Letters to Kayla: Europe Holiday 2012

 

 

Dear Kayla,
We have just got back from a fantastic vacation in Greece and Manchester in England and you travelled like you were born to travel, flights, people, lights, camera’s …it was all second nature to you. The best part of this vacation was spending time with you but I thought I would highlight some of the moments in a short letter.
I had been feeling so guilty the weeks before we left because I was so busy at work. I had so many projects to wrap up and had to put in extra hours at work just to accommodate for the vacation. Dad was a star at giving me space to work and he would help with picking you up and entertaining you on weekends. He enjoys taking you to the racetrack to watch the cars and motorbikes race. I think you enjoy it too because you never give Dad a hard time.
We had a wedding in Manchester, Auntie Emma and Uncle Darrion. You probably don’t remember them but they came to visit us in Johannesburg when you were 4 months old. Their little girl Jasmine just loved the fact that “Baby-Kayla” was staying with her. Jasmine is about a year older than you and a lot more active. For the wedding I dressed you in a navy blue and white dress which were the same colours as what I was wearing. I don’t normally match you up but it was kind of fun. The wedding was beautiful and your Dad did an amazing best man speech. I think his speech will go down in history. Lol.
Emma and Darrion

 

Family photo at the wedding
 In Greece we stayed on a farm just outside of Athens, with Stel, Katie and Stels parents (who don’t speak English). It was so welcoming being embedded in the whole Greek culture. They are so loving, sharing and also loud. We would eat dinner at 10:30pm and the neighbours would join us.  The food in Greece was so tasty and yet so simple.
Our Greek family.
The Greek landscape seemed African but with a twist. Olive trees, fig trees and grape vines surrounded the house. It was super hot with temperatures reaching a high of 40 degrees Celsius some days. The sea was warm and calm. (No major waves)
In Greece, we would spend hours just hanging out on the bed. Sometimes it was too hot to go to the beach and I struggled to get into the whole siesta time (sleeping in the afternoon). So I would play with you when you were not sleeping. You were full of laughs and giggles and I would try encourage you to crawl. You haven’t fully crawled yet but you are very, very close.
You would love it when we bathed you outside.
In Greece it was your first beach/water moment, Dad and I took joy in seeing how you reacted to it all. The texture of the sand running through your toes intrigued you, the sounds of the waves scared you and the splashing of the water with your hands fascinated you. We would float in the water together like we were mermaids. Then I would have to cut the experience short coz you would dip your hand in the water and then taste it too many times. I think you are like me…you love your salt.
During the warm summer nights we would go for dinner and you would enjoy sitting in your pram anticipating what food you could have. I would give you bread to play with and little finger foods coz you would have eaten your baby food already. The snacks would keep you entertained when we were eating. When you were tired you would just fall asleep in the pram as if you were at home. It was quite an adjustment being awake so late for dinner…even for Dad and I, coz their normal dinner time was 10pm. But you hardly ever gave us problems and I just wanted to thank you for that.   
This was a very hot day but loads of fun in Athens
 Something that is super exciting is that your auntie Katie is 6 months pregnant. It was a super surprise for us all but I was so excited to be with her during this time. We got to share pregnancy stories and I tried to calm her fears on the labour process by showing her videos of the day you were born. She is going to have a baby girl…just like you J. Maybe that is why you loved playing with auntie Katie…coz there was a mini you inside her. Uncle Stel was always full of energy when he was with you. His voice would go a tone louder everytime he spoke to you (it would sometimes give me a fright). He would sing – “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands” with real zeal and enthusiasm and you would just beam with excitement and start clapping. It was funny coz sometimes he would sing – “If you know it and you are happy clap your hands” (the tune was right but the words were so off lol) Lol.
I was super glad that you were a good baby but I realised something while travelling. If you look stressed and flustered and have a child with you, they usually let you go ahead of the queue. This was a bit of a bummer because you made us look so calm and composed….so we would have to wait in the queue like normal people. It wasn’t a problem because you were the entertainment for the queue. People would just shoot you smiles and you would smile back. You loved seeing other kids. You would get all excited and point at them with a high pitched scream.
Well I hope the photos tell more about our vacation. I am looking forward to travelling with you more.
I love you always,
Mom

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