the other day i was sitting chatting to a random lady at a coffee shop (yes, my life has become quite random at best!) who because of my accent asked me where I was from – oh the irony – in london i was always mocked for my ‘south african’ accent & now here they refer to me as a ‘pommey’…. you just can’t win really…. anyhow she asked me how long i’d been here – 6 months i said…. then proceeded to do a bit of math in my head (not one of my strong points obviously) & realized it was in actual fact a year!!!!!! holy cow!!!! (oh how i miss holy cow curries!!!!) a year!!!???? how frightening!!!!

of course this really got me thinking as to where i am with regards to my feelings towards being back in south africa. not as simple a task as one might think.

trying to be positive i decided to first focus on the GOOD things:

the thing i have enjoyed the most is TIME. i’ve realised that it is one thing you totally forego living in london – & how very, very precious TIME is. in fact as far as i’m concerned it is most probably the most precious thing in a life-time. once it’s gone you can never get it back.

in london my husband would be out the door by 7am every morning to wait in a massive queue for the bus to take him on his 1 hour (minimum) journey to work. on a good night he would be home by 7.30pm. our son wakes up at 7am & goes to sleep at 7.30pm. so in reality my husband would actually never see him during the week – that would be tragic! here he strolls to work at 8.15am, cappuccino in hand & returns home most nights by 6pm latest. ample time to hang out with our son. he’s able to meet the two of us for lunch at least twice a week & well we totally treasure these moments as we realize how lucky we are to have them!

it’s been amazing having the TIME to spend with our friends & family. we have a small group of treasured friends here. in london we barely got to see each other – here we get to do so much together. going away for the weekends, dinners every week, just popping into each others homes – all things that i absolutely adore but just could never find the time to accomplish in london & even when i did i ended up totally exhausting myself. we all live a stones throw away from each other which means easy access & very late nights! obviously 10 years ago i would have died of boredom with this lifestyle but for now it is simply perfect.

this is truly one of the most beautiful cities in the world. the SCENERY is just breath-taking & because you have all this TIME on your hands you really get to ‘stop & smell the roses’. i would say that it’s pretty hard to be depressed in cape town & even if you are feeling down i would imagine that surrounded by all this beauty it would be hard to stay down for very long! one of my favourite things is exiting the ‘breakwater’ parking garage at the waterfront – as you exit you drive up a ramp & the next thing you are facing this complete open expanse of sea for as far as the eye can see. amazing! (yes, yes I know… small things!!! i actually tried to take a picture of it to show you but to be honest this is one experience you’d have to have yourself – you cannot capture it on a photo!)

the best things in life are FREE (well except for mulberry handbags & louboutin shoes!!!). our weekends are full & very rarely cost us a lot of money. we try to do something ‘outdoors’ every weekend no matter what the weather. the beaches are magnificent, walks up signal hill or lion’s head, kirstenbosch gardens, newlands forest, picnics etc…. real quality time for nothing.

the weather is amazing. even when it rains or the wind blows it doesn’t matter because you know summer is coming & that it will be here to stay…. for a while. that was always the shite part about london. the winters were ghastly & depressing but i could have even dealt with that if the friggin summer would’ve just shown up & stayed for a while – even just 2 months would have helped!!!! here you can actually plan a picnic & get to go on it… in london only a fool would plan a picnic in advance!

man, as i type this i am sitting at sababa (surprise surprise) & lo & behold there is a car parked facing the wrong way in the ‘loading bay’…. He’s been there for 2 hours!!!!! and no friggin copper in sight!!!! in the mean time I am racking up a parking bill with lizard of note!!!! beyond irritating!!!!

anyhow back to the matter at hand…..

it’s a SMALL TOWN & whilst i can see myself tiring of it – for now it has been great. it’s sort of that ‘i wanna go where everyone knows my name’ kind of syndrome. you have your local coffee shop, your local grocer, your local butcher & they all greet you by name – i love that…. for now. of course the flip side being that everyone knows everything about you which i hate (strong word I know – but I really do hate it!!!) – hence my time here being limited.

my NANNY! oh how i adore her! for all the ups & down’s i’ve experienced with regards to finding the right one it is just great to have someone around to help with everything. my son adores her & well she will probably be the thing i will miss the most when i leave! in london there is no ways i could have afforded a full-time nanny & the exorbitant nursery school fees. it would have been one or the other – here i can have both.

APPRECIATION of things. having spent so many years in london with everything i could have possibly wanted at my fingertips you couldn’t help but take things for granted. now i find myself with far less choice & options but in a funny way i have enjoyed it as it meant i have really started to appreciate things a lot more… for example asparagus!!! i absolutely adore asparagus & well in london you could buy it all year round (we won’t mention the carbon footprint!!) here you can only get it in september, frustrating at first but something to look forward to & enjoyed that much more!

but most of all, just being able to take the foot off the pedal for a while. it has been god sent. after a hundred years of autobahn style speeding it has been wonderful to slow down – even if it was a forced slow down at first! time to digest previous years, time to contemplate things & time to appreciate everything – especially my husband & son. i’ve thought of memories that had long gone & been buried & realized just how truly blessed i have been in this life time. cape town offers a much slower pace of life whether you like it or not. time to breathe & reflect. you can try fight it (& boy did I try) but it will always win in the end….. the mountain says so!

now, a year later, i find myself annoyed at all the tourists that are arriving on our shores, causing traffic jams & near accidents as they try to take in all the scenery whilst driving. i love that the capetonians refer to the ‘GP’ number plates (the registration for joburg) as people from ‘gansta’s paradise’. i now have to queue for my morning coffee, grocery shopping is a nightmare, you can’t just show up at a restaurant & get a table, everything becomes more expensive – all things i would never have noticed a year ago!!!

a friend of mine once told me when i was feeling really sorry for myself that it would take a year to acclimatize – i would never have believed her at the time – but I can definitely see the change in myself.

having said that a chance encounter this past weekend reminded me of the shocking reality that is living in south africa & how quickly i was reminded that as ‘beautiful’ as this place is the reality is a very dark place – you’d be a total fool to think differently & if anything… a year later i feel even more strongly about this…. the difference being that a year later i too feel extremely saddened by this, where as this time last year i couldn’t have given a continental!

more to follow…..