Guys, I’m back. It took a little longer than expected for me to recover from jet lag—in the meantime, I put up some sort of offensive sign in my front yard and started an entire propaganda campaign at work. Apparently time zone changes + lack of sleep = street Aussa.
Anyways. Africa. AFRICA!
Alex and I went there for about ten days. To coincide with the end of my restraining order against my ex but also because CARPE YOLO and we’ve been married an entire four months so it was time for a second honeymoon.
We started the trip out in Soweto, which seemed an appropriate induction to the country and all the history and cultural mishmash we’d be encountering. If you don’t know what happened in Soweto then click here. Long ago in the life of an Aussa, she received a bachelor’s degree in African-American Studies, so this place was on my life list of things to see.
It turns out Alex is kind of a boss at driving on the left side of the road in a tiny little Hyundai hatchback. Thank goodness, because there was a ridiculous amount of beautiful scenery to be had. So many people were like “Africa? Why would you go to Africa?” so I showed them these photos right after I punched them in the face. Just kidding. #WhatWouldMandelaDo
Of course, there were several times Alex casually turned into the right lane and started happily driving until I began screaming “LEFT! LEFT! OH MY GOSH, LEFT!” There were also a shite-ton of roundabouts everywhere. When these weren’t being endlessly confusing Alex would go “So when you say go THROUGH the roundabout, what you really mean is…” as a little shoutout to my crazy-ass boss.
We spent a few nights sleeping in a hut in the African bush so we could spend the day staring at Zebras and Hippos. Every night would end with a $3 bottle of wine and Alex singing “The Circle of Life” in a high falsetto while we held hands between the two twin sized beds we’d pushed up against each other.
I was glad to finally make it to our Morrocan-themed guesthouse in Pretoria, where everything was glorious and walled and awkwardly awash in reminders of apartheid. Our guesthouse was in the same neighborhood as all of the foreign embassies and fancy as hell. I felt mildly obsessed with all the walls around the houses. I pretty much wish I could have a wall around me at all times. But I’m aware that this makes me an asshole—especially after a visit to South Africa.
On the way over we spent a day layover touring Frankfurt, Germany. It was gorgeous and provided just enough time for the Xanax bars (that I stole from Zola) to wear off. On the return journey, it was back-to-back flights, one of which was dominated by a Manspreading Bastard who was the ultimate karma for all the horrible things I’ve done on airplanes.
By the time we actually made it through customs, we wanted to die. The agent gave us the usual “are you terrorists” look and assaulted us with difficult questions, like “Where are you flying in from?”
“South Africa,” I said.
“Germany,” Alex said at the exact same time.
We both blinked. The Customs agent gave us a more intense “you ARE terrorists” look.
“Why South Africa?” he asked.
“Lions,” I said. “Giraffes. Adventure.”
“Why NOT South Africa,” Alex said, trying to inspire some CARPE YOLO from the guy.
He gave us a stern look then stamped our passports and sent us on our way. As soon as we made it to the parking lot I informed Alex that I’d lied on our customs forms where it asked if we brought back meat:
We were so disoriented and jet lagged that it’s taken a few days to come to terms with the fact we ever left at all. I think that’s the most difficult part of going on an adventure. Like Bilbo, you come home and realize that everyone is just going on with their lives like nothing ever happened. It’s disorienting, but I think that’s why I like it. When you’re so far from home and completely outside your usual routine, you have no choice but to exist in that single moment. When you come home to the crash and burn of daily life you realize just how easy it is to make that choice: Shake life up or just let it be how it is for a while. Neither are necessarily better than the other but both are always an option.
Or something. I’m still basically insane from lack of sleep but I’m self-aware to know you guys all came here for this:
It may have been winter AND the dry season, but South Africa managed to shed a few raindrops in honor of our arrival. Bless them. Bless them so much.
Have you done anything lately to shake up YOUR life?
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