So after the emotional and spiritual high of attending the Imitate Jesus Regional Convention, I got to really chill out, take a breath and enjoy just being. I guess I can say that was when I could finally relax and enjoy the holiday. I enjoyed everything prior to this, but now I could breathe and stop rushing everywhere.
Over the next few days I went for short walks with my cousins around the neighborhood, Gramps took us to the park on Lake Eyrie and we went for long walks along the shore, and to various parks to see the sunset. On another of the days my awesome aunt took us way to the other side of Cleveland for a shopping day. And I learnt to play Jenga one of the evenings.
It wasn’t all happy times in Cleveland though. There was an underlying bitterness I carried. I guess in a way I was a bit nervous there because the area seemed more dangerous than in central Jo-Burg, and in a way I wasn’t too happy because I kept thinking this was where my beloved grandmother spent her last 2 weeks. It was one of the saddest days since she died when my granddad took me for a drive past the hospice that she died in. But I was determined to enjoy myself while here, and I certainly did. I mean look at all the fun stuff I got up to….
Geocaching was something that cropped up quite a few times while I was in the states, and it was FUN. One of the days a friend of my cousins’, the amazing Rosie, came and the 4 of us went out exploring. We hit up a few caches in graveyards, and in parks around the area.
On one of the days, we went to the Cleveland zoo, and I had to laugh at the irony of going around the world to see African Elephants and other wildlife instead of right here. But I still enjoyed it thoroughly non-the-less. We saw many interesting critters from all over the world actually. And we laughed and joked and just generally had fun. One of the highlights that I really enjoyed was getting to see a squirrel that was not in the cages. So just like here in Durban we get monkey, by the thousand, over in the US of A, there are squirrels by the thousand. Except they are not nearly as mean as our monkeys. Another highlight was a little girl (probably about 5 years old) who looked lost and I got chatting with her and she looked at me and said “Oh my god, you talk funny!”, which had my whole family in hysterics.
Just before I left Cleveland, on a beautiful Saturday morning in early August, my wonderful uncle took myself, grampa and my cousins for one last exciting outing; we headed out to University Circle. The posh end of Cleveland, with gorgeous international gardens, big universities, and stately museums. We had a lovely time strolling around the Cleveland Museum of Arts, and taking a drive past the Vintage car show that was happening at the time, with some travelling from as far off as Florida, and Ontario for this show.
Looking back, I realize I was stupid in a way. I was looking for something more, I was not content and so instead of truly slow travelling, I wanted to rush off to Washington state to see friends (another day, another post), and I had promised my parents I would be back in a month. So I had to fit as much as possible into that one month. I should have spent three months in the States and truly taken everything in. But I didn’t, and I can’t change the past. So after just 10 days in Cleveland, on the Saturday afternoon, I was going to fly off to Seattle.
But that was that. And so I went to the airport and climbed on a Frontier airlines plane and headed out to Seattle, WA, right out on the West Coast. Looking out the window as we took off, promising myself that one day, I will return, and when I do, I will be happier, enjoy it more, and spend more quality time here.