I am lucky, I have the most amazing family. We all love each other. We never fight. We might have the odd argument, but nothing that results in ill feeling beyond the hour. So who are these brilliant people, I hear you ask?
This photo was taken at our wedding almost 2 years ago. My mum and dad (Leon and Lorna) are on the left. The two little ‘uns are my beautiful nieces, Kyla (left) and Jaimee (right). My sister is seated and wearing a white strapless dress. Her husband, Andy, is sitting to the left of her – and they are the proud parents of Kyla and Jaimee. My brother, Pierre, is standing at the top right (in black) and his stunning wife, Jodi (long blond hair) is to his left. They have just recently had a little baby girl, Storm.
I would love to post a picture of Storm, however, this is a perfect example of the difficulties of living abroad: I obviously have not had the opportunity to see her, but will hopefully see her at Christmas. But in spite of her already being 6 weeks old, I have not even seen a picture of her! Of course my father and brother both have digital cameras, but … no picture has materialised as yet, despite frequent requests.
What makes living away from your family difficult? Many things! And I am sure it is different for everyone, but these are the main things for me:
Birthdays – Missing family birthdays and celebrations.
Kids growing up – The kids grow up so quickly. By the time I see Storm, she will be almost a year old! I will have missed all the ‘baby stages’. Every time I see Kyla and Jaimee I can’t believe how BIG they have got, how quickly it feels like they have changed from baby to toddler to little girl to big girl! There is no opportunity to have them visit for the weekend, or taking them on an outing. All that has to be crammed into our annual holiday …. which is great when it lasts, but you miss them so terribly when you leave again.
Christmas – This is probably my most difficult part of being away from my family. And it is made so much worse when you ring up only to hear the whole family is there, they’re braai-ing (BBQing), they’re together … in the sunshine! And you’re sitting in grey, dark England. For me, it just can’t compare.
When I am ill – Is it just me, or does anyone else miss their mother when they’re ill? This is probably why I am writing this. I have been sick, in bed, all day today. And when I am sick, all I want is my mum to bring me tea. In fact, when I am sick, I probably miss my grandmother most, Ninny.(She died a few year ago, but at a ripe old age of ninety-something) . She used to bring tea and biscuits, and her radio and knitting. She would just sit with you all morning, chatting, letting you have a nap while she listened to the radio.
When the family visit each other or do things together – My parents will go out to dinner with Pierre and Jodi, Rochelle and family will be visiting my parents, my whole family will be at a wedding of family or friends. I guess you can say I get jealous. Not nasty jealous, just ‘wish-I-was-there-too’ jealous. Wish I could click my fingers and transport myself.
Luckily Tim has the most fantastic family here who have taken me and accepted me into their (large) family. He has 7 nieces and 1 nephew, a brother and 2 sisters. His mum and dad live in East Leake, near Nottingham, England. (His mum is in the top pic on the right. His dad couldn’t make the wedding due to him awaiting a hip replacement at the time) I couldn’t wish for better in-laws. But the thing is, no matter how wonderful people are here, they aren’t a substitute for your family far far away. But I can confirm that they complement my family perfectly. I really couldn’t ask for them to be any kinder, friendlier or nicer.
I haven’t mentioned any of my absent friends yet. There are so many, and I would hate to leave some of them out, but you all know who you are. Spread far and wide across South Africa, America, Australia and of course in other parts of the UK too. I miss you all. But I promise that if I win the lottery I shall spend more time in South Africa (and world wide) to visit you all PROPERLY.There is one other person who warrants a special mention: the-closest-thing-to-a-sister-and-my-best-friend-in-the-world, Lisa. (She is standing between Pierre and Jodi in the pic above) Without her, my life would be so different – and we’re not talking for the better here! In a life without her I would laugh less, smile less …. Life would seem duller, less fun, an absence of ‘girly things’, less rubbish would get spoken, that is for sure. But I love her to bits. (She will want to kill me for posting this oh-my-gosh-she-is-so-gorgeous-pic of her above. I will admit that it was taken by a professional photographer after being made up my a professional make-up artist and then airbrushed a little by a professional computer geek, but it is still my beautiful friend)
And finally, I have to mention my wonderful, gorgeous, sexy, supportive husband, Tim. Without him life so far away from all my family and friends would be unbearable! But I promised ‘for better or for worse’ so when the dark winter days get me down, I don’t feel the urge to rush down and buy the first ticket home (unlike my friend Smitsie!). Ah, and yes, Tim is the sexy one in the picture – sitting on the bonnet next to me! Mind you, I think he deserves his own picture: