Forging a New Path

As with any great life transition, there are too many words, thoughts, and emotions to capture. There is a lot of anticipation…and a little apprehension, too.

As we leave our home in Swaziland,

We are also going home.

Celebrating our experiences, our friends, our family.

Taking flight, soaring over lands and oceans.

We embrace a new nest

with gratitude as we forge a new path ahead.

Namaste,

Tracy

IMG_1031

 

Our African Adventure: Hello Swaziland!

taking in the viewHello! Sorry for the long hiatus in blogging.  Moving overseas has been an  all-encompassing event. I am so grateful to be back online with internet, which is a life-line of communication in a new place that feels very, very far away.

Our belongings in Virginia were carefully divided into “storage” and “ship” piles. Feeling a bit displaced in our own home,  we watched as our life in boxes was loaded into crates on moving trucks. Ready or not, may the adventures begin!

Our evening arrival to O.R. Tambo airport (named for a former President)  in Johannesburg made it too late to cross the border from South Africa into Swaziland before the checkpoint closed.  We didn’t mind having to spend the night at the airport hotel after a 22-hour travel day with our sweet toddler.  We were all jet-lagged and weary, but we made it!

We were slightly confused upon check-in at the hotel. It seemed they were offering us a kitty cat to borrow for the night for the baby, until we realized a “kiddie cot, ” was a crib, which came with its own tiny, fluffy duvet and high-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. I’ll take a kiddie cot, too, please.

The next day, we had a hearty breakfast and set out on the path to our new city, Mbabane.  However, getting out of the airport parking lot was a challenge.  Our car was towing a small trailer, and the car made it under the exit barrier, but the trailer did NOT, so my husband and our driver unhooked the trailer and pulled it by hand out of the parking garage. Whew!  The four-hour drive was beautiful. Our mountainous new home seemed to welcome us with warm, sunny skies and stunning views.

~

 A few of the first impressions of Africa:

the hand-woven doll ornaments on Christmas trees at the airport

the kindness that radiates from South African smiles

lavender-hued Jacaranda trees

deep red earth

houses with corrugated tin roofs

laundry hanging out to dry

the large number of hitchhikers on the road

huge, open blonde fields dotted with clusters of trees

a hazy, diffused pinkish-yellow light on the horizon

 lantern-like bird nests with openings at the bottom

IMG_2716So many new discoveries to explore. Hello, Swaziland. We look forward to getting to know you.

-Starry

Take Me To the Kingdom!

“Ramsay, are you ready to go overseas?” my husband asks our 14 month old over speakerphone.

“We got an assignment?” (I practically scream this question with excitement into the phone).

“Where?! Where are we going?”

“Swaziland!”

(In case you need to look up the geography, as I did, here is a screen shot from Google Maps):

Swaziland, Google Maps, 2013-08-06 at 8.50.16 PMWe move this October, to the Kingdom of Swaziland; a monarchy in a country the size of New Jersey.  I’ve lived in the United Kingdom, but I have so much to learn about this African Kingdom.  Right now, this place sounds to me like something out of the Chronicles of Narnia, an exciting adventure!  I love the idea that Ramsay will know safari animals in their natural habitat. And to think he will be close to four years old when we leave Africa. And some of his first words will be in the language of Swati!

I can’t wait to blog from our new home, to capture impressions and share photos and see how our new country shapes us. Parts of it will be hard on the heart, too: Swaziland has one of the highest rates of HIV, which has left too many children orphaned, and there is much suffering from disease, hunger, and poverty. Peace Corps, USAID, Heart for Africa, and many charitable groups are active. We will learn how to get involved, too, in our new community.

I’ve heard the skies in Africa are amazing, and the stars shine as brightly as you’ve ever seen them.

I bought a Lonely Planet guide on South Africa yesterday. It seems like a tiny start, but one must start somewhere. There is much research, daydreaming, and planning to be done. And, oh, the emotions of leaving family and friends. It’s all exciting, overwhelming, and coming very, very quickly! Two more months!

Has anyone out there reading this been to Swaziland? Please share!

til next time,

Starry