‘Next’. I looked up to see where the familiar sound of the South African accent came from. It didn’t take me long to locate it as all but one of the ten counters were in operation at the baggage re-check in. After promptly making my way forward, I proceeded to stand in front of the counter and waited to be assisted, passport in hand, handbag slipping off my shoulder, glasses sliding off my head and my main bag so heavy that my arm ached after I dragged it that short distance. After smiling a hello, I continued to wait at the counter. And wait. And wait. After a long flight with not even a second of sleep, I was not in the mood to be doing any sort of waiting. Finally, when the assistant finished his conversation with his colleague behind him, it was my turn. He took my passport, printed out my boarding pass, helped me heave my baggage onto the conveyor belt and with one of the biggest toothless smiles I had ever witnessed, he looked up at me and said, ‘Welcome back home madam.’
And home I was, where often time is just a word, people cross the road wherever and whenever they want, taxi’s rule the road and even in hail and rain, my dad was still wondering around in shorts and a T-shirt. After exiting the baggage reclaim area, I scanned the crowd for ‘Ivan the Terrible’, who was escorting me home. It was a tough task, looking for my my grandpa, considering that he is a short bald man, with a rim of grey hair that covers the edges, and often he has a single little grey hair that stands completely static on the top of his head, which we refer to as his ‘aerial’, as he often eaves drops on peoples conversations around him and tends to then analyse it amongst the family, throwing our current topic of conversation completely out the door. After scanning the crowd, I saw that the roof of the airport was being reflected off of a shiny head, I had found him. Red-faced and trying very hard to contain his smile of joy, he waved to me and said, ‘Why are you so bloody late?’.
I was welcomed home to a nice big surprise; a new home. Whilst I was away in England, my family had moved from our old house which we had lived in for most of my life to an amazing apartment with quite literally, the beach as my garden. It still feels completely surreal going to sleep at night being kept awake by the waves and waking up again to the same noise. I’m basically on a never-ending holiday. According to my mom, she said that she will put a quick stop to that feeling, although she is secretly the one who loves it the most, apart from my grandpa of course, who although tries his hardest to suppress any positive emotions such as happiness or joy, we can all sense his excitement beaming right out of his aerial and lighting up the room. He even arranged my room while I was away. ‘Aw, bless’ as any remotely British person would say. He’s not religious, so you’re going to have to bless someone else, if that’s alright?
I do miss England and it’s quirky way of life, having Giro coffee on my (technically it was Ben’s) doorstep, Alfie sneaking into my room and kidnapping any socks or shoes lying below waist height, and then holding them ransom for a chase around the garden. Mostly, I miss Ben 🙂 But, I’m so excited for his adventures coming up and my adventures in South Africa. Life is a funny thing, sometimes you need to be apart in order to be together 🙂