Homesickness is a funny thing that can hit you in the most unexpected moments, for example, the other morning when I was driving my eldest son to nursery school. It had been raining all night after the most epic lighting display, and earth-shaking thunderstorms and when my youngest son woke up at 5 am (yes lie-ins are a thing of the past!) much to our surprise, it was still dark. So when we headed out for the daily commute across town to nursery school, I was hit with a pang of that unexpected homesickness. I was instantly transported back to when I used to make the daily commute on a winters morning in the UK; streetlights still on, the familiar glare of the car headlights in the rain and the squeak of the window wipers. I had also left the aircon on low and full blast which compounded this sense of nostalgia, forcing me to shake my head to reset where I was.
I left the UK to move to Africa about six years ago, and I can honestly say I have never looked back. The first time I visited Africa was to Zimbabwe the home of my then boyfriend, now husband and father of my boys. I was 20 years old and full of awe and wonder of this amazingly fertile and beautiful land and, utterly naive. I will put my hands up and say I was very clueless about the continent and never really gave it much thought. In my mind, I had pretty much written it off as the poor starving part of the world that you see in the harrowing adverts on TV with the starving children and their bloated bellies. I quickly discovered how terribly wrong I was!! My first trip to Zimbabwe was mesmerizing, they say that Africa gets in your blood and soul, and they were not wrong there. I knew after that first trip, this is the place that I wanted to live, and where I knew my heart lived. The country sung to me, I felt like I was instantly at home, and I never stopped coming back, until we settled there 6 years ago before heading to Mozambique.
I have been fortunate that in the years I have lived overseas, these moments of homesickness come, wash over me and pass on. Sometimes they leave me with a tear in my eye making me think of the moments I am missing with my family and friends, other times they make me smile thinking of the fond memories I have with them. The tear-jerking moments often leave quite a sting, especially around birthdays, Christmases and other memorable events. But thanks to social media and Skype the world these days is so much smaller, my sister often jokes that we talk more now that I have moved away! So when I am missing my family and want to see my cheeky niece or nephew’s faces, thankfully I can just pick up the phone! The reason I feel that these moments of homesickness are bearable to me is not that I don’t miss my family and friends, trust me that never goes away, but it is because I know I am precisely where I am supposed to be. I have the wholehearted support of my family who come and visit when they can, and they too share my love of this place. I don’t think I would be so comfortable with moving overseas if I didn’t have the support that my family provides me, I am grateful beyond words for that. Now I am creating my own little family, with their own memories and traditions and it is exciting. Every day I wake up and see the sunshine outside and hear the waves crashing and I am content, happy, at home……. and that is an awesome feeling.