When I was 10 I read a book. (Okay, I read a number of books. But you know what I mean.) This book talked about the brothers “Lion Heart”. The older brother saves the younger brother during a fire, but dies himself as a result. He promises his little brother as he dies, “don’t cry, little brother: We’ll see each other again in Nangyala.”
Some time later the younger brother dies from a disease. He transitions to Nangyala, where his big brother is waiting for him, and they have many adventures together. Eventually the younger one dies while saving the older brother, but he puts him at ease: “Don’t cry, big brother – we’ll see each other again in Nangilima.” And Nangilima appears to be a place full of light.
Feels to me as though Iain transitioned straight to Nangilima, while the children and I moved to Nangyala. The rules in Ireland are so vastly different from South Africa, it might as well be a parallel universe. When we arrived here, it felt as though the plane travelled through a time portal, or some interdimensional portal (yes, I know, it all just looked like pretty clouds and circular rainbows…). Even colours are different here, and the temperatures – they are a completely different story. 25 degrees used to be comfortable, spring temperature. Here, it’s a heat wave. A heat wave in South Africa is upwards of 38°C.
Children are more versatile than authors and they have found their balance by now. I haven’t yet – studying the systems like crazy, and apparently running in small circles. But – put on my grinning face and meet every new plot twist as though it were my Big Break – because for all I can tell, it might just be. Nangyala is weird that way.
Tomorrow my son graduates from 4th year. That’s the “transition year” between junior and leaving cert. We’ve been here a whole academic year. It doesn’t feel like it. I’m amazed. Time moves differently too – but I think that has more to do with my head and the task at hand than with anything here. Some days I wonder if I’ll ever normalize.
I’ll keep you posted. (Sirens in the background… could it be the people with the white jackets…)