Sunday, 19 January 2014

The return of the Awesome Aulds

The return of the Awesome Aulds
19 January 2013

This is very much, a long overdue blog.  And though a few months have passed, since the Awesome Aulds have returned, I still felt that this story needed to be told.  So here goes:

The Awesome Aulds, as my sister and her family are known, lived in England for five looooong years.  In fact, it felt like they lived there forever.

We skyped, we e-mailed, we sms’d, we WhatsApp’d, we snail-mailed.  But the one thing we didn’t do, is see each other.  In the flesh.  For reals.

During their stint abroad, they managed one fabulous family holiday back home, about a year into their sojourn.  But after that first holiday, we had to resort to technology to keep in touch.

The sad bit about this, is that awesome though all of the alternative communication means at our disposal was, it quite simply was no substitute for the real deal – a hug from my sister.  A flesh to flesh breath-defying squeeze.  It couldn’t be sent by any alternative means.

They had planned their return for months and months.  Trying to figure out what woud be best for their kids in terms of schooling, Robin’s gigs and touring, Rand/Pound exchange, cost of airfares at certain times, the lease on their home in Melton Mowbray, and so the list goes on and on and on. 

In the end, they simply closed their eyes, chose the most suitable date, booked the tickets and set the wheels of uprooting a life into motion.  I can but only imagine what a mammoth task it must have been.

In addition, there was the uncertainty of coming home.  As for all intents and purposes, they wouldn’t have a home.  They’d have to start looking from scratch, once they got here.  They didn’t know what schools the kids would be going to, because they didn’t know where they would live.  They wouldn’t have their furniture or any of their stuff, barring the bits they brought over with them on their flight.  Shipping all of their gear over would take 8 weeks.  And though it is true, that they had a few items stored at my brother’s house, it would not be enough to set up a home.  In essence, they would be gypsies for at least two to three months.  Staying with family, friends, and renting the odd short term holiday flat.  An unsettled nomad’s life. 

But being the troopers they are, they braced themselves for it, and dived back into life in South Africa with gutso and gumption.  Me-thinks the glorious weather sure helped.  As well as being surrounded by much longed for family and old friends.

And so, across many, many miles, and finally after years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds, the time finally arrived – the 19th of September.  D-Day.

I’m one of those really hard core moms.  The hectic ones.  My kids don’t get to pull sickies.  They have to go to school.  Every single day.  Barring obvious and terrible illness of course.  But for this joyous occasion, I quite simply whisked them out of school and their extra-murals.  For two days, no less.

We made a mass exodus to the airport.  Armed with a dubious big homemade poster, helium balloons, and an excessive sense of anticipation and excitement.  Family members came from all over.  My grandparents and aunt.  The lovely Kati Auld (plus boyfriend), armed with a poster of her own – and a rather quirky one at that.  My mom and stepsister from Tulbagh.

We planned our trip well, giving ourselves ample time to not rush, get there, find parking and wind our way to International Arrivals.  However, much was our surprise, when the Auld flight made good time, beating their estimated arrival time, by nearly half an hour.  And so, unbeknownst to us, the Aulds arrived back in South Africa with minimal fuss.  No fan-fare.  No one to greet them.  No one to meet them.  In fact, by the time we got there (still thinking we were fairly early), the Arrivals lounge had all but cleared out.  And there, standing and sitting, in a little bundle of dejected anti-climax, were the Awesome Aulds.  The second we spotted one another, there was hysterical loud squealing and running to each other.  I’m sure all of you must have heard it!  All of us lunged at each other, talking, laughing, smiling, kissing. 

And then I finally got it – my long overdue hug.  Neither of us let go.  Instead we just clung.  Words cannot describe it.  Katrine and I bawled like babies.  Feeling so emotional and so overwhelmed.  Marvelling at how our kids have grown and the changes in one another. 

Eventually we stepped back, beaming from ear to ear.  I’m actually pretty sure, that if it wasn’t for the presence of my ears, my smile would have wrapped itself right around my head.

Still no sign of our mom, grandparents, and entourage.  We toyed with the idea of hiding behind pillars and pretending they hadn’t arrived yet, but we just couldn’t pull it together.  Instead we unwrapped our poster/banner, let one of the helium balloons free accidently and continued talking non-stop.  And before long, spotted in the distance, was the rest of the welcoming commitee.  Once more grand scale squealing ensued.  Sure you heard it the second time too. 

