Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy Birthday to me!

Double fest today! My Birthday and my 3rd Anniversary of my blog, so the day can't go wrong anymore! :-)
And the sun is shining, we haven't had that in a long time either!!

I celebrated already all weekend, because Dirk had to go to Europe for a week last night, and having your Bday on a Monday when most of my friends work, it's easier to celebrate big over the weekend!

And since you know me by now.... we celebrate BIG!! Not only did we celebrate my Bday, but we also had a goodbye party of one of my best friends Tehmina and her family. They are moving to London, and we are all pretty sad about that. So it was a weekend full of emotions!! We had a braai/BBQ at the Rhino & Lion park, we did this before, but if you live freely amongst the wild animals you have to celebrate amongst them as well! And in the evening we had a party at my house, and since we have a full bar, we made some nice cocktails again :-)

44 years ago I was just a tiny baby, born 6 weeks too early, although you can't see that here on this picture anymore.. LOL!
No clue at that point what life would hold for me, and that I would travel so much... just a happy little camper, living in the South of Holland. Becoming soon a big sister to 2 younger brothers.

I got pretty spoiled by my hubby today, he bought me a Swiss classic, Ebel watch with 54 diamonds!! Pretty nice!! Something I wanted already for a while, but could never decide which one I liked best...

The girls gave me some yummy chocolates and drawings, so sweet! The chocolates I have to share they told me :-)
Oh well, that is fine with me!! LOL

But before I forget I also started 3 years ago on this day my blog. I can't believe that I already posted 520 stories in those last 3 years. My readers (incl. 95 followers - Thank You!) are now officially from the whole world, you can see on the left hand side the stats. 195 countries and about 525 people visit me daily!! That is pretty amazing to me! I know there are blogs out there who have a gigantic reader group, but for just a family blog, I find this pretty cool!! How the world has changed in connecting with each other, via Facebook, Twitter and blogs. I heard somewhere that there are 350 million blogs out there, so if people can find me with my Funky Doodle Donkey and just my daily ramblings of our lives here in Joburg, that is pretty amazing!!

If you google the names JJ & Jezz, or Funky Doodle Donkey in IMAGES you will get hundred of pictures of my blog, so the girls are more famous (or infamous) than me!! When they told this at school, the other kids didn't understand why they didn't see a picture of themselves when they googled their name... LOL Well, your mom has not a blog!! I don't know if this is a good or bad thing, but it is there no matter what. In this world of electronic recording... you can't live without anymore and it only will go further and further!!

And as I wrote the last anniversaries... the people who I have met through my blog is just too cool for words, such a nice group of friends they have become. Living on the other side of the world, but meeting the nicest people and keeping in touch over all those 3 years, that is so great to me!!

Thank you all for following me, staying in touch via FB or emails. Meeting each other in real life, which is the BEST!! and just commenting on my ramblings, inspiring me with your blogs. Life = good!!

Have a Marvelous Monday!.... I know I will :-)

Friday, January 28, 2011

~ Flapper hat girls ~

You know I am always on the look-out for unique, groovy, sassy, swanky, hip, bright, bold & funky stuff that gives you the wiggles & giggles! From there to here, from here to there, Funky things are everywhere!

So now I found these totally cute, adorable and sassy flapper hat girls made from felt and embroidery by Yali Paz-Gilboa. She is a full time Israeli artist, a wife and a mother to a 1,5 year old baby. She lives near Tel-Aviv and thinks New York is a city in where inspiration is entangled with everything: movies, people, places. Being free is key to everything she does and her art is, she says “meditation, passion, soul”.
Her brooches – the flapper ones especially- have some highly evocative power attached to them, something able to take us back to the magic of cities like New York in the roaring 20s.

