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Monday, February 15, 2016

Wait. What?

This post was supposed to be about our lovely trip to Stellenbosch. It is a beautiful part of South Africa, right near Cape Town. A few weeks ago we spent a couple of days there visiting wine farms and thoroughly enjoying ourselves. I started working on the post about Stellenbosch last week and spent a lot of time uploading many photos and then (I won't bore you with the details) but the latest version of the post did not save. So I'm going in a new direction with today's post. And don't worry, I'll share all about Stellenbosch as soon as I work up the energy to rewrite it and upload the pictures again.

I mentioned in my last post that February 18th marks the one year anniversary of the Deep Family arrival in South Africa.  The year has flown by! I feel like the year has been a great success. We have survived and thrived in our new surroundings. But, the year anniversary is causing me some stress, because it is a reminder that one day we are likely going to have to leave this place.

I have two main sources of worry. One, is a worry that I made up in my head that maybe Mr. Deep's company will tell us the assignment is going to end early. I have no reason to think this other than I know it happens to some expats. When it happens, it must feel like it does when you're a kid playing around at the beach and then your mom yells that it's time to go. Only you're not done playing yet. You haven't completed your sand castle. Your moat doesn't have any water in it. But no one cares and your cries and wishes to stay longer fall on deaf ears.

Second, and more realistic of a concern, is my realization that even if we don't have to leave early, one day this South African life is going to end for us. It's like summer vacation. Our first year felt like the start of summer vacation. We had the whole thing in front of us. It seemed endless. And now, suddenly, it's July (sorry for my northern hemisphere bias on the months that I am calling summer for this example) and I recognize that the summer is passing by. Yes, there is still plenty to enjoy but not as much as there once was. 

Now it's practically year two (of a planned three year stay) and I can't help feeling like we've really got to get moving. We want to visit a lot more places before we have to leave and doing that is going to take some planning and some work to fit it all in. I also wonder if, when this life in South Africa comes to an end, I will personally have any regrets about how I've spent my time. I want to be sure I am making the most of these gifts of time and place.

Will I wish that I spent more time volunteering?  Or will I wish that I buckled down and learned a new language? As an aside it's easy to wish you learned a new language, mustering up the energy to actually learn one is a lot harder. Or, maybe I am already doing way too much and in the future I will regret that I didn't just spend more time relaxing and lying around. What if in the year 2020 I am holed up in a cubicle somewhere working? Will I look back at my time in South Africa and wish that I had taken more naps or spent more time lying by the pool drinking cocktails (drinking out of a juice bottle because it was only 11:00 a.m. and I don't want neighbors to talk?)  I never do either one of those things by the way. But maybe I should start? 

So here we go. On to year two with more adventures (and possibly naps) to come. 

4 comments:

  1. Hey - I remember my plan for England. Year 1 - get to know the island I lived on, as my primary focus. Year 2 - get to know the UK and celtic region, and year 3 spend lots of time on the continent. It didn't work out that way of course, although the first year we did see a lot of England. But we had burning desires to get chocolate from Belgium, and we had a dirt cheap flight to Ireland we couldn't pass up. The sense of urgency waxed and waned. My nearly 30 lb weight gain says I did spend enough time experiencing the favorite English past time of hanging in a local pub, though! :) Ha. So. Things outside your control will inevitably come up, but if you believe that when the time to leave is right it will magically appear, or conversely if the time to leave appears it is probably the time to leave, you'll be alright. In the meantime, have fun! And maybe dream about where the next ex-pat mission could take you. Just because you leave there doesn't mean you have to come back here!!

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    1. Thanks for commenting. The thought of having to leave feels pretty sad but you are right that when it is time to go we might be ready and we might be off to somewhere new and exciting. Or back home, which would be good in its own way.

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  2. You are so right. The time goes by way too quickly, and you CAN be recalled early, it happened to us. If it gives you any comfort though, our second half was even more amazing than the first. There is still a lot for you left to do!!

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    1. It seems like a lot of people are being recalled early which is how I got the idea that it could happen to us. Although there is no evidence that it will. So I am doing my best to enjoy every day. So much to do so little time. :)

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Hello and thank you for taking an interest in my blog. This blog tells the story of some big life changes. First, my husband and I have just moved to Geneva, Switzerland for a few months following a few years of living in Johannesburg, South Africa. The two places could not be more different. I'm excited to share our adventures, challenges and insights with you! My thoughts and opinions are my own.