Thoughts on Goodbyes

This evening we’re going to a little farewell gathering for some friends who are leaving the island to go back home. This will definitely not be the last time we say goodbye to new friends here, but it is the first. And as I feel the loss of the great energy they bring to our social circle here and the gap their absence will leave behind – it’s getting me thinking about the nature of goodbyes.

In my adult life I’ve said the word “goodbye” a lot as we’ve moved around from place to place. I live far away from where I grew up and far away from my family so in fact, I feel like I’m constantly saying goodbye, and it doesn’t seem to get any easier with practise.

It’s a sticky word. A loaded one. A word that closes chapters – but also opens new ones.Read More »

Home from Home

I feel like a bit of a mutt, nationality-wise. My passport and birthplace call me British, my upbringing and my heart say I’m South African. Born in one place, raised in another – and now raising my own family here, there and everywhere – sometimes I’m a bit fuzzy about my national identity, about where “home” is.

I’m fuzzy, that is, until the exact moment, once a year or so, I step off a 747 on to the tarmac at Cape Town International Airport. And then it all becomes startlingly clear.

For me the simple truth is that “Home” is more than where the heart is.

Home is where the sky opens up to embrace you, where the smell in the air and the breeze on your face sing a familiar song and your heart relaxes. Where they know you without any need for explanation. Where street corners and memories are inseparable from one another and the bird song in the morning is like a language you’d almost forgotten was your mother tongue. Read More »

The year I refused to be happy

I have just recently packed up my worldly possessions for the fourth time. My family and I are holed up in temporary accommodation while we wait for visas to come through allowing us to move on to a new country and a new life… There have been a couple of nasty surprises over the last few months – our visas were delayed, our home was let out before we could request to stay on longer, and our new (one bedroom!) apartment has no bath tub and no microwave – two items I would previously have considered relatively indispensable with two kids under 3… And yet here I am; while my current mood couldn’t exactly be described as “relaxed” (“laid-back” I have never been accused of being…), I find myself taking it surprisingly in my stride. You see, this isn’t my first time…Read More »