Every time I travel 1600 km to visit Jess, the same thing happens. It happened now and it happened last September and it happened the September before that.
I find Karin. It seems that she hides here in CT, in these beautiful little streets, the old houses, the shadow of the mountain, the streets that you can walk down and find dozens of quaint little coffee shops, laundries, Internet shops, vintage clothing shops and much more. Every corner has a little eatery of sorts and if you are living where we currently are, we can just as easily cross the road to a Centre that is beautiful, not huge and has every store, including a delightful French Bistro, as we can meander down the hill and find a plethora of little coffee shops and other.
I have fallen in love with a little wooden gate, a door with a brass doorknob and the view from my bedroom window. This gate is a small, white, well worn, wooden garden gate, painted in semi-peeling white paint, thigh high and the entry to our little apartment/townhouse whatever this is called in the Cape. I get a thrill every time I open it. It is not a motorised gate like at home, surrounded by 6ft palisade fencing. From the gate it is 5 steps to a beautiful old house door, with a brass doorknob, old fashioned, and every time I open that door I know that the beautifully restored wooden floors, high ceilings, old fashioned desk, old balcony and that view will be here. The two owners have done restorations yes, but they did so while keeping the very essence of this jewel. Many think the mountain is overrated, but from every window of every room in this gem, we see it and it is a beautiful sight. I find myself looking every morning to see if it is boldly facing the blue skies, or lying under the white tablecloth.
I have a lot of time every September to read. To muse. To write To journal. To colour. To spend with Nic and whenever she can be off, Jess. This time she is ill, so we have to do many things without her on her days off, whilst she is bundled up on the couch, resting. We never do the September visit without a visit to her beloved Pot Luck Club and tonight that wonderful experience lies ahead as we visit her work environment and the kitchen she gives most of her life to. It is a taste experience and we wait all year for it. We are blessed to also include a dear friend in our visit tonight.
In this down time, I get to find me .... the one that gets swept up in the pace at work, the demands of being a wife, a mom, a friend, a confidante, a counsellor, a secretary, an ear to listen, a blogger, a person who sleeps very little, a coffeeholic. Sometimes making me be completely consumed by it all.
It is like my "reset" button waits here for me each year. And funnily enough I do not find that during the December break when our offices close, or during any other little break in the year. I only find it here. I people watch, and in doing so I realise once again, how I battle when I am not in an environment where other people are present on a regular basis. Not necessarily talking to me, but physically present - being alone for long periods, when not by choice, is a challenge for me. Deezer has not ever been played so much in my life.
My family thus get the "chatty me" when I am around them, every detail of every moment of my day and anything else that I saw or heard or observed that I want to share with them, unless it is confidential. I babble on.
I am not afraid of being alone, but only at times that I choose it to be so. I am known to go to the Art movies on my afternoon off, happily alone with my popcorn and my slush puppy. Yesterday morning the kids slept late and I went off to the French Bistro down the road, had a glorious croissant and 2 cups of the good stuff and read, and people watched and reflected. I even spoke via DM to the author of the brilliant book I just finished (The Fifth Mrs Brink). I attended her book launch and was mesmerised by her beautiful marriage and love for Andre P Brink. It was by choice I was alone. In that way too I happily have breakfast by myself on Monday mornings at my regular coffee hangout in Pretoria. I do my crosswords (I am addicted to newspaper crosswords) and again people watch.
Back to my musing about CT - here I find that I have a voice, that I sleep well, I do not mull over every opinion I and others have, 22 times, I speak up, or not. I do not seem to be apologising as much. I slow down. I breathe. And whilst I am on holiday yes, and should feel relaxed yes, this is not that kind of relax your shoulders and take it easy kind of relaxed. It is just a reset my mind, don't make excuses for who I am kind of relax.
Imagine if Jess never moved to CT and I never came here every year.
So just like I do every year, I will try and make sure that this Karin comes home with me next week. That she be bold, that she flaunt the fact that she cares too much about everything, that she demands the same in return, that she stops letting people who take her for granted, do so, and that she remembers every day to breathe. To pause. To muse.
At least I know if I lose her along the way, she will be waiting here for me next September.
Much love to you all ..... try be you.
c'est la vie
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