People like her always inspire me to make more cute things, I LOVE handmade gifts!! But I just don't have the patience myself to make a lot, some days I get inspired.. a lot, and then some creative juices flow through my body and I have to make something, but most of the time I just get bored after an hour or so.... and then well, not much was made :-(

But then luckily there is ETSY, an online shop were only handmade stuff is sold and you can just buy it with 1-click.... IF you live in any other country than South Africa, since the mail doesn't get delivered here... they simply steal and open packages when they feel there is something in it.... so sad I am about this part of SA!! (Although the hubby is probably happy to save some cash... ;-)

But look below and drool over these gorgeous handmade jewels!! I just Love, Love, Love them!!

Her latest addition is Frida Khalo, how gorgeous! Look at the details!

She has her own website and ETSY shop, so check her out!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

~ Albino children ~

When I go into town I see often this Albino girl, she must be in her young twenties or late teens. Since she is mostly alone and kind of always gives me a sad impression. It is quite an odd sight, to see such a white 'black' person. Her features are clearly black but then she is completely white. I wondered how the locals look upon her and I did some research... I mean it is not easy being an outsider wherever you are, but as an albino child you are even more an outsider in a community where 90% of the locals are black!

Even today, albinos in South Africa face widespread prejudice and discrimination. Rejected by both the black and white communities, they struggle to find their place in society. And every time I see this Albino girl walking in town, you can see that she is not living an easy life! Sad....

Look at this video and pictures below! I wish that the world would better understand and give these children a break!

"Some women spit when they see me. They think albinism is contagious and that will stop them catching it", confides albino Ntswaki. Both her parents are black but because of her white skin her father rejected her at birth. "I feel I am in strange place -- not white enough, not black enough."

Click on this link to see a video of Ntswaki, a girl who lives in Soweto:

Life is tough enough as an albino, but here in Africa, in most African countries, they still believe in Witch craft, that makes it even worse!

Albino girl beheaded in South Africa.

An 11-year old albino girl was killed and beheaded in Swaziland because there is a belief that body parts of albinos are good for curing many diseases. It seems this albino girl (albinos are those who do not have any pigments in their eyes, hair or skins) was returning from the river with her friends when a man caught her, shot her and cut off her head. There have been an earlier instance of the hand of an albino girl being cut off and a person was caught in Tanzania trying to sell a live albino man. Witches and wizards are fine for Harry Potter and friends but not in real life. Those who practice such rituals should have the death sentence reserved for them.

Not the most uplifting story today, but I feel we need to pay attention to the less fortunate in life and think and do something about the widespread prejudice and hopefully with an article like this that people understand that albinos are normal people with normal feelings and we should stop judging and treating them with respect and dignity!!

Have a good day y'all!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

~ Soweto Chic ~

As I showed you yesterday some local music, today you can see some local street style fashion. Shot in the bros of Soweto, here some indie designers who work their magic. Cool - uber urban - funky!

I don't take any credit for these photograph, the source is here.

But it also reminds me of another blog that is from a friend of mine, she is South African, or at least that is where I met her first, and she moved to Bangkok to study. Her blog is about street fashion and the name is The Capital of Cool. If you like street fashion and innovative photography, check the blog out, it is indeed COOL! (and the girls have the same hairdo, which is probably not a coincidence, it is fashionable and the trend right now here in SA and in Bangkok!!

So what do you think of this fashion? Do you see these styles also in your neighborhoods??

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

POGO ~ Joburg Jam

I like to show you some scenes and music from around Johannesburg or Joburg as we call it.

Imagine being able to capture the astounding sites and beautiful sounds of travel through one fun and easy-to-listen to song. Sound crazy? Well, say hello to Pogo’s Word Remix project.

Australian based DJ/remixer Pogo, went recently to Johannesburg, South Africa, to make music from real life scenes. The result is a clever reshaping of out-of-context noises and rhythms that are glued together seamlessly to tell a completely new story altogether. That is what Joburg is all about, an eclectic mix of people, sounds, culture... so vibrant and cool!

