Another visit from IT Guy

‘They gave us Thursday off so I took Sunday and Monday as well and my flight lands at 6pm tomorrow’ (Friday).

‘Wait you mean tomorrow?’

And so IT guy’s next visit to Cape Town in August was confirmed.

 

When we first talked about the next visit the idea was for me to go there.  Then he suggested that he was thinking of coming to Cape Town at the end of the month.  It seems there was a Muslim holiday at the end of August but the dates are only confirmed close to the time because it depends on the moon.  He was waiting to see what dates would be announced as holiday for private companies.

Typically this coincided with the deadline for an important project report.  I had sent the report to my boss for his comments on the Wednesday so I was waiting to see if he would require more changes.  On Friday morning the boss emailed to say the report was submitted so I figured it was safe to head out for an hour and sort some things for IT Guy’s visit.  Of course as soon as I left he called to say there was a problem with the submission and I ended up agreeing to sort it when I got home.

There were a few problems with the submission and for a while I thought that I was going to have to sort it on Monday.  I really didn’t want to be thinking of work after IT Guy arrived.  Just as I was stressing an email came through from my work colleague asking for stuff.  It wasn’t clear what she wanted and I started to stress about getting it done before leaving for the airport.  In the end I managed to submit the report and accept that I could not help my colleague.

It was later while I was at the airport waiting for IT Guy that I realised I always find some reason to stress before seeing IT Guy.  Perhaps some if it is down to seeing IT Guy.

It was a lovely evening so we decided to head for a collection of restaurants on the beachfront.  We went to a place that does good African food.  It turns out that the set menu special is not as good as the main menu.  It seems this is definitely one case where the reduced price reflects a reduced quality so the food was good but not great.  Apart from the food it was a really nice evening.  Great to be able to see each other again and have a proper face to face chat.

After a few stressful weeks and a very stressful day I was able to start to relax and enjoy some good company.

Reflecting on positive aspects of online dating

Spring is here again bringing with it feelings of optimism which leads to a renewed focus on making the most of life.  While this year’s focus is on improving my work situation and figuring out options for being able to see more of IT Guy, last year I was more interested in reassessing my approach to online dating and trying to be more social.

Online dating has a rather bad reputation but like many things in life there are positive and negative aspects.  The fact that many sites are all about looks gets a lot of press but let’s be honest most guys will only talk to a woman in a bar if he likes how she looks.

Part of the challenge is approaching online dating in the right way and knowing when it is time to take a break.  You need to accept that a lot of your time will be spent dodging wierd people and scammers.  There are a few examples where I decided to have a bit of fun with romance scammers as a way of staying sane.   There are others who have turned this into an art form.

Spring seems like a good time to reflect on the positive aspects of online dating.  I have met a few interesting people and had some interesting experiences.  I have met a few reasonably decent guys even if there was no chemistry and they did not know how to express this in a good way.  I met someone working in a similar field to me and while we have never met he is useful to know and has contacted me a few times for information.  Online dating provided an opportunity for career related networking.  I have made friends with one of the guys I met through online dating.

There are also benefits with a slightly more distant link to online dating.  Import-export guy making me feel like I should be doing more around the time time as my preferred sports class kept getting cancelled led to me finding a nice local Pilates class.  An old school friends also attends the class.  We have been out a few times and making plans for tomorrow gave me the inspiration for this post.

Perhaps most importantly of all is the fact that all of these experiences and the related decisions to make the most of life is what gave me the confidence to ask an old friend for his number.  I thought it would be nice to try and stay in touch even though he lives in Dubai and look how well that is working out.

So what I would say to anyone thinking of trying online dating is that you should give it a try.  There are blogs and websites which offer some great information and advice, I recommend starting here.  Just try to keep a positive outlook and an open mind.  But above all stay safe and don’t give anyone any money.

 

 

Long distance communication challenges

I’m sure it is a common challenge developing good communication when you are in a long distance relationship.  Well any relationship really but some of these challenges are greater when you cannot see each other on a regular basis.

I recently had a good Skype conversation with IT Guy.  There were some connection problems and elements were rather chaotic but that kinda made it more fun and relaxed.  Particularly when he decided to show me his laptop only he had trouble opening it and had to investigate.  While it was great just watching him it was also very frustrating because I was not able to touch him or hug him.

