I thought a trip back home to South Africa would be just the ticket (pardon the pun) to lift me out of this melancholic mood. Yet here I am after a really superb holiday and it’s still there, worse now that I’ve had a couple of weeks enjoying the company of family and friends. The pain of separation is sometimes too much to bear, especially because of the uncertainty of when we will next be able to see each other.
I’m also not sure if it’s because I’m turning 50 this year and just feel like my life lacks adventure. The last great adventure we had was uprooting from our home of 30 plus years, and moving half way across the globe with our two boys, to start a new life in a country we knew very little about. The only things we knew about New Zealand were that the All Blacks came from there and that apparently, the sheep to people ratio was rather large so lamb should be cheap. Oh, and also that it looked miniscule on the world map and we were moving there.
People kept telling me how brave we were, but it didn’t feel like that at the time; it was exciting. I do remember feeling melancholic back then, but there were all sorts of other reasons contributing to that, none of which are relevant now. So just what is going on and what do I do to ‘fix’ this? It’s only March so I can’t go into a whole new year feeling this way, this feeling usually catches me at the last remaining ¼ of the year, so that I have it right up front is somewhat disconcerting.
Now about the age thing, I have been thinking that it should be natural to look at this looming birthday with a combination of reflection and desire. In the Bible, we are told that God He has made everything beautiful in its time, so the question is…is this the time for another adventure and if it is, what will it be?
A random, stray thought crawled into my head as I was reflecting this on my recent trip back to my beloved Cape Town and it went something like this. What about moving back Cape Town? I surprised myself (not to mention my husband) with that one. I miss the place so much; I miss her people even more and the mountains, especially our matriarch, Table Mountain. I miss Woolworths, Pick ‘n Pay and Spar. I miss the sense of humour that is so uniquely South African. I long to be able to hop in the car and spend a lazy Saturday morning at one of the many wine farms or buzzing along with the teeming masses at the Old Biscuit Mill food market. I ache to just drop in to family for a cuppa and a chat.
This was scary stuff! Yes, I miss Cape Town, but after living abroad for 16 years, could we make the shift back a permanent one? Okay, what about a ‘gap’ year? It seems to be the norm with our kids these days, so why can’t we do the same? My husband remained unconvinced. “Think about it,” I said; “in that year, we could experience what we’ve dreamed of doing, our whole lives. I mean, you’re already 50 and my turn is mere weeks away so let’s get this show on the road.”
We have spent the 28 years of our marriage raising sons and most of that time, carving out a new life for ourselves in New Zealand. It’s been an amazing journey during which we’ve experienced many highs and lows. Our children are now adults we are proud of so what’s holding us back? I can’t think of a single thing other than fear, and that is all the reason I need to get going. In the meantime, we’ll share what it’s like to live in New Zealand and try our best to answer any questions you may have about living life in Aotearoa – land of the long white cloud.