Nothing compares to the thrill of relocating to a new country. You start anew. It all looks much brighter and shiner. You feel like a 2-year old kid again. Your eyes become bigger than your head. Everything is new, everywhere. You’re hooked up. There’s no greater feeling than this.
This is true. Partly. Because starting anew really means starting anew. You don’t know nothing. The streets, the shops, the nice little places where you liked to hang out, there are not there anymore. Past the euphoria of the first two weeks, you’re lost in a brand new city. Lost, alone and lonely. This is truly distressing. Depressing even. You need to watch out for yourself.
So you look for new friends. Everywhere. Anyone can potentially become the undesired victim of your uncontrolled urge to belong, to grow roots. At the gym, at the shops, in the office, you try everything, With more or less success. So you keep trying again, in a never-ending fight for your survival.
And then the magic happens. A friend of you give you the name of people he knows in the country. The world is now such a small place nowadays. There is always someone who knows someone. You meet the guys. Once. Twice. At the third time, you start to relax. This is it. You found your place. You found your people. It feels good.
I met my people one year ago. They invited us to a picnic they organised in Modderfontein, where food and drinks were supplied in far too great quantities. From the moment we met, we clicked. It is as if we had known each other for years. We soon got invited to dinners and braais, and returned the favour. And before we knew it, we started planning holidays together, and exchanged baby-sitting sessions against puppy-sitting ones.
When one of our friends turned 40, we got invited to the party, which simply consisted in waking up at 4h30 one Sunday morning to go on a balloon ride near the Cradle of Humankind. I thought our chopper ride over Joburg would be the highlight of our stay in South Africa. I might have been wrong. There is something so pure and magical in a balloon ride. As if time had stood still for a second. Life seems to be passing by much at a much slower pace. You’re up in the air, watching the canyons, the river and the giraffes down below. And it feels good. Surrounded by your friends, it feels even better.
And when you’re in the balloon, looking at the sun rising from the gorge in a misty atmosphere, with the adrenaline pumping up to your brain, you’re overwhelmed by a deep feeling of gratitude. There is nothing as sweet as this. You want to tell the world how much you love your friends, how lucky you are to have them. This is when you realise that you successfully managed to relocate to your new country. And that’s all thanks to them.