Saturday, 17 October 2015

Clarens adventure: Part 1

A couple of weeks ago Immy and I hit the road for a long weekend in Clarens. I've been meaning to do this blog post for ages, but life (and an October writing course) have gotten somewhat in the way. As I sit here typing, Immy is laying out her birthday invitations on A5 envelopes for us to distribute at school. The cat is curled up on the couch, the weather is cloudy and cool, and I have a steaming cup of coffee next to me on the table. In other words, the planets are aligned for a blog post.

We had such a good time, and everything was so VERY photogenic that I'm splitting the trip between our accomodation, and the things we did, loved, ate, and experienced. 

If ever you're keen on a weekend in Clarens, we can totally endorse and recommend staying at Kalm Guesthouse. When I plan a trip, I spend hours poring over websites, reading Tripadvisor reviews, narrowing options down until I've found the perfect place. I love small places off the beaten track, with personality and warmth.

Early mornings were spent tiptoeing and exploring the gorgeous garden in that perfect light when the sun is creeping over the mountains, and everything seems lightly kissed with dew, and freshness. Damp slippers were a small price to pay for the privilege of stepping-stone hopscotch and tree climbing. 

Other morning rituals included coffee on the verandah, and face puppet origami in bed.

We spent hours in the garden in the afternoons, exploring, drawing, colouring in, playing Minions Memory game under the dappled light of the trees.

I love exploring new places with her. I wonder if she'll remember it, the hours spent singing in the car, the people we've met along the way, the places we've stayed at, the adventures that have woven themselves like bright thread through the more mundane daily rituals of life.

No more travels planned for now. Instead, I'm looking forward to seeing what bits and pieces of adventure we can make in our usual places and spaces.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Thirty seven

I recently read the post I wrote last year when I turned thirty six. Between the subtext of the sunsets and the descriptions of the beauty around me, I can see so clearly how shaky the ground was that I stood on then. 

It has been a good year. A good year. I am amazed that I can type these words, because there was a time - a very long time in fact - when I thought that things would never be good again. If I could sum up last year in one word, it would be survival. Of course there were good moments, but they somehow were always underscored by sadness, and regret. The constant loop of how did we get here? Shielding myself from so many things, curling up inside myself to stay safe and sane. Packing up entire pieces of myself that didn't seem to exist anymore: no longer a wife, no longer part of a family, no longer successful at life because I had failed at my marriage. No longer who I thought I was, and no longer heading in the direction that I'd been so sure of. 

Rob and I have been going for therapy for just over a year now. We have learned so many things. Answers have come, slowly and painfully. We are healing ourselves, and somehow therapy has helped us to start bridging the chasm that opened up between us over years of silence and retreat. We co-parent Immy, with flexibility and respect for one another. I don't know what the future holds for us, but I am content with not peering into the fog ahead. Our daughter is happy, and bright, and so loved. I am enormously grateful for this.

Last year wrenched me free from the constant grip of trying to control the outcomes of the world around me.  I zigzagged through days, weeks, months, trying to figure out who I was. I took more holidays than I should have, because somehow I thought it would prove that Immy and I would be okay. I raged, and cried, and fought against what was. And then, infinitesimally at first, I started to accept that though we had never meant for it to happen, things fell apart. My heart started the long, slow process of putting itself back together with more room for compassion, and understanding. Peace crept in at some point, quietly and unassumingly.

Thirty seven years into this life, and roughly seventeen months into this new chapter, I can finally - truthfully - say: I am happy. This is my life, and I am glad for it.


My friends joined me for a birthday celebration. I was showered with gifts, hugs, love. My mom flew in from Knysna to surprise me, and when I saw her, my brain did a couple of forward somersaults before it actually registered: THIS IS YOUR MOM.

It was the best day.

Pics taken at Anja's Tea Garden.

~ m