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Week One

Sometimes I think I can read minds, but my daughters can definitely read mine. My kiddos are waiting at King Shaka in Durban after I’ve pass through South African Customs and pick up my luggage. Ally holds the “Welcome Home, Savta” sign that she crafted the night before, the one I imagined them holding when I arrive. This is home with the true fullness of purpose I have worked hard for. Living in a place, in my own space for a full six months makes it especially real.

Sam is napping in Ally's arms, and the three of them are soon in the giant hug I have dreamed about since I left in January. It's 5 and a half months since then, but all that matters is now.

We decide to go to their flat directly from the airport so I can wash off the road dust. Next, we visit my very own Durban home. I’ve been waiting for reveal day for almost two months, but have gotten so used to imagining it from the photographs that it doesn’t have to be my first stop. I am even a bit hesitant, as if the real thing will not live up to my dreaming. I have studied the photos over and over in these months, drawn floor plans from rough measurements, picked out fixtures from internet catalogs and placed furniture pieces on the graph paper. I am walking into a space I already know.

It’s early afternoon, and clouds are moving in for a big storm. Rain begins to beat against the wall of windows which face the park with views that expand to the harbor. In my mind, the sun is shining.

Since I’ve landed, I buy beds and couches, dishes and pantry staples, tools for my chair refinishing project and plants for the front entry. I have a South African phone number, a gym membership and two new sets of keys to carry. I make curried meatballs to bring to a “party” where girlfriends call me Roxy and I try on (and buy) vintage clothes. I receive my first proper South African handshake, start writing the date with the day first, get into the wrong side of the car more than once. I take Sam to school, give him baths, read him bedtime stories. I have gotten and given so many hugs. I can feel my heart growing larger and my smile wider. And it’s only Wednesday.

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