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The end of an era

“We’re not quite sure where we’ll be going for our next leave, but I’m sure it’s gonna be just as fun as this break.” were the famous words from my last post.

Unfortunately things don’t always work out the way you had hoped or planned. I’ve been thinking a lot about what and how I am going to write this blogpost as it is quite a tough one for me to put into words, so let’s start from the beginning.

For four years Lance and I have been together. We’ve had some amazing times and have created so many memories. We met at University where we both studied photography for 4 years. We met so many wonderful people and our group of friends has grown a lot over the years. When I met Lance one thing we always talked about was moving to South Africa as soon as we finished our degree. There were people who thought I was forced to follow HIS dream, but I’d like to clear up that I was 100% behind this idea and have always wanted to live overseas for a while. Where, how and what I didn’t know, but one thing I did know was that  I wanted an adventure of a lifetime. And this I got!

In the first week of January 2013 Lance set off to study for 10 weeks in South Africa, in order to gain his FGASA Level 1 (field guide qualification needed to become a ranger). I stayed in New Zealand for this time, attended my graduation and left the country on March 15th to visit my family in Holland who I hadn’t seen in over 5 years! Lance flew up as well and we had a 3 week holiday. On the 7th of April we took the bus to Paris and had an amazing day! After 20 km’s of walking and blisters on our feet we eventually boarded the plane to Madagascar where we visited my family for another holiday. As some of you may remember I got very sick during our last week and ended up in hospital for 4 days. Luckily I was looked after very well and was discharged from hospital just in time for our flight to South Africa.

For 6 weeks I stayed with Lances family in Cape Town, while he did his Trails Guide (a course where they learn how to walk in the bush and be safe). It was difficult at times, to spent such a long period of time with people who I had really only met once, 2 years ago, but fortunately everyone was so incredibly nice and welcoming that I felt like I was part of the family.

After 6 weeks, I finally saw Lance again and now that he was fully qualified we were able to start looking for work. Luckily it didn’t take long to find a place for both of us. The next 4 months were a time of extreme highs and extreme lows. The bush is a magical place and I often would sit on the stoop outside my room, listening to the noises, seeing all types of antelope, giraffe and even rhino walk past our room. I felt like the luckiest person on earth to have these experiences. However it was also a very difficult time for me. On day 5 while Lance was on drive we got news of a very serious accident and for a while I didn’t know if Lance was still alive. It was a very traumatic time for which we both sought counseling. Not long after I received news from home about 2 people very dear to my heart who were battling cancer and on top of that there were several issues with my boss. Things went from bad to worse. I dreaded getting up in the morning and started feeling depressed again. Eventually I made the difficult decision to tell Lance I had to get out of this place as it was literally making me sick. It was a difficult thing to do, since Lance was having a great time, so I really appreciated it that he was willing to give this up for me.

We moved from one place to another, staying with friends and family while we looked for work again. At this stage I felt like the tourism industry wasn’t quite my thing, which made it hard for me, because I had no other choice, except for leaving Lance and doing something different, which wasn’t an option for me. Eventually after our 6th interview we both felt like we had found a place we would both love, which was a huge relief for me.

My spirits were lifted and we were even given time over Christmas and New Year to spend with family. The closer we got to our starting date, the more nervous I felt, but I soon realized I had done a lot of worrying for no reason. I loved it here! The people were great, I loved my job and to be back in the bush (let alone ‘The Sabi Sands’) felt so right.

Today, I have been here 5 months and I cannot believe how fast time has flown by. The things I have experienced I cannot even put into words. It’s a feeling I will never ever forget.

Unfortunately every story also has an end and I am extremely sad to announce that lance and I are going to take some time apart and go our separate ways. I have been battling with some thoughts and feelings regarding our relationship and after a long time I have come to the conclusion that what I need to do, is take some time off. It’s been the hardest decision I have ever had to make, especially since we still do love each other, but I’m afraid that if I continue to pretend nothing is wrong and push these thoughts and feelings to the back, it will break us completely. There are things I need to figure out and I can only do this if I’m alone for a while. I don’t know what the future will bring and what will happen with us, but I do know that it is the right thing to do right now, also for Lances sake.

It’s been 2 weeks since I broke the news to Lance and things have been extremely emotional. Knowing what is going to happen while still living and working in the same place is extremely tough. On one hand I just want to put all of this behind me, but the thought of not being with lance breaks my heart. I have felt guilt towards Lance, for doing this to him, for leaving him behind, but I also know how strong he is and that he will be fine. He is one of the sweetest and most amazing people I have ever met and he deserves his happiness.

I have booked my tickets just over a week ago and will be flying back to New Zealand on the 29th of May. Tomorrow will be my very last day of work and one thing is for sure: I will miss this place A LOT. The smells, the sights and the overall feel of ‘The African bush’ will be unforgettable. I will write another post with my last Africa photos after this and we’ll have to see where the future takes me.

There’s a lot of mixed emotions and confusing thoughts and feelings. A very deep sadness, but also a little bit of excitement to go home, meet my new niece and catch up with family and friends However, one thing is for sure: I do not, for one moment, regret coming here. I have had the time of my life and am so incredibly grateful for everything, the good and the bad.

Thank you to every single one of you for your continuous support and love. I hope to catch up at some stage.
Sorry for the lack of photos, I promise to make up for it with my next post!

xxx Fleur

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