We’re back in Suburbia.

After a year-and-a-half of travel and nomadic living… we are back in the ‘burbs of Joburg.  Back in the big house.  Back in the throes of the Good & Normal Life.

I have space again.  There’s room to move.  We’re not piled on top of each other.  I’m not living out of a suitcase.  I have my studio back.  Nick has his studio back.  The kids have their own (huge) room.  We have our own (huger) room… with the giant en-suite tub… and the divine ceiling fan… and the world’s comfiest queen-sized bed.  We have the movie-room again.

Even the goddamn stuff has returned.  Creeping into our homes and lives… like an insidious mould… as stuff is wont to do.  Suddenly, Morgan has 5 pairs of slip-slops.  And 4 swimsuits.  And – I can’t even count how many dresses have taken over her cupboard.  How did that happen?  And where did Nick get all those T-shirts from?  Where were they hiding?  And where did all this medicine… and all these vitamin tablets come from?  And… why do we have – like, 12 pillows – all of a sudden?  And where did all these coffee cups come from??

sigh

Looking at our house – you’d swear we never left.  Nobody would be able to tell that it was rented out to somebody else for a full year.

We’re back to the convenience of being right next door to a shopping centre.  A carton of milk or a bar of chocolate is just a few steps away.  We’re back to the routine of weekday-work… followed by weekend friend-visiting activities.  The children have regular play-dates with cousins, friends and Zahra from next door.  The learning centre is down the road.  I shuttle them off to various activities.   We get to see the family again.

We’re back to the world of No-Surprises.

I know exactly what to expect here.  I know to bring the washing in off the line before the afternoon thunderstorm.  I know when the paper-people collect my recycled paper and cardboard.  I know that I need to put the rubbish bin out on Fridays before 10 in the morning.  I know exactly where to buy my inkjet refills… Greek haloumi cheese (in bulk)… acrylic paint… and grass-fed, hormone-free beef.  I know where the good coffee is.  I know who sells freshly baked baklava cheesecake.  I know every restaurant in the greater Johannesburg area that have play areas for children.  I know the doctors, the dentists and the best place to get a haircut.

It’s all very predicable.  It’s all very comfortable.  It’s all very convenient.

Omigod.  I can barely stomach it.

I feel like I’m wilting.  I feel like the ‘burbs… and the routine… and the ‘safeness’ of the convenience and the comfort… is deeply toxic to my adventure-loving, newness-needing soul.

Thankfully – my family feel the same..  All of us have had a taste of the Nomadic Life – and we loved it.  As a family – it was a great fit for us.

But there’s admin to sort out.  And BIG decisions to be made.

Nick is in the film industry (work he genuinely enjoys) and – although films are often shot in different locations… he is currently working on 3 back-to-back films…  ALL based in Joburg.

So – like it or not – I’m here in Joburg until late September.  With this in mind, we have concocted a Master Plan:

  • Make the Big House look all nice, homey and tempting… for people who like – and want – a nice, big house in the ‘burbs.  Make a couple more repairs… and SELL the big house!
  • With money from Big House… buy (for cash!) a funky, industrial-style, double-volume loft apartment in downtown Jozi (specifically, the Maboneng Precinct).  This will render us completely debt-free… thus having a small Joburg-base… and not owing the banks a single penny.
  • This will mean that our monthly expenses will be pleasingly low – and all excess money can be diverted towards travel, adventures, memory-making and experiences.
  • The Maboneng Precinct (by the way) is an arty, re-vamped part of the inner city… with all sorts of weird folk, artists, performers, entrepreneurs, out-of-the-box’ers, mall-haters, hippie-types, socialists, activists, anarchists, thinkers, poets, musicians who live and work there…. well, suffice to say, more of an *us* type of crowd.
  • De-clutter AGAIN.  Get rid of *The Stuff*…. (AGAIN!)…  (the Maboneng Apartment is significantly smaller than the Big House so we’ll definitely need to downsize).
  • The new apartment will be our little… debt-free… Joburg nest (for whenever we’re in Joburg – either visiting family & friends… or working on films).  It’s also a VERY handy lock-up-and-go situation.  When we travel… we’ll just lock it up… and GO.
  • In late September… after we’ve finished the films, the premieres, the film festivals… we’ll lock up the Jozi apartment and bugger off to Europe on a 3-month road trip in a camper van (woot!).
  • After that…. well, who knows.

In the meantime, for the next couple of months… while we’re Jozi-based, I have endeavoured to make the very best of the situation.  And, instead of whinging and grumbling about sameness & suburbs… I shall involve myself in the following enjoyable endeavours:

  • Lots of hanging with friends – both old and new.  I really love our friends.  We have some really stellar people in our life… irreplaceable, salt-of-the-earth types.  Friends, alone, would bring me back to Jozi… time and time again.
  • Family bonding.
  • Launching some exciting new projects with 2 potential Andrews.
  • Enjoying… with gratitude… everything that Jozi has to offer.  The weather… the greenness… the many amazing markets and unique places to chill & hang out… the parks… the easy-access to food suppliers who sell the fresh, untampered-with stuff… the interesting little shops and coffee places… and all the kid-friendly eateries.
  • Enjoying – while I still have it – the space of the Big House… the green garden… the weaver birds… the big bathtub… my big tree (that I sit under every morning)… I will savour these moments while they last – until we move on to new and different horizons.
  • And I want to make sure that Morgan and Joah really enjoy this settled-season… that they can take advantage of some of the things they’re not able to do whilst travelling (i.e.: music lessons, baking classes, indoor climbing classes… and regular play-dates with cousins and best friends).

But right now… I need to walk to the shops, re-stock on milk… and enjoy a cup of Bean There Fair Trade coffee… whilst sitting under my beautiful big tree.

Change is great.  Future Plans are peachy.  But NOW is all I have.  So I’m going to do my best to make it count.