Final days and farewells

Trip Start Jun 04, 2005
Trip End Apr 05, 2006

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Flag of South Africa  ,
Thursday, April 6, 2006

What a treat to be spending time with our American cousins again! Having enjoyed a fabulous few days together in Great Brak the week before, we met up with Shaun, Soly, aunt Sheila and kids at the Waterfront for lunch on Thursday.

In the late afternoon, we all returned to Jen and Pete's place for a braai and a final bit of time together - Sheila and Mum-Jen were flying out that very evening and the four Americans were due to leave the next morning. Both of us have grown very fond of charming, curly-haired Kylie and super-happy baby Nathan, who just never stopped giggling, so we lapped up the last bit of quality time with them.

Over the next few days we made the most of seeing friends - Friday I spent a lazy afternoon at a cafe with Sue while Rich went drinking with the boyz; in the evening we met up with Adri and Jaco (awaiting the birth of their first child) and old friend Nix at a posh Vietnamese restaurant. Early Saturday morning we headed to Constantia for a brunch with Rich and his new wife Leigh, and then raced back to prepare for the evening's big event - a gathering of 14 or so mates at HQ in Hout Bay for much chatting, drinking and a seafood 'potjie'.

Simon and Gill, having travelled from Pringle Bay, stayed the night and on Sunday we drove out to Somerset West to join them for a braai at their newly purchased pad - a proper, grown-up family home in an established secure estate, with marvellous views of Table Mountain, False Bay and the Helderberg Mountains behind. They hadn't even moved in yet so Rich and I took along a fish, some camping cutlery and crockery and Dad's barbeque... literally a 'bring & braai'! Si's sister Melissa and her boyfriend joined us. Wow, what a special afternoon in the company of our good friends and their bump!

Our final full day in SA came around just too soon. In the afternoon we went to see my good old friend Liane at her new house in Wynberg, and then joined the parents at the Baxter Theatre for a show - mum's choice, Amadeus. But first, the five of us tucked into a yummy buffet meal at the Baxter - Liane joined us. It'd been so special catching up with my trusty old friend with whom I share so many school and varsity memories!

A visit from Rich's cousin Ali brightened our very last morning in Cape Town. The weather had cooled down and the skies were grey - very apt for a sad day of farewells. And then, all too soon, it was time to go to the airport. But we had one last little reunion to look forward to...

My sister Charlene, husband Gerhard and baby Stefan came to meet us on Johannesburg Airport during our stop-over. How pleased we were to see the little chap again, even though he was fast asleep for much of the time! The four of us had a few drinks and a meal together - though we'd seen Charlene two weeks earlier in Cape Town, this was our only chance to catch up with Gerhard. A very precious couple of hours indeed.

The flights and stop-overs in Amsterdam and London passed in a blur, as if in a dream. When the plane landed at Edinburgh on the afternoon of Wednesday 5 April, I started crying - that's it, it was ALL OVER. The trip we'd dreamed about and planned for so long, the 10 months we lived to the full and immersed ourselves in medley of exotic new places, colours, flavours, people, sensations... it was over. I asked myself: how will we ever be able to adjust to familiarity and drudgery of daily life again, having experienced SO MUCH?
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