t feel like witnessing a fight, even if it was for a just cause. I don’t know if someone else can identify with this, but sometimes, I simply don’t feel like witnessing or taking part in any confrontations. This is quite contrary to the sort of personality type that’s being described as feisty, i think … But anyway, sometimes I’d rather take a backseat andleave others who have the strength to fight to do the fighting (despite having been described as confrontational in the past).
So he told the staff and the security that he got the kettle without the plug, upon which they informed him that the plug was inside the ketle. They also told him that he is not the first client to return to them with such a complaint, but that they unfortunately had to place the plugs inside the new kettles, because some people steal it out of the box and then they leave the kettle behind.
When we got home, we immediately had coffee made with boiled water from our new kettle. as we were waiting for the water to boil, we noticed that the light the kettle gives when it is switched on is blue. It’s the first time we own and saw a kettle that shines a blue light, and all of us think it’s pretty cool that the colour is blue for a change instead of the usual colours red or yellow.
The blue light makes Des and our son think of police vehicle lights, while it somehow reminds me of the blue star featured in Narnia III.
Des was still angry, but not at the staff this time. No, he was mad at himself, because he wasted time going to the store while the plug has been there all along and right in front of him … I comforted him though, reminding him that did so because he didn’t know where to look for it.
But don’t all of us do something like that some time in our life? I’m not necessarily talking about not looking in all the right places for physical stuff only; I’m talking about looking for answers to questions we have as well.
We all know that we can find many answers to questions we may have on Google, and we also know that not all questions can be googled, such as why life is so blooming unfair sometimes, or why some people just love to knowingly cause hurt and affliction to others, and so on and so forth.
Sometimes, the answer to a particular question or a particular something we’re looking for is right in front of us. The only thing standing between us and the answer or thing we want and discovering its good characteristics for which we didn’t necessarily bargain is our ignorance: we don’t know where (or sometimes even how) to look for it. Sometimes, all we have to do to save ourselves the trouble of looking for it in a place far away is to look right in front of us …  Many times, the answer is just … right there …



Today is the last day of the second school term in South Africa. Usually, when the schools close for the school holidays, we go to my mother’s on the last day of the week to fetch our daughter, but this won’t be happening this weekend due to my husband’s obligations and duties at work. He will be working this weekend, including tomorrow, so there goes our plans to have her with us for the entire school holiday! L

Seeing that I have no work to do for any clients from home, entertaining her and spending some quality time with her during the day while my husband is working and her little brother is attending preschool wouldn’t have been a problem for me at all! I was really looking forward to doing exactly that for the entire school holiday, and it’s really not as if we don’t need some mother-daughter time together!

Not only do I feel disappointed; I’m also impatient to see her, because I really miss her! This only builds upon my impatience.

On top of that, my little brother is turning eighteen tomorrow, so we won’t be able to celebrate his special day with him. True, at that age, teens want their friends around, but it would’ve been so nice to see him face to face and wish him a happy birthday where he is able to physically see me and return my hugs.

I guess I just have to get over it, hey? Because it won’t help me to complain about it. I think you can understand my frustration, disappointment, and motherly impatience though …


I never thought I’d ever say this, but I’m actually at a point in my life where I can say with all honesty and sincerity and without being ungrateful for what I have that I’m tired of change! Three years ago, I wouldn’t have said something like this, because I didn’t think it was possible to develop an aversion to change, but after having gone through so many transitions during the past two years, my prayers and wishes went from praying and hoping for a change to praying and wishing for stability, because change and instability have come to be synonymous terms to me, although I’m aware that they are not one and the same thing technically speaking.

During the course of last week, my husband was offered employment by a private security company that provides security and protection services to its clients. It doesn’t compete with the business of his current employer, which is into the business of security solutions. Security solutions and services is not one and the same thing. Security solutions deal with the installation of cameras, alarms, and tracking devices, while security services involve the protection of people and their property.

After thinking about it a lot and having considered many factors which I will not mention here as that can come down to the violation of the confidentiality clause which my husband has signed with his current employer, my husband decided to accept the offer, and yesterday he handed in his resignation letter.

This means that we have to look for other accommodation during the days and weeks to follow, and to me, that’s a tedious job! However, it’s not half as bad as having to move!

Although moving is tiring, that’s not the only thing about it that concerns me. Besides us having to adapt to our new environment and my husband’s new working hours, we also have children who will be affected ONCE AGAIN by this transition. The eldest, who is eight years old, is currently staying with my parents due to the transport issues we had when she went to grade 1 last year, and we don’t want to disrupt her by having her move in with us while we’re still in the process of getting on our feet and stabilizing, so she won’t be affected as badly as her brother. He’s four now and has just settled into a great English preschool here in Fourways. Now we have to find him a pre-school to which he can go so that he will be properly stimulated during the day, which means that we’ll have to keep asking and looking around as we don’t know the vicinity where my husband will be working, and thus, we don’t know of a good preschool to which we can send him which will be close to the place to which we will be moving so he can settle in as soon as possible after our move to the new home. Of course, there is also the transportation to and from his preschool which is a matter of grave concern to me. I can’t have him transported by uber every day, so I hope to God someone can help me find transport facilities appropriate for the transportation of your child.

I know that we have to find a place to rent first before worrying about my son’s future preschool and his transportation to and from the preschool, but these thoughts worry me nevertheless. What frustrates me even more is that I’m not sure where to start asking for help, so I feel powerless to do anything about this. I’m not saying that there’s no hope though. I’m just saying that not knowing where to start makes me feel powerless.

