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A constantly curious and melancholic wanderer...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Joie de Vivre

So today, as I walked past my favourite porter busy smoking his pipe (64 years of age, also missing a few teeth), I greeted him with my normal chirpy "Morning J...uhm, Favourite Porter" (confidentiality must be kept at all times). He looked at me with his baby blue eyes (as he calls it himself) and said..."You know what...you've got so much Joie de Vivre, it amazes me".  I gave him a puzzled look and then he proceeded to give me my English lesson for the day (something that happens on a daily basis).

 "Joie de Vivre" is the French expression, often used in English to describe somebody with a cheerful joy for life. It literally means Joy to Live, but used in a dfferent context it can also be seen as a zest for life." (I looked this up on the Internet and it was almost word for word how he explained it to me)He ended off with saying:  "You really brighten the lives of the people around here".

I felt so honoured and touched by his words.  Especially when he then proceeded to tell me his life story...
A story about a young man with dreams and ambition whose life was destroyed by alcohol.  How he travelled the world and had so many opportunities and experiences, but cannot remember most of them. How he would have to chew gum and put eyedrops in his eyes to try and hide the fact that he was under the influence 7 o' clock in the morning.  How he ended up on the streets without any money or support untill somebody told him about Rand Aid's rehabilitation centre .He stayed on after rehabilitation and started working as a porter at the frail care centre.  His polite manners and amazing vocabulary as well as his sense of humour is what makes me like him so much.  He often stops me and asks me random questions like "Are you content with life in general?"  "Do you think I am as handsome as the people say?" etc.  He makes me laugh daily.

After he told me his story he says thoughtfully..."I haven't stopped dreaming though"   "One day I am going to teach underprivileged children proper English and leave my mark behind in the world"  He gives a shy smile (hiding the pain in his eyes) and starts smoking his pipe again...


  1. The story is fascinating - amazing to consider all the memories (good and bad) contained in a single life.

    As to your "joie de vivre"; it is intoxicating, and everyone who has met you has felt the warm delerium of the sunshine within you.


  2. This is so beautiful lienkie!!!
    You definitely put a smile on everyone face and without a doubt add light to your friends lives as well as those "children" whom you so lovingly treat.

  3. What Mr Anon says is very true! You are very joie de vivre and will continue to light up all those around you. xx

  4. Ah, thanks guys. You are so sweet:) You know Mr Anon is Jaco, right? :)