Based on the Block of the Month Solstice Quilt by Jinny Beyer.
My sister brought me Zulu telephone wire baskets from South Africa, and I was mesmerized by the intense colors. Zulu weavers traditionally used palm fibers with subtle colors for vessels to store food and beer. According to Anitra Nettleton, men who migrated to the cities as night watchmen began using telephone wire to weave in brighter colors. Now the Fair Trade cooperatives that create these baskets buy plastic coated wire directly from suppliers, who have added more colors.
My sister moved to South Africa in 2010 to live with her love and to work in her field of English as a Foreign Language, and the first weekend of January 2013 was the 3 day wedding celebration. My mother and step-father(who officiated at the ceremony), and my father and step-mother all made the 17 hour plane ride to Johannesburg shortly after Christmas. Although Stratoz and I couldn’t be there, my mother commissioned a wedding gift for Cate and Sello, and it went with her onto the plane, and we were thrilled to create a plaque commemorating their union. We used wood so that it wouldn’t weigh down the luggage. I managed to remember from my Canadian youth that the rest of the world puts the day first and then the month. Unfortunately, there was a bit of tangled communication as to which day of the 3 was the actual ceremony, which turned out to be the 5th not the 6th. Cate told me it would make for a funny story. I am grateful she values a good story! And as Stratoz says, everyone in the US will think she was married June 1st anyway. I chose colors that reminded me of some African fabric Sello was wearing in one of his photos, and which is expressed our joy upon Cate and Sello’s marriage. I also know that Cate loves orange, which is another part of our sisterly bond!
My younger sister Cate moved to South Africa! Stratoz and I took her out for a last PA diner breakfast at the West Main Diner, and then Stratoz dropped us off at the train station and each of us hauled a 50 pound suitcase. The conductor took mercy on us and helped with getting the baggage onto the train, and we began the hour long trip to the Philadelphia Airport. We were in a car of commuters, all silent and reading the paper, or working on laptops, but my sister was poised to begin a big adventure. She gave away most of her stuff, sold her car, left her job, and was a 14 hour plane ride away from leaving her home.
I’ve missed her, but it’s been exciting to see her seize her dreams and take the risk to follow her heart. She moved to South Africa both to be with her fiance, and to use her new PhD as a professor at a University in Johannesburg, teaching English as a Foreign Language, with an emphasis on English in academic settings. She is a rockstar of language learning knowledge. South Africa has 11 official languages! Fortunately, we get to talk via Skype, and keep connected since trying to describe her experiences in a new country is overwhelming in email. We both grew up in Canada, before immigrating to the US, and I’ve noticed her accent is sounding more Canadian to me as she is back in the Commonwealth. She said that the landlady’s dog didn’t recognize his name when she said “Gore-Dun”–he’s a proper “Gohr-Done,” or some such vaguely British sounding version.
Note, Cate is the one who I described in this post, who wished the whole world would turn orange when we were were little, but I am the one in the orange jacket! Maybe her wish brought the love of orange into my life, for which I am grateful.
What dreams have you followed? What dreams are making themselves known in your heart?