I am grateful for our little unit. And for silver linings. No house help, no nannies, no gardeners and no family close by seemed like an alien world. And it was. But it’s a world where we are closer, are more present and are stronger as a unit. And not only because we have to be, but because we choose to be.
Our local supermarket now has a small South African section. I am grateful for this reminder of when I was little. These caramel creams were my favourite. The funny thing is when I was still in South Africa I hadn’t had them for years, despite them being available. Yet discovering them here, so far away, I ate the entire pack. It seems I’m allowed to here. Because it reminds me of there. And then.
Mmmmm, this is quite a touchy subject. There have been a few moments lately when I have felt my hackles rise but true to the new me have breathed. Before responding. Also to be honest, the response might be seen in a very defensive light, and that is not intended. I am referring to the ignorant, misrepresented, without knowledge or understanding, generalised comments always levelled at South Africans who have apparently fled to Australia. I am over it. You don’t know me, or us. I do not need to explain myself to you or anyone else. But, my biggest failing in life is a need for fair representation for all, fair treatment for all. Failing because I always feel the need to speak up, I simply cannot let it be. So, don’t judge and don’t misrepresent and don’t hide behind your own fear. The fear that makes you ignorant and judgemental of others. The fear that makes you need to justify your own actions and denigrate others. The fear that makes you need to feel better than others. Because you are not. Nobody is. You may still be there but does that mean you are contributing to positive change. To a better future for all. No matter the colour of your skin. What difference are you making? We took up an opportunity. To make a difference. To our children lives and to the lives of those we left behind. And to those who suffer at the hands of prejudice. Yes, we sponsor families, we support and contribute what we can to Africa financially, we care. But the important bit, is the bit we are doing for our world. For a hopeful future. By bringing up children who are tolerant, who see equality in all, who are kind, who are charitable, who share, who believe in taking responsibility for their own actions, who believe in love, who do not judge, who do not believe anyone should be celebrated or punished for others misdeeds but that we should all look to the future and be the change we so desperately crave. For humanity. And that we would do no matter where we are. How about you?
B had me in stitches this morning with stories as only he can tell them about how bullet proof as he puts it South Africans are. Well, actually what was hilarious is how un bullet proof he has become being here. There is a sadness about how desensitised we become to poverty, crime, corruption and mayhem when we live with it every day. But today it was a funny story. B was on a technical recce in Parow in Cape Town, when approaching the team on the street was a gentlemen weaving, shouting and wielding a box cutter. If they supported the ANC, he would cut them he threatened maniacally. B found himself backing away quite rapidly, I mean he said, the guy was manic, and dangerous, he could have lashed out at any one of them. The rest of them just stood there and shooed him off. B was in hysterics as he recounted the look of incredulity on all their faces when looking at him, saying, where you going?? As if he was the odd one for backing off, not them for not. I mean imagine if someone came weaving up to one of us here in Noosa with a dangerous object, threatening to cut anyone who supported the Labour Party or LNP or whomever … Actually, it’s an impossible stretch.
I loved being in Braamfontein today. On the outer skirts (for you Lynn) of Jo’burg inner city. It was where I spent my varsity days and it was wonderful to see the area reenergised and rejuvenated. I am grateful I got to see it as it is today. The coffee shops, the galleries, the design studios. The trendy foody vintagey neighbourgoods market is a must visit for all visitors here. And those who live here. My only promise to myself is next time I’ll also be swapping my flat white for a margarita. At 10 am.
At dinner last night a friend asked me where home was now. After nearly four years here. For all of us, here or there. I always hate those questions. I have since the day we arrived here. Are you happy. Do you miss home. The reason I hate them is because it is so hard to answer them. To be honest. To even know how you really feel, because there is so much stuff that clouds your honest assessment. How can I be happy here, even if I think I might be. Doesn’t that negate the relationships, the people I’ve left behind. How can I be happy here when they aren’t here. And if I say I’m not, what about the opportunity we’ve been given. How can we not put our best foot forward and embrace the adventure. What about all the fabulous friends who have rallied around us and supported us to find our feet here. And how can I not be happy providing a possibly firmer future for my kids. What am I teaching them if I’m always looking backwards. Where do the girls feel more at home? I answered that home for them, in fact for all of us, is where we are. And as I said it last night I realised I meant it. We are where we are meant to be. So, I guess that right now thats here. So, does that mean this is home now? Africa is in my blood and in my heart. It is the country of my birth. It is with me wherever I am. My family is in my heart and in my blood. They are with me wherever I am. I now know I don’t have be anywhere to be home. But I wondered if I had answered correctly for the girls. So I asked them. Jem said, well I was born in South Africa, but I don’t really have a home. Just as my heart cracked, she went on to say, home is where my family is. You, daddy and Kate. Kate didn’t want to answer, then said here. Here?, I said. Australia? She said, well, it’s where we live. So simple. Home truly is wherever we are. And I believe that can be anywhere now.