Blogs Around the World

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Two weeks ago I was approached by Cheriz, a fellow blogger, to participate in posts called “Blogs Around the World.” So here goes:

There are four questions that come with the post, which I answer below and for those who are new or old favourites to my blog you may learn something new about me or find out something you didn’t really know. I first featured Cheriz on my blog as she is one of the courageous warriors who live with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and she shared a bit of her story on my blog as I prepared to climb the first of my high altitude mountains as I raised funds for those living with CF. You can check out her guest post here and if you would like to check out her blog where she talks about her daily life and CF, you can check out her blog here.

I’m thrilled to take up the invite to do this posting challenge and at the end I’ll share three bloggers that I in turn follow and will add links to their pages.

What am I working on?

This is a loaded question. What am I not working on! Firstly I’m currently in the process of studying for my final psych honours degree exams, which I do part-time when I’m not working and when I’m not trying to keep my social life alive.

My next big project that I am working on as soon as my exams are over is climbing my 3rd mountain for my Seven Summits Journey to raise awareness and funds for those living with Cystic Fibrosis. The next mountain is currently set to be Mount Elbrus in Russia. Not only will I get to climb another mountain, but I’ll get to see Russia, how cool is that?! Also considering, my name comes from the movie Doctor Zhivago, which my mom apparently loved ~ I will get to travel to Russia to see where it was all set. Now maybe I should actually make a plan to watch the movie and not fall asleep half way through it!

As this is my final year studying part-time, I am looking forward to loads of training next year and exciting adventures as I train and get myself into top physical form again, all of which will be shared right here on my blog as I prepare for mountain adventure number three. Another project I am still working on finishing is writing my story of my last mountain journey, which was climbing Aconcagua (6962m) in Argentina earlier this year. It has been a bad year for computers and electronics with me, everything practically crashing and burning, but I’m up and running again at home so once my exams are all done I am hoping to have all the posts completed along with photos of my journey and I’m looking at posting them daily as part of the 1 year anniversary of climbing her slopes in January, so watch this space.

How does my work differ from others in the same genre?

I’m not sure I can be boxed into any specific genre as I post about everything and anything that is in my life or I write about anything that touches my life. I can post anything from my mountain climbing adventures, to raising awareness for Cystic Fibrosis, to something that has inspired me and in hope that it will inspire someone else out there. I write about this incredible journey as I make my way through life. I never know what’s next so adventure is always there waiting to be discovered…. Put in a box, I cannot be.

Why do I blog?

I was never a blogger, the calling to blog never really came to me. I always loved writing my thoughts down when I was growing up but sharing it with the world never ever crossed my mind. However, I had a dream and to enable me to spread the word about what I was doing and why I was doing it, coupled with allowing fellow beings to share my amazing journey with me, I decided to take the plunge and so on Sunday, 11th March 2012, my blog Walking4Air was born. The name of my blog ties into my climbing mountains (Walking) and that I’m doing it for Cystic Fibosis (4Air) by trying to raise funds and awareness to help those who live with CF to breathe a little easier.

My dream that started it all went back many years, the course had always been clear and the vision was set and on the 6th July 2012 I left the comforts of my home and headed out to Tanzania where I got to realise one of my biggest dreams yet. I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in memory of the best friend anyone could ever have. Her name was Emma Walker and she was my inspiration.

This blog began purely to chronicle my journey of summiting that incredible mountain and the reason why I was doing it. I hiked 5895m above sea level in honour of my best friend, a brave young amazing women who fought the effects of Cystic Fibrosis (CF) with such determination and bravery. Sadly, Emma lost her battle with CF in May 1995. There is still currently NO cure for CF.  I tied my climb up the mountain with raising funds for those living with CF and by the end of my journey, an amazing small army of soldiers had rallied around and helped me raise an incredible R20 191.00 for those living with CF. With each step I took on Kilimanjaro it became harder for me to breath as I gained altitude, but it was a reminder to me that this is a mere drop in the ocean compared to what people living with CF have to endure in their lifetime.

Looking back, I never thought that 2 ½ years later my journey would have expanded like it has. My dream has now grown and I now dream of climbing ALL Seven Summits. The Seven Summits are the highest mountains on each continent around the world. My Seven Summits journey is in memory of my best friend, Emma. I do this for all those living with CF and I pray every day I will live to see the day a cure has been found. Until then, I will continue to share my life’s journey as I raise awareness whenever I can for those living with CF.

