Homecoming Queen

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Sweeties,

Just a short note (since we pay per minute for the luxury of the internet here in the third world) to let you know that I arrived in one piece (even if not in one peace! But more about my little pun later).

It's WEIRD to be home. Doesn't even feel like home. In fact, I feel like more of an alien here than I ever did in the States! (Yeah, that would take some doing, wouldn't it? Ha ha.) Honestly though, I thought I'd feel a stirring of SOMETHING when I looked out the plane's window and saw South Africa again, but nothing...

At that point I was so tired though, because I didn't sleep on the plane or for the last few nights before leaving. So I was pretty much on autopilot at that point. (Thank goodness I wasn't flying the plane!)

My being awake had little to do with discomfort though and much more with being frantic with worry. You see, shortly after boarding the plane in DC, a South African Airways crewmember offered me a hand with one of my carry-on cases (the one containing my precious laptop). Since I was really laden down, and since I saw that they were assisting many other people as well, I accepted his help. He promised to bring it up to the flight deck where I was seated.

Long story short, just when we were about to take off, he came up to me, handed me a receipt and told me that I could pick up the suitcase at baggage claim after landing in Johannesburg. I was IMMEDIATELY frantic, because Johannesburg international is notorious for its baggage handlers nabbing valuables from luggage. So the entire flight I begged all the flight attendants to try and get it back for me during our stop-over in Accra, but to no avail. Everyone just echoed the same thing: "Impossible."

So I wasn't too surprised in Johannesburg when the suitcase in question finally appeared on the carousel, torn apart by the baggage thieves, my laptop missing... (and I still haven't figured out what else they took.) But even though I had expected it, I was still devastated and broke down right there in the middle of the airport and wept like a baby. Things didn't improve much from that point onwards. I had to make a claim (I don't know for what, really, since I was told that it wouldn't really help and that SAA doesn't accept any liability since crimes like that are so common place) and so I ended up missing my connecting flight to Cape Town. Luckily a kind samaritan offered me his cell phone and I could let my sister know.

Oh, well, at least I "gave" someone a really nice Christmas present, hey? So I've already made my contribution to the New South Africa.

Speaking of Christmas presents... when I finally DID get to Cape Town about four hours behind the original schedule, two of my sisters were there to greet me with open arms. My parents still had no clue that I was coming home - I can't believe no one leaked it, because everyone around them seemed to have known for ages already - so when we finally pulled up here at my sister's home outside of Stellenbosch, they were told to come outside for a "little" (*ahem* yes, very funny, right? Those of you who have seen my expanded frame before I left the States will get the joke) surprise.

Oh, I can't even DESCRIBE the moment I saw my parents again. (Yeah, yeah, so much for wanting to be a wannabe writer!) It was really amazing... One of those true and completely mushy Hallmark movie moments. There were tears and embraces and laughter and screams and it was good.

And now I'm here. I don't know what the future holds. I'm still at my sister's in Stellenbosch, I suspect I will be here until next week some time. Like an alcoholic, I'm taking it one day at a time (what did you think I was going to say, ye gutter-minded beasts!? But yes, I see your point: being on a wine farm does make it very easy to drink like an alcoholic as well and I'm loving every moment of that drinking).

I miss you all desperately! I'm already having severe Starbucks withdrawals and am already devising plans to be smuggled back into the US soon...

Please please PLEASE stay in touch!? I have a feeling I'm going to need lots of encouraging words in the days and weeks ahead...

Love to you all,
Red

21 Comments

Peter said:

finally...back at home... wish I could've seen you, dad and your mum together again. Enjoy it R!
One moment to bask.

PS Did I tell you I have family in SA? I believe they live in Johannesburg and Stellenbosch.

Veel geluk, een gelukkig nieuwjaar en groetjes aan je familie
Love & Kisses

Lisa said:

Oh, sweetie...so sorry to hear about your laptop! But I'm so glad you made it home safe and sound!

Happy Holidays, hon!!

Michelle said:

Driving past the airport from Somerset West to Cape Town on Xmas day, I found myself wondering if I could spot you in a crowd there, if you'd arrived, how the trip had gone - and all that stuff (see, another aspiring writer! :) ). I'm so glad you made it safely, even if the NSA took their pick of your goodies.

Welcome back!

And hey - wave, willya, we're practically neighbours!

Annika said:

I miss you terribly already! I wish I could come see you right now! xxoo

Vanessa said:

That completely sucks!! It almost sounds as if the flight attendant was in on it with those baggage handlers.

