My family and I are contemplating our futures after living in Botswana for more than 15 years; preparing to pull up those roots and hope like hell there is a good place to put them next. In this frame of mind its so comforting to get a message like this from a friend who knows exactly what its like:
"It's such a complicated business this leaving thing and sadly it's the price us white Africans pay for wanting to stay in the continent we were born and brought up in but will never feel wholly at home in. But at least you are going back to the country you have a birth right to - sadly I can no longer do that and nor would I much want to.
The difficult thing about any leave taking is who you leave behind and the state you leave them in. When you tell people you're off you get a selection of reactions ranging from the smug "aren't I lucky, I don't have to do that (yet)", to the slightly desperate "oh my god I wish I were them" with every possible emotion in between. As soon as you announce your intentions you become aware that you, and only you (apparently) are responsible for shaking up the status quo. Friends who you thought absolutely loved the place suddenly announce how much they hate it and, conversely, acquaintances who couldn't wait to be off suddenly exhibit a hitherto unnoticed patriotism akin to nationalism.
And what of you? The person leaving? Whatever you say in your pronouncements to friends and foe alike, you'll upset or please someone depending on a whole load of stuff going on in their head that you're not even privy to.
And the trouble is, it's easy to say it doesn't matter and it's just about you and your nearest and dearest. But it's not that simple. Because we aren't all islands much as we would sometimes like to be and it's at times like this that we realize we DO matter to some people and they matter to us but that there's also a whole load of people we couldn't care less for - and the surprising thing is we don't know which category they all fit into until that final wave goodbye.
So to sum up? You're in for a rough couple of months as you teeter on the brink of your new life and you may have to accept that your friends and acquaintances need to hug goodbye and say their piece and convince or reassure themselves that they're ok and you're ok and because you're who you are, you have to let that happen however hard it seems.
Does that help? Probably not. There's no easy way for this to play out. But you WILL survive and the day WILL come that you know you made the right decision and that some people were behind you all the way and others just drifted away..........and that's an incredibly valuable thing that not everyone gets a chance to take forward."
I'm a painter, scribbler, emerging artist, amateur photographer, searcher.