It’s been 1 year and 4 months since I was last home. Home – for me – 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 big, fat, loud, dramatic, wonderful, rambunctious South African family of two parents, 4 brothers, 1 sister, 1 sister-in-law and 1 nearly sister-in-law, several fish, and an array of dogs all live there. And that’s not even counting the extended family.
It’s been 1 year and 4 months since we saw them last.
The last time were were home Micah was this size (meeting his aunt and uncle for the first time):
I think, as measured in baby pounds, that is like we have been away from home for a good 15 pounds or so!
1 year, 4 months and 15 pounds give or take since this picture was taken.
That’s my oldest son, Jackson (left) on the shoulders of my brother. He was actually born in South Africa. And that’s one of my other brothers, Karabo (right) on the shoulders of my dad.
Karabo is Jackson’s uncle. Jackson doesn’t quite get that. He just figures Karabo is his BIG brother and Micah is his LITTLE brother. He and Karabo have been best friends since birth – Jackson’s birth that is.
Jackson talks about Karabo every day. Jackson assumes every airplane he sees is headed to South Africa. Jackson washes himself in the bath tub at night in meticulous imitation of precisely how Karabo always bathed himself. Jackson sends gifts to Karabo. Like cool T-shirts. We always buy one for Karabo and one for Jackson. (Sometimes I forget to buy one for Micah too – he’s actually wearing Karabo’s here before we sent it to South Africa).
Look, it arrived safe and sound and was promptly put to good use:
Homesickness is like fatigue. You feel vaguely uneasy and a little disconnected from everything. It makes you feel like you’ve forgotten something, but you just can’t remember what. It’s the reason you think you recognize people only to realize just before you call out their name that it’s the wrong country and so it couldn’t possibly be who you hoped it was.
Homesickness ebbs and flows. I’m in a flow phase. My boss just came back from a business trip to South Africa. I had sent a grocery list with her. She arrived this morning with all my favorites. I am surrounded by them. And still my insides feel empty and my heart a little achey breaky.
You’d think after decades of living inbetween countries you’d get used to it. Overall, you do. But some days, homesickness just sprouts up out of nowhere like chicken pox and it’s best to avoid others until you are no longer contagious. Chicken soup, however, will probably not help. These cases are best treated with coca-cola and chocolate. At least that’s been my experience. What’s yours? Any tips from frequent travellers out there on how to beat the homesick blues? Because I’m in the market for some new remedies! (besides the obvious solution – you know – buying a plane ticket and hauling ourselves home pronto!)
I'm so sorry you're in a flow phase right now. Glad you were able to get some SA groceries, but that must make it even more tough to have familiar tastes, but not people.
Any way you can get some SA television or movies out here?
Can you schedule a trip back home — even in the distant future, so you know there's a date you can count-down to?
Hey there big sis – just read your blog and wanted to let you know your family on this side is thinking of you. We love you and talk of you everytime Barack Obama is on TV, or we see Washington in a movie, or there is an obnoxious American saying something funny in a sitcom (no offence intended). We love you and love reading your blog Lisa – keep up the great work lady! Much love to Pete and the boys.
Luke & Carine
Thanks, Luke. That was just the *HUG* I needed!
Another (((HUG))) from SA even though we've never met… I can imagine how you feel
As the boss, so honored to be mentioned in the Gypsy Mama's blog. Want to telecommute from South Africa? Perhaps we can work something out…
I remember that day we bought the shirts and both forgot to get one for Micah! Glad you have some more SA treats to keep you going, so nice that I can picture where you're enjoying them :)
Hi there my darling, you had us both hooting with laughter as well as a bit of wetness welling up on the eyelids. You describe the ebb and flow of homesickness so truely, and I’m afraid I have no sure cure for it , except perhaps eating biltong and watching rugby on the TV but then that may make the problem worse when you realize where you are after the game is over!
Thanks so much for a most excellent and touching blog. with all our love, Dad and Wanda
Aa, I just found your blog on ‘Incourage’ and I’ve been reading through some of your posts. This one made me feel like dying just a little bit inside. I haven’t been to SA in at least 4 years. MISSING it and my family and friends…
GOEIE GENAADE maar dis wonderlik om ‘n Afrikaanse comment te he! Welkom Eiland Kind! Ek is so bly jy’t my gevind. En ja, ek sterf ‘n bietjie met elke een van my kinders se verjaarsdae dat ons nie tuis is nie. Sjoe, maar dis mooilik, ne? Maar ek hou vas aan die hoop dat hulle een dag lang somers in die Suid sal spandeer. Tot dan, eet ek my Ouma se beskuit en droom van jakaranda boome!
Just finding this today – and SO true!
I love the way you put it into words – “homesickness just sprouts up out of nowhere like chicken pox and it’s best to avoid others until you are no longer contagious.”
I totally agree.
Hi there fellow saffa!
Just read your blog and it brought me to tears!
I’m going home today, first time in a year and 8 months, I couldn’t be happier.
But in all honesty it has definitely contributed to messing up a supposed stable mind frame. My suggestion to you for homesickness is watching Wackhead Simpson in action, get on youtube AND LAUGH! Works like a charm for me every time :)
Good luck where ever you are and just keep in mind, everyone has to come home sometime!
I love the way you describe homesickness – like fatigue. It’s so true! Thanks for your posts!