Saturday, November 26, 2022

Bits & Bobs

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was very low key. I did not even bother to change out of my sweats like I normally do. I hung out with DS afterwards. Then I binge watched one of my favorite shows, then to bed. I had 5 days to sleep late, but guess who woke up at the crack of dawn every day. By Monday morning my body will ask 'is it really time to get up already' when that alarm goes off. 

I did very very little BF shopping. Only at Kohls. I didn't even set foot inside any of the drugstores. I normally purchase the gcs that earns Bonus Cash or EBs. Then roll the rewards into purchasing BF freebies. I just wasn't feeling it. I even debated with myself about just hitting RA on Thanksgiving morning, but my gut said no. 

The next morning I received a message from SIL that my aunt had passed away on Thanksgiving. I knew that they waited to tell me, because they knew that it's Thanksgiving and didn't want to ruin the day for me. The downside is that I end up getting bad news first thing in the morning, thanks to the time difference (they're 7 hours ahead during fall/winter). This is why I never check my phone in the middle of the night. I know that I won't get any more sleep if I get bad news in the middle of the night. It happened when my mom passed away. So most of the morning was spent dealing with my family. 

I would like to say that whatever I'm writing next, is in no way meant to bash or speak ill of America or it's traditions. I am a proud American! I'm merely trying to explain things (to give my readers a bit more insight so you understand things better), because many of my experiences in SA are vastly different from my experiences here. 

I now understand why I didn't feel like BF shopping. It's because an unexpected expense was coming up (I'm Not physic). In my family, many of us will contribute towards funeral expenses. Funerals are a big deal in South Africa and my family don't believe in cremation. I come from a well respected church family. Cremation is a big No No for us. I never talk about who or what we are, because none of us (my family) let it define who we are as people. We also don't consider ourselves to be in a different category than others. We are just simple middle class folks. I, personally, hated growing up in the public eye. I still do. Please don't get me wrong. I love my family and I'm proud and thankful that we are blessed enough to be able to do God's work here on earth. However, I do not like all the judging we have to endure. People have judged our every word and/or move since before I even started school. They still do, despite me living on a totally different continent. They hold us to a far higher standard, just because of our positions in the church (I'm not gonna lie. There's some perks to being well known though...lol). These are the same people who commit far worse sins, but they will gladly talk about the simplest things that we say or do. I hate it, because I don't go around judging others. This is one of the main reasons why I'm so very private. Besides, we were raised to be private. My family's very proper. We're not boring or prudish though. We are just well mannered and know how to mind our Ps and Qs....lol

Back to the funeral. I always contribute towards my family's funerals. This is not the time for them to have to worry about money, because they need to grieve. We don't have funeral homes in SA and we don't do wakes (more on the wakes later). There will be a memorial service (either at church or at home, depending on how many people are expected). If you don't belong to a church, you have to know someone who will convince their church to bury your loved one. Like I said before, funerals are a big deal. People show up from near & far. People will take the day off work to attend a funeral. My parents had 500+ people (respectively) attend their funerals. That is because of who we are. I know the amount, because I know the church's capacity. We also had full mass complete with communion (communion isn't always served at funerals) and they always count the number of communicants. Then everyone goes to the cemetery. Buses are hired to transport those who don't have cars. After the coffin is lowered into the ground, the attendees will take turns shoveling earth into the hole. Most women will pour a handful of earth into the hole, while the choir sings. It's a very personal experience. We don't have front loaders or backhoes at the cemetery.  The Ex was impressed and had it implemented at his aunt's funeral a few years later. Every funeral he attends, he explains the process to the funeral directors and insist on covering the hole with his family and/or friends.

After the cemetery, everyone goes back to the church hall to eat. The family provides food for everyone. We don't go to a restaurant afterwards. I explained to the Ex that the whole food thing is because funerals are a half day event (like ours) and everyone's hungry after going through the whole process. So besides the expense of the funeral & transportation, you have to feed everyone too. This is why we help each other financially. It's expensive! I would not feel right, knowing that I haven't done my duty. They know that I would give them the shirt off my back. My motto has always been 'Family First'. My mother instilled that value into us. It doesn't matter what our circumstances are. If a family member needs help, we'll be there for them. That's what we were taught. My family have very stubborn pride though. They will never just ask any family member for money. So we all (those who contribute) just offer whatever amount we see fit. I'll have to ask my family if the funeral will be live streamed (most churches started doing that when covid started), so I can watch the funeral online. I'm gonna have to get up in the middle of the night for the service. 

A wake is one thing I don't understand here. Maybe it's just my experience, but I've been to my friend's father's wake too (besides the Ex's family) and it all just seemed like a social gathering to me. I asked him why people were hanging out. Why isn't anyone grieving? I would be crying my little heart out. That's what we do. I was such a mess at my father's memorial service, that I didn't even know who was talking to me half the time. At the funeral, I couldn't even walk down the aisle when the service started. My oldest brother & aunt had to hold me up, because I was hurting so bad. The service itself was a blur to me. I don't understand why people just pay their respects at a wake and not attend the funeral itself. Isn't the funeral the most important part?

