I have been thinking a lot, mainly in the dark, awake hours, about the notion of "home".
I keep saying we are "going home" when I talk about our trip to SA and then as the words come out they feel discordant....wrong....my gut flips. Then I get all wordy and complicated trying to retract without seeming like a crazy person.
This is home...... Canada..... right? It's been 20 years....almost half my life....and yet...yet..... I cannot say it with utter conviction.
I feel split.
My Dad call himself Afro Canadian which brings puzzled looks and some hilarity from a very white dude with a mixed accent.
I don't know what to call myself.
I really want to be firmly "at home" somewhere...I want to belong to some place....I was not born to the gypsy life....I need roots.
I feel I have lost the right to be South African through time and distance.....I go back there with much mixed emotion. I have never been back and I find as that day approaches I am increasingly full of emotion.
Emotion I am having trouble processing.
I have heard it said of immigrants that you have to go back to your homeland and return to your new land to feel "at home" in your new place. I have heard many people testify to this truth and I see now I missed that step in my immigration process. Now faced, by my own choice, with the reality of stepping back on African soil I feel a huge wash of emotion over me, tears at the ready... but why?
Certainly not regret.
I love the choice we made to come to Canada. I love our life here. I feel abundantly blessed to be living here and raising our children in this place. I appreciate the liberty and peace and relative wealth and ease of life here.
I am curious how it will feel to be back in South Africa....to smell and hear and feel South Africa as it is today. To return to places that hold tremendous significance in my personal history, places that will forever be part of my story wherever I live. To be with people who "get me" is a different way than friends here, who share deep history. To reconnect to family, to have our children connect with their family they have lived so far from. To see DNA trump distance....I hope.
Will it be healing? Will it reawaken my African genes?
How will it feel to come back to Canada?
I don't know......about any of it..... and it scares me a little bit.
Ok... maybe more than a little bit.