I’m sitting on the balcony of our room in a small guest house, overlooking a beautiful bay (as seen in photo) about 2 hours drive from Cape Town. This is a whale watching Town, and as the waves quieten I’m looking forward to some whale viewing from the deck.
This is also an opportunity for reflection as our time in Africa draws to a close, we have been here nearly 3 weeks now, and fly home on Saturday evening.
To say this has been an ‘experience’ fails to give weight to each of very different and important, educational and recreational things we have done. From white water rafting to visiting Robben Island, from learning about the persistence of witchcraft in Botswana to tracking wild dogs, each and every day has brought something precious and valuable to remember, digest and learn from.
I have no idea what the kids make of it all, we have talked about a lot of it, but like me I think they are too overwhelmed with new sights, sounds, smells and cultural differences to begin to absorb what they have seen and done, I think, for us all, it will take some time to digest and consider the impact of our immersion in Africa.
The holiday has been in several parts, and as each chapter closed there has always been something else to look forward to. We have spent time at most destinations, sufficient to scratch below the surface and get some insight into the real life of indigenous people and the animals we saw. The great beauty of a 6 night mobile safari was the opportunity to spend one whole evening drive watching a leopard; just prowling, looking and then resting. Rather than rush to try and see the ‘Big 5’ in 2 or 3 days, we had time to observe the animals behaviour and habits.
I general we have all managed well living in close proximity to one another 24 hours a day. There have been a few arguments, but nothing serious, and we have had some practice at resolving disputes! I have been super calm 95% of the time, and have only really been ruffled by pointless squabbles between the boys. Only once have I seriously felt I wanted to drink, and in the beautiful sunny climate of the Cape Wine-lands where every second driveway promises ‘free wine tasting’ of cheap (and no doubt delicious) wines, I am quite proud of that.
Here IS hard though. We drove here this morning, along an astonishingly beautiful coastal path and now I’m sitting in the sun on the coast … the sea is crashing against the rocks and there is temptation to help myself to the FREE white wine From the well stocked fridge. I don’t have to drive anywhere else today …. but… I won’t. I can’t and I won’t… I’m not going to sabotage 887 days continuous sobriety. So I’m writing this, having a Diet Coke, and then I will go and watch the kids in the pool.
It’s hasn’t all been easy. I realise how much time to myself I actually need …. with 3 kids relying on me for every decision there is very little opportunity for silence. I have been sharing a room for the past 3 weeks … I have craved solitude and peace, my daily gratitude list is overflowing, but I have had too many distractions to properly reflect, to pray and to find peace with unresolved questions in my heart.
It’s been a wonderful wonderful trip, and I hope will have generated many positive memories, some new friends and a deeper compassion for others. I hope also we have become closer as a family and more tolerant of each other’s foibles …
time will tell