Also, when the Ex's uncle died. We went to the funeral home for the service and then straight to a restaurant. This was the first funeral I attended here, so I asked him 'what about the cemetery'. He said his cousin went with the funeral director to cemetery to bury his uncle. This was all very strange to me. I did attend his friend's funeral years ago. It was a full Catholic mass and I felt right at home. I don't know if it's because I'm so familiar with this type of service (our church practices are very similar to Catholics) or because it wasn't held in a funeral home. So maybe different folks have different experiences.

Once again, no real meal plan. There's still too much food that needs to get eaten. We've been eating down the Thanksgiving leftovers. We haven't had ravioli in ages, so I went to Meijer for a bag of frozen ravioli. I will make meat sauce to go with it and we can have salad with that. I'll make more lemon cranberry muffins. I went to Aldi yesterday for bread and carrots and came home with Mocha Mint coffee and cranberries too. Oy vey. The cranberries were 99c and the coffee is actually good. I haven't bought flavored coffee in forever. I've just been adding spices to my coffee for the past few years. I also stopped by Kroger for their sale milk, grapes and oranges. Then I went to the produce market, because I needed kiwi, beets and peppers. I spent under $30 at the produce market (I bought a few other things too). A rare occurrence for me, but we didn't need much. The kiwi was 3/$1 and they were big. I love this stuff. I've just been cherry picking the good sale items at the grocery stores, because we don't need much. 

I only bought bras for myself and an electric razor for DS at Kohls BF sale. The bra low price happens once a year, so I always stock up. I'll have to write a shopping post later this week. 

Speaking of shopping. I hate bloody Amazon!!!! They still haven't shipped all my items. I especially paid shipping (I qualified for free shipping) and almost 2 weeks later they haven't shipped my full order. Last weekend we had high winds and light snow. Something told me to check the front porch on Saturday night (not that I was expecting anything, because I usually get notifications of deliveries). The frigging Amazon driver left 2 lightweight envelopes at the edge of the porch. One ended up in the snow. We have a big porch. They could've placed the envelopes at the front door or in the corner near the door. It's just 2 steps up to the porch, but they were too lazy to do a decent job. Had I not checked, the other envelope could've blown away. 

Then I received the next package earlier this week. It was packing supplies for my Christmas project. The envelope wasn't completely sealed, the inside packaging was  half open and the items reeked of smoke.Ugh! How the heck am I supposed to gift something that reeks of smoke? I do smoke myself (very rarely. As in a pack of smokes can last me over a year. That's how often {j/k} I smoke). However, I do not smoke in the house and never around anything that I sell. So, since I haven't received all the items, I cannot gift this project. Upset, doesn't even begin to describe how I feel. The recipient was supposed to have the items by the end of the month, otherwise the gift doesn't make sense. Now I have to wait for another occasion to gift this. Not cool Amazon. Not cool at all!! Okay, I do have another event in mind. Ugh! I hate when things don't work out. This is why I plan and prep well in advance. So that if there's a hiccup, I still have time to get things fixed or changed. 

Enjoy the rest of the weekend everyone. Stay safe & warm!


19 comments:

  1. I am very sorry for your loss. It is difficult when you are so far away from your family when something like this happens. It is good of you to help where it is necessary. Like you, I believe that is what family does.

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    1. Thank you Lori! It's hard being so far away during times like these, but we make it work thanks to modern technology. Family will always come first to me :)

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  2. South African funerals sound like a very nice way to honour a person's life. I always enjoy leaning about the customs of other cultures. I assume that Christian Reformed churches are plentiful in SA due to the Dutch colonialism? The only South Africans I have met in life were white Dutch people, lol.
    I don't do black Friday shopping. It only really became a thing in Canada maybe 15 years ago. Boxing Day is our big thing. I don't do that either. Made the mistake of going to a mall once on Boxing Day. It was pandemonium. Never again.
    Have a great day.

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    1. I too, enjoy learning about other cultures & customs Theresa. The white Dutch (Afrikaners as they are known in SA) are actually in the minority. Many Dutch holidays and traditions were abolished when Apartheid ended. Like Canada, SA has been a British Commonwealth country for decades, so there are many English churches in SA. The main ones are Catholic, Anglican (Espiscopal as it's called here), Methodist & New Apostolic. We have many British traditions and people here still ask me if I'm British when they hear me speak for the first time...lol I still have an accent after living here for 2 decades.

      I miss Boxing Day. It wasn't a shopping day for us, but more of an extension of Christmas day. Everyone's on summer vacation from December to January. We call it Festive Season. The only BF shopping I do, is online. No way am I going to stand in long lines (I wanted to say queue. I'm sure you know what that means...lol) and fight other shoppers for supposed deals. I've never done that, and never will. I only stop at the drugstores, which are always empty.

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    2. Interesting I always assumed there were many Dutch people in South Africa. I did not realize it was a British Commonwealth country. I always heard Dutch names of leaders growing up like de Klerk and assumed there must be a large Dutch influence. I am going to read up on SA. I imagine life became much different for Afrikaners when apartheid ended. As it should have.
      I do indeed know what a queue is, lol. They are the reason I refuse to shop on Boxing day.

