It has been seventy-six days since we last saw our friends and family in Cape Town. I honestly thought that with time, it would get easier, it would get better. Whoever said time heals all was telling one big fat lie, seriously! It does not get better! They were talking nonsense! Yes, over time you get to learn to cope with the emptiness inside. You learn to cope with the loneliness inside and try to fill it with other things but it does not make up for it at all! I miss the random pop-ins at our house by my daddy, I miss Saturdays with my sisters, I miss having my brother for sleep-overs, I miss my grannies, I miss my nephews and nieces, the children miss their cousins terribly and we miss all our family and friends. I often find myself thinking of Cape Town and everything it has to offer like the beautiful mountains with its flora and fauna, stunning beaches, all the halal food, the people as well as everyone we left behind. My heart breaks into a million pieces just thinking about it, just longing for them, just wanting what is familiar to us, just wanting what is normal to us.
Moving to a foreign country, having an opportunity to start all over, earning foreign currency, being able to cycle over to Germany in like 15 minutes, travelling by train anywhere in Europe easily, driving to Switzerland all sounds amazing – it sounds too good to be true right? Well, if you had to ask me five years ago if I could ever picture myself living in France I would probably have laughed and said not at all! I would probably have rolled my eyes and thought that it only happens in the movies haha. Well, Algamdulillah this amazing opportunity was a once in a lifetime opportunity for our family! Just a month before hubby got the proposal we were talking about him travelling the world and us having to stay behind. He was saying that he never enjoyed the travels as he was always alone and could not really explore the countries he visited besides for when I went with him to Seychelles!
So he told me imagine we could travel the world with the children, and go anywhere we wanted to go like Italy, France, Spain, Morocco, Turkey – I still sarcastically said AMEEEEEEN!! lol and just then, Allah accepted the Dua he made. It came from a sincere heart as he always wanted to explore different countries with us and voila! My point I am trying to make is – do not for one minute think that it cannot happen to you and your family. Do not sell yourself short and think it could never happen to you – I am living proof that dreams do come true, Algamdulilah! A plain Jane girl from the Cape Flats nogals living in la France (in my french accent) haha.
So coming back to this amazing opportunity in this foreign country, where English is not the first language. Most of the time I feel like I am wandering alone in this place – in my own bubble. The people sitting right next to me on the tram could be talking shit about me and I would not even know! You only hear foreign languages been spoken around you with no English at all – just imagine that! And when I heard my friend, Anya speak Afrikaans I wanted to hug her because I understood what she was saying and it reminded me of home. Where things are done so differently here from what I am use to – read about that here. Where we alone and have no family or close friends as our support structure. It is very hard and difficult most of the times and is definitely not a walk in the park! It is not so picture perfect like everyone imagines it to be. It is not like in the movies, it is raw with emotions and very heavy at times – Algamdulillah.
People have the impression that we living the life but they fail to realise that we have nobody here, we have to start from scratch which is not easy without our family support and that we only have each other! We all alone and between hubby and I we need to be really strong for the children because if we feeling home sick, I can only imagine how they must be feeling. Birthdays will never be the same, week-ends will never be the same and holidays will never be the same but we make Dua that it gets better and that one day, Insha-Allah we can go back home to visit.
So while we are forever grateful to the Almighty for this amazing opportunity to explore the unknown, to venture into a foreign country, to learn new languages, to make new friends we also need to deal with the other side of it all. The side of having to cope and manage with being home sick, feeling lonely at times and completely left out.
We need to make things as normal for the children as possible. We need to call home as often as we can. We need to consciously ground our children and remind them of their roots – of their Bapaa, their Oumie and Oupie, their Aunties and Uncles, their Groot Oumas – their African roots! As home is where the heart is and that is Cape Town, South Africa all the way!
“When the roots are deep there is no reason to fear the wind” – African Proverb