Maybe it was a weird form of counter-cultural shock (the fact that you didn't feel anything when you got back.) Maybe SA is like... a pair of jeans? You've got to break in in again?

kalisah said:

what an adventure! That sucks about your laptop. Please let us know how things are going in S.A.

carmen said:

That totally bites - about the laptop, I mean, not about your return to SA. I hope it all continues to go smoothly for you!

Wendy said:

Thought about you so much recently...all the angst and drama and trauma....I'm glad you made it back but sh*t to those SODS who nicked your stuff...AARGH! what a homecoming...

Take care - eyes at the back of your head etc etc etc and best wishes for your new life.

deeleea said:

Oh bugger... about the laptop I mean! That would completely undo me, that's for sure!!

I miss you and when Mother goes home I'll get on with writing you a proper long email.

But I'm glad to hear you are home and that all is ok.

D

pylorns said:

Glad you made it back in one piece. Such a shame though. Well its something we'll have to remedy thats for sure.

mice said:

The BASTARDS.

I'm going to march down there and steal it back for you. Then we can row back to the US.

:7/

TimT said:

Living at a winery? Nothing could be finer! Plus, it will make an excellent base for writing/blogging/working. Take care! Happy new year!

So sorry about your laptop but I am glad you made it home safely, it seems things are getting better! you are at a wine farm! Happy New Year with family and loved ones.

Helen said:

Man! I am so sorry about your laptop! It sounds like returning home has been bittersweet, and I can't imagine the haze of emotions you're facing right now.

If I can help, email, cause I'm happy to try :)

Baltimore is a cold dreary place now that that you have gone. Who will I drink with? Who will I call in the middle of the day when I'm suppose to working?
I know, I will stop drinking in protest until you come back. My liver won't be happy,but this is my version of a hunger strike. Thanks for coming out for my birthday spectacle. I miss you already.

kerri said:

Glad you arrived safely babe. Keep us Westerners posted on life in the lovely South A., won't you? Cheers! : )

Gary said:


Wow. Pay by the minute. In Texas not only do most of us surf the internet for free at our jobs, we are actually being paid while we do it.

martha said:

Yay! glad to know you're there safely and that your surprise worked out. So sorry to hear about the laptop. Stupid idiots probably don't realize what a precious cargo it was.

take care of yourself.

kat said:

oh red dear, i'm so sorry to hear about your laptop. i would have broken down too. uck!

i'm glad you made it safely back home. i hope things fall into place in a soft, smooth manner. much love to you darlin. i've missed you!!

kim said:

RED - i only got the chance to read this now. but i've been thinking of you! esp on christmas and the day before... i can't believe those a*sholes took your laptop. that's bulls*it. and you won't get any money from the airline or the airport?? i can't believe it. like this trip wasn't difficult enought as it is. i'm sorry... too bad we didn't get to talk before you left. i'm back home as well and right now it feels totally weird and unreal. but it's gonna get better. i hope. same for you i'm sure! and we'll certainly be in touch. sending hugs and big, wet happy new year smooches! :)

Red Dahling,
Happy New Year. Nothing is happening in B-more except for heavy drinking and sex. Ok, more like heavy petting.
Let me know when you get settled,I have taken some Starbucks Coffee hostage,and it needs a good home.

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about
is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)

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comments
  • bookstorediva : Red Dahling, Happy New Year. Nothing is happening in B-more except for heavy drinking and sex. Ok, m... [go]
  • kim : RED - i only got the chance to read this now. but i've been thinking of you! esp on christmas and th... [go]
  • kat : oh red dear, i'm so sorry to hear about your laptop. i would have broken down too. uck! i'm glad yo... [go]
  • martha : Yay! glad to know you're there safely and that your surprise worked out. So sorry to hear about the ... [go]
  • Gary : Wow. Pay by the minute. In Texas not only do most of us surf the internet for free at our jobs, we ... [go]
  • kerri : Glad you arrived safely babe. Keep us Westerners posted on life in the lovely South A., won't you? C... [go]
  • bookstorediva : Baltimore is a cold dreary place now that that you have gone. Who will I drink with? Who will I call... [go]
  • Helen : Man! I am so sorry about your laptop! It sounds like returning home has been bittersweet, and I ca... [go]
  • mar (formerly ensurt) : So sorry about your laptop but I am glad you made it home safely, it seems things are getting bette... [go]
  • TimT : Living at a winery? Nothing could be finer! Plus, it will make an excellent base for writing/bloggin... [go]
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