By Janine Milliken

I have completely lost track of time, days and dates. I cannot remember a date, even struggle which month I am in as well as what year.

I have been given a new pill to see if it helps with my migraines. I quickly took the pill so if I fall off my perch at least it will be within working hours of my Doctor. My mom is a bit nervous because when I fall off my perch I really make quite a scene of it. Usually my mom has to dress me as somehow I have always managed to strip. Which makes me think, subconsciously, I am really keen to be a strip dancer.

I am trying to get all my ducks in a line today but they are not co-operating so I decided doing my blog would be far more exciting than herding ducks.

I have already been to the doctor and the chemist and its only 0900am. I now have the whole day to overthink and make up scenarios that do not exist. My dad has also had to have a whole lot of blood tests done and once again my mind had him dead and buried. However, I have good news today in that the blood tests are clear and we live another day.

I have been thinking so much of my cousin who is in heaven after a long battle with cancer. He was always a constant source of amusement for the family and we all miss the laughs he used to give us.

This cousin of mine, male, had a piercing done in a very tender area while he was drunk. He thought having a piercing there would be a constant source of amusement for all around him. He also kept bringing out the ‘bell’ (on his whatsit) so people could see it, not something I would like to see, ever. He decided to buy a piece of jewelery for that piercing in the form of a bell. Wherever he went, his bell would ring. So ‘ring my bell’ took on a deeper meaning with the family. Now when the family talks about memories, we remember all the funny moments with a bell tingling in the background. On top of that he was clumsy. The one Christmas, he joined us for lunch. We all asked to hear him ring his bell, which meant he had to twerk for us. He then decided he would spice things up and lit a whole packet of squibs, expecting to give the old family members a heart attack. This prank backfired on him beautifully and instead of throwing the squibs, he accidentally dropped them and they went under his chair. The squibs were popping, the dog was trying to eat the squibs and my cousin disappeared into a cloud of smoke. So not only did we know he had done this prank, but he choked for an hour afterwards.

There are a lot of pranksters in my family and when we get together at Christmas we never know what is going to happen. I try throw chicken bones around at random family members. However, my uncle is so sick of us fooling around at the most inopportune moments and we get told off every year at Christmas and told to behave our age. Unfortunately if someone tells me to do something, I will do the opposite as I am a rebel with rules.

We used to have family game nights which we had to actually cancel eventually because the family ended up screaming all night at each other, my uncle would tell us we were stupid and to shut up. Of course, we laughed at him which even further enraged him. It was always the women team against the men team and it really was to see which group could cheat the most without being caught. My uncle kept on saying to my mom that he did not know his family were so good at cheating and this really concerned him.

One night we were playing Trivial Pursuit and I managed to answer some difficult questions. My uncle’s jaw fell to the ground and for the next hour he kept saying that he never knew I was that clever and was convinced I had cheated. I have to say I impressed myself with the answers and I also wondered where my cleverness arrived from when we had game nights.

It was always highly competitive and always resulted in a screaming match where everyone shouted and no-one listened. I must say I really enjoyed these evenings as I love the family getting together. The one night to keep me behaving and to calm me down, I was given Sherry by my aunt. I ended up lying on her trunk (suitcase) with my legs in the air and singing Christmas carols. I was banned from the Sherry after that. That was not the only reason for the ban of the Sherry, my uncle was convinced I became clever when I was drunk. He did not like the ‘clever’ Janine.
Finally we had to cancel game nights as we were all so rowdy, so competitive, all cheating and were trying to stab each other with a plastic sword. After cancelling these nights, my uncle used to sit in his chair during the day telling my aunt that he cannot believe he has a family full of cheats, and very good ones at that – which I think made him even more angry.

We do get together at Christmas and it is literally my challenge to annoy my uncle without him knowing it is me. The one time my cousin brought a whole lot of his young male friends to our lunch. My female cousin was wearing jeans and as she walked past these young men, her g-string pants fell out the bottom of her jeans and she had to carefully pick them up without anyone seeing. Unfortunately for her, her knickers were luminous green, I had already shouted, ‘ooi what is falling out your jeans’ and everyone saw her pants. The men all stopped talking and just stared for about 5 minutes while they regained their composure. In my normal fashion I was trying to help her hide these pants, but I am not that quick with my hands and everyone saw these knickers. I tried to console my cousin that at least they were sexy knickers and not granny ones.