There are so many difficulties finding time for a decent conversation.  There is a 2h time difference and the weekend in the Emirates is Friday and Saturday.  Things are often chaotic when I get home so I find that by the time things settle and I am ready to chat he is tired and heading for bed.

There are days when he is very quiet and it can be frustrating waiting for him to reply to a message.  Sometimes I start wondering if he really is committed to this relationship.  Wondering if it is too soon to focus my job search on Dubai.

What is a reasonable expectation for staying in touch and how does this fit with our particular situations?  After-all I can’t expect him to chat just because I am bored and I want to.  Do I really want to insist he stays home and chats on WhatsApp instead of joining friends for drinks?

Actually it is silences that I find the most difficult to deal with.  Especially those evenings he fails to say good night.  It is the not knowing that comes with silence.  It allows uncertainty to creep in.  This isn’t helped by the memory of other guys how have let me down recently.  Particularly Guy 0 who messaged less after he met someone else or the ghosting from Import-export guy.

In contrast IT Guy reappears after a short while.  Sometimes he apologies and explains if he has been quiet.  Phone batteries die, people fall asleep and guys can’t multi-task (certainly this one can’t).  Last week I just got regular cricket updates.  One evening he reappeared to say he had just ordered some books I told him about.  Various things he has said, including during the Skype, which have given me insight into why he sometimes struggles to chat on WhatsApp.

I have found a good strategy to cope when I start getting stressed by the silences.  I remind myself of the examples which show he cares and wants a future together.  He made the most of a trip to South Africa when he wanted to to go to Italy, asked for my input on an important decision, he cares what I think of some artwork wants. Sometimes the reminder is a simple as a picture of a nice restaurant in Tuscany,  The list is growing steadily.  ‘How is your day going?’ works well to understand the reason for the silence.

So while there are still challenges with communication, made more difficult by the distance, I believe we both want this to work.  Relationships take effort and I probably need to find a way of explaining that I would prefer ‘tough day, need sleep’ to no message.

Weekend in Durban Days 2 – 3

For our second full day in Durban It Guy and I decided to head out of Durban to see the Valley of 1000 Hills.  Unfortunately we were too late to get tickets on the steam train that runs on selected Sundays.  We headed to one of the towns listed on the steam train route.  It turned out to be the one where the train started but it wasn’t clear from there how we got to the Valley of 1000 Hills.  Perhaps we should have done a bit more research.  It probably didn’t help that while I had done a little reading it was left to IT Guy to navigate while I drove.

After a bit of messing about we finally found one of the correct roads and drove up into the hills.  The Valley of the 1000 Hills was home to the Zulu people for centuries so there are cultural places to visit.  There are also plenty of markets and interesting places to eat and stay.  We drove past a few interesting looking places and after a while decided to stop at a nice looking place at the top of a hill.  I was just thinking of a getting a few photos but IT Guy decided it would be nice to stop for a few drinks.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We drove some more but not being very organised we lost the scenic route at some point.  This was particularly frustrating as I was starting to get hungry and we couldn’t see anywhere to stop.  We were heading back towards Durban when we spotted some signs for the Valley of a 1000 Hills.  As we turned onto the road IT guy spotted signs to a polo match.  I have never watched polo before so it was rather interesting.

After the match we headed back to Durban and a seafood restaurant on the seafront.  We had planned to have a walk after our food but having watched people getting blown around we decided that wouldn’t be much fun.  Instead we headed back to the hotel, enjoyed a nice glass of wine and watched a movie.

For our final day in Durban we decided to head to the Moses Mabhida stadium.  The stadium was constructed for the Football World Cup in 2010.  A lot of people had recommended this on a previous visit and it was in the general direction of the airport.  We took the SkyCar to the viewing platform at the top for some fantastic views.  We also did the stadium tour which I found surprisingly interesting.  It turns out the design of the arches is based on the South African flag and they have some really nice artwork.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It is possible to access the golden mile from the stadium but by the time we were finished there was not enough time for a walk and lunch.  In the ended we decided to head to the airport and eat there before catching a flight to Cape Town.

I have to say I was rather sceptical about a visit to Durban.  I didn’t think there would be that much to do.  In the end I really enjoyed my weekend there.  The right company helps of course.  There wasn’t enough time to do all of the things I would have liked to do and I found more interesting things to do when researching this blog so I would definitely like to visit Durban again sometime.

