Monday, July 28, 2008

Reconnecting - Part 12

We were so sad to leave the Kruger National Park, I mean, this place is like a little peace of paradise on earth. There is nothing but nature and animals around you, there's birds singing in the morning and crickets chirping at night, the huge expanse of the night sky filled with stars and nebula's and the sound of far away animals......and there's quiet, this encompassing non TV and cellphone and craziness, quiet. It's what everyone needs right?? We have far too much noise during our daily lives, so when you find yourself away from it all it's not only relaxing but recharging to the soul.

We made our way back to Johannesburg, back to family, to old neighborhoods and to one of the best parts for me....the FOOD. Oh the glorious food, I don't think I could begin to tell you just how good Portuguese food is, if you've never had it you have no idea what you're missing, but if you're one of the lucky ones to live near a Portuguese community, say for instance in Massachusetts, Newark, New Jersey, San Francisco or even up in yourself a favor, go to a Portuguese restaurant or to a bakery and just try it....then come back and tell me what you think.

We arrived back in Johannesburg on Friday afternoon and did nothing for the rest of the day, just hung out at dad's house, chatted with family and ate good food.

I had to take the kids and Curt to the Portuguese bakery Belem. They hadn't tried any cakes yet, so I think we pretty much got one of each LOL

From the left: Pasteis de Nata (cream cakes), Bolas de Berlin (filled donuts), Pasteis de Arroz (Bean cakes)....I know the last ones sound weird, but believe me, they are to die for.

Sunset view from the backyard of my parent's house

If you look to the right, you see the city lights in the distance....that's Johannesburg
Dinner that night was typical Portuguese, Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa.
The next morning we woke up refreshed and ready to go....but not before Curt enjoyed a game of Guitar Hero LOL

Oh and I almost forgot to show you Jasmine's new cute is that?

This morning we were heading out to take some photographs of my old houses, schools etc. It was a part of me that my children and husband had never seen and I was eager to show them around. Little did I know that some of those old houses would bring tears to my eyes and not in a good way.

My brother Miguel's house

My brother Paul's house....this is the house that I lived in before getting married and moving to the States. My parents moved to a different house down the street and my oldest brother moved in with his family.
Now let's turn to the left and head down the street. Boy do I remember this street, I walked up and down every single day morning and afternoon when I was in High School, which is just at the end of the road

And here's my old high school, The Hill High School

Now we're traveling up Geranium street towards the middle of Rosettenville. I spent many afternoons here after school with my friends, I also walked up and down this street with my grandmother to go shopping.

Middle of Rosettenville, so much has changed, there's buildings that are gone, there's businesses that have since closed down etc.

If you look to the right, do you see that dark brown building that says Bombay Bazaar? That's where you go and buy the school uniforms. LOL I remember those days, the days of dark green dressed, white button up shirts and BROWN shoes. YUCK!

Yum, Steers, one of my favorite burger places, my friends and I ate lunch here many times
Good old McDonald's LOL

This is going up Main street, to the right you have Spar, it's a big grocery store

Rio Douro Fisheries, the fresh fish market we go to back home

In 1988 we moved to Portugal and within 4 months we had moved back to South Africa, we didn't like living in Portugal, it's a long story and a whole other post LOL

When we returned, we moved into this house, it was my grandparents home and we stayed with them for a bit until we got our own place.....nowadays, it's empty and it looks like there may have been a fire at some point. It was just sad to look at!

The famous 167 Church Street, this was the haunted house, the horribly haunted place that forced me to stay away all night long with the light on, the house where I woke up in the middle of the night with hands around my throat, or the time I lay in bed and looked to the window and saw what appeared to be my greatgrandmother standing there while she actually lay asleep on the bed next to me. Horrible house, but it was a pretty house and I was saddened to see the state it's in now. That metal gate was not there, nor were the HUGE walls.

The other haunted house where my Uncle Carlos got choked in the bathroom. It also looks completely different, it had a beautiful driveway and big open doorway, that wall was NOT there before. Again a shock and a sadness to see it this way.

Continuing with the shock factor we go to 197 Prairie Street...I mean what can I say? It's not even a house anymore, it's a business LOL

My Elementary School, I have the best memories from this place and it pretty much looks the same, except for the big tall green fence. Welcome to Africa people!

Fred Street, there weren't that many bars on the windows when we lived there, but times have changed.

And that was it, we drove back to my parents house with a feeling of sadness. I have to tell you that as much as I loved being back home in South Africa and walking down memory lane, it struck me that 10 years really had gone may not seem like a long time, but it is. So much changes and I'm greatful for the memories that I have of all these houses during my childhood, because the memories I have etched in my heart do not mirror the dilapidated, run down and scary looking buildings that I saw this day.


