It was beautiful in the Drakensberg mountains. There was a stillness I wasn’t used to. A calm to our days. It was about peacefully breathing fresh mountain air, rather than rushing around to schools and therapy appointments. You know what I wanted to do when we first got there? Tell you about it. But being all the way up in those mountains, we were far away from an internet connection. And a sensible, forward-planning kind of person might have stocked up on credit for her own wi-fi hotspot, but I’d left that woman back in Johannesburg.
The funny thing about email, Facebook, Twitter and yes- this blog- is that I hadn’t realised how long a week would seem without them. Little did I know when we first arrived and I was unable to check in, that a storm would take out our internet at home for the week after we returned. I was already feeling antsy. Still, it wasn’t going to hurt me to be offline for a week, after all, there were other things to be doing.
My parents, both confirmed Facebook fans, were also feeling the disconnect. It didn’t help that their business calls weren’t getting through without Skype to route them to their phone. Spectrummy Daddy had no such luck in escaping work- his Blackberry was fully functional, and kept him in the the throng of one of those crises that always seem to happen if we go away. The grandparents got to busy themselves with Pudding and Cubby, giving me lots of free time in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
Unable to write, I turned to my other special interest: photography. It was the perfect place to practice different techniques, and almost every direction I looked in I found something I wanted to snap Then some strange things started to happen with the camera. Maybe if we’d been back home, I’d have just stopped using it. No doubt I would have taken it to a camera shop to look at. But I didn’t. One day we went to a wildlife reserve, and the first time I picked up the camera, the shutter mechanism broke. Really broke. Beyond repair broke. Gone and we can’t afford to replace it kind of broken. Sigh. All this was going through my mind as I was taunted by an adorable giraffe scampering right by our car, and image after image I was desperate to capture.
Now, I’ll be living in South Africa for another two and a half years. There’ll be ample opportunities to go to reserves, game parks, and safaris. But I couldn’t get out of the frustration I was feeling, try as I might. I couldn’t just enjoy the moment. I was angry with myself because I couldn’t just enjoy the moment, when everyone else was managing to do just that.
Not the first time, I’m reminded of how similar I am to Pudding. I feel all the frustrations of not being able to communicate easily, and not having things go my way when I try to escape into my own world. But I’m the lucky one, this kind of situation occurs rarely for me- it is the way my girl experiences this world. And she manages to do it with a whole lot more grace than I can even begin to muster.
I was glad to get back home, even if it has taken until now to get reconnected. The funny thing was that Pudding was all happiness and ease in the mountains. We had a week with improved communication and far more relaxed interactions, including lots of cuddles with the grandparents. I’m curious about whether it was the altitude that had such a positive effect on her. Or perhaps she just needed to get away from it all.
At least I got some photos for future Wordless Wednesdays before my poor camera went to the great developer up high. It was great to get away, but I’m so glad to be back.