Not only is the year 2012 coming to an end today.
Today also marks the end of our family's life in South Africa. As you're reading this, we are somewhere en route between Joburg and Tennessee, making a last splash in an undisclosed Middle Eastern location - okay, Dubai, if you must know - before reality sets in again.
|Crossing the Tropic of Capricorn, August 2012|
So forgive me if I feel the need to make some sweeping observations not only about this past year but our entire African adventure.
I have no regrets.
When we came to Johannesburg in early 2010, we had the benefit of having a prior expat assignment under our belts. That made a huge difference - not so much in terms of navigating a new country but in terms of our attitude towards it and life in general.
What I mean is we knew to leave out nothing from the start. I was greatly helped in this by my farsighted husband Noisette, I admit, because I am by nature a couch potato. If there is a computer on my lap, that is.
Those are the things your remember, and you regret not having done more of them. Because what else will you have one day to look back on than a bunch of memories?
So here in South Africa we dove right in from Day One.
We went on our first safari with the house still a mess of boxes fresh from the container.
Put endless hours in noisy and bouncy safari vehicles under our belts for the privilege to watch lions, giraffes, buffalos, elephants, impala, waterbuck, rhinos, hippos, zebras, wildebeests, and even a leopard.
Went into the notorious no-go zone of Alexandra, many times.
Drove women and their firewood through Diepsloot.
And Umhlanga Rocks.
Had the most glorious food and wine in Franschhoek.
Watched our eldest fling himself from the Bloukrans bridge on a bungy cord and from an airplane with a parachute.
Saw African penguins in the wild.
Swam in the Indian Ocean, the
Red Sea, and the Okavango.
Paddled down the Zambezi.
Went into a cage in the freezing Atlantic to come face to face with Great White Sharks.
Were kissed by elephants.
Dangled from ziplines over the Tsitsikamma forest.
Watched whales off the coast of
Changed four tires in one day on a deserted road in
Paddled down the
Fell into the Orange River.
Camped under the open sky.
Watched countless breathtaking African sunrises and sunsets and everything in between.
Stood on one of the highest sand dunes in the world.
Stood on the tropic of Capricorn.
|Sunrise on Mount Kilimanjaro, September 2012|
No, this time I have no regrets.