Going INto Africa

A few months back I announced that my daughter had chosen where she wanted to go on her 11th grade trip, the trip I give my daughters before they go off into the world, and the opportunity of international travel may not be so available.  My oldest chose Paris, with a ride through the chunnel to London for an overnighter.  My youngest daughter, hands down the total opposite of my oldest whether by DNA or by choice (since their sisterly connection has had its ups and downs), chose South Africa.  I was dumbfounded at the choice.  But, I’d given her the “no-restrictions” offer.  (It’s a reminder to parents out there to beware what you offer your kids, thinking that you going to know the answer.)  I truly thought it’d be Mexico or the Bahamas since she’d enjoyed a family trip there a few years back.

But, no, South Africa. Where we each had to get three vaccinations the other day, and a prescription of malaria tablets now sits on my dresser, waiting for us to begin our weekly dose, however, not until a week before we depart.  I’m also gathering specific information on what to pack, how much to pack, what electrical converter we’ll need, and when to change some our American dollars into the currency of the country; it’s called the Rand. 

What me worry?

In other words, it’s becoming a reality.  Am I worried? Not as much.  I’ve been fortunate to hear wonderful stories of people who know people who’ve been there.  It’s quite the popular destination now that the country’s internal strife has calmed a little bit, and Capetown, at the southern-most tip of the continent has turned into one of most luxurious sites on the planet.  All that has made me feel okay about it, that if all these thousands of people can travel there, every day, so can Caroline and I. 

The flight alone will be a challenge: 15 hours non-stop.  I do have my books, my crocheting, my laptop for as long as the battery holds out (no AC plug in our poor little economy section), and my daughter beside me. 

The best part: being with my daughter

And when I think about that part: having my daughter beside me, my fear vanishes.  I don’t know why.  I am absolutely thrilled to have this “non-stop” time with her on the plane, in the lap of Capetown luxury, and even on our walking safaris (that visual alone makes me want to pack a two-week supply of Xanax).  At 16, she has quieted down, isn’t as chatty-cathy with me as she used to be; she’s turned inwards into her art, into her music and internet world.  She’s becoming her own person, the way teens become them these days.  But I’ll have 12 uninterrupted days to be with her, even in her quiet, or in her drawing.  I have asked her to allow us to have a daily “mommy-daughter” chat time, even if it’s just to discuss where we’ll eat for dinner, or how about those lions, huh? or, gee, that close encounter with the rhino was pretty scary. Things like that.  

When I asked her about that little snippet of conversation time, she looked up at me, and smiled that smile I remember since the day she was born. And that alone makes me so excited about this trip. Any fears of the red ants, the bird-size bugs, or even the fact that the malaria tablets are just 99% effective, and whatever else I think about (whether real or imagined) just evaporates. 

My daily recap of our South African day

I will be blogging about our daily adventures, and even skyping if I can figure out how that works, so I hope you’ll come back and visit!  Begins in April.