On Monday me and some colleagues were talking about this expat life we are living here in Libya and they were saying how difficult it is to adjust to a new culture without the support network you have back home. I think what makes it so much harder for them is the fact that for them it is their first experience out of Brazil.
I think this is why my adaptation here hasn’t been so difficult as this is the third time I’ve had to restart in a new place. I’ve been out of South Africa since July 2002 and despite missing home all the time, I’ve become, well, almost numb to the homesickness. Yes there are times when the pangs of homesickness completely overwhelms the numbness and those moments are the really difficult ones, but once again with time I developed my own way to deal with it.
When I think about my move to London I am reminded of how difficult it was. Going from a small South African town to a massive city. Getting used to going from an almost mono-cultural environment in my town to the dynamic multi-cultural city that is London. Getting used to walking and taking public transport as opposed to driving everywhere. Getting used to the awful British weather as opposed to the sunny paradise that is South Africa.
Though the hardest thing of all, was not being around my parents, my brothers, my aunts, uncles cousins and friends. But once again with time you get used to not having these important people around you though it doesn’t mean you don’t miss them. You always miss them. Always. No matter what. But each person finds ways of at least numbing that feeling of missing them.
In one way this nomadic lifestyle I’ve chosen to adopt has one great advantage. Every time you move to a new place, it gets easier to get over the initial shock of a new location. The big downside of this is that in every place you make new friends which at some point you know are going to say bye to.
I’ve been lucky to have made some amazing friends in London and in Abu Dhabi, not to mention the friends I’ve made while travelling as well. But what this nomadic lifestyle does offer you is meeting up with friends again in places you’d least expect it. I will actually dedicate a page to this on the blog soon.
So this blog entry is a really a shout out to my friends and family in South Africa, UK and now UAE. I miss you guys more than you could imagine!