Durban, South Africa:
We’re in S. Africa now for the month of March which is a direct result of the thinking from a book called the Four Hour Work Week. When I first heard the title of the book, I was a wee bit skeptical, as my friend George Weir (from Scotland) might say.
On a trip to New York, I started reading the book and couldn’t put it down. In both legs of that journey the book was devoured, and I continue to go back to it often as well as listen to the audio book (the full version).
In it, one story author Tim Ferriss wrote about was the story of a woman and her husband who sailed around the world with their kids and it inspired me. I kept thinking of our dream of spending a month in S. Africa and then later a month in Provence a place Nicki and I both love. This year, we’re doing S. Africa as a test and next year we want to do France. The air travel is a daunting part of it but it was not nearly as bad as both of us had feared.
Anyway, we’re here, in part, because of Tim Ferriss.
I’ve been in love with this place ever since I first visited in 2001 to meet Nicki’s parents, to propose and to get a small little glimpse into her life here.
How much can you really get in 3 weeks? I know, it’s tough, but I instantly fell in love with S. Africa. There are challenges here, shall we say, but I do love the feeling and the rhythm of this place. It’s definitely not America which is another reason I wanted to get away for a while. I wanted to get caught up in the place, to be able to hear my thoughts and put some words down on paper (well, the electronic version) and to make some photographs that the kids will have as their legacy and I want to experience. This is a great time to plan what is next. Just about every ten years my life has always had some drastic changes. I’m coming up to that marker and I feel change is imminent. It’s one of the reasons this blog came out and the journey here is a continuation of that. I don’t know exactly what “next” will be, but I’ve come here to try and find it and to think about it, and to start it.
It’s just about living that life that I dream about, really experiencing it and not letting fear or anything hold me and us back from it. And the benefits are massive, not just for me, but for all of us. Nicki just sat up and had a long chat with her mom after the kids were put to sleep. As amazing as Skype is, it just doesn’t quite compare to having dinner with family and friends, or being able to have Granny hug a little girl so tightly in the new Princess dress.
And even better is the kids get to know their grandparents and get a better sense of their life here. Kate will remember this trip, but she doesn’t remember much from her visit 18 months ago; I’m sure this will only be remembered in photos for Sparky. Still, we want them to have at least that.
When I was a little we would take my Dad’s vacation and visit our grandmothers one week per year — one in Philly and one in south Jersey. Even then it was a harried rush of sight seeing, visiting cousins, and nights sitting around the dinner table at Grandmom’s.
The vacation would be an adventure (it’s where I first had those anxiety dreams the night before of being left behind) as we filled up the Country Squire, put Peggy in the back BEHIND the suitcases (can you say lawsuit these days?) with the other three in the middle seat, battling it out, getting a bit too eager with the punches on games to pass the time. But those vacation memories are still strong in my memory and I’m sure in my sisters. Those are the things that drove our family crazy but somehow made us closer.
I was always a little jealous of my cousins out east who really knew my grandmothers, being that we were the kids who lived on the outpost in Wisconsin (while they were east coast and could walk to Granny’s for lunch or after school we just didn’t have that luxury).
Even though we obviously don’t live anywhere close to Africa I really want Kate and Sparky to experience what life is like here, and to really get to know their grandparents as much as possible … and for them to get to know the kids.
Perhaps it’s a tiny bit artificial given that we’re here for only a month, but the nice thing is that it IS a month and not a rushed week of going to a Phillies game, or the Franklin Institute like it was when I was their age. That week, though, gave us great memories, I just wanted Kate and Sparky’s to be even deeper.
In this photograph Lizzie holds Sparky after meeting him for the first time this morning. Lizzie has been employed by Nicki’s parents since 1976 so has known Nicki since she was just a little bit older than Kate. She’s witnessed our family start and grow as she has for the entire Kidd family here in Durban.