Monday, July 30, 2007

Where does the time go?

Can you believe that it's been nearly 1o day since I last blogged?? That tells you how busy I am!

Each of us is making their own slow adjustment to life in SA. It seems we've left one lot of rain for another. While it's been flooding in the UK, it's been storming in Cape Town. The township dwellers are stuck because if they evacuate (which they should) then their homes are perfect targets for thieves. We've had the coldest winter I can remember (and that's not just me - most Capetonians say so too) for years. Being back here has brought home to me just how poverty stricken this country is. It really is a 3rd world country. But having said that, I've been so heartened to see how every one has rallied round to help their fellow citizen - blanket drives have brought in thousands of blankets and food parcels and money for shack repairs. I was expecting there to be an attitude of 'when will these people get themselves sorted; this happens every year', but there has been such a spirit of concern and genuine sympathy. I've been so proud to call myself a Capetonian again.

One of the other things I'm loving about being home again is all the old cultural cliches - using colloquial Afrikaans again, without having to worry about not being understood. Like talking to the pikkies, or talking about robots. I'm also loving rediscovering all the old SA adverts that have become part of the culture - Lofty; Ja Swaer; a can of the best; it's not inside... it's on top; it's hot today hey Hennie?!. And I'm really LOVING being able to get FANTASTIC quality biltong and SA Smarties (which taste different to every other type) at every shop I go to!!!!

But I digress... back to the rain. There are several rivers that run through Cape Town - the Liesbeeck, the Black, and Elsies River all run near to (or through) the suburb we're living in. In all my life, I have never seen the Liesbeeck overflow its banks as badly as it did a week ago. I wish I could show you the photos I took on my phone, but I don't have the necessary cables or software (we're still waiting for our stuff to arrive and it's in there...). It was truly incredible. I stood and watched a parking lot flood - with the water flowing in at a rate of 10cm crawl in about 1 minute. It was like standing on the beach and watching the tide come in. Scary! It was the second time in my life I've been truly worried about being unable to leave a building because of flooding.

I'm still very happy teaching - which is incredible. While it's taking me time to make friends on the staff (one of the drawbacks of teaching in a school with a long and distinguished history is that most of the staff have been there for over 10 years - some as long as 30 - so the cliques are well established), on the whole I can say that I'm loving my work. I can't really remember the last time I felt that way. However, the downside is leaving Nellie and not seeing her during the day. I hate that. I miss her terribly. She's starting at play school (daycare for the under 5's) soon - Graeme will be spending time with her over the next few weeks helping her to acclimatise to the new environment and children before she starts properly. I wish it were me helping her to settle in. I want to see what her routine will be like, what the other kids are like, what the teachers are like. I want to be sure that she's going to be happy. I also want to be there to say goodbye to her as she takes this next step of independence. I guess that's parenthood - constantly saying goodbye a little more. I know that this is what she needs - the stimulation, the friends, the independence - but it sucks for me.

Nellie's godparents are also expecting their first baby! We're absolutely thrilled for them. They're going to be such fab parents! A few hours after they shared this incredible news with us though, I sat and wept for Zoe. She would be 4 months now. She'd be holding up her head, babbling, grasping for things and playing with her toes, possibly even sitting supported. I miss her. There's a constant ache in my heart. I think about her at the drop of a hat, in the oddest of places - like walking to my classroom - and promptly want to burst into tears.

While I could never replace her, I do want another baby. But I can't even think about getting pregnant until I've found a gynae, midwife and medical aid, so that dream is temporarily on hold, which is frustrating. Thinking about Simon and Heather's baby being born in a few months was hard. It came at a time when I seem to be surrounded by other people's babies. My step-brother and his wife are scheduled for their c-section on Wednesday. My cousin is due with her 2nd in a few weeks. Other friends at church had a baby girl on Friday. A school friend is due in a few months. How I long to be part of that very blessed group! My time will come, I know; I just want it to be now.

Church - there's another thing that we seemed to have slipped into. We had planned to find look around at churches before settling on one. However, after visiting our old church, we decided that we may as well join there again - at least that would be one less 'new' thing to get used to. Going there though feels like being in a time warp though. Everything's the same, but everything's different. We're at the morning service now, which we never were before. We have very few friends still there, but the ones we do have are still doing the same old. same old. We feel like strangers (which we are), but everything is so familiar it doesn't feel strange to us at all. It's this odd dichotomy. We feel displaced in some way. We'll probably still look around, but in a few months' time. For the moment it is important to reconnect with old friends, especially for Graeme.

I think he's finding the transition from full time work to house husband difficult. I remember how hard it was for me to make that transition. It's lonely and can be very boring too, and he's very shy so is less likely to make the effort to get to know people in similar circumstances. I had the benefit of a day time small group and a regular play group to take Nellie to. He has nothing like that at the moment. When we move into our own place again in a few weeks I think it will be even harder for him - at least now he has my folks around to talk to during the day.

I miss our friends from London... it's amazing how often I catch myself thinking, "I must remember to tell so-and-so about this later...", only to remember that in order to do so will mean an expensive phone call, or a late night of emailing - neither of which is desirable at the moment. Like today - Nellie was up at 3am and I wanted to share the story about it with Sarah - only to remember that Sarah was miles away. As it happened, she emailed me later in the day, and I finished work early enough that I had time to send a proper reply. But I miss that daily contact with people... I nearly said 'back home'... ! with people back in London. Guys - please know that I'm not being silent because I couldn't be bothered or because I don't care. I really do miss you, and I want to keep in contact. But all this getting used to new routines (and working out new routines) and balancing work-life balance is proving harder than I anticipated.

Nellie is growing fast - but I'll put all her news on her site (the link is on the right). I realise this post is enormously long. Sorry. That's what you get for not blogging regularly. I will try hard to blog shorter bits more frequently. Really I will.
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