Yes I know. More Mountain puns. And where we’re going, there’s going to be even MORE pun material to keep us busy. People are pretty shocked when we tell them that from December, we’re packing up our house and our dogs and our toaster and our kids and leaving the warm heart of Jozi and heading down to the fairest Cape. But they shouldn’t be THAT shocked, because we’ve always spoken about moving and when we say we’re going to do things, we generally tend to do them.
Many people come to Joburg for work and that’s how we ended up here. Gareth had a chance to start a business so in 2009 we packed up our earthly belongings from London in a shipping container and brought it all back to Jozi. Joburg, for all its flaws (which non-Joburgers LOVE to point out) has been supremely good to us. We have made friends for life, started businesses, bought homes, been sick, been healthy, brought two babies home from the hospital, got pets and had a jol. There have been countless parties, braais, breakfasts, Friday drinks, weddings, christenings and the odd funeral. It has been all that life should be but after nearly seven years, the next part of our adventure must begin.
Gareth is from Cape Town. He went to school there. He grew up as a lifeguard on the beaches of Clifton 4. He was a student there too and it seems that the beautiful Mother City is now calling him home. Spending four years there at UCT has meant that the city is familiar to me too. So it won’t be like moving to Dallas. Or Birmingham. Or Sydney. It will be a little like moving to a place that became like a second home to me.
The big decider for us has been schools. We applied to a Cape Town school for Rachel (she starts BIG school next year) and didn’t think much about it. Cape Town schools (like Joburg schools and all the others) are HIGHLY competitive and we didn’t think we’d get in. But by some lucky accident we got called for an interview in March and then received our acceptance letter a few weeks ago! We then did some proper soul searching and had to make some hard decisions.
It’s not that we’re unhappy in Joburg. Far from it. But you know what I am tired of? Being a sort of orphan while everyone around us heads to their parent’s house for Sunday lunch or goes out for breakfast with their brother. We have no close family here and I’m weary of that. We have no one to call in an emergency. Or to chat to over a cup of tea and talk about our week. Or to boast about our children to. “Look how tall Rachel’s got!” “Look how Ben can now say “cake”!
I’ve always been very good at living away from home. I went to boarding school age 6. Then to UCT for four years. Then to London for seven years. So I’m fiercely independent and pretty tough but maybe I’m tired of being so reliant on myself. Maybe I want to live within at least 40km from some family at least. As I’ve got older I’ve realised that friends and family are all that matters and so moving to Cape Town to be closer to Gareth’s parents has been a big part of our decision.
Work-wise we both run our own businesses which is lucky as this means we can be flexible. And while we will grow our Cape Town client bases, we have accepted that we will both need to travel up to Joburg at least once a month for meetings. I’m not saying that all that travelling will be easy but that is part and parcel of the move and we have accepted that.
Do I imagine that Cape Town is some sort of utopia? No I don’t. I’m realistic that there will be things I love about it and things I don’t like so much. Just like any place. I’m worried about the weather. Superficial I know, but I don’t do wind and I adore the dry sunny Joburg winters. I’m worried people will think I’m weird with my dyed yellow hair and funny dress sense. I’m worried people will be flaky and never show up at our braais. These are all the trivial things, obviously!
So just as we’ve bought a house in Jozi and poured love into it and made a home, we are uprooting ourselves. We tend to do that, as a family, I’m not sure why. But we’re excited too. For early morning swims and forest walks and weekends where Ben can go fishing with his grandfather. Family is so precious and these times are fleeting. Is this move forever? I don’t think that anything is forever these days. We plan to be in Cape Town for the next few years at least and will then see where life takes us.
In the mean time we’re trying to find somewhere to live and getting moving quotes and trying to rent out our Joburg house. We have six months to get organised and I know it’s going to fly by.
Jozi peeps I will miss you more than you know. And I will miss this city, so I’m going to spend the new few months soaking up all the glory of this buzzing and maddening place. Capetonian readers and bloggers – please be my friends! And Mother City? Get ready for more Mountains;)