Browsing Tag


Heather and Jon at the beach on the South Coast

19 December

I woke up feeling sad this morning. This was no real surprise as the last few months have been difficult for me. But I’d been feeling better for the past couple of weeks, so when the sadness returned this morning I felt a little disappointed. At about 8:30, lying in bed with the curtains still closed even though I’d been semi-awake for hours, I looked at the date on my phone. 17 December, it said. Oh right, I thought. It’s almost 19 December, the day Jon died. Jon. Jon died in 2011. His death was horrific and I suffered greatly, as did everyone else who loved him. While not a complete surprise, the death was sudden and I didn’t get to say goodbye. No one did. For the first year I thought about Jon at least 50 times a day. It felt like one of my limbs was missing. I fantacized about all the things I wish I’d said to Jon before he died. I went through months of therapy and 12-step meetings and emotional rehab. I cried in bed, in the shower, in coffeeshops, at concerts and church services. I tried to get angry but felt only sadness. In December […]

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Heather at Perron

8 Years, 800 Blog Posts

This is my 800th blog post. I lied a little bit in the title because it hasn’t actually been eight years — I published my first post on 26 June 2010. But close enough. I wasn’t sure I would write a post to commemorate this. 800 is a strange number — 500 (which I also blogged about) and 1000 seem more significant. But 800 is still a lot. Assuming an average of 600-650 words per post, I’ve written at least 500,000 words on this blog. Half a million! My name is Heather and I’ve written half a million words. Photo shot by Nina Neubauer at Perron in Melville — my new favorite lunch spot. This milestone comes at a poignant moment for me. I find myself pondering all that’s happened since I started the blog — seven years, four months, and fifteen days ago — and wondering what it all means. 2Summers started as a kind of expat travel journal and eventually morphed into an ongoing story about life in Johannesburg.  I think of it as a “culture blog”. Accidentally I think I’ve created something pretty unique. From time to time, 2Summers has also been a place where I pour out […]

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November 2016 blog course

A New and Improved 2Summers Blog Course

I taught two one-day blogging courses last year, and they went really well. We met at Bridge Books, learned about blogging and social media, and photowalked around downtown Joburg. Everyone seemed to have fun and leave the course with fresh inspiration. My November 2016 blog class in front my favorite downtown mural by Faith47. But this time I want to do more. Learning to blog is not a simple, step-by-step process. Every blogger wants something different from his or her blog and the people who attend my class tend to show up at various points in their blogging journeys. Some have established blogs already and are looking for pointers to spruce things up. Others have only a vague notion of starting a blog. Some plan to blog about food; others about women’s rights. Some want to start a new business while others just want a new hobby. I started to think about a way to structure my course so that every blogger or potential blogger, no matter where they are on the spectrum, can come away with a clear plan of action. The new and improved 2Summers blog course was born. The Next 2Summers Blog Course: August 2017 My next […]

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Lightning strike over Joburg, seen from Randlords

An Instagram Challenge in 2016. A Blog Challenge in 2017.

In 2016, I committed to post a photo on Instagram every day of the year as part of a challenge called #366DaysOfMakingSpace. Even though the subject of the challenge — anything that relates to making space in my life — was broad, and even though I didn’t have to post photos on the actual day they were taken, this challenge was damn hard. It was so hard that my blogger friend who convinced me to do the challenge in the first place didn’t finish herself. (You know I love you anyway, Dee.) I’m interspersing this post with some of my favorite #366daysofmakingspace shots from 2016. I posted this one during my visit to Istanbul in February. I only missed one #366daysofmakingspace post the whole year. I was in Cappadocia in Turkey, and was so overwhelmed by the scenery that I forgot to do a post. I made up for it by double-posting the following day. Cappadocia, also in February. There were many days in 2016 when I felt uninspired and had to dig way back into my archives to find a photo. (I never posted any photos that I’d posted on Instagram previously.) There were days when I was insanely busy and didn’t remember the challenge until right […]

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Blogging at Frankfurt Airport

