It has now been 9 months in South Africa and a year away from home.
In the beginning I felt nothing but excitement at the thought of traveling somewhere new and unknown. I didn’t know how long I would be away, where life would take me or even how I would survive financially. Not only would I be embarking on this amazing trip into the unknown, but I would be doing it with my South African boyfriend that I was beyond infatuated with. As a person that loves to love and loves to travel, the situation couldn’t have been more thrilling for me.
As time went by excitement wore off, the allure of being some kind of vagabond traveller with no direction or responsibilities to answer to hit a whole new harsh reality; life doesn’t get easier because you threw away the one you already had. In the name of love, decisions on a whim and optimism I ran hand in hand with my sweet lover into the unknown. It is a lot harder than it sounds.
I now live in his country, with his family and his friends; if we aren’t getting along, as all human relationships find at one point or another I truly feel the distance between myself and home. I feel as if I am in solitary confinement with no one to call and bitch about him to. It fucking sucks. On the other hand, I get to live in a place that not only is the root of all human genealogy but also a place of huge political and historical significance. The flip side of the coin is that it is also a place full of crime, poverty and racial tension with a massive lack of technology. I understand I am not living in the time of apartheid, but this certainly isn’t the easiest of places to make a name for yourself in. No matter how much I work, my money will always be worth 7 times less than the dollar and a holiday home will take me two years to save up for at my current South African salary.
… but I digress. I have been blessed with an amazing job at a NGO affiliated with one of the largest clothing unions in South Africa. I get to participate in something that I only ever dreamed of. I also get the unique opportunity to work with South African people of varied cultural backgrounds and socio-economic levels, allowing me to have a truly unique insight into life here.
Despite the good, the bad and the judgement, the main thing I have suffered with is homesickness. If there is anything I have learned being away from home, it is that I could go to any glamorous, mysterious or beautiful place in the world but once you live somewhere it is all the same. I still have to work, I still have to do household chores and pay bills; the only difference is I am away from anyone I am truly close to, familiar places and my favourite foods.
Perhaps that goes away with time.