The Funky Donkey likes to keep you updated on the cool things around, things that make you wiggle & giggle :-)
Do you have such a cool music coming from your city?? Share it with me!

Have a Terrific Tuesday!
Mireille xx

Monday, January 24, 2011

~ Friends ~

Friends care, Friends share, We need friends Everywhere!

Taken at one of our Xmas parties, the girls having fun with lots of friends. Did you notice the new trend they are setting... colored hair extensions!
Jasmine has an orange one and Juliet a purple one, another way to keep them apart :-)

Enjoy the first day of the week...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

the ability to enjoy...

Sunday evening, time for a bath... but the girls can make every event a FUN event!

Look at them, lounging in the bath tub with a naked Barbie and an empty shampoo bottle having the time of their life!

Being 8 is not bad :-)

Have a nice end of the weekend!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Being a global nomad....

Since living abroad already since I was 20 years old, I feel more like a world citizen than as a typical Dutch person. As a child I already knew that I wouldn't stay in Holland, it was just too small and cramped for me. So the first opportunity to go abroad for me was when I was 20. I moved to the USA for a one year au-pair agreement I made with a lovely family in Brielle, New Jersey. That trip gave me the travel bug for sure, if I didn't have it already....

So when I moved back to Holland and I met Dirk (yes, we are 20 years together!) almost immediately after I told him I want to travel the world, so if he liked to keep dating me he better travel with me... and he did and since we have been living in 6 countries: Spain (Canary Islands ~ Tenerife & Lanzarote) Greece (Rhodes), USA (Eugene, Oregon) back to Holland for a few years, got married and moved to Thailand (Jomtien), USA (Ridgefield, Connecticut) and now in South Africa (Johannesburg).

So you can see not only 6 different countries, also 4 different continents... with different cultures, languages, food, religions, driving on different sides of the road, shopping labels and traffic signs not in your language, many many different aspects you have to adjust to each time you move. Get a new doctor, dentist, ob-gyn, new school, get used to new shops and leaving behind the brands of food you are used to, new hairdresser etc.. etc..

However we got good at these adjustments of cultural changes, but each move it takes time... and you need to be patient to give yourself that time to get used to, feel at home in your new home, your new neighborhood, new friends.

So below is a list I found on the internet that will help you make that transition to your new place and I will give you an example how we experienced it or feel about it.

Factors Important to Successful Intercultural Adjustments

Open Mindedness... The ability to keep one's opinions flexible and receptive to new stimuli seems to be important to intercultural adjustment. Especially the first time you move abroad you have to understand that not everybody does the things in the same way you are used to. But remember each country has their reasons why they do it a specific way, normally you will figure this out after a while, but keep an open mind!

Sense of Humor... A sense of humor is important because in another culture there are many things which lead one to weep, get angry, be annoyed, embarrassed, or discouraged. The ability to laugh off things will help guard against despair. Think to yourself about it in this way: Do I laugh about this in 6 months or cry?? Most of the time it is annoying at the moment, but later you can laugh about the incident.

Ability to Cope with Failure... The ability to tolerate failure is critical because everyone fails at something overseas. Persons who go overseas are often those who have been the most successful in their home environments and have rarely experienced failure, thus, may have never developed ways of coping with failure. This is so true, but you are leaving your comfort zone and chances that somethings go wrong is so much bigger than back at home, just realize that you are not the only one!

Communicativeness... The ability and willingness to communicate one's feelings and thoughts to others, verbally or non-verbally, has been suggested as an important skill for successful intercultural communicators. Yes, friends become like an extended family, since you don't have your mother, sister around, you need to learn to share more and deeper feelings with your friends, otherwise you go kooko! Why do you think I started a blog?? LOL

Flexibility and Adaptability... The ability to respond to or tolerate the ambiguity of new situations is very important to intercultural success. Keeping options open and judgmental behavior to a minimum describes an adaptable or flexible person. Do as the Romans do when in Rome... you have to adapt to your host country, life just becomes a lot easier!!

