Wednesday, 4 May 2011

My head hurts

We told ourselves we must come back to London, and resettle into work again, then think about and discuss South Africa.

But it's so hard. We have been chatting about it long and hard. Non stop practically. Even had a barney (argument), one of maybe two we have annually (thankfully!).

And my head hurts.

We need to decide soon whether we will return to South Africa after 10 years in London. The choices are London, Cape Town or Nelspruit. We love all three for different reasons.

The immediate head decision is to stay here in London... we have a lovely home, have settled, hubby has been in his job for nigh on 9 years and is keen to come into business with me, my little business is doing so well and we are happy and secure.

But... when Africa is in your blood and heart and soul, it torments you.

Just being back there in December for a couple of weeks holiday, and then again in April (to visit Nelspruit and the Cape), touched me deeply and profoundly. Oh how I wish we could win the lottery and live half the (warmer part of the) year in London, and the other half in South Africa.

Wishful thinking!

The heart decision is something quite different though. My heart yearns for Africa... just being there, tasting the salt of the sea on my lips, feeling the soil under my bare feet, taking in the sunshine, seeing the smiles of happy, yes happy!, people... has deepened the need and desire to return to my roots.

We visited the Cape (which we know well, hubby lived there for 25 yrs), and I was born there and lived there for 7 years prior to coming to London (having been brought up in Johannesburg). We have both worked in the Cape, and I had a successful little design business there, where I employed local woman from informal settlements and we made all kinds of recycled eco friendly products for hotels, retailers (like Woolworths), weddings etc.

I LOVED my business and it was very hard at the time to start again in London. But start again we did, and we have settled and, with a career change into childcare (from a cut-throat, demanding publishing company), my childcare business has gone from strength to strength.

We have been so blessed.

We visited White River and Nelspruit (and Kruger of course! Our favourite place)... and where we do love the houses, can easily afford our dream home there, the weather is pretty warm throughout the year which is lovely... we looked at the crime there, the municapality services, chatted to a couple of locals in depth etc. and have decided Nelspruit, whereas it is a growing city and has so much potential, is not for us, apart for holiday visits.

It lacks a crucial something that the Cape has in abundance. A support network. Family and friends. We have a couple of acquaintances in Nelspruit, but our close friends and all of my husband's family, and some of mine, are in the Cape.

And, being back to the Cape only solidified for me how very important it is having that support network when you return. Friends of ours returned to the Cape (from London) in December 2010, and it is interesting to note how the English husband is settling easier than his South African wife. We stayed with them on our latest visit and heard firsthand re the good, the bad, the truthful.

But you can only listen to the experiences and opinions of others for so long... we are all individuals, have varying desires and needs and expectations.

For me, I want to do God's will for me in my life. As does my husband. And we have prayed about this trip and that we will have the same thoughts and decision. And herein lies the problem.

As things stand NOW, hubby, whereas he LOVES the Cape, is keener to stay in London as business is so good here, and I am keen for the Cape... and us starting a new play school there. I did it here... and, with him joining me in the business, it can only be better, and we can create a play school just as nice as what I have here in London, in the Cape.

I am also desperately keen to be artistic again and make products again for resale... and whereas my current childcare business is an eleven hour work day (so no time for anything else), a play group would be half day, and we then have the afternoons for our other creative business. Best of both worlds!

Hence our current dilemma. We are not seeing eye to eye. But it's early days yet, and hopefully we will both reach a (same) decision soon.

I LONG to be back in South Africa and know we can start again in business and be successful... even though staying here in London is the easy route.. everything is settled and the business runs smoothly. I am interviewing prospective clients whose kids are not even born yet... I have a long waiting list. The demand here is huge for childcare. But I can only think the demand is huge in the Cape too. People have kids there too, do they not?

I will write again when I have had a breather. My mind is reeling with all the possibilities and logistics and our future, and I need to rest it a bit. Savour the sunshine, sip some Amarula Cream, and let my knee heal.

Then we'll talk again.


  1. Thank you for stopping by our blog. It is funny how a place can just get in your blood, but that is what South Africa did. We went once, and kept going back and now will be living there for as long as God wants us! It doesn't make the goodbyes on this side any less difficult, but we are excited to be moving to such an amazing place.
    I see that you live in London and have a question-do you know of any reasonably priced hotels with a swimming pool near Heathrow? We have a 10 hour layover there and with two young kids, I am not sure sightseeing or sitting around the airport are very good options! Or if you have suggestions for things to do with an almost 7 and almost 5 year old, they would be much appreciated! You can email me at
    Thanks! Jonna

  2. Anonymous1:43 pm

    God Bless you and Lance Jenn as you struggle with your huge decision. I think you will know what the right move is when you and Lance decide what to do. If if feels right in your heart, then how can it be wrong? Of course you know what I would want. Diane xx