Sunday, July 01, 2007

I'm Home

I'm home.
I have such a mish-mash of emotions raging inside at the moment that I don't know where to begin.

Friday was a disaster. Well, that's not entirely true - I got everything done at work that I was supposed to and left it all in readiness for my boss's return on Monday. By the end of the day, though, I was a wreck from working late on Thursday, in early Friday till late again and flatout all the way. I had to take an emergency break in the ladies' room at one point to avoid a tearful outburst from pure stress. The upcoming trip probably didn't help things as I like to have time to prepare for a journey; you know me - I have to have lists of things, and lists of lists of things in order to feel prepared. I had nothing; Cinderella and Hubby jumped in and took care of the household and shopping stuff and all I had to do was pack my suitcase.

I thought a good night's rest would see me feeling better on Saturday morning but the stress was still there. I was taught as a piano wire and my sense of humour was nowhere in sight. The check-in queue at Dublin airport was beyond ridiculous and even though we were there well in advance, we only just made the flight with no time even to stop for a spot of duty-free shopping. My family and friends in SA would just have to do without their Butlers Irish Chocolates this time.

I castigated a bloke in the queue who asked us to keep his place while he dashed to the loo because he left his bag behind in our care. In this day and age, with all the airport security, how stupid can some people be??! Cinderella and Hubby stayed well back and I pretended not to notice them laughing at me while the Irish all around looked mortified at my nerve in having a, er, quiet word with the guy when he got back. He's damn lucky I didn't get airport security to remove his bag and have it blown to bits just in case!

Two young lads who were jangling while we were waiting to board got the fright of their life when I barked at them for pushing each other until one of them stepped on my foot. They ran off to their parents then, who gave them a proper tongue lashing.

Is it wrong that I felt better for having growled at strangers? Because I tellya, it did help lower my stress levels.
A bit.

Then we flew to London's Heathrow airport... and the first thing we saw was a newsflash on a TV about the car bomb incident at Glasgow airport. 'Twas a good day to be flying, for sure. The already tight security was even tighter - we went through more security checks than I thought possible by the time we eventually boarded the flight to Johannesburg, which left late as a result. Hunger wasn't helping my mood any and then when I was finally seated in the middle seat in a cramped 'plane I felt I was going for meltdown. And I didn't understand why. And I was too tired to figure it out. So I spoke not a word, ate my dinner, watched a movie and spent the next 10 hours trying - rather unsuccessfully - to sleep.
The dude behind me who appeared to be on a mission to clean out the entire stock of Heineken on the flight did not help; the only person who thought he was amusing at 3am was himself and eventually the flight crew put him in their own quarters to sleep it off.

But after breakfast this morning I was feeling better... right up until it got light outside and we were on final approach to Johannesburg and I looked out the window and I saw the land of my birth, the area I spent my childhood in, in the days when my father was still alive and life was innocent. That was when it all came bubbling over and the pain in my heart would not be stilled and I started sobbing.
All the homesickness and missing my Mom and my family and friends that I have blocked off for so long emerged with a ferocity that took me by surprise, and it took some time for me to regain my composure.

Once it had had its say, my spirits started to lift a bit and the stress eased. I burst out laughing when I heard the first announcement over the PA while we were waiting, in that uniquely delightful flat Jo'burg accent, "Goood mawning laydeees and geentlemen..."
LOL! I was home.
The fact was hammered home by the chaos when we went to check in for the final leg of our journey to Port Elizabeth and the systems were down and the manual check-in process was being handled in the slowest and most disinterested manner possible... and all the passengers could do was make light of the situation and roll their eyes a lot.

The hour-and-a-half flight from Jo'burg to Port Elizabeth was passed in and out of consciousness (partly from only having had about 3 hours sleep in total at most, and partly from having taken a couple of good strong painkillers to deal with the headache brought on by lack of sleep). When I was conscious I struck up a conversation with the two chaps next to me who were both born and bred there, too. In fact one of them went to the same high school as me. Um, it's kind of a small town, hehe..! They were eager to catch me up on what had changed in my absence, and welcomed me home. PE is not called The Friendly City for nothing.

We landed in weather pretty much the same as what we had left behind in Dublin. The smell of salty sea air hit me as it always does when I stepped off the plane, and then there were my Mom and stepson and his mates, and Hubby's sister and her offspring all waiting with big hugs to greet us and it's been like the twilight zone ever since. Things have changed but it's still the same and I feel like I never left.
But I saw the Southern Cross star constellation for the first time tonight in two and a half years.
It's weird the things that you remember. The sounds and smells are the same and the view from my Mom's verandah hasn't changed at all.

I think I may be a bit jetlagged and the emotions are still running a little high, but it's not surprising, I guess.

Because I'm home again.


laurie said...

oh welcome home, terri! welcome home!

i'm loving this post. i understand all of your feelings, and you described them so well.

a hellish journey, but now you are safe. and i'm glad.

Anonymous said...

Hope you soak it all in Terri. :)

(Yikes, that was a bad day to be flying indeed. That had to be unnerving.)

budd said...

I cried like a baby when you described your feelings at seeing SA again. Hurry up now and let's get together!!!! I am waiting!!! It is so good to have you home again.

Angelina said...

I know those emotions you described so well. Reading your words made me get all choked up and watery-eyed. I have a hunch I'll be experiencing similar emotions when we visit Dublin again, as I've been feeling homesick for Ireland recently-- my emotions are so confused!

angel said...

wow... 2.5 years since you were here last- and you come back in one of the weirdest winters i've ever experienced!!!
welcome home terri!!!

Terri said...

Laurie - Yep, home (and yet not home) and safe. And missing blogging!

Jason - I'm making like a sponge :-)

Budd - Tuesday night. Karaoke (again!). See you there?!

Angelina - The emotions are still very close to the surface. I used to have a large picnic basket, which I lined and kitted out myself. When I saw that on Sunday evening, I started crying again LOL!

Angel - Winter? This is Winter? I'll take it over an Irish Summer ANY day!

Brigitte said...

Hiya! I read this last week and never got a chance to comment. You made me cry, you. Although lately that's not hard to do.

Welcome home. I hope you have a really REALLY awesome time.

Terri said...

Brigitte - Aw sorry Doll, didn't mean to make you cry too! We're back in Dublin now and time for me to start catching up on blogs. Yay Broadband!!!

Rowe Unzipped said...

I cried when I read this story!