After 299 days on the road we hit the last bit of tar on the way home to Cape Town. Is it beyond annoying that it’s 299 days and not 300 or, actually, 365 as originally planned? You freaking betcha. But you know what? Every time my eye twitches looking at that odd number I remember that we got to live everyone of those days together and adventuring. So what if it’s not a nice round number.
Aaaanyway, I figured to hell with the fact that according to the blog we’re still in Lesotho. It was time to write. I need to purge my thoughts raaaaight naaaooow. Being super delayed on travel stories doesn’t mean that I can’t update you on the here and now. In summary it feels very weird that I’m breaking in halfway through our adventure to say that we’re home but you know what, I’m assuming yáll don’t read this in isolation. Maybe you follow along on Facebook or Instagram and you know we’ve been home for ages. Maybe not. But it’s OK either way.
Let’s catch up shall we?
WHEN DID WE GET BACK?
We’ve been back since the 26th of April. We just missed the Easter weekend which the kids were SUPER bummed about. Not because they wanted to be back with anyone or anything, but because they’d miss out on the family Easter egg hunt and their insane loot they come away with. Howevs it worked out well in terms of timing as we still got to see and connect with family from overseas and have a week to settle into being back before getting back into real life.
WHY ARE WE BACK EARLY?
Yoh man, don’t get me started. We dedicated a year of our lives to this and had to cut it just 2 months short due to a shift in working situation for me. One of my staff decided to have a baby (how completely selfish am I right?! Nah, I’m joking, that baby is too cute for words). Technically I could still have worked remotely but it’s better to have more support in the office during times like this.
Here’s the thing, it turned out that despite Seth totally rebuilding the engine on a farm in Barberton in January, Optimus was no longer in his Prime. (The amount of times I’ve said that, my gosh). The old brah had done 8000 odd km and he was done. Like done done. The most done. The donest of done. Like 80% of the cast of Game Of Thrones done. Just 350km from home on the West Coast road he started smoking, overheating and making the weirdest sounds. It was clear that he was over it. I’m not even being over dramatic (which is a tendency of mine). Near the end our one and a half hour drive took SEVEN hours. SEVEN! We would sit on the side of the road while Seth tinkered. The kids learned a whole extra level of patience. Then in Nuwerus it was clear that he would go no further, so we sent him home on a flatbed truck.
So yes, it’s earlier than we wanted to be home, but all things considered, it feels right.
WHERE ARE WE STAYING?
When we left last year we rented out our house for a years contract that expires on 30 June. Our tenants are still renting the place and haven’t actually found something in their budget to move to. Although mildly concerning I am sure that they will get that sorted before we need it.
We are currently staying at Hotel Alfino. Also known as my In Laws. It’s in the same area as the kids school and close to work and everything so it’s really great. The kids are LOVING being with their grandparents every day and we are all enjoying soaking up the quality time together. Although I must say that after being completely independent for 10 months, it’s weird to be co-habitating again. Not bad, just another adjustment in the mindset of being back in the reality of real life.
HOW ARE THE KIDS DOING BACK AT SCHOOL?
Guys, if this trip has taught me anything it’s that kids are flipping resilient as heck. Maybe ours even more so now. It seems all that getting stuck on the side of the road and not knowing what the day will bring has made them able to adapt pretty quickly. They have fitted back into school life as if they had never left! It’s insane. They couldn’t wait to be back with their friends and even then early mornings aren’t a thing because they have started waking up at 6.30 with their grandparents.
When we came back last year for Christmas (or rather, when we were still here in January) we sent the kids to school. Both as a reminder that this was what they were going to have to come back to and to see their friends. Oh and because we were paying the school fees so yes, take our children. At that point we knew that Kyla was about a term behind on her maths and some of her English. This was partly due to adjusting to the travels and also a bit of a lack of self motivation to get it all done. But I’m so proud of her because when we got back this year she was AHEAD. She worked so damn hard and I’m so proud of her (and Seth) for getting it done. The other two are equally ahead and doing really well. I freaking love those buttheads.
WHERE ARE THE DOGS?
Our dogs have been living at Hotel Alfino since we brought them back from their temporary care in December. At the time we were quite alarmed at how thin Coco had gotten and how she had totally changed colour. However after a numerous trips to the vet and tests, it turns out she is fine, just dealing with the emotional struggle of not having us around. And the food we were giving her wasn’t doing her coat any favours, there wasn’t enough oil and protein in it. So we supplemented with adding egg to her diet and getting the next level up of the dogs food and our Coco girl is back to being COCOA. (She was a weird dirty looking beige when we got back).
We’ve taken them on a few walks and hikes since we’ve been back and it’s been so good to be with them again. Man I really missed them. It’s also quite scary how old they have gotten. They are about to turn 11 now in July and it shows. Coco is really struggling with messed up hips and even Spartan limps every now and again.
ARE YOU BACK AT WORK?
I am indeed. And not only am I back in the office everyday, I increased my hours from half day to full day. Let me tell you, after working on the beach or in a forest or literally wherever the heck I wanted, it’s been one hell of a mental mind warp to get used to it. My brain skull is tired all the time. The first two weeks were quite rough actually. Luckily I love my job and the people I work with so at least it’s not an unbearable situation to actually be there if you know what I mean.
IS SETH BACK AT WORK?
No not yet. In fact we’ve kind of switched roles a bit. I used to do the half day and then the kids stuff after school (pick ups, extra murals, homework, supper, playdates, collating of all the bits that go with all of that, uniforms, doctors appointments, school newsletters, outings and and and – I know I don’t need to go on here, yáll get it.)
Last night we walk through the door after he picked me up from work (we’re sharing a car right now – long story) and he says, “I don’t know how you used to make supper too!” (Because I wasn’t joking about Hotel Alfino). At first I thought the brah was looking for an early (and gruesome) death, but he was legit. He couldn’t fathom adding supper into the to do list for the afternoon, nevermind playdates. Maybe there’s something in changing roles for a bit to understand what each of you goes through in the day.
HOW IS REAL LIFE? SETTLING IN OR WANTING TO JUMP BACK IN THE VAN AND RUN?
Look, I’m not going to lie to you. I have been living on an emotional melt down for a few weeks now. It’s been building and building. It’s not that anything is bad right now, in fact life is pretty great all things considered. It’s just that it’s SUCH a mindshift to get back into the new normal.
We went to go and see Endgame and I think it was one of those times where you brain just makes weird connections. Like yes, I’m a serious fan of the Marvel Universe and we’ve watched every single video and I might be just a bit too attached to the characters, but did that justify the sobfest I had in the movie theatre when we watched it? Probably not. It’s just possible that it might have a connection to the end of the Avengers (as we know them) might also have tied into the end of the trip and our life as we knew it. Maybe. I’m still not sure.
But ja hey, we’re keeping on keeping on and getting into the swing of things pretty much the way one tries to take over the Iron Throne. Like crazy.