I am sitting on a deck in the Northern part of South Africa. The view in front of me is completely devoid of any human activity. Yesterday a troupe of baboons could be seen heading to the edge of the ravine and a family of warthogs have been daily visitors. I have missed the African winter sun. South African winters are cold, mostly because the dwellings are built for sunny weather, protecting the inside from the brutal summer sun. In the winter you freeze, becoming attached to your warm water bottle at night, and during the day you wear enough layers to make you severely unattractive. But then the sun comes out. The winter sun is bright and warm, you strip off all your layers but one and if you are lucky to have an hour to spare you sit in the sun, moving your chair every few minutes to greedily follow the progress of the sun. So here I sit, skink-like, sucking up the African sun and knowing that I will regret its loss in a few days.
In two days we will be returning to Singapore. We will leave behind the quiet, the beauty and the family in South Africa and I am feeling rather sad. Heading back to attend school meetings, replace school uniforms, replenish food supplies, eradicate any mold, bath stinky guinea pigs, set up music lessons and catch up on a month’s worth of correspondence. Back to noise and being busy and crawling back into the role of being a foreigner. Back to sweating constantly and hoping the sun stays hidden behind protective cloud cover. I am not too excited to return.
My home country has filled me with so many memorable images. Moist, green, mountainous vegetation in the Cape, flawless beaches in Kwazulu Natal, dry winter grassland and bush in Mpumalanga. Within these breathtaking landscapes there have been the unforgettable people that have floored me with their beauty. I have not been home for nine years and much has changed in that time. My mind is crowded with faces, so many faces that perhaps I am just a little excited to get back to my work space and capture some of these living images on paper and canvas.
But hold on, I have to move my chair a little to the left to avoid the shadow creeping across the deck. I will enjoy this lazy sun for just a while longer.