When home isn’t home anymore


Having lived in Mauritius for the past year and having been visiting Cape Town for the past 6 weeks I’ve been haunted by the fact that ‘home, doesn’t feel like home anymore’.

Visiting friends and family, frequenting favorite places that we’ve missed in our time away. Coming from an island where these things aren’t possible so we try to fit in as much as we can but lately there’s a voice that whispers in my ear….’home isn’t home anymore’.

I drive past familiar sights, I pass through old familiar neighborhoods that aren’t my home no more. I walk into shops where I am still recognized and it feels like but a day have passed. My library card is still active and I can walk in the mall and see plenty of people I know and kids that I’ve taught, all with a story to share about the year that has passed. We are happy to see one another and excited to share a few words. But once we part ways I know deep in my heart, ‘home isn’t home anymore’.

I booked my holiday with much anticipation as a year is long but also so short. Two months away sounded like bliss as I didn’t want’t to spend Christmas and New Year’s on the island with hubby away. What happened was that I was alone in any case. Surrounded by loved ones but not ‘home’ anymore. For 6 weeks now I’ve been longing for ‘home’ as to me home now spells where I lie my head and where hubby comes home.

I don’t believe Mauritius is our ‘forever’ place, more like a stepping stone into what lies beyond but for the moment it is my place that I call home. I don’t necessarily long for the island but I do long for home. For what is now familiar and for what is now our family’s new normal. I long for the fully furnished rental with the handful of personal belongings that we’ve taken along.

Moving from family to friends and back again, couch to couch, bed to bed, these past few weeks; I can honestly say I am done! I’m tired and I long for my own space. Super blessed as I am to have so many friends and family members offering us a place to stay and as much as I enjoy being here I now long for my own bed, my own kitchen, my own bathroom, my own everything. As comfortable as I am staying with all my favorite peeps I am now tired of living out of my suitcase, tired of having to put a smile on my dial when all I want is to sit on my couch and watch a movie or read my book in peace and quiet. As much fun as we’re having catching up it is utterly exhausting to fit into everyone else’s routine every day and not being able to have your own.

Couchsurfing is good because it makes me appreciate even more that having a home and a bed is not to be taken for granted. Having said all that, having moved house and or towns, provinces and even countries 19 times in 17 years I’ve always maintained that home is where your heart is.

Yes, my a huge part of my heart is still in Cape Town with my friends and family and my favorite places, my beloved Table Mountain, my Cape Town beaches, my long drives around the Cape Peninsula, my trips up to the West Coast to see the family. My heart is still here where my girl-child wants to stay when mom returns to Mauritius. My heart is still here where I can jump in my car to see friends, in George, Ceres or even Gauteng or wherever, whenever my heart desires to do so. But my heart is also in Mauritius where my new ‘home’ is, where hubby and I have made a life together this past year. Where I await his homecoming every few weeks with anticipation of having some time together. Home is now where I cook my food, where I lay down my head, where I get in the car to go to a coffee meetup with fellow expats, home is where my heart is and my heart says my home is in Mauritius where my soulmate is waiting for me to come back.

I’m aware of a chapter that I can now finally close without feeling guilty. I am aware that home is not home anymore and that it is time to move on. Many people have asked me whether I’ve considered moving back and my answer throughout has been unequivocally NO. No specific reason, just that the effort of packing up and moving away was too much to waste on coming back so soon. I’m open for new adventures, I’m open to travel some more, seeing new places, meeting new faces. Where home will be in a year or two who knows. Until then I’ll explore and live life to the fullest.

Much love
Karolien

3 thoughts on “When home isn’t home anymore”

  1. Sharla says:

    Love how you captured this

  2. Glynnis Koch says:

    An interesting blog, Karolien, in that our priorities change and we sometimes cling to the old ways for no good reason. I retired in November 2018 after working for 45 years and it’s taken more than a year to adapt to my new status!

  3. Trudie Johnston says:

    True true… I’m flying to a country that works for me in a big way, my head has moved there already, but my heart is here in Cape Town where ‘home’ is… I’m also suitcase living and so coming home to all that’s yours and in place feels right… So enjoy your return!! You just keep snapping photo’s, exploring and smiling… Hugs til next time 🤗🤗

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