While I was in the airport the one day, I had my knickers fall out the bottom of my jeans. Unfortunately for me, I did not notice them until I had flicked them from my foot, up in the air and landed about 2 meters away from me. I had to pick them up but was very embarrassed as they were my granny knickers. If they had been sexy underwear it might have helped my self-esteem and mysterious ways. I pleaded with my mom to pick them up as she is a granny, but everyone had seen them leave my foot…………...

At another time in the airport, we were running for our connecting flight home. I ran through security and as I did, I dropped my handbag and every single item in my handbag was on the floor in front of a cross audience as they thought we had pushed in. A really nice young man came to my rescue, and he picked up all the tampons, went bright red and dropped them again. On top of that I had all my pills in my bag, so I looked like a drug dealer on my period.

We then ran to catch our plane and went to the wrong gate. When we finally got to the right gate we found out our flight had been delayed. We now sat in embarrassment as the people behind us at Customs were filtering into the airport and could see all of us waiting for our flight. Needless to say some of the people had a few cross words to say to us and I kept replying to them, as I can get cheeky. On top of that the whole of the airport customers had seen the contents of my handbag and I had to sit and pretend I had a bit of class – not a complete idiot. So I just sat there acting dumb and my hair helps me do that, as they think I am a bimbo. So I had to ‘dumb down’ for a period of time, until we got on our flight.

When my husband and I went to Jordan a couple of years ago, it was snowing and all flights had been cancelled. It was around Christmas and all I wanted to do was to get home. We were now stuck and had to find accommodation. This worked in my favour in that all the cheap hotels were booked up and we had to take a room at the Marriott – la de da hotel! When I phoned them for a booking the gentleman asked me where I was. I was so anxious that I had forgotten where I was. I said to my husband, ‘where are we?’ to which he replied we were at the airport. I told the booking man we were at the airport to which I got a very annoyed response, ‘yes madam, which airport?’ I had to again say to my husband, ‘which airport?’, to which he replied very patiently and slow, ‘the Jordon airport lovie.’ The man on the other side of the phone had had enough of me too and nearly started spelling everything out to me. The man we were travelling with was absolutely speechless and had to ask my husband if any of my marbles had fallen out my brain.

Our trip to the hotel was very fast, with an Arab taxi driver who decided the rules did not apply to him and went through every red robot, drove straight over a round-about and he kept skidding off the road where we would go through the bushes and end up on the road again. When he went over a bump his headlights would go off, which did not seem to worry him. As he went over another bump the headlights would come on again. I thought I was living in the twilight zone and wondered if this taxi man had drugged himself up. I think I giggled all the way to the hotel as I had never seen this behavior before.

It was well worth the trauma as the hotel was magnificent and treated us like royalty. They had a huge ginger bread display in their reception area, which was made of real baked ginger bread. I was starving, so without telling my husband because he would tell me I am acting like a homeless Zimbabwean woman again, I stole some biscuits off the display, went to a corner and ate them.

The bedroom was beautiful and clean. It was snowing outside and I feel the cold and I do not like being cold. My husband likes being cold, so there was a continual fight over the air conditioning unit and we acted like children, bickering, hiding the remote, putting the temperature up, then down, then up, then down. Also I was told I was banned from the room fridge as the items are too expensive. I managed to resist the fridge for an hour before I just had to go and find some M & M’s, go to the toilet and eat them. Had the fridge not been pointed out to me, I would not have known it was there. Fortunately my husband is a heavy sleeper and slowly during the night I managed to empty the bar fridge. In the morning, of course my husband noticed, and I was reprimanded for my childish behavior and told that I have no self-control.

My husband says I am an absolute hazard to fly with or take anywhere as I just cannot seem to behave like a normal human being, I am very unpredictable and I talk to everyone. Thank goodness I did not tell him I had eaten the display ginger bread men! I must say my husband is amazed that all his colleagues actually like me and want me at their house for dinner most nights, so I cannot be too much of an idiot. Maybe I am a source of entertainment for them?

When we went for breakfast, there was so much food and such a variety. I ended up stealing the muffins, croissants and other things. Put them in my handbag, for later. This is a very typical Zimbabwean thing to do. My husband, who claims he is Irish and not Zimbabwean, had an absolute melt down at my behavior. This did not deter me and I managed to steal some fruit.

