Nives Schabort and family, from Cape Town, tell the story of their annual do in the Karoo. Once a year, over the June/July holidays, we invite friends and their families to our farm in the Karoo. We tell them to bring along proper black-tie attire – suits, heels, ties, the works. The first time we told our guests to do this they thought we were joking, but we were dead serious. So on one night of the holidays, everyone has to dress up and we have a formal dinner: The Karoo Experience. There is proper French champagne, great food and everyone has a turn to speak. The first year, we weren’t sure exactly how it was going to work and everyone had to get involved.
But it worked! We thought we would have a lot of push-back with people saying, No, I’m not comfortable, so we had a place-mat with words on it and we said, Okay, just pick a word and make a speech using that. We wanted to provide the opportunity for all the kids to stand up and hone these important skills in front of a sympathetic audience. Where else can they get a chance to stand up and speak in front of their peers and successful older people who have only their best interests at heart? As the night progressed, those who’d initially had reservations about speaking were asking for second and third turns! We’ve had the most amazing, inspirational ideas and thoughts come out of it. There’s no theme; it can be anything – a speech, a poem or even a joke – as long as everyone takes their turn. Each year one of the children takes a turn at being MC. We have a list of prepared items that they need to fit in and they shuffle them to fit between the courses as they think best. We usually have a lamb on the spit, and braziers outside to keep warm. The girls decorate the tables with items they find in the Karoo – beautiful pieces of wood, birds’ nests, stones with candles on them. Monika, Margaret and Marek Niedzwiedzcy are based in New York and Poland. My family (Mum, Dad and I) is obsessed with travel and we are always on our way to or from somewhere for business or leisure. Every time we’re on a flight, we let one another know which seat we’re in.
It’s the one simple thing we do to make sure we can place each other in time and space at a particular moment. It’s like, Hey I’m sitting in 6D and it’s a Boeing 767!’ It’s just fun and lighthearted. Another little reinvented tradition that goes back to our travel obsession funnily enough, my parents met while travelling – is to say, I wish you travel’ when someone sneezes, instead of I wish you health,’ which is what we usually say in Polish. As a kid I thought that was how it was; I’d constantly wish people travel’ until I figured it out one day – it made for some interesting reactions.
I still think it’s a nice,-thing to wish for someone!’ Chris de Beer, photo journalist, Cape Town My friends and I always try to make a point of doing Orphan’s Christmas, which stems from the years when my sister and I had no family in the country and would try to put together a meal for friends, usually with leftovers from everyone’s family feast. It’s a nice way to get away from the family madness for a lot of my mates. Also, my mom always makes a money pudding, usually a malva pudding filled with coins (silver ones only!). My stepsister and I compete for the most money every year.’ – Really! Even though it feels as if you renewed it only yesterday. When a FAIRLADY staffer and her family checked in for their flight, they were told that their passports had expired! There was nothing they could do but go home. What’s more, they thought they’d scored on a cheap flight, and of course there’s no refund… Your passport should be valid for six months after your return date, with at least two unused pages for visa, entry and exit stamps. – Sharmila Ragunanan, Flight Centre strategic marketing specialist.
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