This expat life is not the one I ever saw myself taking. I got on that plane years ago, because I wanted to live in Africa. I wanted to wake beneath the African sun, hear the songs of the African sky, and sleep beneath the African stars. Uganda was to be my forever home.
And then it was no more.
It has been a few years now since I have lived in Lagos, Nigeria, and at times it is hard for me to ever imagine living elsewhere, least of all the UK.
It has it’s ups and downs, of that I can be very sure! And often I wonder why I am still living there when it has caused much separation from loved ones and favored foods and places. Yet ultimately I land back upon the same conclusion. Africa continues to live in me. I do not fully know what the magnetism is for me, but it remains. And for now, this pole is centred within Nigeria.
One of my most treasured parts of my life there at present is the spectacular view I have from my lounge balcony. It continues to amaze me every time that I return home, that two walls out of four in my lounge, are sliding glass doors; it is like I live among the birds, the sea and the sky. And knowing me (if you do), you will understand that this is simply paradise for me. (Okay fair enough, being under the water would be even more favorable but beggars cant be choosers haha).
Sitting there on the balcony recently, when both myself and my colleague were supposed to be doing some work, but instead were having a much-needed decompress after a series of stressful days, she commented that it was as if we were on holiday, given the sunlight upon us as it were and the shimmering sea-line across from our eyes. And it was true, it was.
I have been in great need of some days of rest for quite some time now. My workload has been high, for various reasons including study, and likewise there have been many networking and social events that I have been involved with organising, that I have needed to attend.
More than this though, and sad to say, my calendar has been full due to many departures. Within one week I in fact attended five different leaving events for dear friends, and it has been all I can do not to cry into my cup of tea when I think of them.
I am fully assimilated into the life of an expat. This time last year I was back on the road as a traveler and even those goodbyes, after sharing incredible (and of course short-lived) experiences with people was bad enough for me. I am a true wanderer, this is fact. But I am also a true lover; fact too. I have learnt through much experience how to trust my instinct and how to open up to beautiful souls. And when I do, they touch me deeply.
A sister by spirit that I met in Mexico, and a brother by soul from Panama, both a year ago, remain dear to me and close to my heart. And I am not one for goodbyes, at all. I rather be anywhere but there when it is time to see you off. So just imagine how my sore beating heart has been these last weeks.
My two truest and deepest friends from time in Lagos have both now departed. One male, one female. They have been with me through some dark days, including when my leg was badly broken, and they have accompanied me on some of my greatest adventures. I already know my life back there will feel lost without them.
A fellow friend remarked back to me, that we live the life of a traveler now and I really should not be so knocked by these fluctuations of people in/out. And of course I accept this to be true. Life is such a vast web of discovery, meetings and wonder, and I know that their leaving is simply to make way for new entries.
But it doesn’t stop me being a big softie and it hurting my heart a bit! As I understand it, expat life varies in extremity across the world and in many places people come and go a lot more often than we three have done. Yet for me, I have not always found things to flow gently in Nigeria. The stresses felt there affect me and I often take on more emotional pain from others than perhaps I should. Having grounded friends who know the complete parts of me has helped with this.
And now, I have taken another hop, skip and a jump, over to another part of the African continent, Mauritius. Where I am about to take some much-needed respite, to write my latest paper, and to once again be at one with the sea. As it happens, I have already met another fellow wanderer, linked back from shared friends in Lagos, and very soon I am sure I will meet some more.
Life is all about living and looking forwards; there is no sense in always looking back over your shoulder. Our hearts carry people in them forever, from the moment that they enter within them. This doesn’t stop me feeling sad to say farewell, but it does help me to wish beloved friends further fabulous flights in life ahead.
Journey mercies my beauties….until the next time xx