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??
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.