Three weeks of sunshine, friends, family, a stressful wedding and everything else can take it out of ya, but it was actually, for the most part, a wonderful break.
Here are some things that happened and what I learnt.
An alarming number of my friends are on anti-depressants
Perhaps people don't talk about this in the UK, and a lot of the medicating is because many have had post-natal depression, but there's a lot of happy pills being thrown around the northern suburbs of Johannesburg.
I realised that it's time I got on some of those. Not because they're all doing it, but because I am depressed. With the Brit's mum dying, my endless journey of grief for my Molly, lots of obstacles in terms of what I want to do next, I feel like I just can't experience any sort of joy at the moment.
There are moments when I laugh, smile and compartmetalise my sadness. But mostly, I feel flatter than a pancake.
This was only compounded by the stories I heard and was told by people in South Africa about poverty, rape, babies dying, stillbirth, and all the things that happen in this world that in the past I'd mostly be able to ignore, but now I can't. Hearing other stories of death and awfulness is apparently meant to make me feel better because then I don't feel so alone (as one person put it), but it doesn't. It just makes me all the more depressed and jaded about being on this Earth.
So there's that.
I'm tired of feeling shit. Bring on the Prozac.
So many sentences and words and things - it's such a delight. He was cooed over and doted upon by his grandparents, and his vocabulary is astounding. New words come out of his mouth everyday.
He is even starting to string them together. His first actual sentence is, "All gone!" after a meal.
He is a strong, willful little boy, with tons of character.
While he has temper tantrums that can be nothing less than terrifying, in the same breath he can smile, and give "mummy a diss" as he leans forward and plants a big, wet kiss on my lips.
He is just wonderful. I am so grateful and proud, so goddamn PROUD of my boy.
The berg is the most underrated part of the country
It really is, you know. I realised that for all the times I went to the berg as a child, I haven't been back since I was 18. We drove, just the three of us, down to the Cavern, near the Amphitheatre, where we checked in for three nights and had the proper break we were hoping for.
(Hiking takes it out of you when you're the dude in the backpack.)
We will be back. Next year, and drag some friends along with us.
The berg is so beautiful, and we weren't really even in the thick of it. There's a mystical kind of energy in the berg - perhaps it's the wind and the mountains and the quietness. But I just loved it.
We also went to the Waterberg (in fact, I was there twice - the first weekend for Dove's hen weekend.) It was also wonderful, just to be in the quiet, humming surroundings of the bushveld.
The country is going through one of the worst droughts of the century
...while beautiful, the berg was so dry. Riverbeds, like the Tugela, usually full and bubbling had totally dried up. It was a bit heartbreaking. Pretoria and Johannesburg were so hot, with no thundershowers, it was a thick, crazy 30something heat that makes you want to sleep all the time.
(And that we did. Sebastian included.)
And South Africa isn't the only one with drought issues. The BBC news last night said that the entire world's temperature has gone up by 1 degree - everything is warmer than ever before; the last time it was like this was during the Industrial Revolution.
Work is going well
I place a lot of of my self-worth, self-esteem and sense of purpose on my work. It's important to me that I do well, and it's important to me more than ever to succeed: it's all for my family. When things go wrong, or I don't feel like I am getting anywhere, I feel pretty frustrated. At the moment, things are good. And I am happy at work.
Now, just to survive Christmas.....
And finally, the poonami to end all poonami's
This is a picture of my husband wiping my child's bottom on the side of a road.
We stopped. The smell was pretty intense; we couldn't wait for the next town. As we hauled him out of the car seat, a great big ladle of pooh escaped his nappy and shorts and fell out onto the road. For those of you with brilliant eyesight, you can actually see the thing lying next to the nappy. About twenty-five wet wipes later, and lots of sweating and open doors and pooh everywhere, we managed to clean up the mess.
I mean, it was an Uber Dump. It's like he had stored up every pooh he had never had, and decided to open the floodgates right there.
Once we had wiped off the pooh from ourselves, him, the car seat and his clothing, we even had a laugh.