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The Self Employed Housewife – Diary of a foreigner – book two Ch10
Sascia is enrolled in high school
Her little girl was growing up and now going to High school. It felt only like yesterday when she enrolled them into primary school. Victoria High was walking distance from their home. Jeroen was well liked in Scouts and Sascia was still going to her afternoon acting classes while she herself was getting involved with designing and painting stage sets and back drops for their yearly play at the Opera house.
Saying goodbye to a dear friend
The traffic was busy on the way to visit her friend Pat from the bookshop. She wanted to get to her as fast as she could. Her husband had told Jan at work that she wanted to see her.She had been diagnosed with emphysema.
The last time she saw Pat she was showing signs of being not at all well, but Pat had always smoked heavily and she had a smoker's voice, but that it was this bad she could not imagine.
Her son opened their front door and she was shocked. Pat must have at least lost ten Kilo's (twenty two pounds).
"I can see by your facial response that I do not look so good." Pat uttered with difficulty. Gosh her friend was truly dying. She was attached to an oxygen tank.
"Oh dear what can I say." all she could do was hug her.
"Well I'll be on the other side soon... It would truly please me if we could keep in touch..." It took her a moment to digest what she had just said in a soft whisper...but somehow it lightened the atmosphere.
"Yes so would I. Some say they do communicate beyond death." thinking about what some authors had written. Often she just felt that unseen people were hanging around but doubted that it was true.
"I will give it a go"... her breathing was so shallow...it clearly exhausted her..."I'm ready to go..." oh gosh... she cried to see her suffer... "I've always been glad to have you as a friend." Pat uttered with difficulty, patting her shoulder. Her husband arrived from work and her son cried hugging his dad, so she got up and let her family be with her till the end...
Saying goodbye to Pat was truly hard, even knowing that she was ready to go. During her drive home the tears made her mascara run. In the driveway at their home she suddenly just knew that Pat had gone...because it felt as if she was sitting next to her, as a passenger...
Funerals and more goodbye's
When they drove home after Pat's funeral Jan suggested that they take three week off from work during the Easter school holidays. She looked sideways at him wondering what would come next. "Yes, yes, I thought over what you suggested last week and we can afford it."
"Really! Oh I would truly love to visit home. Oh I can't wait to tell the kids. They are both probably at home from school by now."
She had been talking about visiting their family back in Holland for some time now, ever since she had been making good money every month at the Art in the Park exhibition.
"Are you free this weekend? Oh dear what with Pat dying and all I forgot to tell you."
"Why is Snoopy outside at the front?" Just then Jeroen followed the puppy as they drove into the driveway.
"What were you going to tell me?" Jan asked stroking their Cocker spaniel who was behaving as if they had been away for years.
"We are having visitors for dinner this coming Sunday,Jenny and her family. They wanted to see our home and they have to tell us that they are also leaving, going back to the UK."
"Oh what a shame. Yes the motor industry is laying more and more people off. Shall we have a braai?"
"I already told Jenny that I would make Nasi Goreng." Her mom's favorite dish.
Jeroen was happy to see his school friend from Rowallen Park. It had been a while for them. Ever since Jenny's Husband had made a pass at her a few years ago, she had been careful not to be too familiar with him as a friend. Jenny's friend Marisa and her family had emigrated back to the UK after her husband was laid off work when they had just moved to Walmer. They had said goodbye to them at the airport nearby.
"Were there lots of people at the funeral mom?" Sascia asked. She was doing her homework at the dining room table.
"No Moppie, just family and a few people who knew Pat from her bookshop. We have something to tell you both."Jan had disappeared into the back garden to water his veggies so she had to wait to tell them.
"What Mom?" Jeroen asked while rolling on the floor playing with Snoopy, who was getting more and more excited.
"Oh dear let's wait till dinner time. Jeroen why don't you help Daddy outside and we will call you both for dinner.”
Returning home for the first time
Although both her mom and dad, Jan's parents and Jan's youngest sister had visited them in South Africa, she was truly looking forward to seeing her only sister Jolanda who had in the meantime become a mother. She had done a lot of sewing, trying her skills at working with soft skins creating leather jackets for this trip, because the weather would be a lot colder.
Jolanda and Harry her husband lived in a very modern free standing home with their two toddlers. Their wealthy lifestyle took them by surprise. Her dad had told them about Harry’s success in the steel business, but never in detail. She and Sascia, her twelve year old, were impressed by how smartly Jolanda' was dressed. Her own clothes felt outdated. During their stay with them she had a drastic introduction to the latest fashion.
"Hermien I've put some clothes on your bed for you to look at before I give them away."
"Oh really? Gosh thanks."
"There might be something for Sascia as well, items that are now too small for me."
They were all outside on their wooden deck having a barbecue Dutch style under a heater. She knew that Jan had nothing in common with Harry, but he tried to make himself useful by preparing the meat and keeping everybody in drinks. She wished to have some time with her sister alone, but her children were a handful. Jolanda was a loving hostess and made them all feel very welcome, so was Harry if they ignored his boasting about his success. She now understood her Dad's irritation about her sister's partner, although he never said it. He was a quiet, introverted but proud man who would never talk about himself or others.
The huge pile of clothes in their bedroom for them to look at was like a dream. Never had she seen such stylish and well designed outfits. There was nothing that both she and Sascia wanted to leave behind. Sadly Jan and Jeroen lost out, so she would make sure they would buy Jeroen the latest hiking gear which he could wear on a scout camp back home.
Jan's family were very different, ordinary but very religious. She had to keep quiet and clearly never make 'new age' comments. Her mom was alarmed at her alternative interests and openly said so when visiting her Dad's family in Friesland. Jan seemed to enjoy that, for he often laughed at her mom, knowing that it would irritate her.
Visit to Gouda
For their last tourist destination Jolanda and Harry took them to visit to Gouda with her parents. Gouda is a small town known for its cheese. It was more an education trip for Sascia and Jeroen but they all had a lot of fun visiting the markets and buying salty drop to take home. It was there that she noticed how badly Sascia was seeing.
"Can't you read it?"
"No, I do not see any sign, where?”
"What about you Jeroen?”
"You mean the Dutch chemist sign with the medical snakes?"
"Yes, Moppie when did that start, that you do not see so well?" They were all listening and Sascia was clearly embarrassed by it all.
"Never mind before you go back to school we will have your sight tested." She wore glasses sometimes for watching movies but Sascia could clearly not see that sign from a distance.
They were having a late lunch in Amsterdam with the whole family; a treat by Jolanda and Harry when the New Age topic came up. Her mom was as always telling them what the dominee had said, which started to get to her. She had replied to something she should never have responded to. Her sister was the only one who made comments to the contrary.
"Mommy, Hermien has always heard voices and saw people. We never did." She was so surprised because she didn't remember that at all?
Their flight back to South Africa was leaving around eight in the evening and she was glad to go home.