We had been away from South Africa for about five years when we returned for the first time. What struck me as we entered Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg was not the alterations and additions that had been done to the building, but the friendliness of the people who greeted us. It was like a breath of fresh air in comparison to the often distant people we come into contact with at the Canadian airport and in Toronto.
We loved being back home after being away for so long. We fit right in and at moments it felt like we had not been away at all. We savoured the moments spent with family, snacked on South African treats such as Biltong and Nik Naks, enjoyed the warmth of the sun. And of course braaied boerewors.
We did notice some changes though. New buildings had gone up, the service at some places had improved while at others it had deteriorated. And even though changes had occurred, there were some things that stayed the same. A person still had to be vigilant when entering a property, cars still had to be locked when left in roads or parking lots. Pedestrians and shoppers still had to keep their handbags close to their bodies.
Leaving at the end of our vacation was difficult. The reasons we had left South Africa had not disappeared and yet our hearts still resonated with the country. As we were leaving and saying goodbye to our family, we looked forward to the time when we would visit again.
If you have missed any of my Migrating North posts, head on over here.
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
(This post was written for the FMF 31 day challenge hosted by Kate Motaung. Today’s prompt is: away)