Friday, March 30, 2012

At the beginning of March we travelled thousands of miles across the seas to South Africa. Home. Still, after years and years of living away. Some people choose to leave their homelands, or are forced to leave ... but not for me - i went for a while, wanting to travel and see the world with my backpack and innocence, and then one thing led to another and I have lived away for 16 years ... almost half my lifetime. It has made me feel at times guilty and heartbroken and excited and adventurous ... but most of the time it's been hard to be away from family and people I love. I always felt that decision so keenly - how different my life would have been had i stayed. I'll never know if that would have been for better or worse .. I am who I am now, and being away is part of who I am. But Africa is in my blood, for always. It's a place I love deeply deeply, even though I can see the many issues and reasons people do choose to leave.

Today I wanted to share some photos of my trip home but it's hard to sum up the vastness of my country, it's troubled and violent and brave and beautiful history. Instead I'll give you my words ... just a few of them ... and hope you'll be able to go and see for yourself one day. 



vast open spaces where your soul can breathe ...





energy ...


there is poverty ...



and wealth ...


it is a place of breathtaking beauty ...


dramatic skies ...




so much history ...


so many memories ...



x

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A hole in my heart the shape of Africa ...

There is so much I wanted to tell you ... about the color of the light and the earth of Africa ... about the feeling of belonging and wonderful time with family and friends ... of weddings and special special memories made. 


But tonight I have a hole in  my heart the size and shape of Africa and I am finding it hard to put my American skin on again ... it seems to have shrunk and won't fit just right. So I am holing up and hunkering down until I'm ready to stand up straight and go out into the springtime sun. 


Till then, some images from our two weeks in South Africa.


x

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Today ...

Today i woke up feeling a little sad .. the kind that creeps in when you're not looking and then once it's there it permeates everything ... cool grey misty sadness matched by the weather outside my window. Maybe it's the sadness of this time of year ... i read once that as pisceans are the first and the last sign of the zodiac they are especially sensitive to beginnings and endings - change ... and there's too much of that for me right now. Usually i embrace it, long for it ... get tired of sameness. But too much can be overwhelming. There's that balance again.

In a week we'll be in South Africa and I'll be celebrating my grandmother's birthday with her for the first time in a decade - it's not our usual time of year to visit. Home. Still now, years after leaving, my heart still floats somewhere between the berg and the sea and sometimes goes roaming in the Eastern Cape ... home is where the heart is. As a birthday gift I made her an album of photos tracing her life in a family tree and I've been thinking a lot of family and my personal history. The stories flowing through our veins, all of us. The blood, the love, the loss, the hopes, the courage, the moments of weakness. Flowing down through history and resurfacing in unexpected ways. My great-grandfather who grew up in Labrador and ended up in Africa as a missionary. How I repeated history by leaving Africa and ending up in North America. Not planned. Just how life took us. I've been feeling sad at being so far away from the day to day living, the little moments. Missing life. Today my cousin is getting married and we are thousands of miles away. Next weekend we fly home for my brother's wedding and it's wonderful that we can be there for this big milestone in his life, but it's the little moments I miss sharing in. The cups of coffee and little visits. Shopping together. Being able to help out. Babysitting. Family dinners. Small, insignificant occasions but together those moments weave a thick beautiful fabric and make one feel part of something - part of a family.



I've been thinking of how sometimes our friends become our family but that it's hard that way too ... unlike family, friends can replace you when they become bored ... grow tired of the same thoughts or stories ... wanting something new. How it's hard to find your tribe. And to find friends who really love you and stand by you no matter what. Who have your best interests at heart, not just when it's convenient. They are hard to find, those friends.

So i guess that's all part of my sadness today ... the moving on of us in our lives ... from friends and family and places we love and not always by choice ... waking up realizing that there are people missing from my side when i really need them there ....


The words are not flowing today and i'm not sure i'm making any sense ... maybe it's time to go play with my paint a little.

x