Another Chance to Attend #2SummersBlogClass

Here I sit, in the Frankfurt Airport at 11:00 a.m., blogging. This airport offers excellent free wifi and I have a few hours to kill before my connecting flight to Washington D.C. How fortunate that I have a blog. Otherwise I’d be really bored right now. This is where I’m sitting, right now, and this is my blog. Would you too like to have a blog of your own, to pass the time during endless airport layovers? If so, you should attend my #2SummersBlogClass on 19 November at Bridge Books. I held my first blog class back in July, and I must confess I was nervous about it. First I was worried that no one would sign up, and once people did sign up I was worried that no one would like this class. That didn’t happen though. Everyone loved the class, including me. I received several nice comments afterward but here is my favorite, from #2SummersBlogClass participant Roslyn: “The day did exactly what the advertising said it would – I learned to blog! We created the structure and did the technical tasks and then got tips about how to write and how to include photographs. Heather’s style of mixing anecdotes […]

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Blog class jumpstagram

#2SummersBlogClass: A Really Good Saturday

Yesterday I held my first #2SummersBlogClass, with nine fabulous bloggers/aspiring bloggers, at Bridge Books in downtown Joburg. It was one of the best Saturdays I’ve had in a while. Yes, I gave my blog class a hashtag. I’ve become one of those people. My blog class and me, in front of the beautiful Faith47 graffiti mural just off Gandhi Square. The First #2SummersBlogClass We spent the day in the Bridge Books meeting room at 87 Commissioner Street, talking about why to start a blog, tips on creating a strong, readable blog, how to promote a blog on social media, and how to shoot great photos for a blog. We took a photowalk around the CBD, visiting one of downtown Joburg’s best rooftop apartments, meeting people in shops and on the street, and exploring historic landmarks. Merishia shoots the city from the Apprentice Penthouse balcony, owned by Urban Ocean, on Albertina Sisulu Street. View of downtown Joburg through the porthole-shaped window in the Apprentice Penthouse bathroom. We wandered into a shop called Nombini Christine Fashion Design at the corner of Harrison Street and Albertina Sisulu. We had to do some negotiation to gain permission to take photographs, which was good practice for […]

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Heather blogging course Facebook

Wanna Be a Blogger? Come to My Course at Bridge Books

I’m not usually one to toot my own horn. But I’m a good blogger. (I’m not usually one to start my blog posts with clichés like “toot my own horn”, either. But I’m trying to be outrageous here.) I’ve got 99 problems. But blogging ain’t one. Anyway. There are many things I don’t know how to do. I can’t bake a soufflé, for instance, and I can’t change the oil in my car. I can’t knit or do back handsprings. But damn, can I blog. Give me a camera, a laptop, and some interesting subject matter and I will blog until the cows come home. (There it is — another cliché. Outrage.) I will blog until these cows are safely home. When Griffin from Bridge Books asked me to host a one-day blogging and social media course at his rad bookshop in downtown Joburg, I couldn’t think of any reason to say no. Although I kinda wanted to, because the idea of standing in front of a room full of people (okay, it will only be about 10 people, but still) and teaching them stuff is terrifying. But again, I know how to blog and there are lots of people out there who […]

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Something I’m Afraid Of

A few weeks ago, 2Summers was featured in a post called “Top 10 African Travel Blog Posts” in the Where Lions Roam blog. It was a nice feature and I was pleased to be included. But the description of my blog surprised me. “On an altogether more cheerful note this blog from an American-turned-Jozi-fan is great light reading and will educate you about many fun and quirky things to do in Johannesburg that most residents will not have encountered!” Seeing my blog described as “light reading” brought up an interesting mix of emotions. My homepage proves this description accurate: The most recent posts are about bakeries, walking tours, street food, and cats. I’m a lighthearted person and people seem to enjoy my lighthearted way of describing things. And there’s no reason for me not to be lighthearted, right? But light reading wasn’t my original intention for this blog — not my main intention, at least. When I started 2Summers in June 2010, I planned to make it an in-depth account of my emotional journey. You see, I was in the midst of divorcing my husband, who I was leaving for another man, and that man lived on another continent. This is a good story, I thought. […]

