Two Week Winter

19 01 2010

2010 began with winter. It started in Istanbul, with temperatures between forty and fifty degrees. Tough life, I know. Our wintery season culminated in ten days of below freezing temperatures in the Netherlands, complete with a few days of snow and lots of frozen canals, lakes and sidewalks. We wrapped ourselves in borrowed wool sweaters and long underwear bought in New Zealand, but the cold germs still knew where to find us. Two colds and many bowls of pea soup later, our winter came to an end. We have now arrived in Cape Town, to a sunny climate of twenty-five degrees to thirty degrees. Celsius. Next time we see winter, we expect it to be in Boston in December.

Despite the cold climates, the last two and a half weeks were a huge respite for us. Istanbul was a fantastic city, and we were reintroduced to the world of fats: feta cheese, gyro meat, bakhlava, creamy eggplant salad. Not only that, but we found ourselves in a city where we could walk for hours. As many of you might guess, that made me very, very happy. We walked, ate, and marveled at the juxtaposition of old and new, Christian and Muslim, Europe and Asia, for days.

In the Netherlands, we were surrounded by family. For the first time in three months, excluding our home stays in New Zealand, we lived in homes, ate home-cooked meals, played games with more people than just each other, and rested. It was so nice to reconnect with my mom, sister, stepfather, aunts, uncles and cousins, and we look forward to future visits from Sunny’s and my parents in South Africa. One thing is certain: while we love traveling, we miss the people in our lives. It was a treat to be surrounded by people who love and know us.

Now, we’re in South Africa, and it’s clear that a different phase in our traveling is beginning. For starters, we’re not going anywhere else. We’re here to stay. Secondly, we’re here with some sort of purpose. It’s nice to take off the tourist hat for a bit and leave the well-worn track behind, but I must admit, I’m already a bit nostalgic for the months previous, when it was just us, our two backpacks, and a map.

Our reception in South Africa has been overwhelming. We find ourselves surrounded by several South African “mothers,” each one going far out of their way to help us find a flat, car, or simply a place to eat. Truly, each person we meet seems to be more generous and interested than the last, and while we’re still straining to understand the varieties of English spoken here, we feel surrounded by new family and friends.

We’ll post more pictures and stories soon, but we wanted to let you all know that we are safe and sound in Cape Town. We’ve managed to secure a small flat, so if you need a break from winter, our doors are open!



One response

19 01 2010

What’s the address of your small secure flat?

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