Last week I went to a fantastic South African owned restaurant to celebrate a family friend’s visit to London from Cape Town. The atmosphere was jolly, the extensive wine list was certainly appreciated, and a wave of nostalgia crashed over me. I couldn’t help feel, surrounded by familiar accents and seeing biltong on the menu, that I could be sitting back home in South Africa. My use of the word ‘home’ itself was then internally called into question.
I first really considered the concept of home upon a visit back to Cape Town after two years of living in London. I was so excited about this giant city, heaving with new adventure and lived at a pace faster than light. Describing my new life to friends and family I found myself using the word ‘home’. Back in London and still proudly Saffer, I would use the same word to describe Cape Town. Could I do that? Could a person be allowed to have two homes?
Add another five years and I still cannot answer that question, but it’s taken on a more serious angle since submitting my nationality application a few months ago. When asked casually how long I intend to stay, my only response is until it isn’t fun anymore. I’m still here, have no intention of moving back (yet) – does that mean I can still call Cape Town home? Perhaps it’s just the fabled seven year itch that we’ve all heard about, or the home-sickness generated by seeing photographs of family celebrations I can’t attend.
Back to the restaurant. Upon leaving the heavens opened and I walked through my first rainfall in quite a while (in UK terms) thinking that this was indeed where I belonged. If home is where the heart is, as the cliché says, then I most certainly have two. The first one raised me, the second I made my own.
“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” Lao Tzu