Africa Herself

I'm ridiculously sentimental.

More than I wish I were, at times.

Places, songs, dates, smells, sounds... they all can instantly transport me back in time. Memories and meaning are attached to everything. Everywhere.

Which means I'm forever celebrating -iversaries. Friendiversary. Nashiversary. Monthiversary. Homeiversary. And yesterday? Yesterday was my Africaversary.

April 14, 1998 was the day I moved to South Africa.

A lifetime ago I lived there for 13 years.

I get that it's no longer really an -iversary since I don't live there anymore. But my heart hasn't gotten the memo. April 14th will always equal Africa. 18 years later (damn, I'm getting old), the sheer date on the calendar still escorts me right back...

I was 19 years old.

I landed in Johannesburg with two very-full suitcases, $200 in my pocket, and a heart drunk on a cocktail of faith, naïveté, foolishness, and passion. And what followed was a lifetime's worth of loving and laughing and leading on rich African soil that took root in my heart as deeply as I dug my roots into hers.

And somehow, in some strange, undeniably orchestrated way, Africa led me to Nashville.

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And so yesterday I celebrated my 18-year Africaversary, right here in Tennessee, with a bottle of 13-year old South African wine... which seemed so oddly fitting and perfect and surreal and peculiar, all at the same time.

With the very real understanding that everything sweet is bitter and everything bitter is sweet, I raised my glass.  

Because this wine?

This wine is bold and strong.

It's complicated and complex and multi-layered. It tells entire stories with its bountiful color and aroma and taste. It's both intoxicating and sobering... and completely other worldly.

Each sip is Africa herself.

Each sip is me.