Friday 26 July 2013

so you're an expat...where do you call home?

I've seen lots of tweets and blog posts this week about where expats call home. For me having been in the UK, my country of birth, for the past 9 weeks, I was certainly looking forward to returning home to South Africa.

Why do I consider South Africa as my home, when I've only lived here just under 3 years?

I lived in 4 different houses in different parts of the UK from birth to the age of 11, I have family all over the UK and in America and Australia. My dad travelled the world with his job and returned with stories and trinkets to treasure. I've holidayed around the world and hubby travels with his job.

I raised my children in The Forest of Dean and in Malvern, I've kept links with friends in all the places I've ever lived. The youngest 3 children consider Malvern as the place they came from being 10, 7 and 3 when we moved there. The oldest considers himself from the Forest of Dean as he was 14 when we moved.

I visited friends in London, my parents live in a house that I've never lived in, one son lives in Leeds and I went up there for a night, I visited the in laws in Bath. I reconnected with friends all over the country and while it was nice to catch up, I didn't feel like I was at home anywhere. The longest I've lived in one house was 9 years in the Forest of Dean, but it didn't feel like home. It's been 11 years since I've lived there, with 2 house moves since and one of them to South Africa.

I've never identified with a place as being home. Although I do say I'm from South Wales, despite moving from there aged 2, but with my family living in Wales, I suppose that's where I come from in reality.

But home for me now is South Africa, I don't identify with the country, but I do understand and know the way of life here, I was confused when I returned to the UK, thought things to be expensive, even with the exchange rate, I kept converting the Rand into Pound.

Home is where my hubby is these days. My youngest child, aged 14, returns to the UK next month to start boarding school......and that will be another chapter in the life of an expat.

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