Last minute flights, jumping out of car boots and the importance of families

Hi all
Wow, what a hectic week!  As you all know, I have been planning on going to South Africa for a while and it wasn’t long before I had to leave.  Having been born in Johannesburg, I still have a lot of family there including my Mum.  We are very close and she has been ill for some time now and I was looking forward to seeing her and hoping to make her feel a little better.
Last Friday, I called her and discovered that her condition had worsened and she was all on her own (her sister usually lives with her but was away at the time).  I decided then and there that I would fly out immediately as I couldn’t bear the thought of sitting and waiting another week for my flight.
So, while I was talking to her last Friday, I contacted my good friend, Angelique, who usually picks me up from the airport when I fly out to South Africa and I explained what was going on. We have been friends since we were about 4 and since she is like a sister to me and an adoptive daughter to my Mum, she is more like family than a friend.
I have always wanted to surprise my Mum by just arriving on the doorstep and even though the circumstances weren’t so nice this time, I just had to take the opportunity to surprise her.
Within 2 hours of talking to her, I was on my way to London Heathrow with two suitcases which had been frantically thrown together.  I had booked a flight with British Airways to Johannesburg and then a further flight from Johannesburg to Durban with Mango Airlines (yes, that really IS their name and yes, the planes really ARE that colour!).
Some last minute texting and rearranging for my plans on the weekend and lots of well wishes from my friends for my Mum and I boarded my British Airways flight just on 7 hours after I had spoken to her.  The excitement and nerves were unbelievable.
Thanks to Dramamine, I had a great flight and arrived in Johannesburg after enjoying the standard rubbery omelette and mushrooms served at the delightful hour of 05:00.  The waiting time in Johannesburg was unbearable – 3 hours felt like 10 hours!!!
Finally after paying ZAR25 per kilogram for my excess baggage (I DID say that the suitcases were frantically thrown together), I climbed on board my flying orange machine heading for Durban.  The one hour flight luckily went quickly and before I knew it we were flying over the green hills and sparkling blue sea of Kwa-Zulu Natal.  It was all tears and hugs when I met my friend, Angelique. Once the soppy greetings were over, we immediately resumed our plotting as to how to surprise my Mum.
The journey from King Shaka Airport just north of Durban to my Mum’s house is roughly 30-40 minutes and the whole time was spent giggling and planning.  Eventually we decided on a plan and when we reached the top of my Mum’s road, we pulled over, put the seats down in the back, pushed the luggage through and then…wait for it… I climbed into the boot.
We buzzed at my Mum’s gate and went in.  Angelique parked and went inside faking some anger and irritation. “You won’t believe this!”, she cried, “Come and look what someone has done to the boot of my car!”.  I heard my Mum’s voice, “Oh no, you’re joking, Ange.  What’s happened?” and then I heard them walk out where I was waiting.  My heart was thumping and I could already feel the tears forming in my eyes.  Finally the moment arrived and Angelique opened the boot and slowly I crept out.  At first there was a squeal and then her hands flew to her mouth, the tears burst through and she repeated over and over again, “Oh my God, oh my God!!”
“Surprise!”, I said softly and threw my arms around her now sobbing body.
And so, exactly 24 hours after I had spoken to my Mum, I had flown to the other side of the world to see her and help her feel better.
I can quite easily say, that it was really the most wonderful thing, I have ever, ever done.

Many thanks to my brother Mark, Angelique and my Auntie Jan who helped with the secret, gave me last minute lifts to the airport and supported me during my journey.  I love you all madly x x x

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