Saturday, October 8, 2011

Farewell to South Africa.

Bye  to South Africa.

Rick,my nephew, and me.
Taken on the last weekend visiting my
family for Christmas on the farm.

The old house- and new house -on the farm Bosbult.

After I spent Christmas with my parents and family on the farm, I went back to Johannesburg where I had a few days left before leaving. Saying goodbye is never easy and specially taking leave of my parents and family were rather traumatic. The morning before I was to return to Johannesburg I sat in the kitchen with my parents and without me knowing tears were running down my face. My parents were very upset and asked me if I am making a mistake.  That was not the reason -All of a sudden I realized that things would never be the same again for me.. Their lives  in South Africa would go on without me. The family will get bigger -there would be grand-kids but I will not be part of it.When I left before it was to study in Europe and I knew I would be back This time I would not come back and it saddened me tremendously.
 I promised myself that I would not leave the USA -- even for a holiday --  until I had my green card.I had not idea how long it would take before I would  see them again.

Georgina is not good at saying goodbye either so we had a private lunch. She gave me a gold signet ring and said I could at least sell it if I needed money in New York.
At lunch she excused herself to make a phone call. When she came back she looked dazed and very strange. I asked her if everything was OK and she said she was fine.. For the rest of the lunch she was very distant and I thought she was just sad the we had to say goodbye .
A week after I started work in New York, she called me and told me that she received  great news that day. She was pregnant - she and Joseph were trying to have a baby for many years. She did not want to tell me  before she told Joseph. They then ask me if I would be godparent to Ingeborg.
I was honored and thrilled for their sake.
Cornelia and Gerhard had arranged a farewell party for me at his house .Although it was a bitter sweet occasion for me  -- it was a wonderful evening. They invited almost everybody I ever met in Johannesburg.

Cornelia, Georgina and Gerhard.

Gerhard in the kitchen.

Me, Cornelia and Wouter.

Cornelia de Villiers and John Tullis.

Some of the staff  with Dorothy (holding the dessert)  Cornelia and Wouter.

Cornelia's boyfriend, Peter took over my apartment with furniture and all. That saved me a lot of trouble. I packed some stuff and took it to my brother Charel and his wife Geretha to keep and gave my old car to my sister. I was left with a suitcase and nothing else -- not even keys. Nothing......I was a free as a bird and it was a nice feeling.

I planned to meet up with Gerhard and Cyril and some other South African friends in
Rio de Janeiro Brazil for the New Year celebration.
After that I would fly on to New York and they would return to Johannesburg.

The last night in Johannesburg I stayed with Cornelia in her house and she took me to the airport the next day. I asked her just to drop me off .I wanted no farewells and goodbyes. By this time I was emotionally drained.
I flew to Cape Town and then on to Rio de Janeiro on Varig Airlines.

I saw Africa's coast disappearing from view out of the airplane's window, and I felt very sad and alone. This was a major step in my life and all I could do was pray that I made the right decision.

Cape Point- South Africa.

Cape to Rio.

Rio de Janeiro- Brazil.

I got to Rio at 10:00 pm on New Years Eve 1983. I had the address of the house in a suburb of Rio de Jainero . I got to the gated community with a armed guard at the gate. He allowed the taxi into the compound after he checked with the owners of the house. I was met and shown to my room by one of the staff  that were expecting me.The house belonged to a friend of Cyril - an ex South Africa as well who  immigrated to Rio and opened Pancake Houses there and did very well. Everybody was out at a New Years Eve party but I was very pleased to be on my own. After being served something to eat I took a shower went  to bed- feeling very alone a sad

It was a beautiful traditional Brazilian U shaped  two story house with a pool in the middle.
It was surrounded by a magnificent garden with  brightly colored parrots and birds in the trees.
Every morning we  had  breakfast on the patio  next to the pool --  and spent the time lazing around the pool because of the heat. We did go around and our hosts showed us Rio and we were treated very well. We never got to bed until the early hours of the morning.

Rio de Janeiro was a beautiful city with many very wealthy and very poor people --  that made it also a very dangerous place.The population was made up  from every color and  creed and they spoke Portuguese .This was a hot place and the people were very sensual and oozed sex. Ipanema Beach was packed with hundreds of  half naked people -- wearing as little as possible.

Ipanema Beach .

We spent five  days there together and then it was time to say goodbye and for me to start my life in America. The last night we were taken to a wonderful restaurant looking over Ipanema Beach.
It was a wonderful evening and the view was magnificent.

Gerhard was not very happy with my decision to leave South Africa and as the time came closer to say goodbye, I could see it was getting to him. We took a walk in the garden and he told me that I was like a brother to him .I was not use to somebody being this open and honest with me and it upset  me  more than I ever expected.Our  host took us all to the airport and I left for New York while the rest boarded the plane for South Africa - taking my heart with them.
I flew on to New York and a new chapter of my life.

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