Someone I Once Met: A Net


Like what you catch a fish in – a net‘ …. this is what we used to tell our new American friends in Colorado. They found it difficult to wrap their tongues around her name, Annette. We’d say either that, or Americanize it by repeating it back to their confused ears without the t.

Meet, Annette (Nettie).

Back in 2010, almost a year before teaching America how to pronounce normal English names, and that South Africa was the name of our country rather than a general area, Annette and I were only kind of friends. Which is why I was taken aback when she said genuinely, that she was ‘in’ for a Colorado ski season. We called ourselves ‘doers’ after this decision.

Fast forward at least a year – our ski season was over, and we’d forever agonize over how epic it was by writing on each other’s walls. There were four of us and we probably annoyed a good amount of people with our private Colorado jokes and quotes displayed publicly on social media.


I was always half impressed, half annoyed that while I skied to work everyday and she didn’t, her skiing skills were on par with mine. Its all in the guts. She had the guts.

Unfortunately, her gut gave way when somewhere along the way she contracted C-dificile, a painful bacterial stomach issue which if untreated, only gets worse and worse. Annette’s went untreated for about 6 months which I’ve put down to her a) never, ever complaining b) her tendency for FOMO c) (dumb) youth logic.

A few days before departure on our post-season spectacular train trip from San Francisco to the Canadian border, Annette was on the verge of pulling out. I shudder to think of how terrible of a friend I was to miss just how bad she must have been to even verbalize this thought. But just days after hitting rock bottom, and in hindsight – far from recovered, Nettie packed her bags waved goodbye to CO with me and flew to San Francisco to hit the tracks northwards. (This was all before I became brave enough to travel completely alone – I don’t know what I would have done if she hadn’t been able to come.)


Together we became Ellie Goulding fans at an intimate show in Portland – just before she exploded into stardom. We witnessed Tinie Tempa perform to an embarrassingly small crowd in an almost empty club. We met people who inspired us. We acted questionably on long haul train journeys, couch surfed with friends, and almost never spoke about her pain. 27 year old me is appalled by how little I remember asking her how she felt. Was it me? Should she have simply complained more?! Lord knows the self-pity that would have emanated from me if put in her shoes.

To sum Annette up; she is the sober girl having the best time at the party. Only special people can do that. And Nettie is just that, very special to a lot of people 🙂


6 years later and still the only thing I can really fault this woman on is her spelling 😉


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