Summer Highlights ’19

September 5, 2019 in Seasonal Highlights - 13 min read

Summer felt so short, I genuinely feel robbed. No complaints though because I had a good one, in the beginning it was weird having summer in June, when I am so used to having it in December but I got used to it soon enough. Now that summer has come to an end, I just want to do it all over again or move to a place where it’s summer now and just keep chasing summer until my last day. One thing I couldn’t stand during summer was the humidity. Oh, I thought South Africa was hot but learnt otherwise these last 3 months. I had a fair amount of fun during summer although I felt like I didn’t really do as much as I was ‘supposed’ to do but you can be the judge of that…


Whew! I sacrificed so much for my Mac and it was all worth it because it also taught me self-discipline. I had been wanting to do this for myself for such a long time and although inconveniences kept popping up, I forced myself to not give up saving up for this. I am a writer and I love designing so buying myself a Mac was just so important to me and I am forever thankful to myself for it.



There’s nothing better than attending live stand-up comedy when you are into comedy. One thing you are bound to do though is having high expectations of the comedians and in a sense, that is normal. I’m one of those people who like bad comedy (comedy/jokes that are so bad or not funny that you actually find it funny) so even a person who is not funny at all but tries to be makes me laugh. Also, the comedy nights that I attended were free, so I went there with an open mind and intentions to make the comedians feel good about themselves.


I have partied in my life but not as much as I did on this night – thinking back to it makes me cringe and laugh at the same time. It was my friend’s birthday celebration and we all linked up to have a good time. I had one too many tequilas and by dawn I was so sick but still having a good time lol it was one of those nights when you drink so much and the next day you start saying you’ll never drink again in your whole life.


During summer I decided to take a course in Business Marketing at Long Island University (LIU) Post because I felt like it was something I needed to have and that it would help me grow too. The best part about studying there was that I got to meet so many cool people and so many South Africans too – I met like 20 of them throughout the course and I couldn’t be happier.



Nothing boosts my confidence more than getting my hair done, I just always feel like a brand-new person. It took us 9 hours (no breaks and no sleep) to finish braiding my hair and that too was all worth it, although I was asleep the next day during class!img_7817.jpg


This was one of the best days I’ve had this year. I was happy, smiling and laughing all day long, I was confident, carefree and comfortable and it was the best thing ever. I was happy to see people express themselves fiercely, although I am bummed about that being ‘allowed/celebrated’ for only one month a year and not every single day of the year. There were also celebrities at the NYC Pride March, music and little giveaways but most importantly, there was love and support which was a beautiful thing to witness and experience.


I had been looking forward to 4th of July since I moved to USA – that, Thanksgiving and Halloween. I have always wanted to experience these days myself, not just through movies so I was excited when the 4th of July came because I wanted to see fireworks and pretty much everything else about this day and what Americans do. In the morning, I went on a very short walk and later I met up with a friend and went to a ‘private’ party lol I laugh because it was legit just a regular backyard party and it’s not even like it was a youth party, the average person was middle-aged and had their kids there too.


Ugh! What a fun weekend, this is definitely one of those weekends you reminisce on every now and then. Yes, I was looking forward to going to D.C but I honestly didn’t expect to enjoy myself so much. This was also the first time I travelled with someone, I traveled with Bucie who I met on Instagram 2 months prior and that alone was just an experience. My absolute favorite thing about D.C is that most museums and galleries do not have an admission fee and you know how much I love museums and galleries, so I took advantage of this opportunity. I didn’t get to visit all of them hence why I am planning yet another trip to Washington D.C

Click here to read about my trip and what I did while I was in D.C


I still can’t get over how hard it was for me to go into a club in D.C (because my South African driver’s license apparently looked fake! BUT my friend who used a fake ID was allowed in. Like…) so I ended up sneaking in! Anyway, after that, around 2am we walked down the street to a strip club and the bouncer barely looked at my license and let me in. I immediately sobered up when I realized that I’m in an actual strip club, but I had to keep my cool and act like I’m soooo used to this meanwhile I was surprised and intrigued at the same time. It was a good experience though, I genuinely enjoyed being there because I saw how comfortable the women were and men weren’t disrespectful either.


