I treasure spending time with both Kiera and Alex in the same place. It doesn’t happen too often, with Alex in Miami, Fl and Kiera in Rockville, MD and, of course, me in South Africa. I love seeing them together and am so proud of the relationship they have as brother and sister. Despite a six-year age gap they really seem to understand and respect each other. It’s a regret of mine that I don’t share the same connection with my one and only sibling.
Recently Kiera organised a two-week holiday in Florida for us, a respite from the cold weather up north. We stayed with James’ parents, Jim and Jody, in Miami which has a tropical climate, very much like the east coast of South Africa and is a wonderful place to winter in. As I walked around the neighbourhood with Isla in her stroller, the humid sea air and familiar, lush vegetation triggered flashbacks of my life in Durban when I used to push my own babies in their prams around Glenwood and Morningside.
Kiera and I were eager to see Alex’s new, partially furnished Bayside studio apartment and he, in turn, was quite keen for us to help him decorate it. So one afternoon, after checking out his pozzie, we took a trip to Ikea where we had an exhausting but extremely fun time helping him choose furniture and trimmings. Ikea is huge and the ultimate in flatpack shopping. We were able to get everything on our list and more (a couch, cushions, pictures, picture frames, towels, a rug, bedside lamp, dining room chairs and other odds and ends) and managed to load it all into his car, a VW Golf (fortunately we were traveling in another vehicle).
Alex had just returned from a trip to South Africa where he spent Christmas with Peter at the farm and New Year in Cape Town with his mates. It was good to see him looking so relaxed and happy to be back in Miami.
Kiera also arranged a mid-week stay for us in Siesta Key, on the Gulf of Mexico. We stayed in a gorgeous holiday rental on the Plaza De Las Palmas, a short walk from the beach and the pretty little seaside village. This was my first trip to the west coast of Florida and I loved the laidback, beach holiday vibe of the place.
As I write this, I’m looking out my bedroom window overlooking the pool (heated) lined with palm trees and thinking about walking to the village to have brunch, with mimosas of course, and it feels vaguely familiar but also rather surreal. Beach holidays have always been my best kind of holiday; I think of Bonza Bay as a child, Dwesa in the Eastern Cape (Transkei, as it was then) with Peter in our younger days, the KZN South Coast where many a holiday was spent with friends and my parents, especially Leisure Bay (not to mention Botha House at Pennington), and last but not least Umngazi River Bungalows near Port St Johns, where we took our annual summer holiday for nearly ten years, until Kiera started work.
A few days ago, Peter and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary on different continents. As Kiera, James and I raised our glasses in a toast to perseverance, I marvelled at the turns my life has taken. When I got married at the ripe old age of 20 in the lounge of my parents’ house in Durban in 1978, I could never have imagined that 41 years later I would be sipping champagne in Siesta Key with my granddaughter on my knee. Isn’t life strange?