The first week we arrived in Beira there was no electricity in the whole of the city, complete blackout. We had just driven 8 hours from Zimbabwe with two dogs, in the dark with no idea of where our house was, with temperatures hitting a cooking 40 degrees with 100% humidity, and no water or electricity!! Welcome to Beira!! So what do you do? You cry and scream a bit then you suck it up and make a plan! So we dragged one of the mattresses outside next to the pool, covered ourselves in mozi spray and soaked our sheets in the pool water and attempted some sleep!! Can’t say it was the best night sleep I had ever had but we survived our first night!
The next morning came, life always seems a bit brighter in the sunshine, and operation “living in Beira” begun! I have been very fortunate in my life and been lucky to have had some amazing friends, be it at school, uni, or in the different places we have lived. When we arrived in Beira we were in the pre-baby section of our lives making social interactions easier, nothing like a few tequilas to break the ice and get to know people, so I was not worried about meeting new friends. But what I was not prepared for was the number of goodbyes I would have to say.
I was welcomed into the community with open arms, with offers of coffee, drinks, dinners, and trips around town so I could learn my way around the bright lights of Beira. I made a fantastic first impression, NOT, while out for dinner with potential new friends. There was me thinking I could still polish off a bottle of red in the heat…..yep it wasn’t pleasant! But I must have made an alright impression as we went on to be great friends for the next few years.
You see, being an expat, you get used to saying goodbye to your loved ones back at home on a yearly basis. That dreaded last few days at home when everyone is avoiding the fact that you are leaving, so you don’t have to face the reality of another heartbreaking “see you soon,” but you know you will see them again. But here in Beira, you don’t always know when you will see those friends again when you wish them on their way to another adventure. Living in this expat world is difficult, you have to get used to saying goodbye, a lot, and it’s tough! You are of course super happy and filled with excitement for the friend on the next leg of their journey but, you can’t help but be disappointed.
Due to the friendly nature of the expats and Mozambicans, I have been fortunate to have made some wonderful friends here in Beira. When you are all bundled together in a place like Beira you build very close relationships quicker than you would in the “real world.” These friends become your family away from home, the aunties and uncles to your children, the brothers and sisters you left all those miles away. You support each other through the tough days, usually with tears, laughter and of course wine….lots of wine, and you celebrate the awesome days when life couldn’t get any better. There isn’t a huge amount to do here, so you rely on each other to keep yourselves entertained and occupied; unless you work then you have no free time! You build playgroups and play dates for your children and learn to become super creative at keeping those little minds occupied….thank you Pinterest!
Beira is like living in the transit lounge, people come and go, and if you are here for the long run that’s a lot of goodbyes! But still, after all this heartache, I wouldn’t change this way of life for anything. I now have so many friends all over the world, and I know we will meet again somewhere along the line in this bizarre, crazy journey that we call life.
It’s never goodbye here in Beira it’s always, see you later………