Home sweet home at very long last…

After circumnavigating the globe countless times like a spinning top I have finally come to settle with my husband in our very own first home.  We have only been in Cape Town just over three months but it has certainly been productive and yes it looks like we are going to be staying for a while now.  Hence the lack of posts last week as the onslaught of moving in chaos gathered momentum.  Once again there is so much to organise, except this time it is to install rather than cancel.  From phone lines and internet connections to security and deliveries….. never mind the un-packing!  And a house is an entirely new operation versus the previous shoe box apartment style living I have been doing.  Oh yes, I can fondly remember the studio I had where the bed folded back into the wall.  I mean it was great you didn’t even need to make your bed just “ping” and it was hidden!

My container finally arrived from the UK having started its journey in 2010 from Melbourne, goodness only knows what treats I shall find!  Christmas has arrived early with all my own belongings!  Our second container arrived from Australia and would you believe between the two shipments we still have nothing to sit on (apart from boxes of course) or a table to eat at (boxes again work well with a simple newspaper tablecloth).  Maybe we shouldn’t have sold the larger items after all!  No in all seriousness it is great fun to be camping out and it means we will just simply have to go shopping!

Beams of sheer delight have literally been vibrating out of our new abode with all the excitement of discovering every nook and cranny we hadn’t been able to take in from the viewings.  Standing in each room and breathing in the space and disbelief it is our home sweet home!  And yes my dearest did carry me up the drive-way and across the threshold!   The only tipping point, apart from him nearly dropping me (only joking – I am light as a feather!), into a black hole of frustration and exhaustion was many very tedious hours on a crackling phone line to the internet people!  Being passed from agent to agent as they tried to figure out why the internet was not connecting whilst my ear went red and my head nearly exploded was not a huge amount of fun.  “I must blog again soon!” I cried, as if to finally keep me quiet a moment of glory shone and we were live!  Technology does indeed rule my life at times and I shall have to go and do some serious meditation shortly to relinquish myself from these desires.

It has for the large part been a very smooth transition and I am quite sure you would be able to see this home hub of joy and happiness glowing from outer space!  For the first time ever we have a garden and I feel very much like this flower I captured yesterday blossoming out of a black hole, another wonderful undiscovered surprise!  Many a long hour is going to be spent appreciating this space.

Flower.

My top tip for shipping your belongings across the globe having learnt the hard way by opening nearly 40 boxes to find what I was looking for…..

Be sure to put your kettle, a couple of mugs and most importantly an adaptor plug in a special box of their own clearly marked PRIORITY – OPEN FIRST!!  This way the bottom won’t fall out of your universe when dealing with the trials and trivialities of moving and calm will be instantly in order from the start.

“We had a kettle; we let it leak:

Our not repairing made it worse.

We haven’t had any tea for a week…

The bottom is out of the Universe.”

Rudyard Kipling

Palm trees make me smile!

Coming from Yorkshire I still get very excited when I see a palm tree as you certainly won’t find many, if any, there!   To me they depict tropical holidays and far away places!  “Where the wild things are!”  (One of my favourite childhood books).

I just came from Beach Street in Melbourne where the road was lined with palms and once again I find them right outside my front door here in Cape Town!  Isn’t life just one big tropical holiday all of a sudden!   Well not quite but I am trying to keep my chin up whilst going through the (to be expected) anxiety brought on from moving to a new country.  If you go back to some of my posts earlier in the year you will discover my excitement, trepidation and words of wisdom on how to settle in to a foreign land.  Well I am trying to eat my own words right now!

I guess one needs to remember to take each day as it comes, there will be good days and bad days.  Don’t be too hard on oneself when you have a day of disillusionment and nothing seems to be going your way, leaving you feeling isolated and disheartened.  There is always the prospect of a brand new day tomorrow and the attitude as to how to tackle it is entirely in one’s own mind.

So today on my early morning walk to get the blood flowing, grab a coffee and find the local yoga studio (exercise always helps), I took hope and positivity from the beautiful winters day (rather similar to a pleasant English Summer’s day, so no complaints here!) and the strong tall palm trees which made me smile with holiday joy!

Palm trees.

