Busy last month in the bush…Wonderful friends…One month and counting…

She decided to look at her reflection in the glass of the little red car.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Mom opted for a sitz bath on the steamy hot day.

Tom is inside the house watching the US football game playoffs, having the time of his life. I’m outdoors on the veranda on a cooler but very humid cloudy day, hoping it stays this way for a few more days for the upcoming cooking frenzy for Rita’s birthday party on Wednesday.

Friends Linda and Ken are on their way here from Johannesburg and should be arriving sometime in the early afternoon. Tonight, we’ll have our first celebration for Rita’s birthday at Tambarina Restaurant in Komatipoort.  The next few days will be pretty busy but most certainly lots of fun.

My beautiful friends Linda and Kathy (left to right) took me to lunch five years ago for my birthday.  

Kathy is planning a special “going away” day for me on February 5th,  a pedicure at a local resort with a spa with lunch following. Hopefully, Rita and Linda will join us for the “girl’s day.” 

Five years ago, this reminded me of when Kathy and Linda took me to lunch at a beautiful resort outside of Marloth Park to celebrate my upcoming birthday. Here are the photos above and below and the link to that beautiful day.

No one was handy to take a photo of the three of us.  Linda and I had to suffice. The Buhala Lodge was located on the Crocodile River.
And now, more fantastic memories are being made as our time in this magical place comes to an end, one month from today. It has been such a joy for both of us to have the great friends we’ve made in Marloth Park, many over five years ago and others in recent years, which ends on February 14th when we head to Nelspruit for one night before our early morning flight to Nairobi, Kenya.

On Friday, February 8th, Kathy and Don will be hosting a going-away gathering at their house. We had decided we wouldn’t have time to host our own going away party (a tradition in the bush) before we departed with so much to handle and pack after spending a year here.

Last night, Wildebeest Willie and Mom and Babies got along well while eating pellets.

On our last Saturday night in the bush, we’ll have a little get-together at Jabula for dinner, more time to celebrate friendships we’ve cherished in our extended period in Marloth Park.

Mom and Babies ate some pellets and some lucerne.

Oh, I don’t mean to go on and on about how blessed we are to have such good friends. But the reality remains when we leave here in one month, friendships and close relationships will be sparse again. Nomads, like us, don’t have the luxury of making lasting relationships wherever we go.  

This is a female hornbill with red on her beak.

There isn’t enough time in each country to cultivate the types of relationships that last a lifetime.  However, we’ve been fortunate to have made many lasting relationships with the beautiful people we’ve met as our landlords/property owners and other passengers aboard a cruise.

She stops by and squawks at us for birdseed.  We always cooperate.

We recall our three months in Tuscany, Italy, in 2013, while we lived in the tiny village of Boveglio. No one spoke English. In those three months, we never shared a meal with anyone we met, although we were invited to a party, doing our best to communicate with the other guests.  

A blurry photo was posted July 20, 2013, in Bovelgio, Italy. Handing off the camera to a kindly gentleman to take our photo, I must have accidentally changed to “out of focus background.” After the beautiful night we had, I couldn’t resist posting the images, although they were all out of focus. In the photo with us is Daniela at my left and Armenia sitting on the steps.  For the link from that date, please click here.

There were numerous other countries where we’ve lived, where we had little to no social interaction with locals, often based on language barriers. Nonetheless, we still had a marvelous time together in each of these instances, depending on one another for idle conversation and friendship, a vital part of any relationship.

In a mere 84 days, we’ll be back in Minnesota for 17 nights, hoping to be able to see many of the friends we’d made in a lifetime along with many beloved family members.  

This female hornbill often reminds us she is hungry.

But, then, we’ll be on to new lands, new adventures and we’ll carry all the great memories we made with us here in Marloth Park, looking forward to the time in the future when we’ll return to see our friends once again.

We are grateful and as Tom always says, “Humbled and blessed,” to experience this world around us, filled with amazing people, fantastic scenery, and of course, fantastic wildlife, who by the way are stopping by more and more each day, as the holiday season in South Africa winds down.

The family enjoyed a few hours in our garden.

Plus, we never forget for a day all of our kind and thoughtful readers who touch our lives every day, knowing YOU are beside us all the way. Thank you for sharing this life with us.

May your day be filled with the companionship and memories of good friends throughout your life. Be well. Be happy.

Photo from one year ago today, January 14, 2018:

At a local “cultural” restaurant in Buenos Aires. To us, these stuffed pig intestines, “Chinchulin,” were the least desirable items on the platter. Please see details and more photos here.

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