Romance, Durban and Dubai

There was me trying to focus on developing more of a travel blog by with details of my trip to Durban but it seems that some of my readers are more interested other information.  I had thought that my post on how I was getting on with IT Guy would cover things but it seems not.

I pointed out that I had no intention of writing a sex blog but those weren’t the details.    Just more on the relationship side of things with IT Guy.  I struggled for a while, trying to think what to add.  The fact that we held hands as we walked down the Golden Mile or could sit with a comfortable silence while watching the sunset.  Or perhaps that I was willing to compromise on the choice of restaurant. I am not a fan of seafood.  I enjoy some fish but it is limited to things like battered fish and chips, salmon or a nice piece of tuna steak.  Actually it was nice to have more fish than I would normally.

I started thinking that perhaps I needed to rewind to Dubai to provide more of the story.  So I started a post about more details about what happened in Dubai.  A few details which I think showed the initial nerves and uncertainties that go with the start of a relationship, but also rather personal.

Then yesterday IT Guy said something which reminded how much he values his privacy.  He doesn’t even have a Facebook account.  It got me wondering how much he would be comfortable with me sharing.

He knows I have a blog.  I plan to show it to him when the time is right but I haven’t yet.   I prefer he hears my stories in the normal organic way you would in most relationships.

I though the original post would make a nice story but my gut said don’t share.  In the end I decided to listen to my gut.  Why would I risk this relationship for a few blog posts?  Especially when you consider that he also asked if he could have a replica trophy cabinet and bar, if we ever live together.

Garath Southgate carrying a trophy cabinet box outside IKEA

So I guess that means I need to give a little more though to what information I should share and what not to share.

 

Contemplating my next career move

It can be easy to get too settled in a job.  You know things aren’t quite right but there is enough good that you don’t give it much thought.  You show up for work and you do what is required.  There may be days when you give your best and other days where you realise you have squandered most of the day because of issues, challenges or a lack of motivation.

This is where I have been for a while with work.  It has become increasingly difficult to focus on doing the things I need to do.  I get kinda stressed about time off because I know I have not always been working as hard as I can.

Then something happened this week.  Something that made me really stop and think about what I am doing.  My boss was unwilling to approve a request for leave.  Just over two weeks was all I wanted.  I can kind of understand his point, the project we are working on is not going as well as we would have liked and he is keen to impress the funder.

Yet, that refusal combined with a conversation with a co-worker has changed how I see things.  A few people have left in the last year and my co-worker is planning to leave soon.  Then I start to look back on my time in the current job.  I have not been working on projects that really inspire me.  Also large parts of the work are not publishable.  This means I have not done as much as I should have done to further my career.  The reason, to help the boss out and to be seen as a team player.  In short, I have been too nice and helpful.

The holiday I wanted was a trip to Italy with IT guy.  Originally he was planning to visit South African to take care of some family stuff.  Then I made the mistake of telling him about the Opera Festival in Verona.  It turns he has always wanted to visit Italy and it gives him a chance to visit his brother.  Something he really needs to do.  Somewhere along the way our plans evolved into two weeks in Italy.  We were both getting excited and he wanted to start booking things.  Instead I had to tell him the boss would not approve my leave.

Some Egyptian scenery outside the Verona Collesium
The Opera Festival in Verona looks really cool

So this weekend I find myself job hunting with renewed energy and focus.  I am busy refining my LinkedIn Profile and considering which other sites to use.  The challenge is how to define my search parameters.  Things are going well with IT guy and I am optimistic about a future together but it is too soon to plan a career move around him.

I know now, that my time with my current employer is nearing an end.  The challenge is to stay professional and give my best until I am ready to make a move.

Theater trip

Part-way into the online dating adventure I realized that I was allowing too much of my happiness to be tied up with how things were going with one guy .  It seemed like as soon as I started to focus on doing more that I was able to find more to do.

A combination of challenges attending my regular sport and issues with Import-export guy meant that I went looking for a new sports club and ended up joining a local Pilates club.  After one or two classes I discovered that an old school friend also attended the classes regularly.

We chatted for a while and after a few weeks arranged to go out for some food.  While we were out we started talking about other things we could do together and realised that one common interest was the theater.  I did a quick search on my phone and discovered that “The Sound of Music” was showing at the main theater in town.  I was just suggesting that my Mom or sister might want to join us when my sister messaged to say she had just discovered that “The Sound of Music” was showing and did I want to go.  We had a good laugh and I suggested my friend join us.

