Repatriation and other plans

MONDAY, 30 AUGUST 2004

I can solemnly declare that my stomach is churning at the thought of once again, in four days’ time, exchanging this reality with my “real” life. I look forward to being back in my own home, in my personal headquarters – but that’s about all I am currently positive about.

What else is there to my life in Taiwan that I can look forward to? Deep fried on a Saturday evening? Cheap VCDs? Dates at the coffee shop? Lunch boxes with oily vegetables? My bicycle? All these things can be replaced with other, similar things right here in this place.

What I am looking forward to is spending time again in my own headquarters. I miss the comfort and familiarity of my own place.

I have been walking around for three weeks with the idea that I can find happiness here, in Bronkhorstspruit. What I need is money, a house, and a comrade who understands my cause. There is also the idea of the “island”* and the question of what mainland you’re connected to. Six months here, six months there …

* [The concept of the “island” refers to the place you create for yourself. This home – house, apartment, or whatever – is then the island where you live. The “mainland” is the town or city where you will go when you need supplies, or when you need to spend some time in a spot other than your island.

The idea came to me when my sister, my brother-in-law and I made a brief visit to someone in the town of Vryheid in northern Kwazulu-Natal. This man lives in a fairly new part of town – I am not really a new part of town type of person, and this fairly new suburb is just outside Vryheid – and I have never been too keen on settling down in this particular town.

Still, the man’s house was warm and pleasant, and I realized that one’s home is like an island – when you are there, amongst your own stuff, and under your own palm tree, so to speak, it doesn’t matter that much if you don’t care for the nearest “mainland”.]

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