Home is where the heart is?

People very often ask why I live in Africa and if I will ever go back home.

Firstly, I did not chose Africa. I (we, at that time) wanted to leave and we were prepared to go (almost) anywhere. So it could even have been Costa Rica or Vietnam. Call it destiny, call it coincidence, but it became Tanzania. Many will be surprised to hear this but I hated it at first. Hated it. Talked about going home about every day. But I feel that if you do not live in a country for at least 2 years, you did not really give it a chance. This is not a scientifically proven fact, this is my opinion. So we stayed.

Secondly, Africa does get under your skin. It just does. The wildlife, the endless views, the weather, the sunsets, the hakuna matata-attitude.  How can you not get affected by that? I will not expand too much on the fact that I met the love of my life in Africa, but maybe it helped that I saw the place through his eyes. He (partly) grew up here, spoke fluent Kiswahili, he even spoke of sweet childhood memories, maybe it softened me up? Who knows.

And I admit: the hakuna-matata attitude is a double-edged sword. When you want someone to come and fix your water, and he says he will come Monday at 10.00 and he shows up Tuesday at 15.00, that can be infuriating. But if you can put yourself over that, there is something to be said for less stress. When I am in Europe, I am even stressed in the shower. The water pours so hard over my head, I feel rushed to wash and rinse faster 🙂

But to me, Arusha is sometimes a micro-cosmos, and life is simplified. The community I move around in, is fairly small, so is the industry I work in. There are obviously people you like less, but no point ignoring them so better learn to live with it. Also, you cannot really buy much so shopping is pretty much out of the question. Therefore following fashion is futile (impossible?) and you feel free to wear whatever you feel comfortable in, so liberating. And because there is less shopping, there is also no rivalry in school about the latest and hottest schoolbag or clothes because the Italian girl is wearing what she bought in Rome and the Indian girl wears her Dehli-outfit, and that is a wealth for my children, no limitation.   In terms of food, we only recently got luxury products such as imported cheese and they are so expensive that you think long and hard about when and why you would wish to indulge. Which is not a bad thing may I add. Not having much also makes you resourceful, makes you think. And yes, I like nice things but I do not depend on them, definitely not derive my self-worth from them.

And whether I will go home. Always an option. A very nice option even. But why not go somewhere else (first)? The options are limitless, no? Soon, the added question will become: where do my girls want to go?



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