Five years ago it was hot as hell. It may be that I remember the heat a bit better because I was 28 weeks pregnant at the time, and had to endure quite a number of people asking me, “You sure you’re not carrying twins?”
“Nah… I believe in going big or going home, and pregnancy is one of the things I do big!” was my usual answer.
Three months later my second child was born. My mum came to help me as I believe that most men are pretty useless during the first six weeks of a bub’s life, especially when they can’t really help with the breastfeeding aspect of it. (My apologies to all the great dads out there, my hubby included, but the first six weeks babies are crying, pooping, peeing and sleeping humans and I needed my mum. Especially because I knew this baby would very likely also be a colicky one.)
That was also the last time I saw my mum.
It has been almost five years. I have spoken to her almost daily in the mean time, we have had a couple of skype sessions, but they are never very successful because you can’t touch each other, or really make eye contact, because the camera is always at an funny angle, and you constantly have to answer, “Yes mum, I can hear you.”
On Monday, 30 November 2015 I will be able to give my mum a hug. I will be able to wrap my arms around her and hold her very tight. I will be able to give my little sis a kiss and take my 82 year old stepdad around the shoulders and hold him close.
Yes, I am getting family for the holidays! Whoohoo!!!! And I am already dreading the 4th of January 2016 when they have to go home, because I do not know when I will see them again.
When loved ones come to visit, us expats start cleaning with a gumption. Coincidentally that is also the name of a kickass cleaner here in Australia. We re-arrange beds so that nanna and poppy (ouma and oupa) have their own room and bed. We stock our pantry with foods we know they will love. We make lists of everything we want to go and show them, or have them taste. We want them to fall in love with Australia so badly that we ache, because…just maybe, they will think about lifting their roots and moving to this Great South Land. That is all we need to feel complete… our family.
Dear, dear, dear Migrant to the Great South Land,
Missing your family, for most of us, is something that we do not truly grasp until we are here. Even when we do not see one another often, you are still in the same country….and then you are not. Then it costs them anything from R50 000 to R100 000 to come and visit. Yeah sure it is an overseas holiday, but it is not the same, is it?
The longer I am here, the more I miss them. The more I feel the loss of missing out on added grey hairs, increasingly slower walks and more health concerns. They keep it from me, just as I keep my issues hidden from them, because I do not want to worry them. But they still do… and I still do. We are human, after all.
I wonder if my almost five year old will call my mum ‘Tannie’ and my stepdad ‘Oom’? I wonder if it will rip my mum’s heart apart to see that she is a stranger to people of her blood?
And when I think about these things I often ask myself the question, ‘Was it worth this? This hankering that my heart has? Was it worth the sacrifice you have made in the name of adventure?’
I do not know.
This I know:
In Australia I discovered hidden talents that I did not know I had. I unearthed my passion for writing. I bought and sold a business; something I would never have contemplated in South Africa. I have met the most amazing people, and I have discovered that friends can and do become family.
The Marlize of 27 November 2015 is a vastly different person from the Marlize who got of the plane on 17 August 2008. I like her so much more.
If I knew then what I know now, would I do it all over again?
I do not know. I think so. I really do think so…
So, on 30 November 2015 three very important people in my life will be arriving on the shores of this Great South Land, from the shores of another South Land, and I will cry tears of absolute joy, and I will pray that five weeks will pass ever so slowly, that seconds become minutes and minutes become hours. I will pray that time will stand still… so that I can cherish them, and love them and pamper them. Then I will take them back to the airport, come home and go and sit in the room and smell them. I will not take their bedding off for another week, in the ho
pe that the smell will not go away.
But until the 30th I have a truckload of cleaning to do, a freezer to fill with food, and rooms to get ready. I have visitors coming for the holidays! Yeehaa! Now these last three days must fly!