[Please excuse me being a trifle sentimental below. I will return to the more irreverent, upbeat tone shortly.]
About ten days ago the Hillratts touched down on Cape Town soil. We were immediately buoyed to receive the warm smiles of our fellow South Africans and amused to see a giant poster of our friend’s brother on the airport walls aptly declaring “You don’t need a holiday, you need Cape Town!” (To which we whispered, “Indeed, we do.”) Many excitements lay ahead: smelling the warm, clean smell of my sister after a 16 month drought; gauging how much the smalls have shot up since we last saw them; relaxing with our parents; laughing with our siblings and enjoying having a community of friends around us again. Coming home to Cape Town after voyaging for a year and a half has felt a whole lot like coming home.
Stoffel and I embarked on this journey because we wanted to see more of life together: we wanted to explore the world side by side and (by doing so) explore each other. We wanted to test our limits and create a history on which to build a lifetime of experiences. We did not set out to travel to run away. There were many times in the months leading up to our departure from Cape Town in early 2011 when our hearts squeezed with the sadness of the great life we were leaving behind. Coming home over the past few days has reminded us of what we left behind in only the best ways.*
Our dog literally ran in circles for minutes: recognising immediately his wayward masters. He is now an adult dog in his prime with a whole 10+ dog years of experiences behind him since we last saw him, but he remains our Cowboy pup. In many ways, Cowboy is the personification (dogification?) of the homecoming experience. So much is the same, but there are the subtlest of shifts. I still get the shivers just from driving around this city – truly it is one of the most spectacular places we have visited in a year and a half. Cape Town hipsters (including many of our mateys) still pride themselves on looking dorky-cool. There is nothing in the world quite like bellowing with laughter with friends you have known for years. The changes seem minute, but will take long months of getting to know. There have been so many new people brought into the world, work transitions, relationship status adjustments, new roads (finally the Koeberg interchange works!), new restaurants.
Of course, for us, so much more is new. What a privilege to be able to savour an entirely new chapter. New jobs, hopes of reproduction, and a fabulous new house. On the subject of the new house: how awesome! There were more than a couple of relieved faces to see that we were pleased with our purchase on our first weekend back in town. We were a little nervous to confirm that the home that we had purchased while (I think this is when the transfer actually went through) traipsing through spectacular bamboo forests in China was worth it, but I can imagine the pressure on those who had actively recommended we take the jump must have been great.
The intention with the blog is to continue to record our adventures. I have quite a lot of stories to tell from China and thousands of photographs to sift through and upload the best of. And a very exciting life right here in CT to be lived.
* Despite the remarkably kak weather which, amazing, we enjoyed for about a week after the incessant heat and humidity of China. Now we are ready for the weather to buck up and move on. Really. I do not enjoy cold weather.