Today is two weeks since we left Ohio (although by the time this gets posted it will probably be Monday and 2 weeks and 2 days but as of this writing let’s go for accuracy).Editor’s note: now 2 weeks and 4 days but who is counting…

Week 2 has felt infinitely easier than week 1. I attribute this to a variety of factors:

1. Ella is not coughing 24/7

2. Ella is not whining 24/7

3. Ella started school and also started eating again.

4. I got completely unpacked and almost completely organized in our living space.

5. I got some sleep **

The week started off rough for Gracie but by Wednesday she was back into the swing of things. Finny has been rolling along as he does. All three kids miss Ohio a lot and would prefer to go back at this juncture but I would not categorize them as unhappy.

Highlights of the week.

Breakfast with my mom after taking Ella to her first day of school. That humble looking pie is a portugese custard tart called Pasteis de Nata along with rooibos tea of course. And it is divine.

 

Watching grandpa help Gracie with her Maths homework

Shopping at a real fruit and vege store again and coming out with a trolley (cart) full of beautiful produce for about $10.

Babysitting my beautiful little niece on a perfect South African morning.

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Enjoying my mom’s lovely garden.

Mermaid girl at the pool who later picked a flower for me.

 

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Ella playing with her sweet cousins. My  brother’s cutie pie little boy who is a mini me of him at the same age playing with Finny.

 

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Face-timing with loved ones

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More South African chocolate.

Ella’s first Kruger Rand. She would not have looked this happy if it was gold instead of chokit.

Watching Michael school his clueless American cousins who are innocent to the ways of two year olds, keys and security gates.

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A couple of awesome South African thunderstorms, one of which left our backyard here as white as our Ohio backyard:

 
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Pre-storm, a picture Aaron sent me of our backyard (it gave me a pang of homesickness to see my cozy little house)  and our SA backyard at the same time during hail storm.

Fun conversations and laughs while getting lost driving around Johannesburg with my mom

 

Fun at the park with sibs, cousins and awesome auntie and uncles. These photos courtesy Uncle Shaun. Thanks Uncle Shaun

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Not pictured: seeing my brother’s very cute new house. It’s so special to me to be a part of big and small moments in the lives of some of my siblings at last.

You guys I have really been sucking it up in terms of giving you decent pics of South African life but I’m only just starting to come up for air and so please forgive. I will try hard to do better.

I am missing my husband and boys terribly still, but on the positive side, I feel as though I am growing a lot as a parent and person through this experience. Parenting without  my sweet Aaron has not been fun for the most part, but it has been empowering and I have been able to tap into a well of patience that I did not know existed prior to this time (or possibly did not exist before now).   Without my parents supporting us all through the logistics of daily life I am sure it would be a different tale altogether, they have been truly selfless and amazing.  I am in awe of their stamina on a daily basis when I leave them to put the kids down and almost always conk out into oblivion after reading and cuddling time, while my parents who have had as full a day as I have,  clean up after dinner, do a bunch more stuff, watch TV and generally behave like adults who don’t have a 8:30pm bedtime. They are often still awake when I wake up again around midnight and stagger to my own bed.

I have no idea how they do it. 

I also stand in awe and admiration of single parents. You are all superhuman.

I just realized today that it’s November. And this is the first time in several years where I haven’t done my 5 a day gratitude posts!! November feels so different here that I am totally disoriented regarding the time of year.  Anyway, today I am grateful for:

1. The fact that I am here. I do not know the future but a long held dream has been made a reality for today at least and it has changed my life forever. At the beginning of this year I saw the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty with my sister Shona  and she posted something on my facebook page this week that reminded me of how inspired I was it.

I found that movie so…moving. It caught my imagination and inspired me to the core. Something small but profound clicked inside of me when I saw it and made me decide that I was not going to live a small, safe life anymore. That the time break out of my comfort zone had come. I decided that this year I was going to be frightened a lot. That I was going to feel alive. Sometimes feeling alive feels great and sometimes it feels awful but it’s better than feeling nothing. When she reminded me of it I realized that as of November 1st, and perhaps many months before that, I’ve achieved that life changing goal.

Regardless of what happens going forward, we have taken a leap and in the process we have felt lots and lots of feelings. I realized that regardless of how much more time my kids spend here, they are already forever changed. They have seen and experienced a different life. It’s been painful at times, they have cried. I have cried. But they have been enlarged and enlightened.  They have met new people, seen new things, learned new ways of doing things. They are forming real relationships with people they barely knew before.  I have felt stretched to the limit these last few weeks and I’m sure the greatest tests are still ahead but through it all I’ve felt ALIVE. When we were preparing to leave Ohio, I would listen to this song a lot when I was running, it became a kind of anthem for me as I hit obstacles with the move or doubts and indecision overwhelmed me and it is running through my head now that I am reflecting on these things. *When I saw the video I loved it even more. It reminds me of Isaac, an amazing young man I know who lives with CF.  But it’s absolutely the last thing that defines him. He’s funny, quirky, brilliant, creative, thoughtful, gentle, kind, generous. He really, really LIVES. He’s a hero to me.

2-5 ***See the top 5 points of this post.

Here’s to taking a leap, scaring yourself, being stretched and being blessed enough to have a safety net of supportive loving people through it all. Nobody could ask for anything more.

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