Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Returning Home: South Africa Part 3: Family and Friends

Last time I was in South Africa (March 2008) it was for both my sister's and brother's weddings. This time our main reason (apart from spending time with the families) was to meet my new little nephew, my sister's son, Michael. When we arrived he was just a little over 6 weeks old and fighting off his first flu after being given his vaccinations. I think most of these pictures speak for themselves so without further ado, please welcome Michael to the world.

Granddad time with little Michael.

Michael's first Granddad Teddy; a tradition from my mum's parents. We all received a birth teddy from Grandma and Granddad, it's only right that little Michael should receive one too. I wonder if this one will be as loved as Nicole's teddy - it had to have a new skin knitted for it because it got so worn from being taken everywhere!

Present time! Nicole reading a cute little poetic story.

Another Grandma pressie - this time a homemade quilt that doubles as a play mat!

Proud Dad and Granddad!

Proud Auntie Meg (That's me!). I don't think Michael was too happy with all these new faces yet!

Abandoned Teddy... hopefully this won't become the norm!

Grandma time!

So between trips to see Michael, we did a bit of site-seeing in our beloved Natal Midlands. As I mentioned in my Landscape blog, we visited the Nelson Mandela Monument. They've done a very clever thing for anyone going to view it. From the car park it's a "long walk" to the actual monument. Only as you get closer to it do you begin to see Mandela's face forming in the poles.

Sean and Jen taking the Long Walk.

A busy day for the monument as people come to pay their respects.

The huge piles of flowers and tributes placed both while Mandela was in hospital and after he passed away.

I know what this looks like, but it's not. Sean is not holding up the flag. He's just taking a photo and I managed to take this just as the flag whipped up in a breeze!

Cute moment as we walked back.

One last look back at the monument and I spotted another "optical illusion" type thing. One guy squatting to take a photo while the woman in front had her hands raised!

My sister-in-law, Jenna-Lea, at Gunther's Sausage Restaurant.

My brother, Sean, also at Gunther's.

And back to Michael as he enjoys watching his floating, spinning soft toys. Scrat is from Sean!

As mentioned in the Landscape blog, our trip to Midmar was cut short due to a typical Natal Summer Storm but we did get a chance to see Jason skiing before the storm arrived.

When I was growing up the Ice-Cream Man always travelled around town on an old bicycle with a cooler box strapped to the front of it. It seems these days the Ice-Cream Men are doing a good trade and earn enough money for better transport!

Dad doing what Dad does best at a braai!

Sean and Jen watching the storm arrive.

I think this was Michael's first trip to Midmar.

the boys playing in the rain.

After church on our first Sunday we had lunch with Nicole's in-laws in one of the new developments on the hills of Howick. Jason and Nicole's nephews were playing frisbee and it flew onto the roof. So in typical SA fashion, they sent one of the boys to fetch the frisbee from the roof - look Health and Safety, no harness necessary!

Christmas morning: Sean relaxing with his little nephew. Just got to love their expressions

More Grandma time. Little Michael is a very inquisitive baby, he's always looking up...

And if he gets the chance, around corners!

We're all waiting for Granddad to bring the presents! But all Little Michael is interested in is his Mum!

Oo, look Michael, a present for you! Nah, he'd rather close his eyes and yawn...

That's better!

He's probably wondering what his Auntie Meg is doing!

Is that a smile?!

Couldn't resist sharing this photo. One of Dad's (or should I say Granddad, this could get confusing!) favourite biscuits are Baker's Lemon Creams. So what did he get for Christmas? You guessed it!

Sean and Jen enjoying their Zapiro Comic.

Another present for Michael!

A bit later after the lovely Christmas Lunch, Michael is just too tired to do anything... oh wait.

He's s still keeping his eyes wide open, taking in every minute detail of his Mum's face!

Auntie Kim (Jason's sister).

Special Mum Moment.

We had a nice photoshoot for Michael: all the family together.

Michael does strange things with his hands when he sleeps. Usually they're drawn in a fist and up by his ears. This time, in his Uncle Sean's arms, it looks like he's fallen asleep while twiddling his thumbs - which is something my Granddad used to do when he was bored (twiddling his thumbs, not falling asleep...)

Although we only had two weeks in South Africa, we did take the time to visit some special friends. Sadly I didn't get a photo of Mike and Alida, but I did get a photo of their lovely dog, Maggie, enjoying the attention Mum was giving her!

These next photos have a very special story attached to them. I was almost 4 years old (or somewhere around there!) when we moved from Cape Town to KZN. Our first home was in Hilton on a lovely little road called Cherry Lane. All the houses were semi-detached and looked out onto a lovely huge field of long grass. Apparently, while Mum and Dad were unpacking all our stuff and putting it all in the house, I disappeared.

I was found having a lovely chat with the neighbours. We were talking about the Dadedas or Dadehas (can't remember which) and planning a mole hunt. These neighbours were the MacFarlanes, a lovely couple who became firm friends. I did get to see them briefly in 2008 but this time we visited them (not in Cherry Lane) and I was able to get some nice photos of them.

Uncle Nigel. This was when we placed a banana in the bird feeder to tempt those mischievous vervet monkeys!

Auntie Gwen.

Sadly our time had to come to an end and on our last full day we spent the afternoon relaxing at Nicole and Jason's house. Dad and Jason continued their chipping competition while Nicole, Mum, Michael and I chatted in the much cooler lounge!

On the day we were to travel back I didn't take out my camera but took a few shots of Michael on my phone.

This is how Michael likes to sleep...

A bit of Tummy Time on Mum!

At the date of writing this blog, Michael is about 2 weeks away from 3 months. Nicole sends us photos every now and then and it's amazing to see how he's growing. I wish I could be there for all those precious moments.

I hope it's not another 5 years before I see my South African family again!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing - some really special pics in there :) It was lovely to see you all. What a great time in the midlands