I’ve been in Cape Town now since Monday. As the plane landed I got my first glimpses of Table Mountain, I felt simultaneously so at home but also so far away from Leif. I was at the bottom of Africa. So much has changed since I last set foot in South Africa. I’ve gone through a pregnancy and become a mama. We’ve bought a house and began putting roots down for the first time in our marriage. Yes, life is much different than it was 3.5 years ago but something remain the same. Table Mountain still stands watch over the beautiful city of Cape Town. My heart still flutters to life at the thought of running its trails or even just the roads at its base.
After 30 hours of travel, and a long time standing in line to get through immigration–in which I couldn’t connect to the wifi to let Samiya know about said line– I was so so happy to hear her call my name in the airport! Its funny, 3.5 years have passed since we have last seen each other in person and it might as well have been yesterday. She’s that kind of friend.
After a quick stop at Woolworths to make sure I had vegetables, we strapped on our runners and went for a brisk walk in the South African wintery sun… We talked of marriage (which she is embarking on this week) and babies and family and giggled like school girls. Life continues to change and we continue to age but in my heart, we are still the 25 year olds we were when we met. I think we always will be.
After an incredible sleep last night, I woke up and ran this morning. My goal—Rhodes Memorial and back. I’m not that familiar with Samiya’s families’ neighborhood so she drew me a map to get to my old turf. Of course, I got lost and just wove my way toward the mountain, under the train tracks, and finally to roads I recognized. I could run those roads in my sleep. By the time I got to the base of the road to Rhodes, I was already 5 miles out (longer than we had estimated) but thought, “well, I’ve come this far, I’m going to run to the top of this”. The hill is steep but so ridiculously peaceful and comforting to me. As my lungs burned and my healing hamstring tugged at me, I smiled. I couldn’t stop smiling. I think a few tears came down my cheeks as I ran up, up, up. This felt like home. This hill. These legs. The pounding in my chest.
After enjoying a moment at the memorial overlooking the city, I ran quickly down the hill trying to make up for the extra time it took me to get there. I stopped at the bottom to ask for directions when I realized I’d dropped my map. Several times I asked kind people for help and finally, about 2 miles from home, I decided I’d better call for help. I ducked into a café to use their wifi and SOS’d Samiya’s mom to have her come fetch me.
The rest of the day was spent at the spa with Samiya’s female family members. Massages, pedis, tea, and a sauna. For all of you who imagined me roughing it in Africa, I’m not.
Tonight, Samiya’s mom made me vegetable biryani and we laughed with her parents, brothers and their wives and all the aunties, uncles, and cousins that trickled through the house.
More Stories and photos to come!