Curiosity... Curiosity is the demonstrated desire to know about other people, places, ideas, etc. This skill or personality trait is important for intercultural travelers because they need to learn many things in order to adapt to their new environment. Agree: you can't live your life like you did in your home country and not being interested in the people around you, that is the beauty of living in different places, to figure out and experience how other people live. But I see many expats around me that try to stay in their own bubble... they will never adjust and have a happy time!

Positive and Realistic Expectations... It has been shown frequently that there are strong correlations between positive expectations for an intercultural experience and successful adjustment overseas. Isn't that the attitude you have to have wherever you are? Even in your home country! Be positive and make the best of your life, wherever you are!!

Tolerance for Differences and Ambiguities... A sympathetic understanding for beliefs or practices differing from one's own is important to successful intercultural adjustment. That is a big one as a life lesson for my children, I love that in their short lives they already run into so many different cultures and customs. No school can give them that experience!

Positive Regard for Others... The ability to express warmth, empathy, respect, and positive regard for other persons has been suggested as an important component of effective intercultural relations. Again here, I find that is an important lesson in life regardless where you live!

A Strong Sense of Self... A clear, secure feeling about oneself results in individuals who are neither weak nor overbearing in their relations with others. Persons with a strong sense of themselves stand up for what they believe but do not cling to those beliefs regardless of new information, perspectives, or understandings which they may encounter. Indeed, you are sometimes a minority and if you have a low self esteem this experience by living abroad will not help, so be a leader and not a follower. Lead your own life! There will always be people who have a bigger house, bigger car, are more beautiful than you are. But it is not important what you have, it is important that you live in the moment and enjoy your circumstances. Make the most of it! It is a wonderful life!

Another point that I find is really important but not on this list.... Before we moved to Thailand we had a culture shock course and the teacher told us that the key to success is to learn/speak the language of your host country. We did that; of all the countries we lived in we either spoke the language or learned it, and it does make a difference!

Well... if you ever move to another country or even move states or across your own country, there are a lot of valid points in here that count for you as well.

Have you ever moved far away and find that you ran into these points??
Tell me about your moves and experiences!

Have a Super Sunday!

If you think....

You had a heavy day at work... think again and check out these peoples daily job!

These are photographs taken by Alain Delorme, a French photographer. He calls the series Totems.

How amazing are these pictures!? For those who have never been to China, you probably think this is crazy, and it actually is! In his “Manufactured Totems” series Alain Delorme, captures the portrait of the insignificant jobs present in everyday life in Shanghai. Even though the Chinese society usually fascinates by its delusions of grandeur, he chooses to focus on the individuals running/buzzing about the city.

Men and women perched on their bikes cross the images as they go all over town, without ever settling in. They are migrants coming from all over China, the heart of the new “world factory”.

These men become then heroes, whose force is increased tenfold. We believe them able of all the feats, maintaining the unpredictable balance of their bizarre burdens with dexterity.

Like the new Realists, Alain Delorme shows subtly a part of reality and offers it a usually unnoticed meaning. The ephemeral and instable piles become sculptures, real works of art. These objects, by nature reproducible and interchangeable, seem to acquire an almost sacred status. But of what these “Made in” products are the totems?

The urban space is permanently developing, relentlessly. The skyscrapers invade the city and rise always higher, such as new totems, always more remarkable, always more impressing. The race here is not only the one of the men in the city, but also the one of the city towards its future.

With a look full of humor and poetry, Alain Delorme settles us in the heart of the new “Chinese dream”. Far from a hymn to materialism, these images, putting forward the overabundance of the objects, tend to the absurd and let catch a glimpse of the complexity of a country reinventing itself. Between dream and reality, these pictures turn upside down the scales of values and blur the border between the visible and the invisible.
Text by Raphaële Bertho.

WOW! Impressive! I wish I could take pictures like that!


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