After 9 months on USA soil, I am finally back under the African skies.
As the plane hit the Durban runway, my heart leapt at the joy of being home and my eyes welled with tears as the airport sliding doors revealed my family and best friend standing on the other side.
Two whole days of travel (from Redding to San Fran to Dubai to Durban) is a brutal companion for a lone traveller, but the destination awaiting me was worth the uncomfortable airplane chairs.
Being back in my homeland is a longing fulfilled. Towards the end of my American adventure, I began to yearn for my country, culture, and people. Living outside of these familiarities is no small challenge. After living away from South Africa for the amount of time I did, I realized that there are things that we all take for granted daily that we are unaware we are taking for granted. Example: Friends with whom you have a long history of relationship; Places soaked with memories that stretch as far back as childhood; Family members that live one bedroom away at least or one car ride away at most.
Before I moved away, these things had become luxuries that valued far less than I should have. I'd never had to live without them nor did I ever imagine having to.
When I boarded that plane that carried me to a land far, far away, I was bored with all things familiar and needed a taste of life outside the nest. Don't get my wrong, I had such a good time, that this coming August I'll be doing it over again, but I guess since having my feet planted in South African soil once again, things are being viewed from new perspectives.
It's odd to be standing as a person who has changed and transformed so much, in a place and amongst people that don't seemed to have changed at all. Things are mostly the way I left them, yet why does it feel that 9 months away has allowed me to feel as though I'm tasting for the first time, things that were once my everyday norm? Everything about my country, home, family and friends seems new and different, yet there are still faint traces of years of familiarity that cling to them.
Every day I've been looking outside my window and wondering if it's gotten more beautiful since I've been gone, or if the lenses of familiarity just clouded me from seeing and appreciating this evident beauty all along. I think it's the latter.
I am simply adoring my 'new' Durban lifestyle as if I've never lived it before. I've gotten to watch the sun rise over the ocean and set over the rippling sugar cane fields once again. I've been able to surf the Indian oceans and see dolphins swim by yet again.
It hurts my heart a little to know that there are South Africans with hearts bent negatively towards this country and desires of running away to seemingly greener pastures. Take it from someone who once thought the same, it doesn't get a whole lot greener than this.
So, if anybody needs me I'll just be soaking up all this South African goodness over the next few months, and strike me down if I ever forget what a good life it is!