I had been wanting to have this experience, well it was bound to come sooner than later because sleeping in hostels is so good for your pocket. I am actually quite glad that I had my first experience with a friend, we had a mixed dorm room and we didn’t know that until we arrived – no it wasn’t a surprise, we just didn’t check when we booked, we just went for the cheapest one we could find. It was a good hostel though which was close to all the places you would actually want to go to, we walked pretty much everywhere from the hostel. It was a bit sucky that most of the people in our 10-bed dorm were guys, guys who weren’t even friendly, well one of them was. But we were kind of okay with it because we were hardly there anyway.


This is what made me fall in love with Washington D.C even more! Nandos is a South African chain restaurant so you can only imagine my reaction when I saw the sign ‘Nandos’ as I was walking through Chinatown. I had dinner there and lunch the next day and what made me happier is that it tasted just as amazing as it does back home and they played South African music. Heaven.


This is something I have always freaked out about since moving to the US, in South Africa we don’t fill up our own gas/petrol but I knew that here they do but I was quite lucky because where I live there are 2 gas stations that have attendants so I’ve never had to do it myself. This one evening, when I was so far from home, I noticed I was out of gas, as in the car would just die out anytime soon. 1 minute or so after that realization I bumped into a gas station, pulled up and waited and waited and waited… Oh shit, I have to do it myself! I legit started sweating because I had no choice but to fill up my own gas and I didn’t even want to ask around. I got out, told myself it can’t be that hard if I just follow the instructions and I was right! It was a success and I was so happy; I drove off giggling.


This is one of the things I am absolutely proud of… I have started reading a lot, like a lot lot. I have never really had ‘time’ to read but now that I do so much of it, I see that it was never about not having time, reading was just not a priority for me and in a way, it bored me. I’ve learnt the importance of taking your time to pick the right book and not just judging it by it’s cover. So far, in the last 3 months, I have read and completed 2 books which were so amazing and life-changing although one was fiction and the other was non-fiction, they both impacted my life positively and encouraged me to keep reading. I am currently on my 3rd book now and planning on reading 2 more before this year ends.


On one of my ‘feeling quite low’ days, a friend of mine randomly DM’d me saying, Hey, what are you doing next weekend? Wanna go on a road trip upstate? For one, I love new adventures so of course I was down and two, I needed something to lift my mood and this seemed to fit. Perfectly timed. Upstate New York is such a different vibe from places like Manhattan and Long Island, we were in and around Ithaca which is more like farm life. We visited 8 waterfalls and drove for 2 hours to a sunflower farm and there was nothing! That was the only bummer from that trip.


I remember some time ago I asked a friend if she would ever sleep in a motel and both of us were unsure. I was quite nervous and excited when Wendy, who I went on a road trip with, told me she had booked a motel for us for the night. It was not what I had expected or seen in a typical movie with motels, this one was pretty fancy and more like a hotel than anything.


Believe it or not, I used to walk from A to B and from B to Z in the city because I didn’t know how to use the subway but I also never needed to take the subway because I never went too far but this one time when I had to go to a comedy show, I had to take the subway or walk for an hour and some minutes. A friend had suggested an app but I didn’t have time for that so without thinking much I just went on Google Maps and it pretty much mapped out everything for me – where I need to get the subway, which one to take, when it’s arriving, when the next one is arriving and how many stops until I get where I want to be. Talk about the greatest invention.


Oh, I had beeeen wanting to spoil my family and after thinking long and hard about how I could repay them for their undying love and support, I thought about surprising them by planning a trip for them to Cape Town. This was a great idea because my mother and brother had never been on a plane before and my brother had never been out of our province/state and they all deserved a break! When I video called them a month before to reveal the surprise, they were so happy I actually cried! When the day finally came, I woke up to a spam of messages, videos and pictures of them from their luggage, to the time they were waiting for the plane, to the time they boarded the plane… everything! All weekend long! I had one of the best weekends because of them and seeing how happy they were.



A braai, to those who might not know, is a barbeque. I am calling it a braai right now because it’s what we call it in South Africa and there were only South Africans there. We planned this over 2 weeks, we would all meet in New Jersey because that’s where most of my friends live and basically take ourselves back home for the day! Oh, it was glorious! We cooked, we sang, we danced, we had chicken feet lol, we ate and shared stories… it also felt good to speak my language in person to so many people the whole day. That has become a luxury for me now. I think we all needed that day; it was truly refreshing.