How does my writing process work?

I write whenever I can, which isn’t always as often as I would like, purely because life gets busy – like now studying and writing exams. Something which I am finding painful and completely inconvenient! If something inspires me I write about it, if I do something in nature whether it’s training for my next big climb or just taking in the beauty at the beach, I usually post that too. I post a weekly ChooseDay (Choose /Tuesday – Choose your attitude) post aimed at inspiring whomever reads my blog to live life fully and to remember that they always have a choice in what they do and how they do it. I write from the heart, always. Life touches me deeply, the beauty that is all around and I hope that, in my writing, that is what comes across to my readers. I always strive to inspire and create the seeds of hope in this world because at the end of the day I firmly believe life is good and so are the people in this world.

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My nominees are:

Lastly, I’d like to nominate my next three bloggers who I hope feel free to continue to link others and/or share their story with us. My nominees are:

 Tim Wotton: Postcards from Earth

Tim Wotton is an active family man who lives with Cystic Fibrosis but never lets CF overshadow his life. Tim realises he may have a reduce life expectancy and that his is battling the odds as a 40-something year old with CF. Tim shares his life lessons with his readers, his joys, his struggles and his journey to overcoming it all. His posts are inspiring and funny and leave you feeling blessed. Click here to check out Tim’s blog.

Alissa: Mad Child, Angry Mama

Alissa, writes a brutally honest account of what it is like to be a single mom, parenting five children with mental illness. She posts about her journey as she navigates life striving for the best for her five children who have many mental health needs. In her own words she says “life often leaves me feeling isolated, overwhelmed and angry.” She advocates for change to mental health issues and as an angry Mama with a mad, tortured child, she would love the support and help and sometimes hugs from her readers. Click here to check out Alissa’s blog.

Katie Schulz: Cystic Fibrosis Mom

This is a blog about a regular mom, bringing up her beautiful daughter, Sophia, who also happens to have Cystic Fibrosis. Like me, Katie dreams of helping finding a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. Katie’s posts share her journey of bringing up her daughter and more often than not, ooze excitement and joy as she walks this path with her daughter. In so many ways she reminds us to look for the beauty that is all around us even in the times that are tough because in every moment, there is always a blessing to be found. Katie’s word remind me of that. Click here to check out Katie’s blog.

 ~ Thanks for Reading, Keep Spreading the Love ~

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Treasured Memories: A Letter to a Friend

To my dearest Emma,

Now you and I both know I would never start a letter like that and neither would you. I think I’m trying to be politically correct because this is a public forum but still it sounds so wrong. You and I both know it should read;

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Yes, that sounds so much more like it!

It’s been a long time since we last wrote each other a letter. Today seemed fitting to do one again. Last night as I drove home the sky lit up in a brilliant pink. As I recited “Pink Sky Night, Shepard’s Delight” and remembered how you taught it to me as the sky was painted pink one morning as we rode our bikes to junior school, I smiled knowing heaven was getting ready for your birthday party today. I hope your cake is big, bright and colourful and I hope with all those candles they don’t blind you for too long!! Haha! I can hardly believe you are celebrating your 39th birthday today.

So much has changed in our world since you made your way to heaven and I can’t help but wonder how amazing it would be with you here now. With email, cellphones, selfies, whatsapp, facebook and twitter we’d be constantly in touch and we’d never miss a beat.

Sometimes all it takes is a familiar smell or a certain taste to evoke an old memory, making you feel like you are back in time in that moment where it was created.

Remember how we used to ride our bikes to school in the morning, you’d drive by my house and then we’d head off together. As we grew older and headed to high school, I’d walk to your house and we’d head off to high school together. We were so innocent and carefree and all that mattered was giggling at the boy in choir who would pick his nose. We called each other so many names, it was as natural as our parents callings us Emma and Lara. I remember the bean and banana salad your mom used to make and your dogs, Max and Candy like it was all just yesterday. Remember when they moved your swimming pool from the back to the front and that day I dived into the pool and dived to show you something, I dived a little too deep hitting my head on the bottom. A bit confused, water-logged and bedraggled I eventually surfaced and you were looking at me like I was mad. You asked me “what was that?” I said I dived a bit too deep and hit my head, you just laughed and replied, I was wondering what was taking you so long to surface!!

Always pulling faces for the camera!

Always pulling faces for the camera!

