Forgive me if this post seems to start in the middle of our adventure. It is almost 10AM here in Pretoria, but our circadian rhythms are still on Central Standard Time. The flight yesterday was shorter than expected, coming in at just under 15 hours.
The boys were amazing travelers and were well supported by Erin, who I don’t think moved from her seat between them for the entire flight. Her strength and capability to endure physical discomfort and exhaustion is a testament to her love for our kids and an inspiration to me as a parent.
While stressful, customs and baggage claim were uneventful, even with our 11 checked bags. Our transfer to Silver Lakes Golf Estate took about an hour. On the way we passed Erin’s new offices and got to experience her evening commute. The infamous Joberg traffic was heavy but moving. It certainly is an improvement on Nashville’s 40/24/65 PM parking lot.
Our room here is modern and clean with all the amenities of an American golf resort, but lacking the finer points. What’s the saying, the one about how nothing beats German engineering, Japanese design, and American luxury? Holding true. The birds, loud and exotic looking, are up very early. Erin and I had trouble sleeping, so today we are trying to be extra patient with each other and the boys. While the flight felt easier, the recovery so far has been more difficult than on our housing trip last month.
Our apartment for the next six weeks overlooks the tennis courts and is conveniently located next to the restaurant and golf club. I’m writing now from our little covered porch. It is overcast and 20C. Yes, we are working on our conversions. At noon today our driver, Aaron, will pick us up and we will take the boys out to lunch and pick up some groceries. After my second cup of coffee (stronger and more bitter than American) I’m starting to feel up to the task of getting cell phones and necessities.
Building a life is hard. It took years in Nashville to reach what I consider the apex of happiness. Personally and professionally there was a lot to learn, and it took time and mentoring and support. But I did so with only an idea in my mind of what success would look like. In some ways, I think rebuilding might be more difficult because I have a memory of what was, and while I loved the fruit of my time and relationships in Nashville, I want something else for this experience. I don’t want to relive what I’ve already done. The purpose of this great adventure was to get out of our routines and to dedicate more time to what we love, namely each other and our passions. The last few years I’ve tried to improve upon the year before in my teaching and parenting and relationships often only repeating what I did previously with minor adjustments. I feel I was polishing a process rather than experimenting. In a little over a year I turn 40. I’m not ready to resign myself to living the same year over and over again with only minor adjustments. Four years in South Africa is just enough time to build something new before starting again.
It is raining. The Italians who were playing tennis have run for cover. The birds have been subdued by the sound of big drops on little leaves. The boys want to build legos, and it seems like a fitting place to stop. We are good. Tired for sure, but we are optimistic about this new page. We appreciate all the support and love from family and friends near and far. Be good and keep in touch.