The Year 2009 in Review

It has been almost four months since I wrote anything new for this blog, and the gaps are now too big to fill, but I had a few problems and some joyous things to celebrate during the last third of 2009.

September :  I was busy with a huge translation project which took up all my time.

October: Two days after I delivered my huge project I was due to start with another one, but I  never did any work because my laptop was stolen out of my flat, and thus  I officially joined the ranks of South Africans affected by crime. I was inconsolable for at least a week but then had to pick up the pieces on a rebuilt desktop machine and tried to carry on. I also had to change gears from self-pity when I went on a trip to Nairobi to write an exam, more about which I will write perhaps later.

November: I managed to work on another small translation project and started thinking about buying another laptop, but my world crashed again when I was hit with severe pneumonia. I was bedridden and feverish for over a week and started thinking all sorts of bad scenarios including death and Malaria. I learned a simple truth, that once a health issue rears its ugly head everything else pales in comparison; I promised not complain ever again about anything, because being healthy is enough blessing for anyone.

Perhaps it was middle age, or the severity of my illness but it took me quite long to get back to normal. I suffered from the usual nasty ailments that follow long treatments with antibiotics and I was still coughing at the end of November when we had a visitor from Germany.

December: I decided to fly to Germany for two weeks at short notice. This was made possible thanks to a very special friend who agreed to look after Petey my cat and my two neglected but alive plants.  Robert and I braved a 10,000 km distance and long flights to be with family over Christmas.

The trip was among the most pleasurable moments of 2009. It was possible for us to visit my aunt in the German countryside and reconnect with an uncle and grown cousins, whom I only remember as kids. We had a wonderful time and were spoiled rotten.

We arrived back in Cape Town today, the last day of 2009.  Robert and I are having our mini New Year celebration, listening to music and munching on potato chips. I have opened a bottle of South African bubbly. As we say good bye to old 2009, we are again at a crossroad in our lives. The need to reflect and make a decision. I realise that forever I will be split apart between my love for my family and the life I built against all odds here in South Africa.

My heart is unequivocally in South Africa, the beautiful land where I feel at home, but the fact remains that I was born elsewhere and all my relatives are far, far away.  Am I doing the right thing for myself and Robert by staying in South Africa. Isn’t better for him to be in Europe where he can have access to grandparents, a better education system and an additional language?

It is hard to decide what is best for my son, and it is harder to make my own life revolve around what I may think best for HIM. Because down the line parents always get blamed for the decisions they make on behalf of their children. It is perhaps fairer to go with my heart and choose what I think is best for me,  because what my son needs most is a happy mother who can then provide him with her absolute best and make sure that he gets the most of his surroundings. But even though I am absolutely convinced of that there is always a small voice inside my head that tells me “what if I was wrong?”

Only time will tell.

A Great Holiday

The holiday with my folks was too short but we all had a good time. On the 27th of September we celebrated the birthday of my mom, a great woman to whom I owe my life and lots more.

I connected with a former co-worker and we telephoned many times. She sent some books and presents for Robert to my parents address.

I met again, one of my very classy and good-looking cousins, she is a few years older, but looks younger in her photos.  As always meeting with any of my beautiful well-presented cousins makes me self-conscious and insecure which is evident in this photo.

We got to do some limited sight-seeing.

We went for walks, taking in the beautiful autumnal landscapes

and the rain

We went shopping

On sunny days there was the playground.

with mom’s cousin Lara

and mom’s aunt (Robert’s great-aunt)

The most fun though happens when we find something in the sand

And Robert was always busy with Oma (as Oma was busy with him)

and his great-aunt kept him busy when he visited her

I just spent a wonderful time getting the love of my family and healing the wounds of my failed marriage. We talked, we gossiped, we argued and we made plans, most of which will perhaps never materialize, but still it was great to be part of a family again, even for a short while.

While I was away pieces of my life still came through to me via email.  I received occupational rental for the house, and some communications with the lawyer. I also got a new job assignment which I will have to start immediately on my arrival in Cape Town, and of course there is always the trouble of work and having to arrange for someone to look after Robert when I get back to work and before he attends day care on a regular basis.

While I was with my family, all these problems were set aside and they now loom larger than ever in front of me. But I am sure once I set foot in Cape Town I will be happy to be back.

The long journey was worth it.