My journey of deciding to take a leap of faith and relocate to a different/new city started exactly a year ago which makes this the perfect time to be writing this piece. I remember the day like it was yesterday.
Because I’ve lived at home my entire life with my entire family, and being fresh out of uni, without a significant other, which could have been a major deciding factor, in my mind it was only logical for me to move to a different city, besides the fact that I’d be leaving a few good friends behind. It was time for change and stepping out of my comfort zone, so upon receiving the news that I was offered a job in Johannesburg, I had no doubts and was extremely chuffed. This all happened about 2 months before the job would commence.
Little did I know, that as the time grew closer, strange things would begin to happen: I began to feel more and more stressed out and emotional, thinking things like ‘how good I had it and how comfortable and easy things would be if I just stayed, not to mention the blue skies, lush mountains and pretty beaches in Cape Town, which would be lacking in Jhb. All these thoughts made it harder to convince myself that this was the right decision; nonetheless, I pushed through because I had already accepted the job and booked my flight:D
I remember the tears all started the night before the move and every single time I looked at a family member (my mother especially), I’d start balling my eyes out: it was uncontrollable. If there were a tablet to prevent or stop me from crying altogether, I’d pay anything for it. Unfortunately, I just had to deal with the puffy eyes and the constant ball in my throat. Never in my life had I cried as much as I did during that time, and the really weird thing is: you don’t realize how much something like moving on your own to a new place can affect you until the time actually comes. You can speak as much as you like about your dreams of being independent and start fresh but when you come from such a close-knit family with such extraordinary friends in your life, there’s no doubt you’ll be an emotional wreck when that time comes.
Granted Johannesburg is only a 2 hour flight and approx. 1400km from Cape Town (home) but when you’ve lived your entire life in the same place with the same people, time and distance is irrelevant, or rather the amount of them are one and the same.
My first few weeks, or rather days in Jhb weren’t that bad considering the previous days; at the same time, they weren’t my best days either. I’d be doing the dishes and I’d start crying, I’d be in the bath and I’d start crying. Once again, the tears were uncontrollable and would appear at any time and there was nothing I could do except endure it. But I had to prove to myself that I was able to do this and so I stuck it out.
I am introverted by nature and my circle in Cape Town is very small which didn’t help with the move and so I knew that the only way to make it work was by stepping out of my comfort zone and meeting new people, making the effort to go out and get to know them.
I was fortunate enough to have a job that was stimulating and to work for a company with really cool people and an amazing atmosphere and culture, which helped take my mind off of being homesick, but moreover I was lucky to have met the people I’ve met during my transition.
“Sometimes home isn’t 4 walls, it’s 2 eyes and a heartbeat”.
Looking back now, a year ago, this was the best decision I’ve ever made for myself. Yes, I moved away from amazing people, my family and friends back home but I lost none of them, I just made room for more and gained more friends and became closer to distant family in the process. I have learned so many things about different cultures, religion and people in general and about myself, things I would never have learned had I not decided to move.
“The best education you will ever get is traveling. Nothing teaches you more than exploring the world and accumulating experiences”
But most importantly, I see how much I’ve grown because of it. I am not the same person I was a year ago: actually I am, just an improved, stronger version of the “then” me!!
If there’s any advice I could offer to anyone looking to relocate it would be to:
- Be open-minded; you’ll meet new people who may tend to think and do things differently than what you’re used to which may or may not lead you to do the same.
- Be patient with yourself; the worst thing is to be a coward and not give it time. Like any sickness, homesickness will pass.
- Have a look at the film: Brooklyn (2015). I watched this movie not too long ago and I could relate 100%. “You’ll feel so homesick that you’ll want to die, and there’s nothing you can do about it apart from endure it. But you will, and it won’t kill you. And one day the sun will come out – you might not even notice straight away, it’ll be that faint. And then you’ll catch yourself thinking about something or someone who has no connection with the past. Someone who’s only yours. And you’ll realize… that this is where your life is.”
- Embrace the change your life will be going through.
– Siddiqah Rinquest