Jon and I went back to the U.S. for our first trip home and it was quite a trip! Since I haven’t been able to secure a full-time volunteer post yet I had some flexibility and went earlier than Jon. Like four weeks early. It was great because I got to see some friends and family and eat at places Jon didn’t like, before he arrived. It was quite a task to try to see as many people as possible and make sure that we saw family enough. It was a great thing to worry about, though, because I was very excited to see everyone. Even though it hadn’t been long since I moved, I was feeling a little homesick. Especially for some food items. (Yeah, family and friends, blah, blah, blah, but I haven’t found good frozen yogurt here yet!)
So I flew back and started my visit off with a bang. (Disclaimer: I didn’t get enough pictures of everyone and everything I did, unfortunately.) First, a baby shower for our newest nephew, meals with friends and medical appointments. (Might as well, right?) My first trip was to the amazing Chicago and on the way back, I stopped in Atlanta for a few days to see friends. And because I’m a genius, I hadn’t thought to leave any winter clothes at my mom’s house and it was *cold* in Chicago. So, in Atlanta, I went to an outlet and bought a winter coat for my future travels. (That looks almost identical to the winter coat I have in storage. Oy.) From there, I went to New York City – my favorite place – and spent two blissful days walking all over the city, eating great food and seeing friends. Then, I went to D.C. to see my brother’s family. That was the day of that crazy winter storm on the East Coast and my flight to National got diverted to Baltimore. Luckily, the nicest woman ever let me ride in her company car and they dropped me off at my brother’s. After that, I went to Montreal with my mom to visit my sister’s family and enjoyed some good food, time with my niephews and more cold. (Yay for that coat!) After all of that, Jon arrived and my solo flying time was over. Mwah mwah… (Just kidding – yay for Jon!)
Before Jon arrived, though, he called me one day, as we did almost every day when I was in the U.S. without him, and did so on video chat. That confused me because we usually just did audio to conserve internet, so I assumed it was a mistake. He asked me to pull over and that instantly started the verbal diarrhea of “Who died?” “What’s wrong?” “Oh man, who died???!!!” He said everyone was fine and in one sentence said, “Jackfelloutofthewindowandfracturedhiswristbuthe’sok.” It scared the living daylights out of me but he assured me he was ok and sent me some pictures, at the same time, showing me Jack on Skype while I cried. Oh brother! (At least we know the vets in Pretoria are good! He even got a teeth cleaning and his nails clipped out of it!)
When Jon arrived, we celebrated our anniversary by staying the night at a hotel in downtown Durham – we were using my mom’s house in Chapel Hill as our home base so it was like we were going out of town! – and ate at one of our favorite places, Mateo. It was a lovely night in our hometown. We also took a trip to see his family – they live an hour and a half or so away – and met our new nephew, William! Named after Jon – he’s William Jonathan! (He is the CUTEST.) My brother and his family came to visit and we spent a lot of time playing and eating. We also got good time with friends, which was wonderful. It was so fun and we were so bummed to say bye to everyone.
The end of our trip ended up being a bit crazy because our flights were canceled due to weather and after the chaos from that, we couldn’t fly out until two days later. So we had to rent a car and deal with some logistics but we got to go to our beloved Full Frame Documentary Festival and have some bonus time with friends, as a result! Our trip back started with a surprise upgrade to Delta One for the flight to Atlanta (another symptom of the backlog from the storm) and then had a row to ourselves on the flight to Joburg! We were sad to leave everyone but were excited to get back to Pretoria and keep working towards what we’re trying to accomplish! (And we had a trip to Cape Town a few days later – more on that in our next post!)
– By Naama