I guess all of this means that it’s off to yet another freaking change in our lives for us! I’m not mad at my husband for taking the offer though. I’m really just sick of not knowing more or less what the near future holds for us. I know that none of us can say for sure what tomorrow holds or if we’ll live to see the next day, but from experience, I’ve learnt that it helps a lot to know that at least someone in the family has a stable and steady job and that there are little prospects of future financial difficulty which might require restructuring and retrenchments. It really does make a difference, because it gives you and your children a stable platform to function and develop.


This article first appeared here: http://jasmijn31.thoughts.com/posts/the-freedom-to-hug and was amended.


Ok! Ok! I admit without any sense of shame, remorse or guilt that I AM A HUGGER! I love handing out hugs, and on days like today, I wish the people I want to give a hug were large and soft teddies, because teddies have no hang-ups receiving a hug from anyone, and because it feels so good to hold one! They always feel so soft, and yes, I also admit that holding one does make me feel like I’m being comforted. It’s not that I would actually look for a teddy in my daughter’s room to hug it for the sake of finding comfort when she’s not there or when I’m alone at home. However, I found myself feeling that way when I do hold a large teddy in my arms, although I realize that a teddy really is supposed to be just a thing – a toy meant for kids or a decoration in a child’s room, and not a pacifier for an adult. It’d be interesting to hear the opinion of an expert in psychology about this, but anyway, the point I’m trying to get across is that the freedom to hug anyone whenever and wherever I wanted to would’ve made it so much easier for me to express myself.


So what is it that stops huggers like myself from just going to someone and giving him/her a hug whenever we feel like it? Actually, there is more than just one restriction on this freedom, and I will list some of them below:


  1. Respect For the Person


I’ve heard from many people that they don’t like to be hugged. Various reasons may exist for this refusal, for example, some people have a phobia for germs, so they don’t like being hugged by somebody for fear that they’d accumulate a cold, flu, pneumonia, or some other disease, because they don’t know with whom the person associated themselves earlier that day.


There are people who just don’t like physical contact at all, so they don’t give out hugs, neither do they like to receive them.


I also know a minister who wouldn’t let any female member of his congregation hug him, and the reason he’s given will be discussed later in this article. However, although I think this is a bit far-fetched, I respect his view, and so should anyone who is a hugger, because you simply can and should not make another person feel forced or obliged to receive your hug when there’s a possibility that the person doesn’t like to be hugged! The reason is that you’re actually invading the private and personal space of someone else, and if you know he/she doesn’t like to be hugged but you embrace him/her just to prove a point, it proves that you have no respect or regard for another person’s feelings, views or personal preferences. Shame on you!


  1. Hugs Can Solicit Actions Harmful to Existing Relationships


Hugs can give rise to feelings such as physical attraction and may even solicit sexual thoughts and desires, which is not a bad thing in itself if the two persons engaging in the hug are both free or in a serious relationship with each other, but which is indeed a bad thing if it happens between two persons who are in a committed relationship with someone else.


Now, we all know how many ministers have fallen just by engaging in extra-marital affairs, and this was also the reason given by the minister to which I referred in the previous paragraph for his policy not to hug any female member of his congregation.


My opinion on the matter is that not all hugs between two people ALWAYS solicit sexual thoughts and/or desires. Many times, a hug stems from a person’s spontaneous reaction which does not necessarily have something to do with physical attraction. It can, for example, not be said that someone who is glad to see a friend or a minister whom she hasn’t seen in quite a while feels sexually attracted to him or that he’ll feel sexually attracted to her if she literally leaps towards him with her arms wide open and embraces him. She may do it simply because she’s glad to see him. In my humble opinion, which I don’t intend to force down anyone else’s throat, it’s quite an absurd and gross generalisation to say that all hugs by members of the opposite sex will or does solicit sexual desires! However, by saying this, I’m not denying the fact that it has happened in the past that a hug led to other things which had a drastic and harmful effect on people’s personal lives and/or careers due to the violation and even the termination of marriages and other relationships.


  1. The Sick World We Live in


We all know that this world is filled with sick people who can appear to give an innocent hug to someone else, but who have hidden agendas because of the depravity of their minds. I classify child rapists and -molesters in this category!


Due to these incidents, schools often implement a no-touching policy between teachers and children. It’s actually sad that children’s need to be touched (hugged) have to make room for no-touching policies due to the existence of sick people! Isn’t it? However, I understand the ratio behind it.


  1. Fear of Rejection


Many people who like to hug others often don’t do so because they fear being rejected by a prospective recipient. Very often, this fear of rejection is the end result of instances of rejection in the past.


  1. Environmental Circumstances


Many times, people don’t want to hug other people as an expression of love or comfort simply because it’s too hot.


  1. Self-awareness


I’m sure that everyone who smells like sweat during a very hot summer day or after long hours of work in the sun can feel very self-conscious about the way he/she feels and smells, so he/she frankly tells you, “I’m not going to hug you because I’m sweaty and dirty.” To me, it’s not nice hugging a person who’s all sticky because of sweat anyway, so I appreciate it if another hugger tells me this.


In conclusion, I have to add that, due to following these restrictions, I found myself feeling stupid on more than one occasion, because I don’t know exactly how to handle it when I find myself in a situation where I know that someone needs to be comforted and/or consoled, but I cannot express my empathy or love with a hug! Nevertheless, I remain with the person to let him/her know that I’m there, because sometimes just being there for someone can mean so much more than the speaking of many words.


I have drawn the conclusion that a hug is a comforting tool which should always be used with absolute caution and wisdom.