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think”.     Christopher Robin to Pooh – A.A.Milne

Settling in to Cape Town……

My computer is fired up but the internet is currently a little intermittent, persevering all the same!  Just getting settled in at the moment and trying to laugh at the hilarity (instead of getting frustrated!!) at not knowing basic things like which way to turn out of the front door for starters?!  Where is the supermarket?  How do I get a phone?  Setting up a bank account? etc. etc.  Starting all over again basically!  The period of floating between two countries, having no house keys and only a suitcase in tow didn’t last long!  Now it is back to reality, only it is a very bright, shiny new reality that is different again to anywhere I have lived thus far!

Things do seem to go rather round the houses here before they get done but then I have got to appreciate the laid back vibe!  Going to the car registration office was like stepping into a time machine from every aspect from the systems and service to the decor, mood and lighting!  What was apparently supposed to be an instant administration turned into 2 days and now it is a week and it could be longer….. hey ho…. it is some where in the pipeline!

The good news is once it is granted I am going to get myself some wheels to drive around in.  This will be the first car I have ever owned!  You have got to commend me for my minimal carbon footprint!  I have been riding a bike and using public transport for years but living in Cape Town it is going to be much easier and safer if I have my own car…… yes very excited about this!  Although I can’t help feeling uncomfortable that now I am in a much poorer country I will finally own a car, it seems rather controversial.  Something I am going to have to get used to in many ways whilst living here.  Part of my purpose in being here though is to find ways to improve and add value to the community no matter how small they are and I hope to keep you posted on my endeavours as time goes by.

Watching out on the roads needs to be emphasized!  I have already noticed driving is some what erratic and the road rules are certainly not adhered to in all cases.  I have seen five accidents so far and noticed drivers bored at a set of red lights who decided they couldn’t wait any longer so just went anyway.  Never mind the number of people who play russian roulette with their bodies just running across the roads at any given moment amidst the high speed motorists.  I felt terrible for the road workers who were fixing some tarmac in the middle of four lanes of traffic whilst it sped past them.  No cordoning off the area or closing a lane whilst they carried out their task!   Health and safety in the UK or Australia would be having a conniption!

And where’s the fun in this…. no hooting!  Well I will make sure I don’t do any honking either….but I fear it may be absolutely necessary!

A sign post saying "No Hooting!"

An unexpected delay and a spectacular display…

Well, departing Australia was not quite as straight forward as I had hoped.  It seemed too good to be true that everything was going according to plan!  I must admit I was a little nervous of the thick fog which had enveloped Sydney for the previous two mornings prior to our departure day and there it was again when “D-day” arrived!  However, in the end it was not the fog that delayed our departure but a strange unidentifiable smell on the aircraft coming from the cockpit!  Now I could make a number of jokes at this stage but I will let your own mind carry you into that cul-de-sac of thoughts if you so wish!

Anyway the point is, the smell was so concerning we were held up at Melbourne airport while they inspected further.  Luckily there was no down wind effect for us and we sat contemplating the new departure time!  A voice over the tannoy explained all passengers connecting on to international flights should not be concerned as the fog had caused havoc and flights out of Sydney were delayed all round.  So it seemed the fog was now our friend and we might be able to catch up and make our connection in the end!

Some considerable time later and after another four or five announcements up-dating us of the status, it was finally deemed the aircraft was not safe for travel and they would be preparing a new plane for take off as soon as possible.   So here begins the even lengthier delay which meant by the time we were disembarked and re-embarked, everybody’s luggage was moved and accounted for, someone bailed entirely and their luggage had to be re-found and removed, etc. etc…. the departure time really did not warrant the ungodly hour at which we had scraped ourselves out of bed.

In the end we were finally airborne and made it to Sydney in half the flight time it usually takes… (just shows how much traffic there is in the air these days and the buffer they factor in).  However we were still much later than the original arrival time and it was to our great dismay as we watched all the other passengers on international flights be quickly ushered to their waiting aircraft, whilst my husband and I were the only two remaining passengers bound for Johannesburg on the 9.55am flight and it had actually taken off right on time!

There were now two options presented to us, be flown to Perth and hang out until much later that night to fly or stay the night in Sydney and start again tomorrow.   We chose the latter being thoroughly exhausted from all the leaving parties, packing and sleepless nights of late.  Perhaps this was a blessing in disguise!  A day to ourselves to do nothing but take a load off!

