“But then I noticed the black sky and all those lights.”

Recently my father informed me that he was arranging for us (us being my family and I) to take a trip back home to South Africa. I am not sure how to feel about this. It is sudden and unexpected and wonderful but utterly terrifying. It’s been about four years since we last been back, maybe five. I’ve lost count. I remember clearly last time sat in the back of my uncles car, staring out at the city lights and the black sky and feeling sad, lonely and lost, thinking that it could possibly be the last time I ever went home, that I ever saw Cape Town again. I wanted to cry, and that journey was painfully slow. I was still struggling not to cry hugging my grandparents goodbye, sitting on the plane heading back to this place. Even now looking out the window seeing the city lights spread out into the distance makes me sad. So it’s amazing that I have the opportunity to go back once more. I vaguely remember last time was good and I’m looking forward to seeing my family again, of course. But at the same time I feel nervous and scared. I don’t know my extended family. I’ve never had the chance to be close to my grandparents, or my uncles or aunts or cousins. I don’t even know how normal relationships with relatives are supposed to be? How do other people view their grandparents? Do other people view their cousins as friends, brothers/sisters, people that they care about but are ultimately annoying? I wouldn’t know. I only see my relatives every 4 or 5 years. I feel scared seeing them again, scared of it being awkward and strange being around them and surely its not supposed to be like that? How are other people with their relatives? I don’t know, I don’t know. I love my relatives I do and I know they love me but I don’t know them, they don’t really know me. They last saw me when I was so young, now I am almost an adult. Is it going to be awkward? It’s going to be awkward isn’t it? I don’t know what to think about going back. I never expected it to happen and now that it is I just don’t know what to feel.

(Also on a purely superficial note it’s always somewhat scary leaving behind the routine, thinking about the fact I cannot laze around comfortably by myself wasting time watching millions of dramas, thinking about having to use someone else’s bathroom, sleeping in a different bed. Its always strange leaving home for a little bit and living in someone else’s house. I always feel like I am interrupting someone else’s life, imposing on them. its not like a hotel where you can run yourself a deep bath knowing the bathtub is clean and your father won’t nag you for wasting water, where you can keep the light on as long as you like and put the TV as loud as you like, that you can be as messy as you like as long as you tidy up in the end. It’s not like you are at home where you can retreat to your room and put your headphones on to shut everything out when you don’t want to talk to anyone, or that you can argue with your parents when they are being irritating. It’s someone else’s home and in a way you must be even more conscious of how you act. And I’m going to have to be surrounded by my family constantly which I’m sad to say, kind of fills me with dread.)

Basically: I’m so, so excited about going on holiday to South Africa this summer but at the same time so very nervous.