447 Days…

Sheila and I left Johannesburg, South Africa on July 12, 2020. We spent 447 days away from our house, sleeping in other people’s beds and having little to no personal space. July 11, 2020 was the last time we ate dinner in our own space and watched people walk up and down our treelined street. Let me say this again, for 447 days we lived with other people and slept in someone’s spare bed. Some of you may read this and think, what’s the big deal? Others may say, at least you had somewhere to say. But it’s challenging living in other peoples’ space, especially during a pandemic and with a new child! When we arrived in the US in July 2020, it was just the two of us. Now, there are three of us and one in particular is not concerned with respecting the rules of the house!

We are grateful that we have family that allowed us to take over their house. Our families have been gracious in taking us in, feeding us and providing free baby care. But we are happy to be back in our home in South Africa.

We attempted a return to South Africa in May 2021 but I had to travel to Tanzania for work. When I returned to Kigali, Sheila and I planned to return to South Africa. But each day we watched as Covid19 numbers increased in South Africa. South Africa begrudgingly went into a level four lockdown. In addition, other countries were putting restrictions on South Africans or those who had been in South Africa. The United States put in place a restriction that if you had been in South Africa in the previous 14 days you were not allowed to enter the US. Now Sheila and I were exempted from the restriction but we were concerned if other countries would establish a similar type of restriction. However, the US Government recently announced and have implemented rules for passengers arriving in the United States. International visitors must present airlines with a paper or digital certificate that shows they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Travelers must also provide a negative Covid-19 test result taken no more than three days before departure. Travelers under the age of 18 and those from countries where the vaccination coverage is below ten percent due to vaccine shortages will be able to enter the United States without being fully immunized.

I know that Levi will not remember any of this…he won’t remember the four months we lived in Mount Vernon, Alabama after he was born and he won’t remember the seven months we lived in Kigali…he won’t remember the snow delay that forced us to spent two nights in Istanbul or a recent stay inside the Brussels airport (blog loading). All this seems temporary in this brief world that we live in…again, we are thankful for family and friends that have tried to make our time outside South Africa comfortable and pleasant.

But…we are thankful to be back in South Africa. We arrived in the country on October 2, 2021. The transition back to our life in South Africa has been challenging. As I mentioned above, we left the Rainbow Nation as two and returned in October as three. In Kigali, and to a certain extent in Alabama, we had people that helped us watch Levi while we got an extra hour of sleep or needed to make dinner. In South Africa, it is just the three of us…And we realized that Levi is an energetic little boy. We were overwhelmed after our first week in Johannesburg. However, we now have a routine and a schedule that helps us manage our time and manage Levi. Being back in South Africa doesn’t mean that our period of uncertainty is over. There are new changes coming to our lives. So we prepare for the unexpected…

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