Goodbye Africa

This is it.

The end of the road. And what a glorious road it’s been.

Last week we left the African continent and are now settling into our lives back home (except – where is home?).

We ended it like we began – keeping busy. A last road trip here. A final safari there. A flurry of goodbye parties and farewell dinners. Until we simply ran out of days and our flights had to be boarded.

Saying goodbye is never easy. And there is so much we will miss.

Most of all we will miss our friends.

Like Mr. and Mrs. Fat Controller, who got oh so close to making us into bush adventurers. Given a little more time, we might have bought that Fortuner and driven it through rivers and cracked its axles. We’ve already gotten good at changing tires, and even better at embellishing our stories afterwards.

And Mr. and Mrs. Prof. Calculus, our loyal tennis partners. We may not have gotten any better at tennis, but we’ve certainly become experts at trash talking. And complaining about all our ailing middle-aged elbows and knees. When our paths cross again, we will pick it up at best out of twenty-five, giving the guys another chance at that elusive win over the girls.

It’s hard to say goodbye to good friends

There are too many to name, but we will miss all the other wonderful people who’ve come into our lives here in South Africa.

We will also miss all those little joys that have made our life here special, from the street vendor who sold us our USA world cup flag in 2010 to the cry of the hadeda every morning and the sunset over the you-know-what pipe in Dainfern Valley.

Sundowners in the bush. Smiling kids in Diepsloot. The rugged peaks of the Drakensberg. The assemblies at Dainfern College. Cape Town. Bougainvilleas, bottlebrush bushes, the jacaranda trees in spring.

I bought my first World Cup flag from this guy and he is
still roaming the same corner of William Nicol Dr today.

I didn’t think I’d ever say I miss his cry, but I do!

When I first arrived I thought this was a high-speed train.
Turns out it’s something else entirely, and it’s questionable
whether it moves at high speeds.

Nothing spells Africa like sundowners in the bush. Thank God
we bought those two bottles of Amarula in duty free to tide us
over but it will never be the same as on African soil.

Kids in Diepsloot on a cold winter’s morning
Beautiful Drakensberg

Founder’s Day assembly at Dainfern College
Cape Town and Table Mountain

Jacarandas in spring

There is only one thing we truly won’t miss, and that is the traffic on William Nicol.

They say you only cry two times in Africa. Once when you arrive, and the second time when you leave, but the second time much harder and longer. Thanks to Mike Rost who supplied this quote some time back in a comment on my essay on ExpatsBlog.

We have definitely done our share of crying, even though we are incredibly happy to have had the privilege of living here.

And, as Mike also commented, we will be back one day, for once you drank the water of Africa it stays with you and in your blood.

But for now there is only one thing left to say.

Goodbye Africa!