“We have traveled far to be here so that we can glance upon where we have journeyed from with a new perspective.  We have gone away so that we can return.”

This is one of my key reflections from our journey to the USA in August 2016.  It was a life-changing trip that allowed us space to dream again.

Since returning one year ago, we have been thrown into season of hard work as we established our restaurant, Frederick & Son, which grew out of our involvement in local artisan food markets.

It was timely and beneficial for us to spend time in another country prior to establishing our own eatery.  It opened us up to new influences and prompted my husband and I into discussions on menus, decor, coffee and foodie culture as we explored the coffee shops of Northern California one bite of ‘hipster’ toast at a time.

It was not an easy trip to take, mainly because we had two small children along with us on the ride.  The journey started with a 20 hour train trip from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg.  We then stayed the night with family, took an Uber to the airport and boarded our plane to Hong Kong to enjoy/endure a 17 hour layover.  Another long-haul flight took us to San Francisco where we met up with my sister and brother-in-law and their (at the time) seven-month-old daughter.  They had coincidently just flown in from London.  Local time:  midnight.  We all stayed the night in a tiny (but cute) one-bedroom apartment in the city and woke (were woken by babies) to a misty San Francisco morning.  Babies strapped to us (our daughter was eight-months-old at the time), my then three-year-old son in a stroller (not pram) and we headed out into the dreamy grey morning in search of coffee.

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Later in the day we travelled by car to Redding.  Our baby girls screamed most of the way through the four-hour drive, allowing my sister and I only a short reprieve to connect over our excitement of the two months that lay ahead.  The tragedy of having my sister and her family live so far away is offset by the fact that we can look forward to concentrated, extended time of actively doing life together.

We will forever be grateful to my sister and brother-in-law for opening up their home and lives to us during this time.  Early morning walks with babies and coffee before the dry heat of a Northern California summer day descended.  Proper yard work by the husbands in the pursuit of my sister’s dream of a green lawn.  Beers and barbecues.  Lake trips with our floaties for idle drifting.  The ordinary daily rhythm of housework and the anticipation of adult time (white wine spritzers and The Voice after the kids are asleep).  Time.  The easy transition from summer to fall with crisper mornings and golden leaves (and pumpkin spice lattes).  The easy transition from busy to slow living.  Dreaming.

We went away so that we could return.