What? You’re going to South Africa?

Yes, Ma’am- we fly out tonight (Monday, June 27th) at 5.20pm.

Why on earth?

Well, I’m South African. And while my husband is a home grown Michigander, for me home means South Africa. Specifically, Pretoria, South Africa. It’s located here:

And no, it’s not a short trip up to Egypt. It’s far. It’s like traveling from Mexico to Canada, maybe further. I mention it because I get asked a lot. And while I am bad at math and thus also bad at measuring distances I know it is definitely far.

My family of two parents, 4 brothers, 1 sister, 1 sister-in-law, 1 nearly sister-in-law, two foster kids, several fish, and an array of dogs all live there. In other words, we just spent a small fortune on Amazon this week buying presents. And cookie dough. Everyone wanted cookie dough.

When were you last home?

The last time were were home Micah was this size (meeting his aunt and uncle for the first time):

Now he is this size:

So, we’ve been away from home for a good 30 pounds or so. Three years, 4 months and 30 pounds give or take since this picture was taken:

My baby brother, my dad, my oldest son, me, my youngest son, my amazing, wonderful step-mom.

How long does that flight take?

It’s a 16 hour marathon with three kids and two desperate adults – say a prayer for us y’all. You may remember how our last trip went.

So, are your parents missionaries?

Nope, they’re just plain old South Africans. My dad is of British descent, my mom (who died when I was 18) was of Dutch descent and my step-mom is too. However, their church is knee deep into missions throughout the African continent and the whole family has done trips all over the place.

How do your kids handle the culture changes?

We find kids take to other cultures like ducks to water – they just dive right in and get along swimmingly. Jackson was born in South Africa and has gone back and forth so often he’s now on his second passport at the ripe old age of five and a half. This year away has been the hardest for him. He has discovered the gift of homesickness I unwittingly gave him. It has hurt.

Since Micah was only three months the last time we were back, his memory of South Africa is entirely story based.

We tell them the story of South Africa often. We tell them about the people, the places, the animals, the moments that are South Africa to us. We write the story of this cultural heritage for them in a hundred different bed time versions. And we tell it over and over until they’ve metabolized it and the Southern Cross shines in their eyes.

Also, we dance. We dance up a storm to South African music. This is one of our favorites – South Africa’s homegrown band Freshly Ground joined Shakira for the World Cup soccer national anthem. South Africa hosted FIFA last year. And my boys dance themselves silly to this one.

Watch and feel your heart explode with the happy.

Why are you going?

Because relationships need attention to thrive. We’re going back to nurture the precious family relationships we’ve missed so hard for so long now.

What airline do you fly?

For as long as I’ve commuted back and forth between continents, we’ve been South African Airways fans. It’s a one-stop flight, Dulles to Johannesburg with all the great South African food and drinks {I’m looking at you Appletizer} you could wish for en route. So, you can imagine how I nearly passed out from the happy when they offered to help sponsor this trip.

Greatest airline ever. Literally, they just won the award for best airline in Africa. For the second time.

Can we come with you?

Oh yes please, I’d love that! I’ll be blogging this reunion that’s been three years in the making – the longest we’ve ever been away. I’ll also be sharing photos and updates on Facebook as well as on twitter. So, it’ll be easy for you to sneak into my suitcase –

It’s gonna be crack-a-lackin! {Name that movie}