I grew up in the lush hills of Ixopo in KwaZulu Natal. It’s been 10 years since I lived there and even back then, it was only for a couple of years, in between going ‘other’ places. Since I was 10 years old, I wanted to travel and explore the world. It must have been the wanderlust gene, born with a hunger to explore!
It completely ‘ceased’ to be home when I got married and moved to Zimbabwe. Suddenly I found myself in a different world; one of hyper-inflation, power cuts and water cuts, queues to buy food and dealing with brief cases of dollar notes! It was my rather harsh introduction into life north of the Limpopo and a few years later, life as an expat in Africa.
On my previous departure from my old home town, a friend said to me, ‘Lianne you’ll hate it, that life in the bush. No bright lights, no dazzling career, no malls, no movies, no trendy restaurants. What will you do with all your time?’
But back then, I had no idea where this road would take me; of what I’d experience, of what I’d see and of what I’d learn. Since leaving ‘home,’ I’ve acquired a taste for dust, dirt, markets, bumpy roads, violent thunder storms and second hand clothes! I’ve also acquired a whole lot more patience for inefficiency and bad drivers (!) as well as tolerance and building friendships with people so very different to myself. And above all, I’ve acquired a sense of fluidity, of accepting and moving with what life gives.
“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” -Maya Angelou
Living in Africa has given me a different perspective on life. The unusual has become the usual. I’m familiar and comfortable in a bustling roadside market, of maneuvering around goat and cow jams, of being delayed, of Kamikaze cyclists…and even rat kebabs! With certainty, I can say that I love this life and am going to miss it!
Never in my wildest dreams, did I think I’d be going back to my home town! My husband has been offered an opportunity in Ixopo in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa – at the very place I grew up.
For the last few years, I’ve worn a different pair of shoes. And I wonder where these shoes might take me in South Africa – in a place I once called home and will again.
I have 2 weeks left of living in Malawi. These next few posts will be about the little inconspicuous moments and scenes I have come to know and love.
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.” – T. S. Eliot