It has been 10 days since I stepped off the plane and recalibrated myself to try take on 2015 with a little bit more gusto than the past 4 months. I had the privilege of spending two weeks in South Africa with my family during the first part of April and I had the pleasure of spending a week a piece in two of my most favourite places. One, of course, being the farm in the Eastern Free State and the second being a tiny little sea side village called Morgan Bay.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of belonging that over comes you when you arrive home after a long period of absence, even though we are expats, we still call South Africa home. When you arrive on the farm, the moment you turn off the gravel road and drive through the sandstone motor gate your whole body relaxes and all of a sudden all the corporate mess and stress is forgotten and you know that this is that one place in the world where your soul come to rest, your heartbeat slows and your entire being is at peace.
I am so lucky that I have two places that effect me like this, Morgan Bay was were I spent my Christmas at the tender age of one and a half months old and no matter the trouble or stress I was under it was somewhere I would always miss when I was away. Family gatherings where always an epic affair because most of the family had houses there and it was a place where my Gran’s family had the opportunity to bring all her siblings and their extended family together so Christmas lunches where was a hubbub of activity. It was where I was given a wonderful opportunity to get to know my great grandmother and this time around I gave my son the same opportunity. For a few days we had four generations of family under one roof.
Most mornings were spent enjoy enjoying the beach and enjoying the African sun, one of the most amazing things about the Morgan Bay as a destination is that it has a seemingly endless beach that hugs the coast line, ultimately leading you to the lighthouse with a breath taking view of the ocean. Morgan Bay is a village of generations because, without fail, there are families who have been returning to this mystical place one generation after another. It is one of those places that the moment you leave you want to put your car in reverse or make a U turn. There is nothing quite like sitting on the deck watching the mist roll in over the ocean, or watching the sunset over the dramatic krantzes. For me and many others it is somewhere we call home.
A few years ago, after the death of my grandfather, my gran decided to retire at Morgan Bay, although Im not sure retire is the right word because she has more of a social life that most twenty somethings I know. We dub her the queen of Morgan Bay because she cant walk 100 meters without knowing who lives where and having a conversation with one person or another but that all comes from spending 68 glorious years holidaying and living in this great place. Some this year she got to show her great grand son off to her friends, who all promptly decided she was far to young to be a great grandmother, in all fairness they are very right. For our family Tippy and Morgan Bay walk hand in hand, there is not one without the other and visiting her is one of the greatest joys of my life and knowing that my son will have not just known her but loved her as much as I have is something truly priceless.
One my last day I fulfilled another one of my bucket list items by galloping a horse across the beach, there is nothing quite a liberating as skimming the edge of the ocean on horseback. It is an experience that I will do again on my next visit because it gave me a different perspective to place that I already loved.
So here I sit, back in the sandpit, knowing that it will be a year before we head back to the coast again but this is our choice and we live with it because our choice allows us the freedom to make sure that we can find our own spot in the village and I can make sure that my son can start making his own memories of our little slice of paradise.