28 March 2013
When we arrive at Aunty Lissi’s home in a lovely suburb of Windhoek, she encourages us to make ourselves at home. Richard and Reggie, as well as I and the Twins, will be staying in a cosy little garden flatlet at the back of the house. While Richard helps Aunty Lissi to make some tea and coffee, I quickly help Reggie to unpack all the suitcases – and to release the Twins from the box in which they have been sleeping since Cape Town.
“Are we there already?” asks Thabo, yawning sleepily. Bheki rubs her eyes, and blinks at me.
“Yes, it’s time to get up,” I reply. After making sure that the Twins look presentable, and cautioning them to be on their best behaviour – “or it’s back into the box for you!” – we go into the main house to introduce them to Aunty Lissi. Everyone has gathered on the front verandah – which Reggie tells me is called a ‘stoep’ in Afrikaans – to have some “Kaffee and Kuchen” – which is the German expression for ‘coffee and cake’.
“Hello Aunty Lissi,” they say, politely and in unison, just as I’ve taught them. “Thank you for allowing us to visit you. You have a beautiful home.”
I am so relieved – they have done well! I can see that Aunty Lissi is very taken by them, as she gives them both a welcoming cuddle. Phew! Thank goodness they have made a positive first impression.
“Now who would like some cake?” asks Aunty Lissi, beaming at the Twins. “There is some freshly baked apple cake, as well as some cheese cake.”
“One of each, please,” I reply quickly, before the Twins can make a grab for the whole tray! “The three of us will share; in fact, I’ll feed them myself.”
A little while later, the Twins are – predictably – covered in sticky crumbs. How do they do this?! Aunty Christa and Aunty Lissi laugh: “They’re still very young, Flat Kathy, don’t worry. They’ll learn. All the stickiness will wash off. You can pop them into the shower before you go to bed.”
Suddenly, a car pulls into the driveway. Everyone goes to greet the new arrivals. Reggie introduces them as Richard’s sister Tanya and her partner Kurt.
“Ohh! You’re Flat Kathy,” exclaims Tanya, embracing me with a peck on the cheek. “I received your postcard!”
“I’m so pleased you received it,” I reply, “and it is lovely to meet you.”
“And this is my friend Kurt,” says Tanya, marching me across to him. “Kurt, this is Flat Kathy from Nova Scotia.”
I can see that Kurt doesn’t quite know how to respond. Perhaps he hasn’t met many flat people, or visitors from Nova Scotia. “That’s in Canada,” I add helpfully. He nods, then gravely shakes my hand. I give him my most radiant smile. I just know we’ll become good friends.
Another car arrives, this time with Aunty Christa’s brother Hermann, who has just driven up from Swakopmund on the coast. He says the drive took over an hour longer than usual, because of the high traffic volumes, which is, apparently, typical of the Easter weekend.
Everyone gathers around the table, and some more tea and coffee and cold drinks are brought out. As it seems that people are hungry, Lissi brings out a plate of her very special homemade pies. Oh my goodness! Now I know why Richard and Reggie always love visiting Lissi – she is an excellent cook! Yumm!
I am so tired by the time we go to bed, that I could fall asleep on my feet. Reggie quickly helps me to clean up the Twins, who fell asleep in a flower pot earlier in the evening, sticky crumbs and potting soil and everything. They settle in to hear a goodnight story, but I’ve barely started when they are already snoring softly.
What an exhausting and wonderful day this has been!