– Posted in: Inspiration

Almost a year ago, I moved back to South Africa.  I was born in Cape Town, 63 years ago, and after 22 years in the USA, it felt like time to listen to the whisper of Africa tugging at my heart strings, and come back “home”.  Mom turned 90 in May, my business is virtual and can be conducted from anywhere, and the time felt right.

But the months since moving have been feeling hard.  Now that the “novelty” euphoria of feeling “at home” and connected to the earth and the people of Africa has worn off a little, I’ve been feeling the loss of my independence.  Having sold (or mostly given away) almost everything that I owned, the reality of no longer having my own apartment or my own car, have had me feeling claustrophobic, wondering what on earth I’ve done, whether I’ve made a huge mistake, how on earth I’m going to save enough money for a new (or “pre-loved” as I’ve seen some of the local dealerships advertise) car, and when I’ll be able to afford my own apartment again.

My first car, a Renault 5.  Hmmm... might that be why I'm thinking of buying a Renault soon?

My first car, a Renault 5. Hmmm… might that be why I’m thinking of buying another Renault?

When I first started driving, I felt the magical freedom of being on my own set of wheels, with endless possibilities of excitement and the road to freedom and adventure in the power of my hands on the steering wheel and my feet on the accelerator.  Getting into my own car, starting the engine, letting down the hand-brake, and easing my foot onto the accelerator and off the clutch, has always given me a little surge of excitement and freedom.

My first apartment was in Cape Town, high against the foothills of Table Mountain, and again, it gave me that strong sense of having a place of my own, where I could be me, arrange things the way I liked them, create a little extension of myself, a refuge where my introvert soul could spend quiet time alone recharging my energy.

It feels strangely sad to have moved on giving up my personal home and my own wheels, and though the family have been wonderful, giving me a beautiful room to stay in and the use of the family cars whenever I need wheels, it’s not quite the same as having the freedom and independence of my own home and wheels.

Though my heart knows this is where I belong, those fearful thoughts have been draining my energy leaving me feeling old and exhausted.



Then one morning out walking in the neighborhood, I noticed something I hadn’t seen before:  a palm tree growing out of a cypress tree, it’s huge palm leaves rising above the two pinnacle points of the cypress.  Wow!!  But a few steps closer, reality changed and shifted.  Now I was looking at two trees several feet apart.

I was reminded just how deceptive perception can be.  We see something concrete and it defines our reality.   There it is!!  With my own two eyes, I could see that palm growing out of the cypress tree.  But a different vantage point revealed a different reality!

I love metaphors and immediately started thinking about where in my life the perspective might be off, and it came to me almost immediately.

My fears about having lost my independence and feeling too old and exhausted to create a new independence for myself, might be a distortion of reality and perhaps what would be good, would be to focus on what’s working and where I’m feeling the magic of Africa.  Put my attention on a different reality, things like:

  • LemonMeringue320

    Mugg & Bean’s lemon meringue

    Shopping at Woolworths – a cross between Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, and Macys.

  • Exceptional cappuccino’s and chai lattes to be found almost everywhere and possibly the biggest lemon meringue topping I have ever seen.
  • People who are so sweet and warm – like the security guard who acknowledged my greeting with a royal flapping hand wave rather than the military salute I would have expected.
  • Chats with Emma, the lovely woman I meet often on my neighborhood walks who thinks that my dorky sun hat is so beautiful.
  • The enormous trees, beautiful flowers, and wild (as opposed to carefully manicured) gardens.
Spectacular trees in the neighborhood

Spectacular trees in the neighborhood

  • With very old and dear friends Evelyn and Frik

    With very old and dear friends Evelyn and Frik

    Getting a spontaneous hug from the sweet domestic worker when I added a few extra Rands to her cleaning fee.

  • Being able to fetch a glass of water for Mom and help her remember to take her insulin and meds.
  • Re-connecting with old friends to reminisce until tears of laughter are rolling down my cheeks.
  • Getting to play with local coaches:  meeting for coffee & chats; coaxing a beautiful totem lion out of the clay; creating a vision board; attending a silent retreat.
  • Reconnecting with magical South African humor where you can buy an ice cream bar called Death by Chocolate.

All these things remind me that my life is pretty spectacular, even when it feels hard and I don’t know how things are going to work out.  I’m reminded that Beauty and Joy Actually, are Everywhere! (to plagarize from the title of one of my favorite movies).  It’s just a matter of finding the right perspective – one that feels good.

Where in your life might you find a different perspective for something that feels uncomfortable?  I’d love to hear about it.

10 comments… add one
Cindy Harris April 1, 2015, 5:47 am

Enjoyed reading about your journey. Thank you for helping me this morning.

Suzette Franck April 1, 2015, 6:27 am

Dearest Maryna
What an awesome story! Wow, you are a brave woman…
I have moved a week ago to Somerset West from the Strand where I lived for 18 years. I am waiting for my new Telkom line and would love to talk on the phone as soon as I get my new phone. I attended a Waldorf National Teacher’s Conference at Stellenbosch where I work now. We had to prepare for the conference so I am pretty much exhausted after moving and working with the conference. But as soon as I am rested we should talk and plan a visit.

All my love.


Laurina April 1, 2015, 12:19 pm

It feels like yesterday we talked as room mates… until the small hours to only take ‘n wink before classes start. I am so glad you are back and I have “found” you again. Liefdetjies.

Maryna Smuts April 1, 2015, 1:01 pm

Thanks, Cindy! I’m glad you liked it.

Maryna Smuts April 1, 2015, 1:02 pm

Dearest Suzette,

Thank You. And good luck with your new home in Somerset West. It’s such a lovely place and I’d love to talk when you’ve settled down.

With love and appreciation.

Maryna Smuts April 1, 2015, 1:04 pm


You are part of the continuing magic of coming home! 🙂 And I’m thrilled that you “found” me.

Baie liefde vir jou.

Frik April 3, 2015, 11:22 pm

Sjoe – die tyd vlieg!

Jy kan gerus weer kom kuier – my Internet werk deesdae baie lekker (meeste van die tyd).

Maryna Smuts April 4, 2015, 2:16 am

Dankie, Frik!

Kannie wag om weer te kom kuier nie. Miskien sal jy my moet uitskop… 😉

Anne Gordon April 6, 2015, 11:19 am

First, how wonderful to see your newsletter in my inbox. Secondly, I loved reading your story of perspective. Funny isn’t it. Sometimes a different perspective is only a few centimeters away, unbeknownst to us, until one day we see it. Lovely. Maryna. To share a quote I once read… Home is whereever you are. Xoxo

Maryna Smuts April 7, 2015, 3:32 am

Yes, Anne!

The concept of perspective is quite fascinating. 🙂

And thanks for your quote – so true!


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