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Thoughts on Blogging, Working, and Making Money

I started this blog in June 2010 and named it 2Summers on a whim. I was moving from the United States to South Africa and I would experience two summers in the same year. Two summers, I thought…2 summers. 2Summers. It had a nice ring to it. I opened up WordPress, fiddled around a bit, and in minutes I had a blog. My first post was called Two Summers in 2010. The first photo to appear on my blog, in my original 2Summers header: South African and American flags in Melville during the 2010 World Cup. (Photo: Jon Hrusa) I never planned to become “a blogger”. I was a writer, sure, and later I became a photographer. But a blogger? No. I blogged as a hobby — to keep friends and family informed about my life, and maybe help other Joburg newcomers/visitors find their way around this awesome but confusing city. Blogging wasn’t a career; in fact it was the opposite. After 15 years of working nine-to-five copywriting and editing jobs, blogging provided a new opportunity to create my own personal content. No deadlines, no one telling me what to write or when, and certainly no paychecks. Blogging was something I did when I wasn’t working — it was […]

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Blogging and Photography: My Top Ten Tips

I recently read a post by a successful blogger, Mark Manson, about his top tips for blogging. Mark hit the nail on the head with all of his tips; I especially liked his focus on quality writing and perfectionism. But Mark left one important blogging subject out of his post: photography. Photography enhances blogging more than it does any other literary genre. Photos are to blog posts what chocolate is to peanut butter: They make an amazing combination, but must be combined properly and the quality and packaging are important. One of the main reasons my blog is successful (in my own mind, at least) is because I’m good at combining blogging and photography. Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way: 1) Practice, practice, practice. Want to get better at taking pictures for your blog? Then take as many photos as you can, everywhere you go. If you don’t have a camera then use your phone (although an actual camera is better). Ignore the voices in your head that say, “I don’t know what I’m doing” or “I’m not a good photographer”. The more you practice, the better you’ll be. 2) If at all possible, use your own photos rather than someone […]

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Notes on Cherry Pip Spitting (and Other Thoughts)

Last weekend I went to South Africa’s Eastern Free State to attend the annual Cherry Festival in Ficksburg. I took the weekend off, more or less. I didn’t take many photos and hardly thought about blogging. Regarding the Cherry Festival: Although I had lots of fun, it was really just a local carnival with a few cherry-related activities and some cherry jam for sale. Even though I love cherries, I wouldn’t necessarily go back to Ficksburg for the festival. But it was a great excuse to hang around in one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa. Clarens, a quaint tourist town near Golden Gate Highlands National Park. We stayed in Clarens our last night before driving home to Joburg. One of the activities on offer at the Cherry Festival was a “Cherry Pip Spitting” contest. (Americans call them pits, not pips. But I think the word pip is way cuter.) I missed the actual contest but I did try my own hand at cherry-pip-spitting, and it seems that I have some talent. Check it out. (Thanks to Ray for recording this amazing video.) 2Summers Cherry Pip Spitting from Heather Mason on Vimeo. Anyway, my main reason for writing this post is […]

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From the Melville Cat: Yes, I’m Still Here. 2Summers Is Too.

*Sketch by Fiver Löcker. Greetings, friends. It’s the Melville Cat. It’s been such a long time since I’ve posted; many of you might not even know who I am. Others may have feared I went away. Not to worry though — I’ve been here all along. I’ve just been very busy and haven’t had a chance to write. Here are some images illustrating what I’ve been up to over the last several months: Sleeping on the porch. Sleeping on a bed on the porch. Laying sullenly on the bed as Heather packs for a trip. I do this often, as Heather travels often and it displeases me greatly. Despite my valiant efforts to make her feel guilty, she continues to travel. Hmph. Sitting in the garden with a blasted cone on my head. I also do this often, as I like to fight with other cats and injure myself while Heather is away. As I said, I’ve been busy. Heather has been busy too, which is why she asked me to write this post. She wants me to explain to you why she hasn’t blogged for so long. Last week Heather was in Zimbabwe, a fact that I’m well aware of. Lucky took good […]

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