I have an odd relationship with moving in general, it is one of those love – hate relationships, the excitement of new, of change, of decorating and painting and renovating has always filled me with excitement and anticipation of what I can create out of what we have bought.
I have been in love with many things throughout my life, from sweets to jobs to houses to men to moving, but I am getting to the stage where the love of moving is starting to wane. A standard joke with one of my best friends (who has known me since I was 6 years old), is that on the purchase of a house we time it to between 18 months to 2 yrs before we move on. She finds the situation of our moving habits hysterical, especially when I adamantly state that this will be our last move, her laugh reverberates echoing through my head like an empty drum.
Steve and I started off our lives together in Mmabatho / Mafikeng over 22 years ago, we moved to 2 different houses in the space of 2 1/2 years. Joburg was a similar pattern, the first house we ever purchased in Weltevreden Park was on the wrong side of the highway iow you needed padkos (packed food) if you wanted to go anywhere to visit friends, 18 months later we were living in a garden cottage waiting for the right place to purchase. 18 months later we found a townhouse in a complex and that became our 2nd wonderful little abode in Joburg, just down the road from Cresta.
2 years later, we were looking again. We wanted something bigger with a garden, more of a family home. The eclectic art deco suburb of Greenside drew our attention, with little restaurants and diverse shops down the road, the Zoo and Emmarentia dam close by. A “needs a little love” home, where we sanded floors, doors and skirting boards, painted walls Fung Shei colours, rebuilt the garden and spent hours refurbishing. 2 years later we needed a home that had already been loved and moved around the corner, to our dream home. This one lasted a little longer, Sean and Jess were both born in the house and we lived there happily for an entire 4 years (the longest we have ever been in one home for). We loved it, wooden floors and art deco lines defined it. I laughed at my friends pessimism, but my love of viewing houses on show days started niggling and nipping again and pretty soon I my addiction needed to be sated and off I would go, sometimes dragging Steve with me.
Our house was on a busy road and we both felt it was time to move to a quieter street where if by some odd chance the gate was left open and by some odd chance the kids happened to ride out on their bikes (not bloody likely in South Africa with the crime that the gates were ever left open) we needed to ensure the kids were safe! The house hunting began, my friend started laughing, ok so we lasted 4 years, the itch was gaining momentum.
One of my friends parents decided to sell their house in Emmarentia (down the road from us) and we bought it, I spent the next 2 years renovating, knocking down walls, building outside ones, pulling carpets and sanding floors, building cupboards and bookshelves and dining room dressers, knocking out windows and making french doors into the garden, laying paving, pulling plants and replanting…. between myself, the builder and the interior decorator, the house was transformed and we only had to build the entertainment area to complete it. Then Steve got the call. We sold the house and moved, not just to a new house 2 1/2 years later, but to a new country. My heart broke, this was the house I had spent my life fixing, the house we were going to spend forever in…..bloody right!
So we moved 10 000kms across the continent, the Suez Canal and the Dessert to land in Qatar. We moved into a hotel for 2 weeks and then into our Villa, I hated it. Back to townhouse type living, no garden only bricks outside….we lasted 2 months and we moved into an apartment building. Hell if we had no garden at least we could have a view. 2 years later, yes we moved…..to a better villa with a garden I can spit across, but at least we have grass, we have trees, we have flowers and a small vege patch. We have better. We have been here for 1 year now, do you think it will last longer than 2.
Hmmm I am not so sure. The itch is starting, being an expat has been fun but this time it is not about the building or the itch to create another piece of art, because you cannot create much here. I have no inspiration to plant and create and paint and love this place I am in. It is just a place to me, it is not a home. Which is sad really. I see 4 walls in each room and I have no inspiration to do anything with them. I have had the paint swatches for months and months now and still no inspiration to actually do anything with them. They may well have made it to each of the rooms, but dammit still nothing.
My painting lies in the lounge, waiting for my passion to ignite again, but still I have non to give.
Please don’t get me wrong, I do not regret this adventure, we have seen amazing places, travelled to countries I would not normally have gone to, experienced cultures and people I would never ordinarily have met and lived an experience that only few expats get to live.
We are here for a while still, but I miss my normality, my people, my family, my friends and my country.
I have missed too much, and perhaps it is what I have missed this year that has made me feel ever so home sick, my best friends 50th, my two nieces 16th and 21st birthdays, my father’s 80th birthday, these things are what I don’t want to miss anymore. I don’t want to miss the next big birthday, being able to travel to visit my folks and be there in under 4 hours, to have my children know their heritage, love their countries sport, history and beauty. There is too much to miss in life, this journey must be one of living for now, to experience life for now and not waiting for later.
We are going home in 4 weeks time. I am looking forward to the rolling hills and crashing ocean, the quaint arty shops, the quirky music and South African people, having the people I love and adore being around me, to authenticity, to openness, to trust, to love, to family, to real friendships and to being just me again.