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    3. Also, I was remiss in offering my condolences on the loss of your aunt. I am sorry for your loss.

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    4. The reason you only heard Dutch/Afrikaans names, is because we were still living under Apartheid (segregation). It's the Dutch/Afrikaans South Africans who introduced segregation and are the most racist. Most of the English whites are different. Yes, things are different for Afrikaners since Apartheid ended. Actually, it's just been a reversal of racism in SA since then. Black South Africans (majority) is at the top of the totem pole and the White South Africans at the bottom. Nothing has changed for the rest of our races (Coloreds - not the same as black, Indian, Asian). We're still somewhere in the middle. Things have gone from bad to worse. Blacks are now killing whites to reclaim land they claimed was stolen from them. I don't agree with anyone killing anyone else because of their skin color. It's crazy. Most colored (people of mixed race like myself) will tell you that we were far better off under the apartheid regime. I hear this from my friends all the time. There's not much hope for a future in the country for today's youth. It's sad, because they have such a naturally beautiful country. South Africa used to be the USA of Africa. They were once the wealthiest country in Africa (world's biggest producer of gold & diamonds) and everyone and their mother wanted to live in SA. There's so much more to tell. I might have to do a post to show my beautiful city (Cape Town) and how we really live. Most people would be surprised.

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    5. Thank you for your condolences. Much appreciated.

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    6. I would love to read a post about Cape Town. Hope you have a relaxing weekend.

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  3. I'm sorry for your loss. Here in the middle of the US, in our small community, we have "Visitation" the evening before the funeral. Not everyone can take off of work for a funeral, so will come see the family at the funeral home. The next day is the funeral, burial and meal.
    I probably would not participate in helping to cover the coffin. To me the loved one is in Heaven and their earthly body is residing here until we are glorified at Jesus' 2nd coming. Just my belief. :)
    Other subject: we did do some Black Friday shopping but I have downsized my Christmas giving to the family as times are getting tougher. They are all getting something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. One person each year from our out-of-state family gets the "big gift." Something they want above the budget amount but that is all they get. I hunt for sales and usually find that item on a good sale.

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    1. Thank you Kay. I completely agree with the loved one being in heaven. The soul is far more important than the earthly body and it leaves the body the minute you die. We are on the same page where that is concerned. However, if having a funeral brings my family a little more comfort, then I will gladly help them. I've struggled with losing my father for years, so I know how hard it is.

      I've also downsized my Christmas. There's only 2 people to shop for this year (DS & my friend). I've purchased DS's gifts on sale too and I will pick up some gcs for his teachers. I actually spent less than I normally do on DS this year, so that's a win.

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  4. I am so sorry for your loss.

    I don't do Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping. Just can't be bothered fighting crowds.

    God bless.

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    1. Thank you Jackie! I only do a little BF shopping online.

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  5. My sincere condolences for your loss! It was interesting to read in your post about funerals, and especially about family help in this matter!
    Kiwi is the only fruit I know that causes me stomach discomfort. I don't know why. Pity, as it's such a healthy, tasty fruit!

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    1. Thank you Duta! I'm sorry to hear that kiwi doesn't agree with you.

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  6. I'm sorry for your loss. In our family, we do a celebration of life. We are not religious, and honor the request of the family member as to whether they have a church service or just a celebration of life. My grandmother, for example, requested a church service and was a very active member of the church. My grandfather was very against the church service, and just wanted a celebration of life. To each their own. Both of my parents have very clear wishes as well. One wants a celebration of life, the other wants nothing of any kind. We will likely do a small family trip to spread their ashes instead.

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    1. Thank you HP! A celebration of life sounds very interesting. I just googled it. I like to learn about the different ways people around the world do things. It's fascinating. Some things might seem strange to me at first, but I'm always open to learning. I like that your parents have given clear instructions about their wishes.

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  7. Oh, & I didn't do much shopping this year either. I skipped Rite Aid for the first time in at least a decade. They had nothing I wanted enough to leave the house for. I bought a Starbucks gift card online (came with a $5 reward) & two new pair of running shoes. I also took advantage of a deal on court shoes (tennis courts) for Nick, because they were having a big sale, & those shoes are $$$.

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    1. This is the first year that I've skipped the drugstores. I just didn't need any more candy. Oh man. I totally wanted to do the Starbucks deal, then totally forgot. I'm a Dunkin girl, but I learned that you can buy Starbucks merchandise with a gc. I love the Starbucks insulated tumblers. I used to buy mugs & tumblers regularly when they had an online store years ago. I'm glad I picked up some cool things back then, because it's hard to find these days. The insulated cups are great for coffee on the go. I'll keep searching.

      I haven't been able to find my brand of running shoes. Thankfully, I found it earlier this year and bought 3 pairs. But I've noticed that the quality is not what it used to be, so it wears out fast. I'm glad you found everything you needed at a great price!

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