Yesterday was heritage day in South Africa. It’s basically used an excuse to braai (grill/BBQ) because that’s the only thing that everyone in South Africa seems to share as common heritage. Some people embrace their individual heritages, with Afrkaans people delighting in an excuse to eat Melktart or English people… um, colonizing all the room in the shopping centers? I’m not 100% sure, but basically it’s one of those public holidays here that everyone happily takes advantage of as an excuse to make fire, hang out with friends/family and generally enjoy a day off.
People have been asking me and Dean about how we will raise Harley, though. I mean, she’ll grow up here in South Africa, so she’ll probably have a South African accent with the exception of the odd words that she only really hears from me. But heritage is about more than an accent, it’s about knowing where you come from. Of course, with international parents, that’s a bit more complicated.
This morning, I am feeling particularly happy and excited about the baby growing inside me. I love her already, and she hasn’t even entered this world yet. She is growing inside my body, but also seems to be growing in the size she takes up in my head each day. There are still moments when I stop thinking about being pregnant, about what’s going on inside my body, but then there are the reminders that make me think about her again. Usually, that’s a good and exciting thing, but last night was different.
As part of my day job over on Lazygamer.net, I’m currently reviewing NBA 2K16. Most of the guys in the Lazygamer crew have been laughing at me about it – in general I’m so totally oblivious about sports that I’m not allowed to touch sporting games with a ten-foot pole. However, I was actually quite amped to get my hands on this one, and it turns out that I’m the most qualified person to do so.
Back when I lived in New York, I was actually on my school basketball team. I played through all of junior high and even after I stopped playing the game, I continued supporting the New York Knicks. For those who know basketball, they’ll know that’s a pretty masochistic team to support, but that’s okay – I still love them and there is nothing that can compare with the energy in Madison Square Garden during a Knicks game. Playing NBA 2K16 has reminded me of just how much I enjoyed following basketball. While it’s not really feasible from here in South Africa, it’s still the sport I like to spectate the most. The last time I was really able to follow it was when I was around 14 or 15, before I moved to Holland; that’s about half my lifetime ago. But I still know all about the game, even if the player names are new to me, and it’s made me think about those skills we forget we even have.
I have mixed feelings about baby showers, or really any event that includes doing a registry. I know it’s accepted and normal, but it all ends up feeling a bit like begging to me. Dean and I didn’t register for our wedding. In fact, because we were already living together and struggling to find room for all our kitchen stuff in our little complex unit, we asked for NO kitchen presents, saying that cash was always appreciated instead. It still felt awkward, but it’s one of those odd traditional things. People like to give gifts for birthdays, weddings and baby stuff, but it just seems weird to ask.
I went this weekend to go look at Baby City for potential registry. It was sort of a disappointment, though, mainly because Baby City is idiotic with this stuff. You can only register 3 weeks before the baby shower, and all the things you pick out are just dumped in a bin in that specific Baby City. The fact that they don’t let you go further in advance, or have it listed online to make things easier for those who live closer to other outlets, just seems dumb to me. Now I don’t even see the point of registering; it’s more convenient to just give people a list of cool websites and the names of the preferred brands that I want and leave it at that.
Looking back, I realize just how spoiled for choice I was as a kid. I grew up in New York City, which “just” felt like my hometown. It was a wonderful place to grow up, particularly from an arts and culture perspective. I remember going to tons of galleries, museums, theater performances and concerts. It was so normal to spend an afternoon at the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art) or even to pop into one of the ridiculously expensive boutiques to just look at the latest fashions and see what designs, palettes and imagery were interesting at the time.
It’s important to me that Harley also grows up with an understanding of art and culture. I want her to learn to play an instrument, even if she abandons it before puberty. I want her to go see plays, musicals and other performances, even if she decides that she prefers YouTube videos. Much like reading, it’s an important window into worlds we wouldn’t access otherwise, and key to unlocking parts of our imagination.