Michelle said...

Hi Sandra,I love seeing your pictures , I hope to go back there one day.have a great day.

Samantha said...

Oh Sandra! I bet it really was a shock to you to see so much changed. There is nothing more sacred than childhood memories. I've had a few enchantments broken too, and I know how it can really sadden a person. I hope you hold on to the happy golden glow of memories long past, and don't let these hallow changed images ghost what brings such joy to your heart.


Cheri said...

It is so hard to see things happen to the places we grew up.
That was so fun to see the tour of the town!
Love Jasmines hair.

MoziEsmé said...

What a trip down memory lane! I haven't been back to my childhood neighborhood in Long Island, NY since I was 16, and I'd love to go back and see what it is like now, though I imagine the visit wouldn't all be positive.

Those bakery goodies look to die for. And Jasmine's hair is really cute!

The Khaje Khronicles said...

Hi Sandra! How's it going? I love your new look!! Your pics are awesome and I'm so glad I got the chance to stop by and visit. It's been to long.

Hope all is well. I'm heading your way next month and was wondering if we could try to meet?

I know I've been a terrible friend with keeping up, but I'll try to do better.


Katy said...

I love all the pics and I love Jasmine's hair! It is adorable! My hubby is a red head..and would you believe..NONE of my children have red hair?? ugh! Her hair is just beautiful! :)
I love the look of your blog too!!! It looks so pretty! Hope you are having a great day!

Morning Glory said...

I do love Jasmine's haircut! She is looking so grown up, which is probably not something you want to hear. What a beautiful little girl she is.

Christina said...

First of all can you say malasada? This is so popular here and I have to say you have not lived until you have tried this Portuguese delight. I think you know what I mean. I am from NJ but here is where I discovered this delight. We have some Portuguese in Hawaii and they own these bakeries and malasadas are their specialty.

What beautiful views. Your parents have such a nice view from their backyard. I am so envious. I would love to be able to go here. My hubby has always been fascinated by South Africa so he is really enjoying your pictures.

Is that Curt on guitar hero on WII? I was wondering if this game was good. My son plays it at the teen center on post, but I don't know what it is like on the WII.

Jasmine's hair is adorable. Very chic. It makes her look a little grown up.

That place Steers looks very inviting, kind of like something out of the 50's, but modern. I wish we still had places like this. It seems like South Africa has moved at a much better pace then the US.

I absolutely love the little walls and gates they put in front, it sounds like these are for safety purposes but I like the bit of privacy they offer. I must tell you I am a little OCD about safety and loved to be closed in in my little back yard. I have no idea why this is.

Are these houses the ones that sparked your interest in haunted houses? You know I have the same interest in this stuff that you do. We have what they call the choking ghost in Hawaii or menahune is that like the one that choked you?

Thanks for sharing these bits and pieces of your trip. I hope you get to go back since I am benefiting from getting a glimpse at South Africa from a personal view.

Michelle said...

I can imagine how bittersweet it was seeing all the different places you lived - and wow you lived in a lot of different homes!

Renee said...

I am so enjoying your posts and pictures. Thanks so much for sharing your life with us. Your trip back home sounds like it was amazing.

I was introduced to Portuguese food when I lived in CA. I fell absolutely in love with it! I have missed it since we moved to TX but your recipes are wonderful and oh so yummy to make. Thanks!

Charlotte said...

They say you can't go home. In a sense this is true. It is interesting to go back to places you have lived, but it's never the same - not even close. Time marches on. I guess that's a good thing. Enjoyed your photo tour.

Sarah said...

Sandra I loved going down memory lane with of my facebook friends Collette lived in South Africa by way of Zimbabwe before the troubles. Her sister who still lives in S Africa has had to install high walls and an electric fence because of the neighbourhood she lives in. It's just too sad.

Jasmine's haircut is just beautiful!! So lovely.

Sarah said...

...oh and the haunted house? Too scary!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing memories back to me. I lived in Rosettenville ( High Street ), Regents Park ( Augusta RD ), Kenilworth ( Fraisier Street ) and Malvern, From 1974 to 1986 and things have really changed in Geranium street and Main street. I went to the Rosettenville Junior School and Rosettenville Central Primary School. In 1987 I moved to Portugal ( Viana do Castelo ) and now I live in France. Is Rosettenville relatively safe nowadays, for I heard that it was invaded bu druggies and prostitutes. I really spent a magnificent childhood there and one day I'd like to return there to show it to my wife and my two children.