Three words: John-Paul Meyer. Lol, I wonder where in the world he is today and if he still has that wild hair. The guy we loved to hate. Lol, how many times did we run and hide from him. Remember the ridiculously green swimming pool at this house and endless prank calls we used to make with him. He was such a nerd (in our terms) but what fun we used to have!

On the odd occasion I drive down Cross Road in Table View. The minute I turn into the road I think of you. Good old Canary Crescent and the cute blonde boy with the dark-haired friend who lived there. I can’t for the life of me remember their names but if a police sketch artist had to ask me to describe him, he’d be drawing him in no time. You two had such a crush on each other! It was just too cute. I can’t drive down Cross Road and pass Canary Crescent without thinking about you and smiling at the memories and all our drives by’s on our bikes!

Posters of Madonna and Morten Harket from A-ha in your room. I just need to hear one of their 80’s or 90’s songs and I’m flooded with memories again. The blonde chick from The Bangles still makes me think of you even though you look nothing like her. Danced we did and sing our hearts out into our clenched fists. We were so well on our way to become those famous singers one day. I hope you still practicing up there, I sing at every opportunity I get. I bet you have the voice of an angel now. I, however, am still no good! I will endeavour to keep practicing…

Don’t even let me get started with Chesney Hawks! I will never forget the day I told you something about him and your reply to me was simply “Are you mad? Have you seen him up close?!” I still listen to one of his songs in my car when I drive and sing my heart out (you would be proud) and I can see you shaking your head in heaven “Oh no, not again!” What do you know, I still know all the words. I will never forget your absolute horror and then laughter at what I said! Moments like that I treasure deeply.

Top of the Pops! We were always putting it on then running outside to swim again. When our favourite artists came on we’d race to the window to watch through the window. Long live the 80’s! Remember the coca-cola song we loved so much? We knew all the words. I still do! I never hear that song anymore but sometimes the tune comes out of nowhere and starts playing in my head. These little reminders are the best! Sometimes now, when I think of you, I call up the song on YouTube and it takes me straight back to Hawk Crescent.

Queue wobbly knees and scrambling for the window again to get the best view… It was your man’s turn next…!

This morning on the radio they were having a debate about smooth or crunchy peanut butter. This then led to talks about what everyone got for school lunch. It made me think of our school lunches, you always had the best lunches with awesome goodies that made me drool! Playing red rover on the school field, jumping through the skipping rope, and sitting on the stands catching up with our friends during break time. And how many hours did we spend writing and passing notes around classroom to each other hoping the teacher didn’t catch up. Trying to stifle a laugh and remaining undetected by the teacher was always difficult but it never stopped us. How we used to cringe when one of our notes got confiscated.

Those were the days!

Before cellphones and email. These were the good old days. I still have a box full of our letters and notes!

Before cellphones and email. These were the good old days. I still have a box full of all our letters and notes!

I still laugh really hard when I think back to that day we were walking down the street to the shop and the park. We were so engaged in our conversation as we walked next to each other we were not watching where we were going. Next moment you are no longer next to me and I heard a vibrating sound of metal. I turned back to see where you had gone to only to find you standing in front of a pole looking slightly dazed and confused. You had walked into the pole so hard the pole was still vibrating! I laughed so hard I cried. Within minutes you were sporting a bump the size of Signal Hill on your forehead and it was as red as Rudolph’s nose! It was impossible to look at you after that without collapsing into a completely uncontrollable raucous laughter.

The case of the missing sandwich still makes me laugh out aloud. We searched for it for ages only to eventually find it stuck to the back of your leg. I mean really!!

The game we used to play with others, where one was blindfolded and the other one was seated on a bar stool with one leg tucked under them and an arm hidden under their clothes. It was the story of pirate; we told them how he’s lost his arm and his leg while leading their hand over the ‘lost body parts’. Remember how we told them how he lost his eye and promptly stuck their outstretched fingers into the insides of a soft-boiled egg with them thinking it’s the eye socket!! Hahahaha, the looks on their faces got us every time! I still remember when you did it for the first time!

You thoroughly enjoyed sticking friends fingers into the soft boiled egg as we told our story... Lol

You thoroughly enjoyed sticking friends fingers into the soft boiled egg as we told our story… Lol

I recall with a smile the photobooth photos we used to take. Whenever  I walk past one of those old photo booths now, I long to climb in and pull funny faces with you. We could never walk past one without popping our money in and climbing inside to pull some faces for the camera! More than anything I wish we could be together in the today’s world where everyone takes selfies and I could have one with my best bestie.

