Our Last Day in Africa

Our last day in Africa, we weren’t leaving our apartment till 11/11:30am that Monday in March.  We woke early–I with not much sleep–ate, washed dishes, re-weighed bags, and saw a couple more friends for our final goodbyes.

Last Day in Africa
Right before leaving our apartment.

Our transport came and we loaded bags into the car.  My Love walked through the apartment making a video of it for memories. 🙂 Then we said goodbye to our house helper, and began walking down the three flights of stairs. And that’s when it hit for Honey-Bear.  Saying goodbye to a most familiar face (our house helper) and to a most familiar place (the apartment she learned to walk in, talk in, had her first birthday in) she began throwing a fit, saying, “No, no, no,” very aggressively. I had to pick her up and carry her down the rest of the flights as she was shouting, “No, no, no!”

As we drove out of our beloved Work City, we asked the driver to pass by some of our favorite spots so we (mostly the kids) could wave a final goodbye.  We passed the walking pier and said goodbye.  We waved goodbye at the distant mountains fully in view.  We passed the slides where we most frequently walked to play.  And that’s when in hit for Bub.  He bursted into tears crying, “My slides! My slides!  No, no goodbye! I want my slides!”  And that’s when in hit for me.  Not only was I saying goodbye to this new place; my children were having to say goodbye to their home!!

Work City…Africa…had become their home.  Honey-Bear was two months old when we came.  Bub was 20 months old.  And here they were at 21 months and 3 years saying goodbye to what they now knew as home–Africa!  My heart broke for their loss.  And I wondered, “What am I doing taking my kids away from their home?”

After that initial leaving day, we spent two days in Spain before making the final fights home.  We were exhausted from goodbyes!  Our emotional tanks were pretty empty, and the rest of…honestly doing a whole lot of nothing was refilling.  We spent some time with friends, time at parks, and time eating good food. It was a transitional time to leave Africa behind and starting thinking towards what was coming the next couple days.  As Wednesday came around, we felt ready to leave the transition spot in Spain and return…home?

3 comments

  1. My heart breaks for the people, places, and most of all, relationships built, that you all had to leave behind. We are so happy to have you back but are very aware that you left a large part of your hearts in NA. And the time will come when you will reverse the process and say goodbye here and go back there… Third culture lives.
    But for now I am grateful to have you all here and will enjoy my short time with you!

  2. oh my heart, julie. i remember my last day in south america…(as a child leaving permanent home) did i ever tell you we spent the night in the airport?

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