My Incredible Journey Part 2: Johannesburg, coming home,my new nephews and how my baby sister tried to kill me.

Have I mentioned how much I love watching the little map as we fly. I mean really. It’s pretty much my favourite thing !
Before I know it we were landing in Johannesburg, I was off the plane and my luggage had arrived and was not even the last one out of the carousel (!!) It was a festivas miracle!
Then I was met with this welcome sight!
                                                    Yay!!!!!! Mom and Dad!
I was driven to my parent’s beautiful house which they built since I was last there (so I had not seen before). It was gorgeous and new but with plenty of familiar touches which made it feel exactly like home.
Even though it was pretty late, I got to meet this little angel,
Who I wasted no time in tucking under my ample arm (and begged to keep him there for the night-I think I was a chicken in my former life, I love nothing more than a baby tucked under my arm at night). I also love that you can see my 5 little peas in the pod right next to him in this picture Smile he was such a comfort to my suddenly empty mom arms.
I also got to schmooze with this adorable fellow. He really liked me on the first night and gave me tons of cuddles and flirty giggles that night but kept a polite distance thereafter. I feel that he may have been using me to delay bedtime. A cheap trick with which I am familiar. I do feel a bit dirty now, but it was totally worth it. I mean, look at him! (Can you tell he has a penchant for things on his head?)
This is his handsome dad (ie my little brother Seth-he just hangs around the house in a tux. Just kidding, he had just arrived home from some sort of fancy ceremony where he got some sort of fancy award.
It was so fun to watch him be a daddy in person.  He’s really good at it.
I also got to see the happy (very tired couple)
I spent the next few days on a eating tour of South Africa, (PS: the food in South Africa is so much infinitely better than that in America it’s hard to even call what we have in America food in comparison. That is all. Carry on.) hanging out with my nephews and helping my mom with wedding stuff here and there.  Here I am having my first long awaited grapetiser (demented gleam in my eye explained?)
My mom made up the cutest little room for me in her office. It was so sweet and cozy. She even left a note from and photo of my kids which I read every night. So sweet.
So here’s the story you tuned in for: One night I went out with my sweet baby sister Thalia. We were both beyond exhausted having about 3 hours of sleep between the two of us, but we were determined to make good use of the time available. We arrived at our destination and Thalia realized that she’d left her bag with the money for parking in the boot (trunk) of the car. She asked me to jump out and get it since we were hemmed in on all sides by other cars waiting to get into the parking garage. I dutifully jumped out and teetered to the back of the car in my heels. I tried unsuccessfully to open the boot and when I could not I gestured frantically to Thalia who gestured frantically back. When the frantic gestures back and forth did accomplish anything, she jumped out to assist me…ran to the back, opened the boot and peered inside saying, “oh no, my bag is not here”.  I said, “what, it isn’t? And peered further into the boot to see. And then suddenly I felt a tremendous crack to my head,  and I saw stars.  Seriously the blow to my head was not like anything I have ever experienced before and at first I was sure I was dead. Quite frankly, I was finding heaven disappointing. Then I looked behind me and saw a guy, sitting in his car, staring at me, agog. Then I saw the the car beside me filled with people who were apoplectic with laughter, and I realized that I was not dead, or if I was, I was in hell. Then I heard myself screaming, so I realized I was alive.  Thalia, had it turns out, not seen that my giant noggin was firmly placed in range of the boot of the car, before she slammed it upon me, with all the force of her surprisingly strong little self.  
After I ceased screaming and making her check me for concussion and assuring myself that she felt sufficient guilt for her actions, we parked and stumbled to our restaurant. I chose a sufficiently nostalgic meal and settled in to enjoy it when suddenly we heard the sounds of drumming and a shouting crowd. Thalia turned to me and said with a slightly panicked look in her eye, “oh no! It’s a riot!”.  Thalia is not usually an alarmist, in fact she is pretty chill,  so I was vaguely concerned until I realized that it was not in fact a riot, just the South Africa Monte Casino Spur’s version of singing “Happy Birthday” to a guest. (Thalia has recently made a career switch to journalism which makes her a bit twitchy I guess).  After our meal, we made our way over the movie theatre. How often do I get to go see a movie with my little sister?  Never! That’s how often. So we were excited. What awesome, memorable, slap your knee funny, tear jerkingly tender, life changing chick flick would we see? Ummm…our choices were:  Total Recall and something starring Tyler Perry’s Medea. Due to my Near Deadly Head Injury and our collective fatigue and my general hatred of movies like Total Recall, I was not feeling up to Total Recall, and so we unenthusiastically settled on the Medea show. About 1/2 way into it with the people around us leaving in droves, we could not even to be enjoying it ironically anymore. It was that bad.
