The contrasts that we experience on a daily basis here sometimes defy what our brains can absorb. Our trash cans are our enemy and amazing family-friendly celebrations at world class wine farms are aplenty. Widespread conviction that Africans must solve African problems – not Westerners – but one tweet from our President can send the South African economy into a tailspin. Successful execution of the world’s largest time cycle race (see below), but three days before reports of tacks intentionally placed on the course (to cause blowouts) and muggings of riders on a particularly remote part of the course. One of the two most powerful politicians in the country speaking most eloquently and without notes about the need to support children and families from birth, yet her track record indicates nothing but corruption and fraud that has resulted in an economy teetering on the brink, an electricity grid unable to manage its capacity, and continued gross economic and racial inequity. The recognition that while there is amazing support for poor children and families being delivered mostly through the NPO sector, none of it is scalable because the government just doesn’t have the capacity – or the will –to help. Conversations of sophisticated language at the YPO organization convening (which included 2500 under-40-year old presidents of businesses from across the world) in 5 star hotels with similar conversations – with less sophisticated language but similar impact and intensity and purpose – taking place among passionate entrepreneurs in townships just a few miles from the fancy hotels.
We have continued to enjoy each and every day, with small hiccups and sighs, mostly resulting from not being able to attend Bruins games (Luke and Chris are up early every morning to see if that 19 game winning streak can continue) and missing families and friends. (We are SO glad we are expecting many visitors over the next few weeks!) Our experiences over the past couple weeks included – for Chris and me – the amazing Cape Town Cycle Tour, a 110 kilometer race, the largest timed cycled race in the world, around the Cape peninsula in the face of 40 mile per hour headwinds and rain. It was absolutely amazing, stunningly beautiful, and really challenging. Only in South Africa – a land well behind America in terms of its litigious proclivities – would a race carry on in such conditions. Not for the faint of heart – two years ago it was cancelled and last year four people died. We loved it.
The kids have carried on with their school-work and their friendships, doing what kids do in Cape Town and Milton and all over the world – playdates, sleep overs, arguments over screen time and eating their vegetables, procrastinating over homework and projects (Luke, not Charlotte), sighs over “too much” family togetherness. While at times it feels like a lot, we are so very grateful for this time together, for all the adventures we are having, and for the memories we are making.