A Full Heart

Author: Mariza

28 June

How is it that we make connections with people, don’t see them for five years and pick up right where we left off? How wonderful to feel the same love for and connection with their now almost adult children. Precious beyond words.

Our time in America was way too short, but oh so wonderful. What was supposed to be a quick stopover turned into two weeks of cramming in years worth of togetherness and very little sleep. There were many dear friends we would have loved to have seen, but we simply didn’t have time. Those few we did see was such a treat, though.

Landing in Miami was an experience I would rather forget. The I-am-too-important-and-need-to-prove-it-through-my-power-game immigration official kept us there for two hours, sent us for a secondary interrogation and made us miss our flight to Atlanta. To say I was livid would be an understatement. We arrived in Atlanta way later than planned, but made up for it by not sleeping for two days. Too much to share, too little time. Not that any amount of time would ever be enough with these special friends.

Another family drove all the way from Chicago to have coffee with us. The last time we saw them was at their wedding, ten years ago. Now they have two gorgeous kiddies, one with the chubbiest cheeks in the universe. I wanted to eat her!! We met Gene as a young woman in London. Family at first sight.

Our departure flight came way too soon. Tom and Michelle drove us to the airport at 4am to buy us another hour together. We have lived through so much in such a short time in Houston. How good it is to see our friends doing so well and being in such a great place. Our hearts are forever grateful.

Our next visit was with our dear friends “die Wesselse”. We were at university in beautiful Stellenbosch at the same time, rediscovered one another in our first week in Houston and became so much more than friends in the two and a half years on opposite sides of that city. Eight days of skiing in Colorado and surviving hurricane Ike under one roof definitely sealed our friendship. It’s been five years since our last visit, but nothing has changed between us. Only the kids – unrecognisable, especially some with huge hands and feet who like to look down on me while hugging! Words are insufficient when it comes to these precious ones. Our heart people.

The McKurtis clan, also a family of six, housed us for one cherished night. Here we were spoilt rotten and the kids sacrificed the start of their holiday camp to be with us. Again way too little time. We love these people to bits!! They were the first ones to invite us to their home for lunch in Houston and that was the beginning and the end. A great family friendship that only gets better over time.

We saw two other families, very significant in our lives. All too briefly!! But it was wonderful, wonderful!! And again a shock to see the kids so grown up. Rodgers and Deckers we soooooooooo appreciate you!!!! Sandi has been a key and integral part of our lives for the past eight years since leaving Houston. And oh to see and hug my precious Mike! I LOVE that man!!

On our way to the airport we took a chance, which nearly made us miss our flight. We drove to the Pieszchalas to knock on their door. If anyone can appreciate a surprise drop in, it would be these people. We share so many special memories with this family. From deep, meaningful discussions to sundowners on their newly acquired land and many a meal in interesting places. Christy’s face when she opened the door, followed by screaming which brought Caylin out, was priceless. I only wish we had more time with them. Next year in Brisbane we will, though. I cannot wait!! Special, special friends!!

Charlotte, North Carolina and the home of our beloved Lains made up for all the discomfort we suffered in South America. Vineyards and wine tasting and s’mores on the fire outside, an early birthday celebration for Ruzow’s 12th with delectable cupcakes and sleeping in palatial rooms with luxury beds. 😊 🇺🇸

Mrs Lainie, Joe and girls, you outdid yourselves!! Thank you for embracing and enduring an entire day of shopping with the six of us. And for all the special moments (too many to mention!) we shared. Love you to eternity!!

We left Charlotte at 4 in the morning and drove to New York City via Washington DC. We spent Ruzow’s 12th birthday on the road, only arriving in New York around 10pm. Looooooooong day!!

The excitement of arriving in New York City is not even quenchable by severe exhaustion. After an eventful bag drop in a dodgy street in Manhattan, we finally handed our rented car back at 11pm. And yes, believe it if you can, we WALKED fifty (yes, five zero!!) blocks back to our apartment. Upon arrival, after midnight, we lined up for a turn in the one and only bathroom for a quick shower. Our tiny room containing three double beds (and nothing else, not even air) was clean and comfortable. The rest of the apartment houses all sorts of interesting people, crammed into three more rooms. Great value for money, though, especially considering our proximity to Central Park, Time Square and downtown  New York.

We managed to squeeze a magnitude of highlights into our short visit to New York. A six hour walking tour of the city, a twilight cruise down The Hudson and to the Statue of Liberty, a night visit to Time Square and a run through Central Park to name but a few. We concluded our NYC adventure with expensive bagels on Madison Avenue before catching the subway to JFK International Airport.


America oh America! How we wish we had more time.

Mariza –



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