Something Unreal Right Now

Rob and I agree, there is something unreal about our lives right now. This odd sense of unreality rests, uneasily, on a simple fact: after more than four years of living in South Africa, we are just six months away from packing up our rented townhouse in Johannesburg, moving out and – Covid willing – getting onto a plane to return to Toronto.

Which means that in six months’ time we will be opening up our own house, on Marchmount Road, getting our things out of storage, stocking the refrigerator, making up the bed, rediscovering the neighbourhood, reconnecting with family and friends.

Here in Johannesburg, meanwhile, we have begun going through our things, figuring out what to toss, what to sell, what to give away and what, depending on whether we ship things home in a small container, or decide to bring what we can in our luggage, we will take back to Canada.

Already Kath and Gareth have been through the house in Parkmore with us, pointing out what they would like to take over when we leave – bedside tables, desks, office chairs, artwork, a whole kitchen-full of pots and pans, crockery, utensils.

I am glad that some of our stuff, at least, will find a proper home, and remain connected to us, in some sense.

So this is the thing: we are here, and we are almost not here. Our heads, as Rob likes to insist, are here in the present, and yet, as we both admit, there is an air of unreality to all this. Not the unreality of not believing in the present, but the unreality of knowing that this too too solid earth will vanish, this time and effort and hard work we have invested in South Africa, this time we have spent with family here, and friends, will come to an end, and our former lives, our Toronto lives, our lives in Canada, will resume. We will step back into the past, and into the future at the same time.

Meanwhile there is work to be done, and there are people to see, and places to visit. And a whole lot of packing and sorting.

Apropos of nothing at all, here are some photographs of Prince Edward County, one of our favourite places in Ontario – a sub-conscious reminder, perhaps, that winter this year will be different.

7 Comments

  1. Beware. Canada sill attracts wastrels and riffraff, from south of the border. Who knows who could show up, offering to take you, Rob, and that family of young folk, from a distant land, out for a good meal!

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  2. Somehow I know just what you mean. My life for the last 20 years – as long as Alan and I have been married – has felt a bit like that. While my everyday life is grounded in Australia at Safety Beach, a whole chunk of it is still in South Africa in my house in Mowbray. So I live with this schizophrenic sense of only being somewhat here more or less. It is more when I list the things that I want to stay in the family and less when I think of what can go anywhere, to be sold or op shop…. And then what Alan might want when I depart this life.

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