Last week we left the African continent and are now settling into our lives back home. We ended it like we began - keeping busy. A last road trip here. A final safari there. A flurry of goodbye parties and farewell dinners. Until we simply ran out of days and our flights had to be boarded. Saying goodbye is never easy. And there is so much we will miss. And we will never forget Africa.
I have no regrets about our family's time in South Africa. When we came to Johannesburg in early 2010, we had the benefit of having a prior expat assignment under our belts. That made a huge difference - not so much in terms of navigating a new country but in terms of our attitude towards it and life in general. What I mean is we knew to leave out nothing from the start.
It is almost time for us to move back to the United States. I've been driving around my beloved Joburg almost in a daze this past week, running last minute errands. Everywhere I turn I seem to come across a sight which has me catching my breath. Like the view of the Magaliesberg in the distance, especially after a rain clearing all the dust, when driving up William Nicol from Sandton.
As our moving date is drawing nearer, I'm doing a pretty good job of banning the reality of it from my mind. Goodbye parties and coffees and brunches have come and gone and still I haven't uttered a single goodbye to anyone, settling instead on vague I'll-probably-see-you-next-week's instead. I'm terrible at saying goodbye. What has kept me from getting depressed is the business of moving.
As expats, getting the word that it’s time to move back home sucks, because it never comes at the right time. Maybe there is no right time, just as there is no right time to become an expat in the first place. In theory everyone agrees that they want to move back at some point, and everyone has a long list of things they miss, but when the actual time comes, no one is ready.
I've written about my love of Africa before. The natural beauty of the landscapes. The incredibly friendly and cheerful people. The stunning skies, particularly at sunrise and sunset. But at the top of the list of things to love about Africa has to be its music. From the time you set foot on African soil until the time you leave, you are surrounded by music.
Back in graduate school, about a lifetime ago, I remember meeting a student by name of Rahul. He was Indian, in name and appearance, but from Africa, as he would quickly point out when asked about his origins. He was something of a free spirit, not fitting into any mold you might try to find for ...
Just a quick post to tell you that we’re back in Johannesburg, where a day of bright sunshine is just as sure as a power outage while you’re gone. Thank goodness Sibu, our domestic, checked everything while we were gone, or we’d now be dealing with a very smelly freezer oozing all ...