They say time flies when you’re having fun, and I think I just understood this cliché in a deeper sense than I did before. Moving to Cape Town started out as the biggest leap I’ve ever taken and it seems to fly by! I’ve had so many moments of pure bliss and many moments where I wondered if I made the right decision.
Until you move to a different city, I don’t think you realize how little distance defines culture. I knew I was in for a culture shock but I thought that Joburg was pretty much around the corner, being a quick two-hour flight away from Cape Town, but I’ve learnt that the culture is incredibly different to what I imagined it would be. There is a different ambience here, the people are different, the accents and the words that I am still trying to learn and understand…has been quite the experience.
I didn’t think the accents between the two cities were that different or that I have an accent, but it’s like everyone I talk to questions my roots. I also felt a little bit like an intruder, when I just moved; people are not quite as accepting of newbies in their little cliques or not quite as overly friendly or giddy as they are in Jozi. I felt a little intimidated asking for directions or where a shop was at the mall. To make things worse, when they spoke really fast it seemed as though it was a different language altogether.
I used to go to an indoor gym in Jozi every evening after work and when quarantine started, the gym ended. We did bulk grocery shopping to limit our store runs and with that, the seemingly endless supply of yummy, somewhat unhealthy treats didn’t get burned off sitting in front of my laptop or on the couch watching tv! So my fitness journey restarted in Cape Town. When I moved, I signed up with a hiking group, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made to really explore the beautiful mountains of the city and I think my fitness levels are improving. Naturally improving my lifestyle and habits is one of the top reasons for the move. It’s a Sunday hiking group of over 25 people every week.
I also researched and participated in a ton of other things in and around the city as much as I could. There is a countless supply of food for your soul. From things you can do in the sky, like paragliding or zip-lining; things you can do in the water, like snorkelling or jet-skiing; things you can do on land, like horse-riding or sand-boarding; or things you can do indoors, like restaurant hopping or a pottery class. And this is just the tip of the iceberg of things to do here.
My mind is always wondering what adventure I can tackle next and I’m constantly screenshotting cool things to try and do. My bucket list is an endless list of possibilities! Speaking of bucket lists, hit the comment section and please tell me what’s on yours? Maybe we can go on some adventures together.
So like I said, the lifestyle in the Cape is quite different. Jozi is a lot of work and a minimal play, but here it is either a well-balanced wheel or more play and less work. So many of my friends tell me that they can’t get used to the pace of the city, but I think when you’re born in a Metropolitan city, the pace along the coast is rather described as PEACE. I absolutely love the idea of ending a productive workday at a beach or a stroll along the promenade with Duke. That reset is simply magic! My heart, my body and my mind have found a sense of serenity that I can’t explain.
Apart from the Sunday hiking activities, my body still craved more movement and just recently I signed up for a running group. The idea is to run twice a week and have a strength training class once a week. I was so scared of joining because I always hate running a little bit and then once I get started and start improving, I fall in love with running. So I started running and the classes are very inclusive, easily adaptable and the kind of consistency I need to get into the best shape I could be.
With work, I still grind hard and I am as productive, if not more than I was in Jozi. I feel like my mental health is at a great place and with a healthier lifestyle, my body feels healthier and I feel lighter. We are able to perform better in every aspect when we are feeling good and mentally in a good place.
However, having just started with my BComm, working and just life itself getting in the way, I miss a bunch of the sessions. The blessed month of Ramadaan has also started so I think after this month I will prioritize my sessions and make more effort to attend. I’ve started doing some light training through YouTube during Ramadaan because it is so important to try and maintain a little bit of activity every day.
I’ve truly found a ‘place’ where I can feel myself growing and feeling happier as the weeks go by. I have been very conscious about what I spend my time on and intentionally making decisions to have the best possible outcomes. I feel proud of myself for being bold, for taking this leap and for the aspirations I have. I’ve been productive in avenues I’ve worked on for years and I celebrate those little steps in the process now; before, I used to be so hard on myself and put so much pressure on making things perfect and just waiting for things to happen. But I realize every day that we are exactly where we need to be right now.
The weekly beach and forest trips are great places to clear your mind. It’s also a sense of meditation being so deep in nature and really soaking it all in. I’ve been discovering more and more places around me that just take my breath away and having Duke, my labrador, always down for a new adventure, has been a true gift.
I’ve been using my Waze app a lot less as I am slowly learning to find my way around. It’s been so fun exploring the city and learning the roads. I’ve also discovered some great short-cuts with deliveries from store to the door being a game-changer for my household, things have just settled in really nicely and I feel so much more at home now. So I will say the relocation has been mostly good.
The not-so-fun bit about moving is being so far away from my family… my sister and the boys, has been the hardest part of all of it. Spending every day together and becoming closer than ever during quarantine, was like leaving a part of me behind. Nothing beats the real hugs and quality time we spent together! The first few months were strange because it was the longest we’ve gone without seeing each other. Then it gets to a point where you almost get used to it.
We then spent the December holidays together as a complete family and it was the most special time for me. Having to hug and adventure together and not have that yearning feeling in my gut was really something. But I don’t think I was prepared for the separation thereafter. After the holidays, Nadia and the kids returned to Jozi, and my mom stayed an extra two weeks as she was also recovering from the flu.
Turned out it wasn’t the flu but that she had had Covid in December and needed to head back to Jozi to see her doctors. After she left, the climate change and the flight affected her health gravely! It was such a difficult time for us as a family as she struggled to improve her health again. Nursing her back to health was a difficult task and not being able to be there with my family during that time was extremely difficult.
But I am so humbled and grateful that she pulled through and has since returned to Cape Town to spend Ramadaan with me. The months that I get to have my mom with me make me so incandescently happy. She is the light and glue that keeps our family as close and strong as we are over all these years and especially this last year. Travelling up and down between my sister and me must be both a leisure and a task in itself. Many times I wonder if the move has been in her best interest. But she is always so joyfully getting through life.
There have been many lessons learnt this year and above all things, so much growth. I continue to challenge myself and make every effort to experience and explore as much as I can. A lot of people have asked me, “If you have a choice to go back to Jozi, would you?” And to answer… No, I wouldn’t. I love Joburg, it will always be home and I miss my family terribly but I believe my soul has found fulfilment here; that feeling is like light… and magic… and warmth… and peace… and just a sense of…HOME.