Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hello Africa, Tell Me How You're Doin'!

Sunrise over Johannesburg, April 5, 2012

This is a very preemptive blog. I have only been back in South Africa for a grand total of 4 hours now, and one of those was spent in the airport, but nonetheless - I am just SO excited that I need to get my excitement down in writing!!!

I think it all properly hit me when I caught my connecting flight from Hong Kong to Johannesburg. As I walked down the airplane aisle to my seat, all I heard around me were South African accents! Qué raro! Every snippet of conversation which I heard was so wonderfully familiar, the nuanced pronounciation so warm in my ear, and yet so scarce in my life over the past few years that just hearing it has always caused me to do a double-take in shock and awe at a fellow South African in the vicinity. And now here I had a whole plane-load of them!!! :)

Anyway, flight was great (Cathay Pacific has incredibly delicious meals, and you even get a fancy little menu at the beginning of the flight with dinner and breakfast options written out in detail; plus individualised consoles for TV shows and movies... Clearly I've being flying with too many budget airlines lately...)

The pilot announced just as we were landing that it was 10 degrees outside - that's really cold for Johannesburg in April, but it was still wonderfully exciting as far as I was concerned! I haven't experienced anything less than 20 degrees since moving to the Philippines! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being warm, but after being a sweaty mess for the past few months in scorching-hot Vigan, the cold provides a pleasant break from that.

(That said: I'll probably tire of it very soon.)

We took the highway home - a highway that I have travelled on so many times, to so many places, for so many years. It all feels so surreal and strange - like a planet which I left a hundred years ago; yet simultaneously like a place which I never left at all, where I was living just yesterday! It is so familiar, so welcoming in its ordinariness. I've missed long stretches of highway, with vast fields on either side. I'm so used to crowded Asian cities, the hustle and bustle, the scorching humidity, the intensity of it all. I've forgotten the vastness, the wide open spaces. It's quite beautiful, really.

So now I'm in my brother's fabulous home - yuppy heaven. :) It's big and spacious, yet warm and homely. Bachelor Pad deluxe: soft fawn suede couches, serious home entertainment system, well-stocked bar, nice patio area. Here and there I see things - a piece of furniture, a dinner plate, an ornate wineglass, objets d'art, books - which were salvaged from my mum's home before she moved back to Israel, and it makes me smile at the memory of her home, of the home in which we grew up in.

My bedroom's great, it gets lots of light and sunshine, just big enough for the new bed that my little brother bought just for me (bless him!) and some bookshelves. We'll be sharing the study, he said we'd sort it all out later tonight when he gets home from work. Weird, it's just after 11 a.m here now, but my body is still on Asian time, so I'll probably be falling asleep sometime soon...

I have a TON of prep-work to do for school, I have to really sit down and go through my handouts with a fine-toothed comb to work out exactly what it is that I'm expected to do in this teaching prac (there are something like 50 classes to prepare - yikes!) That all starts on Tuesday of next week.

But first! Get settled in tonight (Thursday), celebrate Passover with my brother and old family friends tomorrow night (Friday), go to Liquid Bass - a dubstep party on a boat in the Vaal River (Saturday), and eat my own bodyweight in marshmallow Easter eggs and Cadbury Creme eggs on Sunday and Monday! :) And see my friends! And catch up with them! And go shopping for warm clothes! And get ready for school! And pig out on biltong, Creme Soda, Flings, Inside Story, Cheese curls, Sparberry, Cadbury's Top Deck and and and...!!!

These 3 months are going to be AMAZING. :D

The breakfast of champions! Creme Soda (how I've missed you!), KFC hot wings, and piping hot mash-n-gravy. Yummmmmmm...