Nostalgia … being homesick

Afrikaans verskyn na die Engels

Definition of Nostalgia:  a sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

Nostalgia… not something I thought I suffer of, but suddenly, with 50 on the horizon, it has hit me somewhat:  I developed a strong desire to visit the 2 houses in which I spent most of my childhood.

House 1 is in Paarl, built by my dad shortly after my birth and we lived there until I was 4 years old.  I have vivid memories of the house and wished to visit those memories again, so I had to come up with a plan to get back in there.0ee7a29b-aa4b-4e49-af5c-5e5ccb870184

A family birthday celebration in Paarl allowed me the opportunity to make contact with the owners.  I decided to drop a hand written letter in their post box asking if they will consider allowing my brother (who was 1 yr old when we moved) and I to visit the house.  In my mind a handwritten letter will prove that I am ‘real’ and I was possibly hoping they will “see” my sincerity in my handwriting J.

To my surprise AND excitement I received a response from Erika very soon after I dropped my letter in their postbox, inviting us to come and visit.  Two weeks later, on 16 July (2 days prior to my deceased mom’s birthday – how ironic?) we rang the bell at the front gate of House 1, Courtrai, Paarl and received such a warm and hearty welcome, it actually made us feel “at home”.  Coffee and cupcakes awaited us!

The biggest surprise, however, was the fact that so little has changed and that which I remember is really the way I remember it.  I remember opening gifts in front of the fireplace and it’s still the very same fireplace – so well maintained.  The cupboards, the slate floors, the rooms, the verandah  railings ….all still there and all bringing back so many fond memories.

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Erika’s husband is an avid gardener and changed the garden into a haven. Being the last row of houses against the mountain, he was able to create the most beautiful dam at the back of the house.  I sat on a bench at the dam, breathing in peace and tranquillity and being so grateful for the people who lived in this house and maintained it so beautifully.

Erika filled us in on the neighbours (of which some still stay there) and I could reminisce about the friends I had then:  the girls across the road in whose garden I was stung by a bee;  the boy on the one side who used to compete with me jumping off the low boundary wall(and then breaking my arm in the process!) and the Italian boy, Natalino, on the other side, who’s mom introduced me to pasta …I remember sitting on a box on a chair as I was too small to reach my pasta bowl on the dining table!!

Then another surprise: Natalino (or Natali as he is known now) is in the process of renovating his parents’ house to move in there himself.  Unbelievable!  Maybe I will have the opportunity to greet him sometime.

84147b88-e880-4662-b8d8-e23eb3cec5c916 July 2016, a day of fond memories and a day I will treasure forever.  A special thank you to Erika and her husband for allowing us into their home. “Erika, you have a huge, warm heart and I will always remember how special you made this occasion for us”.

What have I learned? 

It is ok to be nostalgic!   Being “homesick” and having the desire to visit past memories is such a privilege and I realise now  I had a very blessed childhood!

 

Nostalgie …verlange huis toe

 Definisie van nostalgie:  sentiment vir die verlede, tipies vir ‘n tydperk of plek met gelukkige persoonlike assosiasies/herinneringe.

Nostalgie… nie gedink ek lei daaraan nie, maar skielik, met 50 op die horison, het dit my ietwat getref:  ek het ‘n groot begeerte ontwikkel om die 2 huise, waarin ek die meeste van my kinderdae spandeer het, te besoek.

Huis 1 is in die Paarl, gebou deur my Pa kort na my geboorte en ons het daar gebly tot ek 4 jaar oud was.  Ek het helder herinneringe van die huis en wou weer daardie herinneringe beleef, so ek moes ‘n plan bedink om in die huis te kom.

‘n Verjaardagviering van ‘n familielid in die Paarl het my die geleentheid gegee om kontak te maak met die eienaars.  Ek het besluit om ‘n handgeskrewe brief, waarin ek vra of ek en my broer (wat slegs 1 jaar oud was toe ons getrek het) die huis kan besoek, in hul posbus te gooi. Ek het gedink dat ‘n handgeskrewe brief bewys sal wees van die feit dat ek rêrig bestaan en seker maar gehoop hulle “sien” opregtheid in my handskrif.

Groot was my verbasing EN opwinding toe ek baie vinnig nadat die briefie afgelewer is, ‘n boodskap van Erika ontvang wat ons nooi om te kom kuier. Twee weke later, op 16 Julie (2 dae voor my oorlede ma se verjaarsdag – hoe ironies?) lui ons die klokkie by die hek van Huis 1, Courtrai, Paarl en kry ‘n hartlike verwelkoming wat ons baie tuis laat voel.  Selfs koffie en kolwyntjies wag op ons.

Die grootste verrassing was egter die feit dat so min verander het en dat dit wat ek kan onthou, regtig is soos ek dit onthou.  Ek onthou hoe ek geskenke voor die kaggel oopgemaak het en dis steeds presies dieselfde kaggel – so goed onderhou.  Die kaste, die leiklip vloere, die kamers, die stoepreëlings …alles steeds daar en alles bring kosbare herinneringe.

Erika se man is ‘n kranige tuinier en het die tuin in ‘n lushof omskep.  Aangesien die huis in die laaste ry teen die berg is, kon hy ‘n pragtige dam agter die huis skep. Ek het op ‘n bankie langs die dam gesit, die rustigheid ingeasem en was so dankbaar dat diegene wat in hierdie huis gebly het, dit so mooi onderhou en bewaar het.

Erika het ons van die bure vertel (sommiges bly steeds daar) en ek kon terugdink aan die maats wat ek gehad het:  die meisies oorkant die pad in wie se tuin ‘n by my gesteek het;  die seun langsaan wat met my gewedywer het oor wie die verste kan land as ons van die grensmuurtjie afspring (en toe breek ek my arm in die proses) en die Italiaanse seun, Natalino, wat aan die anderkant gebly het en wie se ma my leer pasta eet het …ek onthou ek het op ‘n kartondoos bo-op ‘n stoel gesit, want ek was te klein om my pastabakkie op die tafel by te kom.

Dan nog ‘n verrassing:  Natalino (of Natali soos hy tans bekend is) is in die proses om sy ouerhuis op te knap en gaan dan self daar intrek.  Ongelooflik!  Dalk het ek eendag die geleentheid om hom ook te groet.

16 Julie 2016, ‘n dag van kosbare herinneringe wat ek vir ewig sal koester.  ‘n Spesiale dankie aan Erika en haar man wat ons in hul huis toegelaat het.  “Erika, jy het ‘n groot, warm hart en ek sal altyd onthou hoe spesiaal jy die geleentheid vir ons gemaak het”.

Wat het ek geleer?

Dit is ok om nostalgies te wees.  Om “huis toe te verlang” en die begeerte om herinneringe van die verlede te herleef is so ‘n groot voorreg en ek besef nou hoe geseënd my kinderjare was!

 

 

 

 

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