The feeling starts on the ride to the airport. A feeling of anticipation, anxiousness and an incredible impatience all rolled into one. It seems to land on my fingers and toes as I begin to fiddle, fidget and tap my feet sporadically to a non existent beat. The familiar sights and sounds begin to pass by in a blur. When I think about my return to my home-country, the endless concrete apartment blocks fade into a passing picture, and I am no longer present.
As the aeroplane descends, I see the waves peeling along the coast, a tapestry of ochre, bottle green and golden fields. With each and every thing I see, my heart swells a little and a dull pain creeps into my chest. We pass over the informal settlement and see the sprawling urban city not long after. In the distance, the majestic Table Mountain comes into view set with a tablecloth of clouds and mist gracefully spilling over the edges. My heart swells a little more and a tear tries to squeeze its way out from my eye, but I push it back, and I push the pain in my chest down because finally, I am home and there is no need to miss it.
As I am picked up from the airport the familiar wet kiss from my uncle and the hug that threatens to break send me into euphoria when it would usually annoy me.
I feel home, not at home, but home when I am at my best friend’s beach house. Home is the familiarity of snapping on a wet bikini and running down the back path to the beach, clearing away spider webs as we fly by. Home is when I can smell the salty wet air of the beach and feel the smooth golden sand between my toes while watching the surfers surf; flirting and playing dauntlessly with the sheer force of the Indian Ocean. Home is when my hair is all sticky from the salt in my hair. Home to me is when my body has gone multiple shades darker, and my hair multiple shades lighter.
Home is all of these things when I have been missing them for a long time.
Sometimes though, home is not where you are from, but rather who you are with. To me home is all of these things and then some. But nothing is a good as walking through the door after a long day and hearing my mother ask how my day was, my father enfolding me in an embrace and hearing my brother play guitar in the background. Wherever we may be in the world.