Homesick to the places I didn’t like


When you have it you don’t appreciate it enough. It is only once that specific something is gone that you realize how much you actually miss it! I guess it also applies if you replace the “thing” in something with “one”. In my case it often happens to places, cities, and that sort of things.

It started when I lived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as a teenager, I hated it!! From the bottom of my heart. I always used to compare my life to my friends’ lives back home in Germany. I was complaining that we didn’t have the freedom they had (to go out, to go to the movies and so on and on and on).  Reality was, that we had a better live there: making friends from all over the world, living in an almost year-around summer climate (coming home from school, homework and meeting friends at the pool), being able to stay out late hours because we were living in these closed off compounds and so on and so on. So, looking at it from my point of view now, all I can say is that it was one of the best times of my life and my parents did us a huge favour by moving there.

The same applies to Mannheim — the city where I went to university to. Gosh, how most of us hated it. It offers one of the best universities in Germany but that’s about it what the city has to offer. Well.. at least that’s what most of us thought back then.  Then, during my most recent trip to Germany, I made a pit stop in Mannheim. It was literally only a pit stop. I was on my way from Frankfurt to my hometown when I made a little detour and stopped in Mannheim for about 20 min. All I wanted to do was to check out that one shop that I liked so much when I used to live there. Even the parking ticket was valid for just the 20 min that I had planned to stay.

I did end up in that shop and then I ended up walking past my university. Have you had this before.. that some unknown power kind of pulls you into a direction you actually didn’t intend to go? So, I walked the same route again after years that I used to walk every day while living there. Wow! It was like a flashback.. so many memories coming back. And guess what: I realized that I spent (again) one of the best times of my life in Mannheim. We had a great student life back then.

Don’t they say: “Third time lucky”?? Well, I guess that Jozi could be seen as the third city. OMG, how I hated this place when I first moved here.. Coming from beautiful Cape Town, it was a nightmare at the beginning. But.. the older you get the wiser you become or I have just subconsciously realised not to make the same mistake a third time.. I really love Jo’burg now. It did take me about 2 years to do so but then it finally clicked. I am just glad it did so while I was still living here. It makes you enjoy the place much more.

I know though, that one day, when I’ve moved away, I will have this homesick feeling… Just like I have it when I think back of my time in Riyadh and in Mannheim..

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