Out of all the words to describe you, I think the word that is most accurate is kind. And no wonder being friends with you all these years has made me someone I’m proud to be. Words are insufficient, but you need to know how awesomely awesome you still are to me. I promise to always be here, somewhere in the background to remind you every day, lest you ever doubt it.

You and I grew up together. You and I learned about life together. We saw each other move from clueless pre-pubescent kids with colouring books and crayons to teenagers with embarrassing obsessions and truck loads of school work. We waded through life together, through the laughter, the illness, the heartbreaks, the memories we were making, only to find ourselves so much stronger. You taught me about courage, hope, dreams and so much more.

Feeding the bucks at Rhodes Memorial. We were so young!

Feeding the bucks at Rhodes Memorial. We were so young!

Feeding the bucks at Rhodes Memorial.

Feeding the bucks at Rhodes Memorial.

It’s so hard to forget someone who gave me so much to remember. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little piece of infinity that we got to share. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

So many funny moments shared.

So many funny moments shared.

We had so many sleepovers!

We had so many sleepovers!

Birthdays galore!

Birthdays galore!

Then we grew up and went to Sun City for a bit of a holiday with your mum and your dad. You tired easily at this stage but that didn't stop us from having a ball! I treasure memories from this time and am so grateful for the time we got to spend together on this trip.

Then we grew up and went to Sun City for a bit of a holiday with your mum and your dad. You tired easily at this stage but that didn’t stop us from having a ball! I treasure memories from this time and am so grateful for the time we got to spend together on this trip.

I miss you, I miss us, I miss every little moment that created our friendship. I miss your smile, and the times we would laugh insanely for many hours, I miss the sound of your voice and how we talked on the phone for endless hours even after we’d spent the whole day together, I miss the sleep overs, the singing and the silliness. I miss laughing so hard we’d end up snorting cool drink out our noses because the laughter would just not stop. I miss the pet names we used to call each other. I miss dreaming up ridiculous dreams with you. I miss when we were an indestructible force. I miss the quiet moments when words were unnecessary for communication between us, when the stare between our eyes spoke of many beautiful thoughts. The truth of the matter is I don’t think I will ever let you go, your spirit, your heart, your friendship, how can I? …you are my true soul friend. We talked about CF often and I can still breathe in the smell of your nebuliser but you never told me what it would be like without you in my life. We never talked about death because we were far too busy living, and even though we both knew, we expected and dreamed like we’d live forever.

It was you and me against the world and the world didn’t stand a chance.

We had a ball!

We are more than friendship or a piece of history, we are the epitome of what unconditional love, friendship and understanding is. You had a higher purpose and you showed me mine. We will always have an indestructible destiny, you and I. This is why even when great distance put you so far away from me, I can still feel you and hear you clearly, keeping faith and hoping my next lifetime comes more quickly…

You bought these two 'things' for me one year. I loved them then and I still love them. They sit in my study where I see them often. My nieces love them too and always ask me about then and of course I launch into stories about you!

You bought these two ‘things’ for me one year. I loved them then and I love them still. They sit in my study where I see them often. My nieces love them too and always ask me about then and of course I launch into stories about you!

As I drove home from work today I wanted to stop at the beach and just spend some time close to nature where I know I will feel even closer to you. But true to Cape Town’s winter, a Cape Storm is currently in the throes of lashing out and it’s pouring with rain and I know in my heart of hearts that you would hate to see me looking like a drowned rat just for you! You’d laugh for sure but I know you wouldn’t want me to get wet. Lol, gosh how I miss you!

Blow out all your candles on your cake tonight with those beautiful new lungs you have in heaven and know I carry your memory in my heart every single day. I am so thankful I met you in the 3rd grade because life without you would’ve totally sucked.

It appears I’m still taking the long way to heaven my friend… But one day when the time is just perfect, I know you will be waiting at those pearly gates for me. Until then, keep watching over all of us who were blessed enough to share in your wonderful life.

Thank you for teaching me how to dream and how to live.

Happy birthday my beautiful best friend and soul sister in heaven! Today I’m loving you and celebrating you from this side of heaven.

I love you ALWAYS…

Thank you for so many amazing memories!

Your best friend forever and ever xxx

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~ My best friend, Emma Walker, is the inspiration behind my blog Walking4Air and my inspiration to climb the Seven Summits of the world to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. I still miss her every single day. ~

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