Since we got the news about Stevens transfer to Wolhuter trail mid March, we have done a lot of waiting. Waiting for the start of the refurbishment of the house, for the house to be completed, for termite treatment, for a moving date. It has been a long 5 months. And then, all of a sudden, the moving date was planned in five days time and it is all really happening: packing up the house and saying farewell to Letaba, our home for the past four years, for good.
Despite all the packing and the prep work I had done over the past few months, it was still a mad dash trying to get everything ready for the arrival of the moving truck on Monday morning. But in between all the madness, we just had to make time to go for one last sundowner on the river on our last evening in Letaba with our neighbours.
We went to Nkoro: our favourite spot on the southern bank of the Letaba River. It is an open, sandy area high up on the bank with a few mature Apple Leaf trees on the edge and a steep drop the river down below. A fallen tree stump serves as a little bench. From there we watched the hippos in the pool below and the elephants that came to drink in the distance. While the boys ran around and played in the sand. There were fresh elephant tracks all around, so we were looking over our shoulder every now and then to make sure one of them was not sneaking up behind us.
It was bitter-sweet being there, enjoying a last drink with our neighbours and taking a few family pictures. Our last sunset on the river was one of the most beautiful I have seen in a long time. The sky turned all shades of orange and pink, reflecting in the river that was slowly flowing past. A flock of Egyptian Geese flew past us and the reality of the move all of a sudden hit me in full force. I had to push back a few tears, dreading the goodbye that would inevitably follow the next day.
The next morning we were up before the crack of dawn. Wrapping our furniture in bubble wrap, taking curtains off and making sure the movers could just load and go. It was going to be a long day. Luckily the moving company arrived early and by 11 o’clock, we were ready to go.
I took one last walk through the now empty house. And put all the keys on the kitchen counter. A bit like in the last episode of our favourite sitcom: Friends.
Steven and I stood there holding each other for a little while, looking around us, reminiscing. We had some fantastic times in this house. It is the place where we fell in love. Where we had some epic kuiers and memorable adventures. It is also the place where I became a mother and where we had to find a new balance as a family… “Come”, said Steven and he took my hand. “Let’s make some new memories in the new house.” And with that, we walked out the door.
We left the staff village in a convoy. Steven and Alex in his dad’s bakkie in front, Jack and I in my car, towing our trailer and then the 8-ton truck with all our stuff at the back. As we turned left to go towards Olifants, tears were streaming down my face. I am horrible at saying goodbye and this was a hard one…
By the time we got to the Olifants high water bridge, I had calmed down. I was actually getting excited about starting this new chapter in our lives! We stopped on the bridge for a bit of a leg stretch. I looked at this enormous truck, with all of our stuff inside, parked on the same bridge where years ago Steven and I had our first kiss … And now we were driving 226 kilometres through the Kruger National Park to get everything to our new house at Malalane gate. Pretty awesome! (The story about how Steven and I got together is pretty amazing… you can read it here)
It was a long drive through the park so we did not stop for a lot of sightings. We will get our time to explore our new area and go for lekker game drives. Now, we just wanted to get to the new house and unload. We got there around four o’clock and the movers did not waste any time and started unloading immediately.
While they were busy, I had a quick look inside the house. It is a stunning, big house, but boy oh boy it was filthy! I guess that happens when a house stands empty for months and months. Oh well, we will get it cleaned up and make it into a home soon!
The boys were extremely happy being out of their car seats and were exploring the new garden. It is mostly dust and dry leaves at the moment, but we can turn it into something beautiful I am sure. There is a stunning lapa and braai area at the fence overlooking the river. The fence is nice and high to keep the leopards out. (And the children in ;-))
Unloading our things went a lot quicker than packing everything in the truck Tetris style. So before we knew it, the movers had put everything inside. We had officially arrived!!
We said goodbye to the guys from the moving company. And after the truck pulled out of the yard, I closed the gate behind them. From the gate, I could see the sun setting behind the mountain; Framing the trees on the edge in a beautiful golden silhouette. On my way back inside, I noticed the elephant dung all over our new yard. Yes, I think I am going to feel right at home here…;-)