On the Road, Again

Joe and I just got back from an epic road trip around South Africa: from Joburg, to Durban, to Port Shepstone, to Hogsback, to Port Elizabeth, to Joburg.

On the road at sunrise in Hogsback, deep in the mountains of the Eastern Cape. 

It was a fascinating, fun, and utterly exhausting trip. More than 3100 kilometers, R7500 in car repairs (!), and hundreds of photographs later, we’re back home.

Looks like Colorado, right? Wrong. It’s Kokstad, South Africa, on the border of KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape provinces.

Halfway through the trip, we were sitting in a waffle house along the water on KwaZulu Natal’s South Coast, having lunch with Joe’s elderly mother. I suddenly thought about my grandmother.

“You would really like my grandmother,” I said to Joe’s mom. “You have a lot in common. Too bad you two can’t meet.”

Five minutes later, my cell phone rang. I fumbled for it in my handbag and missed the call. The caller left a voice mail so I went outside to listen to it.

It was a tearful message from my sister. My grandmother, who we call Cooncie, had passed away in her sleep during the night.

At moments like these, being an expat is very surreal. I suddenly realized that life back home doesn’t get paused when I go away. I mean, I knew that Cooncie was old and could die at any time. But how could it happen when I’m not there?

I’ll have lots more to say about Cooncie, and the rest of my crazy family, in a future post. I’m really looking forward to seeing my family and friends and celebrating my grandmother’s life. I also have some more blogging to do about our recent trip.

But for now, I need to finish packing and get ready to catch a plane. Tomorrow I’ll be on the road again, or above the road, I guess.

Sunset from the road in Free State Province.

Catch you on the flip side.

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  • Reply Slowvelder August 23, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    So sorry to hear about your Grandmother Heather – my thoughts are with you.

  • Reply Kathryn McCullough August 24, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Gosh, Heather, I’m so sorry about your grandmother. I remember my grandmother’s death being terribly painful. Hugs to you, my friend!

  • Reply thirdeyemom August 24, 2011 at 12:45 am

    sorry to hear about your Grandma, Heather. I also lost someone in my family while I was half way around the world and it was very difficult. Enjoy the special time together with your family.

  • Reply 2summers August 24, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Thanks for the well wishes everyone. ‘Talk’ to you soon, when I get to the other side of the world.

  • Reply martinaloeb August 24, 2011 at 11:19 am

    So sorry to hear about your grandma. Have a safe trip

  • Reply Tilly Bud August 24, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    So sorry for your loss.

  • Reply cashancountry August 24, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Safe trip, pause and reflect.

  • Reply campbellisaac August 25, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    wow, what a great trip. A side of Africa you never see.
    I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother

  • Reply Jaco August 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Safe travels Heather. Condolences.

    • Reply 2summers August 26, 2011 at 3:38 pm

      Thanks Jaco, Campbell and Chris!

  • Reply Majuba October 12, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    My condolences on your loss Heather
    Did you manage to stop off in Grahamstown on this road trip and visit the 1820 Settlers Memorial?
    I would be interested to read of your impressions

    • Reply 2summers October 12, 2011 at 7:39 pm

      You know, we actually did make a brief stop in Grahamstown, but only had time to snap a few photos downtown before going on our way again. I photographed some beautiful churches there, which I never had the chance to write a post about. (One of the pictures is on my 2Summers Facebook page though). We missed the memorial though…next time!

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