So we did just that, collapsing into the bed of our complimentary hotel room for a quick power nap before seizing the opportunity to say good-bye to Sydney!  And what a treat it was when we realised it was Vivid Live, a celebration of Australia’s most iconic stages.  An amazing display of immersive light installations and projections were being used to light the sail’s of the stunning Sydney Opera House, projected onto it as though it were an artists canvas.  Many of the surrounding buildings were also glowing and changing before our eyes.  In the end it meant our good-bye to Australia was much more spectacular than anticipated and we were able to appreciate this great place one last time with a delicious fish supper down at the Rocks, followed by a stroll around the quay whilst staring up at the striking Harbour Bridge and Opera House all a glow with these incredible displays!

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After such an eventful day we slept like babies and the next morning upon returning to the airport we were soon checked in and sitting back flying over the Opera House and on our way!  In the end our big departure wasn’t upset too much by the chain of events that were out of our control and we made the most of the situation.  After all, the next chapter is going to be an even bigger journey and waiting one more day really wasn’t going to make much difference.  If I had been going on holiday for a week I would certainly have been a little more disappointed to lose a day!  Even so, sometimes when events change direction beyond our control it is best to sit back and enjoy the ride, maybe something wonderfully unexpected will happen that otherwise you might not have seen!  I think this example was certainly nothing short of spectacular!

After about seven hours of flying the excitement wore off and the longevity of the flight wore in!   It is a very long way from Australia to South Africa!   At one point I thought it would be a breeze versus the two lengthy flights that usually take me back to England for a visit.  However it is the huge change in time zones that gets you and with there only being one hours time difference between Cape Town and London the adjustment is pretty much the same coming from Australia.  Flying back in time does not take the age off you that is for sure!

Exhausted but with a slight hint of an up curl at the corner of our mouths when we got to Johannesburg, we pushed on with our last burst of energy onto the flight from Jo’burg to Cape Town.  I tried desperately hard not to nod like a dog and slapped my cheeks to stay awake…. (the slapping of cheeks doesn’t work by the way!).  This last leg was an absolute killer because really it was the early hours of the morning for us after an exceptionally long day, even though we had been sitting down for most of it!  Yawning and delirious we finally made it to our destination and looked to the Mother City to engulf us into bed!

What happened next is some what of a blur until I recall waking up in a comfy bed shrouded by darkness to the sounds of pelting rain and crunching thunder!  We came in with one almighty storm and were literally engulfed by rain, slate, waves and water!  Now I am not sure what the elements were trying to tell us here but it was certainly an incredible welcome committee to the Cape with flashing lightning and pouring rain for the majority of the weekend!

I am happy to have made it safe and sound with all our suitcases in tow (fingers crossed for the shipment on the sea) and since arrival it has been a case of taking each day as it comes.  My dreams are very peculiar and adjustments to our new home will take a little time but my eyes are wide with excitement and intrigue.  My biggest fear was for my computer which finally arrived yesterday, one week after me, and hence here I am jumping straight back on my blog and coming at you for the first time from Cape Town!

So here the new adventure begins….

My last day in Melbourne…

The time to depart Australia more permanently than just for a holiday (for the second time round) has finally come!  At one point it felt as though this day would never arrive.  The idea for the next adventure was seeded so many months ago and now the nurturing, plotting, planning, organising and co-ordinating have all finally paid off.  I am out of here!  I am of course sad to go and will miss my awesome friends the most but the momentum has been building for some time and I am ready to get started with eager anticipation for what lies ahead.

I have to say I am some what delirious…. it has been a crazy busy week!  The apartment felt like it would never be empty… the cupboards just kept on giving!  There were endless appointments, phone calls to wrap up business, cancel standing orders, pay bills, sell household items, buy necessary supplies, visit the dentist, doctor and optician, say good-byes… and decide what to pack in the suitcase to last the next few months!  Thankfully the tasks are now completed and the packing is done, all my worldly belongings are soon to be sailing across the seas and tomorrow I will be flying through the sky on the way to Cape Town!

I can’t wait to sit back on the plane, take stock of everything and try to prepare myself mentally for the next chapter.  I guess the three flights from Melbourne to Sydney to Johannesburg to Cape Town should be enough time!  So many thoughts are racing through my brain.  I feel exhilarated and excited but I know I am also anxious due to the intense dreams I have been having.  It is strange how the sub-conscious is so affected.  Even though we think we are coping on the surface, deep down our mind has warning lights flashing preparing itself for the unexpected just in case!

Anyway, must dash as I want to slip in one more coffee on the laneways, say a couple of last minute “see you later’s” and if I still have time visit the Monet exhibition at the National Gallery before the day is done!

I will be in touch from the new destination!

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”   – Eleanor Roosevelt.

Container ship sailing across the horizon.