I was now stuck in Jordan with a pair of shorts while it was snowing outside. I was banned from the shops as I wanted a jacket, but apparently the shops are too expensive, so I was told to pull myself together and toughen up. The Jordan money is almost the same value as an English Pound, I had used so many currencies by that stage I did not know whether I was coming or going.

There is a room in these hotels where you can go for snacks and they are free. My husband is a gold card holder everywhere as he travels so much. We ended up in this room. I saw what looked like avocado pear and I love avocado pear. I piled my plate up with it and went and sat down. I dumped a huge amount of the avocado pear on my bread and took a massive bite. Suddenly, I found out I was eating wasabi and it was disgusting. I made a huge performance and spat the wasabi out of my mouth (very loudly and very dramatically), and then ran around the room trying to fan my tongue. My husband walked out the room, was extremely angry and embarrassed and said he could never show his face there again.

When I go to Dubai now, my husband will only take me out to Nando’s and keeps me away from the expensive restaurants as he is scared of what stupid thing I will do next.

So I have to tell you that I survived a very cold Jordan snow storm with just a pair of shorts, takkies and a t/shirt. I was driven to Petra and the dead sea, which I have to say is amazing and I am blessed to have seen these places. While in the dead sea, I kept saying to my husband that I could not get the water into any hole in my body, as it burns you and leaves you uncomfortable. My husband kept telling me to shut up as I was talking too loud and he is sure nobody wanted to hear about my holes. When we got to the dressing room, we then had a fight as to who would use it first (I do not know why this mattered?). I performed louder than my husband did, I totally exasperated him and finally I was allowed to dress first.

We arrived in Aqaba, where the cartoon character, Aladdin lives. I have watched Aladdin so many times and have often tried to get my carpet to fly. We drove to the Movenpick hotel which sits on the sea and has a massive swimming pool. I kept locking myself out the room, losing the key and basically annoyed the receptionist from the time I arrived till we left a week later.

I went snorkeling while I was there and was given a wet suit. I had to ask the instructor if I could wee in the wet suit as I could not possibly take it off, wee, and put it back on. I was told I could wee in it, as this actually keeps you warm.

The gentleman who owns the diving school wanted to take me on a personal tour of the sea. I was so excited and thought that all his customers are given this treatment. On telling my husband, he said that the owner is not supposed to do that and now I was banned from snorkeling. I am a bit trusting of people and thought this man offered a brilliant service. My husband keeps telling me how naive I am and to get street smart. However, if you can get things for free why should I get
street smart. I also had a driver who would drive me around and he kept on taking photos of me. I thought I was going to be kidnapped and put into a harem, although I have to remember I am old so I am actually not that desirable and to get off my ‘high horse’ that I rode into town on.

I found a little café where I would go and buy milk and tea. The owner of the shop would give me huge discounts or just tell me it was free today. I was so thankful at the generosity and kindness of this man. However, when I told my husband he once again banned me from going there as he was sure the owner was chatting me up. I was then told to stay in the room for most of the day as I seemed to be causing chaos wherever I went. I think my husband still remembers me when I was 21 years old and as flattered as I am that he thinks I am a ‘catch’, I think those days are long over. I keep reminding him I am old now and will not be kidnapped and if I am kidnapped, I will be returned within hours as I am a very annoying, demanding person. I always treat other people with respect and kindness and am sure that’s why the shop owner liked me. I am far too old to be ogled by men, unless they are blind, deaf and mute.

We managed to get into Israel for a weekend while we were in Aqaba, as we went through the Eliat border. I was disgusted and mortified that my husband put us on a bus to Jerusalem. The bus was filthy and too low class for me (you readers do know I am joking!). When we arrived in Jerusalem I was blown away as it has been a dream of mine for years to get to Israel.

I used to have a continual argument with everyone when they asked me where I was from. I would say I am Zimbabwean. They would argue with me and say I am German. I would then say well I am sure I should know where I am from, since I was born there. I am a Zimbabwean from Africa, therefore I am african. I could not believe the ignorance of some people. I am not that ignorant on other countries and am very well informed of my geography.

One last thing before I stop waffling. Our taxi driver was very painful, kept on asking me questions about the bible and we could not get rid of him. Eventually I told him I had Jewish blood running through me and he suddenly disappeared and left us alone. Thank goodness for my natural gift of reading other people……… and thank goodness for my Austrian Jewish Roots, which explains my big nose.


Lost my marbles....

Beautifully Broken
by Janine Milliken
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