My lovely parents came to visit me and it was fantastic all around. The first night they got in, they insisted that I didn’t need to come see them since it was so late. I figured since they traveled across the world to come see me, I could get my butt out of bed and drive the 10 minutes to meet them at their hotel. As soon as I hopped out of the cab, I saw my mom running out of the lobby to greet me. It wasn’t until I was hugging my parents that I realized how much I have missed them. I have been so caught up in everything I’ve been experiencing and I feel so at home. But when I see my parents, or anyone else from home, I realize that even though everything seems right out here, it’s still missing some of the most important aspects of my life. I have made amazing relationships while I’ve been here and I’m convinced I could be happy staying in South Africa for a prolonged period of time, but the only thing pulling me away is my friends and family back home. I wish I didn’t have to chose but I guess that’s life.
The next morning was beautiful weather so I decided to recreate my first day in Cape Town for my parents. I went to meet them at their hotel, told them to put on comfortable clothing, and took a taxi to the base of Lion’s Head. We took the “easy” way up but that is a loose term. There is no easy way of climbing a mountain and I think my parents will agree with that statement. My mom was overly excited the entire way up, just like me when I climbed for the first time. My dad was a different story. He started off just fine. We began our journey up on a wide, dirt path that took us on a steady incline around the side of the mountain. That path then turns into big steps up the back side of the mountain and when it wraps around front…well let’s just say that’s when it gets a bit dodgy. The path significantly narrows and if you take a false step, you could find yourself tumbling down the mountainside. Padre kept his cool as he hugged the inner part of the path as much as possible. The only time I thought he was going to seriously question continuing on was when we reached the final leg of the climb. The last part is scaling walls of rocks. It was at this point that I hear “Lauren, I thought you said this was just a simple walk up to the top?”. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I had blatantly lied to him. I just kept saying “We’re almost there. But if you want to stop, that’s fine too.” Whenever I suggested that he stay behind while we continued on, he gave us a nice glare, accepted the challenge, and charged ahead. I think that’s a part of being in the Kovacevich family. If you suggest that we can’t or shouldn’t do something, we will go ahead and prove you wrong. My mom may have asked me about 1 million times, if we had reached the top while we were climbing. I calmly kept explaining to her that she will know when we reached the top. How will we know? She asked. Well mom, there will be no more things to climb once we reach the top. We finally staggered to the top, and she finally understood. Once we got up there, they both looked at me in amazement. They had just climbed a mountain for the first time in their lives and they are in South Africa. I don’t think either of those things were ever on their radar before I announced my trip. I was not able to effectively describe what I felt the first time I climbed and took in the view but it was truly a joy watching my parents experience everything I had told them about. They finally understood why I love this place. I thought that would be it. They’d take some pictures and we would start our descent. I was wrong. I was getting my camera out when I look around and see my mom scooting out to the ledge I had taken my first picture on. I was stunned. She just says “I want my butt to be where your butt was out on that ledge! Take my picture!” I took her picture and then joined her. After a few minutes, she decided that was enough and headed back to stable ground. I then hear someone rustling around and I turn to see my dad coming out to meet me. If you had seen my dad’s face when the path was narrow, you would understand why I was blown away by the fact that he was willingly coming to sit on a cliff overhang. His reasoning? “I’m not going to have the two girls have cool pictures out on the ledge and have me being a wuss!”. He sat down and I think he realized that it wasn’t as dangerous or scary as he had originally thought because he then asked me to go away so he could sit out there by himself. I tried to not take it personally and I let him be. As we packed up to head back down, I asked them both if they felt the hike up was worth it. They told me they would answer the question once they were safely back down on the ground. Just like the ledge, climbing down turned out to be easier than they thought. The only problem we came across was when guys would literally be jogging up and down the mountain passing us. My dad captured the feeling perfectly. “They’re jogging around casually like these are stairs in their house. I’m crawling down like a two year old.”
Once we reached the bottom, we headed back to the Garden Centre to grab some of the essentials they needed for their stay and to get some food at Narona. These aren’t usual tourist stops but I wanted to show my parents what I do on a daily basis. They enjoyed comparing the supermarkets here to back home. My dad kept stopping throughout the day and realizing over and over again, “Hey guys, we’re in South Africa!”. Being here for a long time, I sometimes forget how amazing it actually is and how far I really am from home. It was nice to be reminded about how cool this whole experience actually is.