Moving countries is not for sissies, I know that now. When we decided to leave South Africa we were tasked with the mammoth challenge of getting rid of 95% of our belongings and doing all the admin involved in closing down a life in a country (i.e. closing accounts, making a plan if you need a document from that country while you’re far and booking tickets).
When you start planning these things out, before actually doing them, you talk yourself into believing that it’s not going to be so stressful and you’ll actually have a lot of time to spend making memories with your friends… so I convinced myself that it’d be a good idea to volunteer at an office during the mornings and take a 1 week makeup course in the afternoon. Some people call that madness (and you should check yourself before you wreck yourself), I call it self preservation!
Sell your life
I started a Facebook group to post all our belongings and added our local friends, so they could have dibs. It turns out that something simple as taking a picture and tagging a price to it can get a person quite overwhelmed! You don’t really realize how much crap you have until you have to sell it! So, the best strategy was to do it in bits… Big items first, smaller items last.
The one recurring question that people would ask me throughout this process was:
“Isn’t it weird/hard to have people come see and buy your stuff?”
For the most part, it was kinda liberating. Because with every item sold, I realized it was one less thing to deal with.
But I must say that when the first few items started to go, I was finding in my heart thoughts like: “This item deserves a better home than what it’s getting.” and “These people are not worthy of this item.” Absolutely ridiculous, I know. I did pick it up early enough on it and checked my heart. And I found that, indeed, this is a chance to bless people, start over and find less dependency on things. Minimalism is a freeing experience!
Letting go of our flat
For those of you who know us and have been to our flat, you know how special that place was for us! We left the flat a few days before we needed to hand the keys over (because living without a fridge, an oven or a microwave in the midst of a heatwave proved to be very challenging and not good for our mental state) but kept spending the days there to finish cleaning and, frankly, to soak up the last few minutes in that place.
When the 31st finally came and we headed to the flat to meet the inspector, I had a knot in my stomach. As easy as it was getting rid of our belongings, letting go of the place I called home for the last 6 years was not. I realize now that the feeling I had wasn’t of sadness, but of immense gratitude!
That home was the place I got to live next door to good friends, the place where many dinner parties filled my heart and stomach, the place where me and my husband shared our first kiss and the place of our first home together!
But alas, we handed over the keys and, flooded with gratitude, we said goodbye to our first home, trusting a better one will come along!
Saying goodbye to our friends
That is, by far, the worst part of this entire process.
When I mentioned in the beginning that making myself busy was actually self preservation, I wasn’t lying.
I hold my friendships in extreme high regard and I knew that if I had free time to sit and dwell in the fact that we were leaving I wouldn’t have gotten much done.
In some ways, I guess, we’re both still in denial that this is a permanent move. But in that last week, when I did have the time to dwell in the reality of our move, I allowed myself to go through the emotions, to shed a few tears whilst saying goodbye to dear friends and I was once again filled with immense gratitude over an incredible season that forged those deep rooted friendships that I will carry with me for years to come!
So, in the end, how could I express gratitude for a nation that has given me so much? A Mother City who opened her arms and gave me a home for the last 10 years? It was there that I found who Caroline is and where I learned to be an adult. It was there I met my husband and there that we shared our first home together. It was there that I started to appreciate wine and biltong. But most importantly, it was there that incredible friendships were forged and there that I was sustained by them countless times! South Africa will leave its mark and I’ll always carry it with me. It has changed me to my core and, like a protea, it has made me stronger and perseverant in the winds of change of this life. So here it is… the only way I found to appropriately express my gratitude to this rainbow nation!
THANK YOU South Africa 🇿🇦
I LOVE YOU ❤️