Monday October 19th was back to business as usual, helping in the nursery with bath time and playing with the kids. Heleen had an orthodontist appointment in the afternoon, so we decided to tag along with her and make an afternoon of it, exploring a bit of Johannesburg. We did some shopping and visited Zoo Lake. We had hopes of hiring one of the little boats and rowing across the artificial lake, unfortunately they were closed on Mondays. But we had a nice time just walking around the lake and checking out the ducks.
That night I was woken up at 2am by the sound of the rats. Normally I hear them occasionally running across the ceiling, but this time it sounded like scratching, and very loud scratching, as though they were coming through the ceiling. I turned on the flashlight on my phone and checked the room, but didn’t see anything. There is a panel on the ceiling, that had always been a bit loose, and when I returned from my Africa tour, I had noticed that it seemed to be hanging a bit lower, but hadn’t thought anything of it until now. I didn’t really see anything except a cord hanging from the panel, but I could still hear the scratching. I shined my light on and off for a while, sitting on my bed, contemplating what to do. Should I just go back to sleep and ignore it, or go sleep in the living room? I decided to shine the light around the room once last time before trying to get back to sleep, only I noticed that the “cord” I had seen earlier was no longer there!!! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! It was a rat tail! Yuck! I grabbed my pillow and blanket and BOLTED from the room. I had a hard time sleeping after that, surprise, surprise. Firstly, I was stressed about the rats (there is also a panel in the living room and although it was shut fairly securely, it still worried me); secondly, the couch is only a loveseat, so I was scrunched up and not very comfortable; thirdly, it was the day of the Canadian Prime Minister elections, so I was stressing about who would win (it’s been a tense election, with the three top parties neck in neck). Needless to say, I barely slept. I’d fall asleep for a bit, wake up, stress about the rats, check on the elections, try to get into a more comfortable position, watch an episode of Friends (Ross Gets A Tan) to take my mind off things and repeat the process until morning. I did run back to my room at one point during the night to turn on the lights and discourage the rats from coming into my room while I slept in the living room. I had nightmares of opening the door in the morning to a bunch of rats running around.
Luckily that didn’t happen, and you bet your a** that when I actually woke up in the morning the first thing I did was find the maintenance guys and get them to nail the panel shut, solving problems 1 and 2. Didn’t need another sleepless night. And my third problem was also solved, as the election results came in and Justin Trudeau and the Liberals won (no more Harper, yay!).
We said goodbye to Heleen, Kim and Amber, as they were heading to Port Elizabeth for a few days, and then it was just Francesca and I. We spent the next few days enjoying our usual routine in the nursery, heading to the mall for free wifi, and watching movies and Friends episodes on a combination of my ipod, iphone and ipad. Francesca had never seen Friends before (uh, whaaaaaaat?), so I introduced her to that classic show. And we also watched Silver Linings Playbook, Bridesmaids and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. She really enjoyed the movies, and I was able to explain anything she didn’t understand either culturally or language-wise (she’s German). We actually had a great time hanging out just the two of us!
The girls were back by Friday, just in time for my last two days at the orphanage. I couldn’t believe it had already been 3 months (and I was only really supposed to have been there for 2). The time had flown by. That day I said goodbye to all the grannies, which was tough as I’d gotten close to quite a few of them (thankfully we have Whatsapp). Saturday morning it was time to say goodbye to all the kiddies and the nursery staff and give them all one last hug. I actually did fine saying goodbye to everyone and packing up the rest of my stuff, but when my ride arrived and I went back one last time to say goodbye to the kids I’d grown closest to that I totally lost it and bawled my eyes out.
And then the mood was lightened when my little J vomited all over the front of my shirt. A nice little parting gift from my baby girl, lol. Then it was time to say goodbye to my fellow volunteers (more tears) and head off for my last night in Johannesburg.
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