Predictably once the hullabaloo semi-subsided, we unrolled the banner once more and took about a million photo’s.  Such fun!  And then proceeded to go to the Spur to have a quick nibble and cup of coffee with those who had to get home again.  Also, you only truly feel like you’re back in SA once you’ve had something from the Spur.  It’s an institution.

The plan was for the Aulds to go straight to my mom’s house in Tulbagh, called Muisnes.  And we had come prepared, with three cars to get them there.  Although we would only be ten people making the trek, there was a fair bit of luggage.  And then in one of the greatest acts of unselfish kindness, my mom made a winning suggestion – everyone else would bundle together on the drive home in two of the cars, and Katrine and I would drive on our own.  This would be one of the few opportunities we would get for some solo time.  No kids.  No outside distractions.  Just an hour and a half’s drive with only one another for company.  Made even more glorious by absolute driving rain – like you’ve never seen before.  So much for sunny SA.  But this made us feel like we were in a little bubble of our own.  Completely cut off from the outside world.  A little cocoon of our own.

It was an absolutely amazing catch-up session and I do believe we both perfected circular breathing.  Barely stopping talking for a moment.  Not even to take a breath.

Spending a night in the same home as my mom and sister was fabulous.  And long after everyone had gone to bed, the two of us were still sitting up, chatting and laughing.  Managing our own quiet moment once more.

The days and weeks that have followed since the Auld return have been magical.  We speak on the phone nearly daily.  And with every conversation, we marvel and rejoice in the ability to simply pick up the phone and call one another.  No thought being given to time differences – little though it was.  We’re a mere forty minutes’ drive from one another.  And every so often, I pop over for a morning.  Or we get together for a weekend.  We go to the beach.  Maybe catch a picnic.  Enjoy one another’s kids.  Or spend time with our extended family, as we have many, many get-togethers.  Going to visit my mom or brother in Tulbagh and all of us being together is surreal.  And having the entire family, including all of the Loubser kids, including our children together at the holiday house, Kleinbaai, an absolute highlight.  And Albert, Katrine and I had lots of special moments together.  Reminiscing about our childhood, and our Kleinbaai holidays way back when.

We are a close family.  And I appreciate how very fortunate I am.  As a rule, siblings usually love one another.  It’s a given.

However, here is where I am genuinely blessed, I like my sister (my brother too).  A whole lot.  She is magical in every single way.

And I don’t quite know how I managed so long, with her living overseas.  It was like a part of me went into hibernation and was pining for her all that time.  And I firmly believe that there is a secret part of me that stays locked, and only she has the key.  I marvel at this ability of hers.  She gets me.

But now that she’s back, all is right with my world.  I feel whole.

And if she ever thinks I’ll let her go again, she’s nuts.  I’d tape her down and lock her up. 

Funny thing though, is that she feels the same.

Home made "Welcome Back!" poster

Self portrait of skinny me - wearing a brown pant

They were waiting for us! Pic taken without all of the family - some still en route to the airport

The lovely Kati Auld with her "Bring me my brown pants" poster - a winner for sure

Back for only five minutes, and we're acting silly already

The Welcome Back team

The entire team - notice how empty the arrivals lounge is. We flagged down a lone airhostess to take a pic for us.
Cousins reunited

Spur people - people with a taste for life

The teens

Grant and Katrine are very close and share a special bond. When Grant entered our lives, Katrine was a super skinny 10 year old, who absolutely hero-worshipped and adored him. Not much has changed. She's just a bit taller now.

Grant sporting some of Alex's locks

Maggie with her two gals

Us gals again

Sister love

Our darling little Pottie in her onesie

A 60th Wedding Anniversary, combined with an Auld Return celebration

Assembled family

Cloetenberg Stoep
Garden minglers

Glorious day

The Loubser kids - so glad to all be together again

Yay us!

Maggie - glowing with all of her kids together again

Fun and games in the garden

Just chilling

Our most magnificent Cloetenberg


The ever popular swing

The one and only Cole

Everyone just soaking up the day

Glorious garden

Dan doing his Daya impression - rather impressive too

Katrine's on the swing again - Attie going all Matrix

Funny gal


So happy to have this special gal back in my life

Katrine and Honey reflecting...

Siblings are da bomb!

1 comment:

  1. I still can't quite believe they are back, and that I can get into my car and drive to Kalk Bay tp visit them!!
    And that they are present at family events!!