Almost Time to Say Goodbye to South Africa

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I can't believe it's been three months since I arrived! And now it is just four days until I head off back to the US and beyond. 

Saying goodbyes is not my strong point and today I avoided "goodbye" and opted for "see you soon" which works better for me. And as it was time for that when I met Rosemary, Catherine and Sam for breakfast, for one last chatter and natter! We agreed that when Rosemary is feeling more comfortable and settled after losing her beloved John, she - and possibly - Catherine would come to visit me for a month or so - wherever I am! That made it easier for all of us, just knowing that in a relatively short time, we would see each other again. 

This came on the heels of a wonderful weekend with all the family at Clansthal, the beach cottage that holds a huge place in my heart. Rosemary and I were reminiscing about our early visits there with various boyfriends when we were teenagers! Oh, the shenanigans that went on when we thought the parents weren't looking!

But now that we are both grandmothers, or Gogos as we are called here, we can still have a good laugh and remember those times, and can commiserate with the daughters who have daughters coming up and almost of age!

It is so wonderful being around young people; I so miss that and am wondering about the place I am planning to stay with Susan in Mexico. It sounds very much like an expat retirement complex and I have vowed that I would never live in a place like that. So it remains to be seen what it really is like.

So you are thinking, "Mexico? I thought she was going to Belize!" Well, I am, but with a bit of a stay at Lake Chapala near Guadalajara. Guadalajara is at the center of tequila country, so the plan is to do some exploring and writing about the old distilleries there. I think they will be so different from the ones here in South Africa and the ones in the States. I also better take a crash course in Spanish!

I have the Duolingo app on my phone and trying to be diligent about doing the 10 minutes a day. So I think by the time I get down there, I may have some of the basics under control!

My Thoughts on South Africa

The country is so different from 5 years ago. It could just be my perception but the whole atmosphere is better, at least in the areas I have been. Sure, there are still the huge discrepancies between the haves and the have-nots. And the corruption is just as rampant, or worse than it was.

But now when you go to a restaurant, the help is polite and yes, helpful and always with a smile. Wherever I have been, regardless of the color of anyone's skin, it has been a pleasure. I know that people my age who have lived here all their lives, don't see the changes in such a dramatic way as I do. And many of them have "old" ways of thinking about the situation. 

I'm lucky having traveled so much and seen so many different countries and ethnic groups. I think my understanding - or perception - comes from this much wider world view. I'm not knocking these old ways, it's just different. 

Aside from that, this has got to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is so diverse, from arid Karoo to lush KwaZulu Natal and everything in between. I know it wouldn't take much to convince me to come back here permanently.

Back to sorting and packing...