I was excited like a little kid on this day, I was finally going to Six Flags, I was going to ride real crazy rollercoasters (which I had never done before). I went on the biggest and scariest rides that I could spot and even though Kingda Ka looked scary from afar, it wasn’t, it was just uncomfortable. The scariest one for me was one that was called Nitro, I came out shaking!


Listen, I bought 3 pairs of shoes, 3, from Forever 21… for $4/R60! No jokes! I myself was shocked but happy because I was broke and I went in there for the sole purpose of buying shoes because I needed them for the next day. Lucky me hey!



You know, sometimes something bad has to happen to make way for the good and I learnt this on this day. It was honestly just a regular Saturday and my friends, and I planned to go to the beach and when we go to the beach, we have to use my car because I have access to the private beach. Just before heading there, we stopped at Burger King to grab some food and quickly headed back to the car… but the car just wouldn’t start. Yuup, that was the end of it! So, when my brain stopped going spiral, I called my employer and told her the situation, they picked us up and I hung out with my friends on the patio for the rest of the day. 2 days later, my employer told me I could have the Jeep Grand Cherokee and they’re just going to buy themselves a new one (side note – I want to be that monied in life too lol) and yeah, ever since then, I have been feeling so cool because of so many reasons actually.



When I was out looking for a gift to buy a friend, I found a mindfulness journal which poses questions about my day, how I am genuinely feeling, the good things that happened in my day, what is stressing me and all that. The second one was a 17-month planner which also had stickers. Those are the additions to my unintentional collection of journals.


For the first time ever, I booked a flight for myself. For the first time ever, I flew alone. For the first time ever, I went an international trip. Believe it or not, the first time I ever flew, was a couple of months ago, coming back from watching Lauryn Hill with my sister (still the best weekend of my life). The 2nd time I flew, I was coming to USA but I wasn’t alone, I was with another lady who I was connected with by my agency. The 3rd time, I flew alone to the Bahamas to treat myself! It was the most stressful thing I have ever gone through but I am so glad it all went well.



Before I even landed in The Bahamas, I was just so fascinated as we were flying over it, seeing islands surrounded by clear blue water and as we got lower, I realized that there aren’t any skyscrapers in Nassau. Interesting. Because I was traveling alone and I didn’t quite know where to go and all, I had to be super cautious and responsible and when I finally made it to the Airbnb, I was at ease because I met so many wonderful people who I ended up spending all my time with. 4 days after I came back, the islands of Bahamas were attacked by hurricane Dorian and my heart sank! My thoughts are with everyone and every animal affected by the hurricane.


Yes, I did that. I went from an afro to relaxed hair! I was so tired of my hair and ever since moving here, it hasn’t been easy to maintain it, well, it has never been but it was much controllable back home because it wasn’t so humid and I knew which hair products to use and salons were in every corner. Whereas where I live right now, I have to drive at least 40 minutes, to find a salon that caters for my kind of hair. I was tired, so I made the decision of just straightening it which is less of a hassle. I will see natural hair in my next lifetime.


That’s it for now, sign2

I hope this season has been good for you and please share some of your highlights with me…


  • David Harris September 6, 2019 at

    Great post. Glad to hear you had a good summer

  • officialosi September 6, 2019 at

    You’re right, but at least you got to enjoy

  • Mariam Shittu September 5, 2019 at

    You did a lot this summer!!! It’s so nice of you to plan a trip for your family. I’d like to do that too. I can’t believe you relaxed your hair. OMG! love the photos <3

  • questionsfromateenager September 5, 2019 at

    Damn girl, you were busy this summer. And I love that you treated yourself to something you’ve wanted for a long time, sometimes getting yourself a present is the best thing! x

  • Alien Resort September 5, 2019 at

    So many different experiences.

  • tsepotheview September 5, 2019 at

    You had nice time during summer and your pics are amazing even on your Instagram but for you it’s really possible to have double summer because when cold hit’s that side you can always come home and enjoy summer again 🙌😀 #Mzansi

  • Breathing Words September 5, 2019 at

    This is such a HAPPY post!!!!Loved it.<3

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    About Me

    Hi and welcome! My name is Mbalenhle K but everyone calls me Mbali for short (say: mm-bah-lee). I am a freelance copywriter who loves all things art, experiences and aesthetics (big time Pinterest gworl 🧚🏽)! I am the founder of Budding Regardless where I talk about mindfulness, self-development and self-nurturing for creatives. Read More

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