Sunday, June 15, 2008

# South Africa

Reconnecting.....the best part of going home! - Part 1

So it's been 10 years since you've last seen your family, you have all these thoughts going through your mind because let's face it, people change, things change and you're left wondering how it will all go down. Will you remember the person's likes and dislikes? Will you find them older, younger, nicer, may be laughing but in 10 years a LOT can happen and who knows right?

The day we left started very early, we were at the airport at 4:30 am, tired but excited.

Sky Harbor Airport, Phoenix Arizona

On the last flight to Johannesburg (10 hours), the kids were going a little coo coo

When the airplane landed in Johannesburg after a grueling 23 hour day of flying, my heart stopped in my chest, I was excited, I was nervous, I was exhilarated but most of all I couldn't wait to see everyone again. We slowly made our way out of the plane, through the passport control and to the baggage claim and then the time came, there was no going back and there was no postponing it......the year of planning, the craziness and worry of the passport not arriving in time and the anticipation of what was to come came to a screeching halt.....this was it.

We walked towards the doors and the minute they opened I was welcomed by a sea of familiar happy faces, my brothers all standing near the front, cameras in hand taking pictures. Their faces a mixture of happiness and overwhelming joy, I could see the tears in their eyes and I could feel my own starting to creep up. I pushed it back down determined NOT to cry. I wanted to be strong....and I was for a full minute LOL
Until I saw my sister in law Hayley reach out her arm and then I sank into her hug and let it go. I cried for 10 years that I didn't see them, I cried for the happiness that swelled in my heart and I cried because finally my children were meeting my family, the people who had been there since I was born, through my ups and downs. I WAS HOME!

The kids with Fila, our pug back home. She is so old, she can't see or hear well and has muscle problems in her back legs which make it sore and uncomfortable for her to walk. Nevertheless, they showered her with love and affection and she came to love having them around.

The cousins together. Dylan is not in the picture, he had gone with his dad (my oldest brother Paul) to a work related function but he did arrive later in the day. From left to right, in the back: Taryn-Lee, Jasmine, Tiffany and Alyssa In the front: Nicholas and Colby

Saturday and Sunday we just hung out at my dad's house, the whole family got together, all 21 of us. We had a barbecue and laughed, ate, reminisced about days gone by and allowed the kids to completely immerse themselves in this whole new family they had never met before. It didn't take long before they were the best of friends with their cousins and bonded with their aunts and uncles, grandpa and grandma's and even their greatgrandma's. It was so much fun!

In the back: Me and my mom Front: Grandma Odete, Grandma Jacinta

If there is one thing I absolutely love to death, is my grandmothers. There is this bond between grandma's and girls that remains your whole life through and I can't tell you how much it meant to me to be able to hug them both again.

Nadine, Bruno, Me and Curt - This is my baby brother and his wife....we had so much fun and we couldn't stop laughing

My brother Miguel, my sister in law Hayley (we've been friends for 20 years), me and Curt

From left to right: Miguel, Curt, Bruno and Paul

That day was filled to the brim, we ate wonderful food, we talked, we listened to music and danced. It was great being back in the noisy animated family that I have. LOVE IT!

Me and my Uncle Tony

My baby girl Tiffany. When I left South Africa she wasn't yet 2 years old....I had been taking care of her and watching her since she was 3 months old while my sister in law Hayley and brother Miguel worked....when I left I felt like I was leaving behind my own child..... now she's this gorgeous 11 year old. I miss her already!

I love this photo, me and my baby brother Bruno. (Nevermind that he's 30 years old, he'll always be my baby brother)

In this photo we're missing Colby, he decided he didn't want to be in it LOL But Uncle Bruno made the kids laugh that's why they're all so happy. I miss all my babies so much, it breaks my heart!

My dad who is always making us laugh, when he walked out like this the kids thought it was the funniest thing ever LOL

I miss my daddy, he is one of the smartest and funniest people ever.

And that was the end of the first day back home in South Africa. Portuguese people are very passionate and very loud LOL We could be talking about the weather and if you didn't know better you would think we were about to get into a fist fight. Here's a little short video of what usually goes on during our get togethers.

This is my stepmom Nela, Tiffany and Alyssa dancing to a typical portuguese song.

And that's it for now, tomorrow I'll take you through our second day there and share more photos.


  1. I've enjoyed seeing the happy reunion with your family. Those are precious pictures!

  2. Well..this brought tears to my eyes...I'm so incredibly happy for you. How wonderful of a first day. It all seems so awesome. What a great reunion....I loved it all esp the dancing and music....I hope you are just resting today. Good to hear from you. You wouldn't believe how much you were missed. I cant wait to hear more.

  3. How wonderful ;-) The cousins look like long lost pals and I loved seeing the pictures of your Mum,and Grandma's,Have a great day Sandra ..hugs.

  4. I'm hoping since you posted again- it means you're feeling better.
    So glad to have you back- you were missed!
    Your post brought tears to my eyes. I can't imagine being away from my family for that long.
    What a sweet reunion it must have been!
    Can't wait for the next installment!

  5. Sooo glad you are back to the US now Sandra!!! i missed ya! What a WONDERFUL trip you had!!! I absolutely LOVE the pic of the kids going "coo coo" on the flight..LOL..tooo funny! And i love that pic of you and your younger brother too! :) You look fabulous! I am sooo glad you got the chance to visit with them...I know how much you have missed them.

    I hope you have a wonderful week!! xoxo

  6. Anonymous4:04 PM

    Oh Sandra. It's been so long since I've visited your blog, I miss you. I'm thrilled that you got to go back home and visit, how great for you!

  7. What an amazing opportunity for you. How exciting!

    Welcome home :)

  8. Sandra,thanky you for shareing these Great Photos.
    I see you spiffied up your site.

  9. I know it was so much fun for you. I love hearing about how you spent your time there and seeing the pictures!

  10. Yay your home!
    I just love all the pictures & hearing these stories. It reminds me alot of my family. Loud & crazy but full of love=)
    I can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip.

  11. I loooooved looking at these photos and reading all about your trip ! (well, the beginning of your trip anyway !!)

    The smile on your face says it all !!

    It makes me look forward to our upcoming trip ! We will be home with my family in the US for Thanksgiving, Christmas AND New Years this year !! I'm so excited. It will be my kids first white Christmas. It's still so strange to me to have Christmas in the middle of summer here in Australia !!!

    I've moved my blog. Here's where you can find me and the details of why ...

  12. Such fun to see these photos and how happy everyone is. I can't imagine going that long w/o seeing my family. I am lucky that most of our family lives within 50 miles. I am grateful for that.

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  14. How touching all these pictures are, Sandra. Thanks for sharing your reunion with your family with us.

  15. I'm just amazed at how you can go so long without seeing those you love so much! Glad to hear your trip was all you dreamed it would be. It must feel good to be back home again.

  16. This was a great post! I am so happy for you and your kids. They finally got to see and experience your history. Thank you for sharing, I really enjoyed this post.


  17. I can't believe you lasted that long before starting to cry - I would have been crying as I was walking off the plane just anticipating that reunion after 10 years!

  18. I can absolutely feel the happiness radiating form these pictures, Sandra.

    What a wonderful, wonderful first day. I look forward to the rest!


  19. how lovely..I know what you mean, my father still screams talking..people think we are fighting,just the way he talks..
    one day you will have to tell the story why you left South Africa and met your hubby and all..:-)

  20. This post was so exciting. I felt my heart pounding just reading the part where you got off the plane and there was your family smiling at you.

    What a nice looking group of kids you all have. How awesome that they became friends instantly.


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