Wow. I am back in Germany for a month already. Back home after 11 months in South Africa, working for WhizzKids United. My journey back was very strange. Even on my last day in SA, the 10th of September, I still could not believe that I had to go. That place was home for me. I had so many great, sad, interesting, exciting, funny and happy moments there and I also had my daily routine. To leave WhizzKids and to leave the life behind me which I built up for one year just felt unreal. It broke my heard to say goodbye to all my friends and colleagues.
And then I came home to Germany and expected me to feel like a stranger, who probably changed its personality and attitude. But nothing like this happened so far. My family, friends and boyfriend welcomed me straight away and as soon as I was surrounded by so many familiar people, I just felt like I have never been gone. However, it took some days to actually realize, that I left SA for good and that my life continues in Germany now. And I enjoyed things I missed too much during this year: Talking in my mother tongue “franconian”, having loooong days with sunset at about 9 o´clock, chatting with my best friends while sitting right next to them, sleeping as long as I want to without stressing that I will miss out something very exciting, eating German bread and walking around at night on my own. Everything was so familiar and easy that I had no problems to fall back in my old routines. The easy adjustments also lead to the fact, that my time in Africa lost credibility. My stay abroad felt like a big dream, unreal and too good to be true. Strange, hey? I just came back but still cannot believe that I have been there.
Anyway, time went on and I had a great time with Nana, a South African girl who spends one year in Bremen. She came down to the south of Germany to visit me for five days. Together we went out, did some tourist-stuff and spent a lot of time to do some preparations and to participate at a traditional harvest festival. It was so much fun for me to change sides and make her to experience our traditions, make her wear a “dirndl” and show her around in the area. It was amazing as Nana is open to everything new and a very kind and cute person. As a tradition we carved and hollowed out pumpkins to light them in the dark with candles. I wrote “Ngisekhaya” on mine. It’s the Zulu word for “I am home”. Which is true: I feel like home. But on the other side I miss Africa now. I miss all my friends and colleagues: Sli singing her songs all day long, Nobuhle asking about home visits, Sanele laughing out loud, Khe joking with the kids, Caroline telling Durban news, Siya calming me down, Clyde talking about gym… It was amazing to be abroad and to work at WhizzKids. They make it so easy for volunteers to feel home and welcome, even for me as a (in the beginning) shy and quiet person. Part of my heart will always stay in Africa. And I think this is how it should be. I am happy that I got the chance to experience all of this and learned to think outside the box. I hope that I can use all the developed skills and my knowledge in my further studies.
In conclusion, I never regret for a second that I went abroad. It helped me to become a stronger, more educated and more independent person. I see things with different eyes and appreciate some things much more than before. During the next months I will probably realize in random situations what I have learned and how my behavior changed. I am looking forward to this. But above all I won a family abroad – people who like me and miss me too. And I hope to get the chance to get back to meet my brothers and sisters soon.