And so we left that train smash, we made our way out to the food court, where I thought I would have a midnight waffle from the Milky Lane, complete with allll the syrups on it for old time’s sake.
That procured, I sat at a table alone tucking in, in the nearly deserted mall while Thalia went to the loo. It really was midnight so it was not unsurprising when what to my wandering eye did appear, but a party of 5 well dressed toddlers marching jauntily and purposefully by. Not an adult chaperone in sight. The oldest was maybe 4, and she looked like a solid little character but was still a surprising choice to supervise five toddlers, alone, at midnight. I watched this with some amazement, and went on to chomp on my waffle, thinking to myself, “wow, I really have forgotten what South Africa is like. Apparently toddlers hang out in malls by themselves at midnight..” When Thalia returned, I casually commented on this to her, whereupon she looked at me with horror and said, “well did you follow them? Where did they go? No parents?! Really!!!?”  We then shuttled around looking for the toddlers, who were by now, nowhere in sight. Maybe I imagined the whole thing? Due to the head injury? I am haunted still.  I am hopeful that they too were on a guided trip to the loo and had since reunited with the parents. Still…not something you see every day.
Somewhat sobered by this experience, we staggered to the parking garage to find the car and soon realized that due to the drama surrounding our arrival (my massive head trauma) we didn’t have a clue where we’d left it. We wandered around fruitlessly for some time until we got the attention of some sharp security guards who asked us if we’d lost our car. I wonder what gave it away? They asked us some questions,  told us to stay put and went off to find it.  As we sat for a while Thalia said calmly, “I’m pretty sure it’s been stolen”. To which I replied, “of course it hasn’t, we just lost it”. To which she reminded me that we were in South Africa and she was pretty sure it had been stolen. We continued to chat about other matters when after some more time,  I noticed her staring into the distance. I asked her what was wrong to which she said, “I’m just a bit sad..because I think my iPad was in there, and it’s not insured, and I really liked it….” and then we went back to chatting about other matters and nodding at drunken strangers who were bidding us a variety of greetings….
Eventually (about an hour had elapsed since we’d first attempted to leave) the security guards came back triumphant and led us to our car, which against all odds (apparently) had not been stolen and was in fact just a few yards away! Hooray!
So that was a night to remember. Or not. It did however, make me realize that I was not really familiar with South Africa anymore, and that I feel  slightly more like an outsider every time I visit…sad…(but I feel like even more of an outsider here…so….) Anyway…
At the end of the week, my sister Shona and her husband got back from their quick trip to Swaziland (by way of Australia and South Africa) to run a half marathon (no big deal) to join us just in time for Thalia’s bacholorette party.
That’s up next… Smile

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paparazzimom said...

Oh dear, I may or may not have actually snorted laughing at you and your head injury. I'm so very sorry to be using your pain as humor just like the people in the car. I'm a terrible friend.

2busy said...

I absolutely loved this post. So comical and sorry about your head! I have to be slightly offended about the food comment, because, well, I am American. But, then I thought, "Gee, you should post some of those fabulous South African recipes.

Samantha said...

I so know what you mean about feeling like an outsider when you go to SA now. My last trip was the one that really made me feel that way. But I'm glad you got to go and see your family... less glad about having your head slammed in a boot. And your mention that your parents lived in a different house explained why the skyline of JHB photo looked nothing like the views I remember from Parkview!

Anonymous said...

Like the other two posts, I had to snort with laughter about the fact that Thalia did not see you in the boot! That chick can be vague when she is very tired. But just think, you can explain all future non acceptable behaviour on your head injury. A delightful post, very much enjoyed!