Sunday, April 03, 2016

Flavours of Home

I first went to Vancouver in 2008. I was there for three weeks for work, and didn't spend too much time checking it out. It was more like living somewhere. You get a night or two during the week and something on the weekend. It was long enough to fall in love with the place. It has a very 'Cape Town' feel which is where I went to university, but the mountains in the distance are snowcapped, and that distance is just half an hour away. Go north to snow. Go south to warmth. Stay in beauty. There is an amazing park where you can walk, run or cycle on the waters edge for miles without crossing a road. The people were friendly. The city was cosmopolitan with lots of different cultures mixing freely.

Stanley Park, Vancouver, 2008

I didn't start thinking about how to move there. The one thing that was missing was 'my people'. It was odd not being in the same mood as those I was connected to when I was in contact. Friday night vs. Saturday morning. Sunday night vs. Monday morning. It has gotten easier to stay in contact with people all over the world with social media. You don't have to be online at the same time to share bits of what is going on in your world. To send little audio or video clips on Whatsapp. To see the news they are reading on Twitter. The challenge is finding those moments when you are in the same mental space.

A friend described how much he enjoyed cloud watching with someone else. Where you can share the moment. A shape that will be gone forever, but a feeling once shared that would linger. It is more difficult to share those moments when you are scattered. Now, I am able to wander the world finding my people wherever they are. Kuiering.

I am visiting California for the first time now. This part of the world really is special. Los Angeles also has flavours of home. I come from Durban where the winters are awesome and the summers are stinky hot, with Mozzies that were trained in the art of war by the victorious Zulu impis of Isandlwana - bites are iklwa. I studied in Cape Town where the summers are awesome and the winters see the arrival of rain that is trained by those Mozzies. The rain doesn't fall down, it flies hard and fast around you finding a way to soak to the bone. I worked in Joburg which has awesome weather all year round, but no sea. The Cape Town and Durban beaches are some of the best I have ever seen. Los Angeles is like Joburg by the sea. A sprawling city where you need a car, with fantastic sunshine cooled slightly by the Pacific ocean breeze.

Joburg Skies in Santa Monica, Los Angeles

I am now in San Francisco and it is living up to the picture I had in my head. Homes and hills with lots of character. Weather that can't make up it's mind. People that will let you make up your own mind. A city that takes you as you are.

Dolores Park, San Francisco

I only left South Africa for the first time when I was 18. Most of my travelling has been around the southern tip of Africa, Europe and English-speaking countries. I have only just started to poke at my bubble. There are so many beautiful places in the world with different combinations of the flavours we know, and new flavours that will challenge us. Similar problems with different perspectives. Different emphasis. Different lessons.

I don't think if we let go of the idea of borders, there would be sudden massive flows of people away from where they live. There was no border between Cape Town and Durban and it took me 20 years to get there and fall in love with it. With borders, it took 28 for Vancouver. 36 for California.

Durban - Cape Town - Vancouver - Los Angeles

Without borders what would change quicker is how we see the world. How we listen. How we care. We are Global Citizens.

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