When thinking about this blog post, how could “visiting home” mean so many different things.. As the journey of immigration continues to unfold, you learn what the meaning of home really is.
I have come to understand that “home” isn’t only my parents house, or the place I grew up in. Home is a feeling, sweet memories you hold dear, types of food and experiences…however, home for me has become the people I have near to me – whether virtually or my little family of 5. Home boils down to the relationships I have with friends and family – providing a safe place, comfort during a storm, prayer during the good and bad, love and laughter. This is home.
After living in the UK for 2 years, we booked a trip to South Africa – despite the covid uncertainties. What was meant to be 3 weeks, ended up being 6.5. Of course being home meant we could enjoy all the things we knew and grew up experiencing, but the reality also set in… Thinking we were going home and yet when we were there, feeling like we didn’t belong… was a surreal experience. How could the place you’ve called home your whole life, no longer be? But the new place you call home isn’t home either – so where do you really belong and fit in?
The journey of immigration is a tough one to articulate. Twists, turns, unexpected emotions, doubts, highs and lows – you name it, you’ll experience it.
We soon realised that visiting South Africa was really about refuelling our love tanks and seeing our people, our community. It’s the intangible moments and feelings we experienced with the people we love that made leaving so much harder than what I thought it would be. Leaving home this time round, was a lot tougher than when we packed up to move to the UK.
Experiencing African sunsets, the smell of the bush (if you’re South African you’ll know what I mean), a good thunderstorm, braai’ing marshmallows, laughing with old friends, bumping into someone you know at the shops or simply driving past a place where you’re reminded of a memory made with someone… it’s all these things that made our trip worth while.
We were so fortunate to make more memories with the people we love. It’s these moments of “home” that we carry with us as we continue to journey through expat life, one day at a time. How incredibly blessed we are to have the home we do, even if it’s more virtual than anything else right now.
The pictures aren’t perfect, but the memories are.