Homeward Bound, South Africa – Part 1

How one wishes we could literally drop kick our day job, pack a bag or two, destination unknown and sail off into the bliss with the promise of travel adventures on the horizon for the unforeseen future.  Alas that is but a pipe dream, but for me, I did however get to experience bliss for five weeks in the beautiful Mother City that is Cape Town, to indulge in photography, spend a somewhat decade overdue quality time with my cousin Angie, reunite with my extended family, all …… of us, some quality time with mom and a whole heap of R&R, switched off from my life in Australia.  Email shut down with clear instructions to work that I will literally not be logging on under any circumstances.  After all, what’s the point of taking an extended, much needed vacation if I’m going to be obsessed about checking in every couple of hours. Confession though, it was somewhat harder than I realized for the first few days, not to give in to the urge to log on and ensure everything is ok, but after about  a week, amazing how your care factor slowly dissipates and you really start to repeat in your mind, ‘this is my time and I’m damn well going to enjoy  it’.

Saturday 7 April 2012,
SYD-JHB. Packed and bound for South Africa for a 5.5 week tour of Cape Town in what was a long trip in the planning, essentially going home for a family reunion, a 60th birthday celebration for my Aunt and a long needed vacation, some ‘me time’.

Sunday 8 April 2012,
Arriving at Jan Smuts Airport or O.R Tambo International as it’s now known.  Yet another thing the current government felt the need to change, much to my chagrin. A landmark that has stood since 1952. Why can’t they just leave history well alone.

Whilst Australia is very much home for me now and I have no desire to move back to South Africa if ever, there’s still some nostalgic longing deep within me as I walk through customs and gaze around me and see sights that are so typically South African, that for brief moments, it certainly makes me long for my life here again or possibly just the South African way of life.  After all these are my roots, the very essence of my being, but still not enough to convince me to take the proactive plunge and move back permanently.

Hire car done, now an hour drive home to Vanderbijlpark, a fairly large town outside of Johannesburg to the comforting arms of mom.  One thing I am happy to admit as an adult, no matter what age you are, being away from family for well over a decade, literally a continent apart.  Every time I come home for a visit, I never tire of walking into mom’s arms, feeling enveloped in that love.  Then being greeted by the over excited yapping of the dogs.


Walking upstairs and dumping my bags in the room that by unspoken words is mine whenever I visit, considering this is not the childhood home I grew up in.  But this room has come to be my domain of peace.  To the non South African, there are no words to explain what it feels like to lie on your bed and gaze up at your ceiling that is made of straw.  A thatch house has the smell of hay and pine and wood beams, whilst none of this sounds enticing, it is the most amazingly comforting and inviting feel.

Another advantage to living on a dwelling with vast amounts of open land, every morning we’d wake up, sit on the porch and gaze at the wonders of nature.  This seems to be an inviting haven for bird species for their morning, afternoon and evening food stop and some devouring frogs.  Nature. Fascinating sight.

 

Monday 9 April 2012,

First stop, Vanderbijlpark, my home town, about an hour outside of Johannesburg and to visit Mom for a few days before heading to the Cape Town for the bulk of my extended vacation.  Whilst I’ll admit to not being overly excited to be back in Vanderbijlpark, one can’t dispute the incredibly sunsets you experience over the Vaal and those Highveld thunderstorms, which Sydney just don’t come close to replicating.

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