So last night was the night of the theatre trip.  It was a really good show and a really good evening.

 

 

Amazing first date

I know it has been a little while since my last post.  I have been suffering from a cold and did not even feel up to reading other posts for a few days.  It is not very surprising after the awesome craziness of last weekend which is the other reason it has been a while since I published anything.  My head is still a little fuzzy so I may well find myself fixing errors later in the week.

Does a long weekend count as a first date?  The trip up Table Mountain does not count because his brother was there and I didn’t appreciate where things were going.  There has been more than one occasion, where a friend has pointed out that a guy was trying to hit on me, and I was completely oblivious.

I find it surprising how much IT guy and I have in common, including a love of the theater.  So when he suggested I join him for a show we both liked I laughed and agreed.  He’d had a few drinks and I assumed he was joking.  So I was stunned when the following day he sent me a screenshot of possible tickets and asked if I really did want to join him.  There followed some craziness to sort travel documents.  In the end my visa came through the day before I was due to fly and the flight tickets were booked at the last minute.

The Dubai weekend is Friday and Saturday.  I arrived Friday morning we had some coffee and breakfast and then he had to go out for a few hours.  This was perfect for me because it gave me time to shower and sleep in front of the telly for a few hours.  (It is a 9.5 hour overnight flight from Cape Town to Dubai.)  He messaged regularly with updates.  We then decided to visit Dubai Mall.  It turns out that shopping is a popular Friday afternoon activity in Dubai so after driving around the carpark for a while we decided to go to a smaller mall.

Saturday it seemed the weather was a bit cooler so we went to Dubai Marina.  It turns out it was too hot to walk from Marina Mall to the beach, but we did it anyway and had to go on a mission to find some water.  After taking a few photos we caught a taxi back to the mall and went to find some food.  That evening was the show and it was really good.

A picture of some high rise buildingsHigh rise buildings near the beach

The following day we visited Dubai Mall.  A massive and interesting place.  I bought a few things and we had some food but mostly we just walked around.  I still can’t get my head round the idea that we managed to spend 6 hours there.  It passed in a flash.  I think something to do with the company.

Then the following day it was an early start to catch my flight home and back to reality.  After an awesome, crazy, fun weekend.

Relationship Exclusivity

There is loads of advice dedicated to the topic of exclusivity and relationships, how best to have “the talk” there is even an acronym for this DTR (define the relationship).  Plenty of advice to women about not treating a relationship as exclusive till it actually is.  This idea has challenged me before or there are the guys demanding I only talk to them way before they have done enough.

As I have gained confidence and experience in this online dating journey I have come to realise that I really should trust my judgment more and do what is right for me.  This generally reflects my approach to life and is one reason I have not followed a conventional path.

I have recently come to realise that it does not suit me to juggle multiple romances especially when there is one that shows potential.  I’m sure this is how many people know they have found someone special because the others fall away naturally.

This is where I find myself with IT guy.  I have completely lost interest in online dating or meeting anyone else, but things have not progressed enough to be considered exclusive.  He has made his interest very clear.  The challenge is that we live in different countries and it is going to take time for things to develop.  So, the real question is how to cope in that undefined space where mutual interest is clear but we need more time together to be really sure where things are going.

I think this is part of the reason I got myself in a tailspin a few weeks back.  Work was stressing me out.  But no it is not realistic to ditch everything and move to Dubai to be with IT guy, especially when he has been a bit quieter than normal.  Then that evening he messaged and after sharing some details of my day he was quick to ask what was bothering me and offer some advice.  Just what I needed.

Then work settled down and sanity returned.  With a clear head I was able to reassess.  I really like this guy and I want things to work but it’s not gonna happen if I go batshit crazy and get super needy.  Ironically it seems the best approach is to reduce dependence on this relationship working.  One reason I think a lot of advice is centred around advising women to date more than one guy.  But I am not a stereotypical woman.  I do not need a man in my life to be happy.  I prefer to wait for a good one.

I have done single and happy before and I can do it again.  For now online dating holds no interest for me but there is so much more to life.  I need to figure out my next work move.  I keep finding good stuff to do in Cape Town and more people to do it with.  As for blogging, well if I can’t blog about online dating well there are many other stories to share.  Stories I hope you will also enjoy.