I just added a new link to my blogroll. The African Bug – aka. Another Tragic Victim of the Africa Bug – great blog by a US born woman completely fallen for Africa.
The problem is that as always, when I go to leave this place, it’s like someone has tied my very soul to the hills here, and just the thought of not being here sends me into spasms of agony.
Everything in Africa bites.
The lion bites, the mosquito bites, the tse tse fly bites.
But what bites the most is Africa herself,
and when she bites,
she never lets you go.
There is another one I learnt from my fiancée, who used to live in some remote place in South Africa’s Kalahari Desert for more than a year:
They say you cry twice in Africa:
Once when you get there for everything is so strange
and once when you leave again.
I have never been to South Africa myself – so far – though we had nearly moved there some months ago. But I see the look in my boyfriend’s eyes when he tells about South Africa. A lot about food, of course, about Biltong – dried, seasoned meat – and Braiis – BBQs – and over and over again about gorgeous African sunsets and nights full of stars yet at the same time so dark you can’t see your own hand. I miss those nights. I grew up a countryside kid, with breathtaking nights full of stars but since I moved to the city as a teenager have hardly seen the milky way. When we moved to rural Germany in January I thought it would be a little like my childhood again. But in Germany there is no milky way to be seen nowhere. There is light pollution everywhere. There are people everywhere. No space. No air to breath, I sometimes feel.
With the economic crisis keeping us in Germany fleeing abroad has become a desperate dream and, for going back to Israel is not an option, South Africa its symbol. I have never been there, and everything I’ve heard and read about it indicates it likely isn’t quite a place for me to be happy. The pure idea of having to watch every step I take freaks the crap out of me – though of course it’s not as bad in the countryside, my partner has often assured, and how he could move without reconsidering in his village, though his stories somehow give me the opposite idea. Stories of how whites are suicidal if they interact too closely with blacks scare the crap out of me. And still the promise of space, of air to breath is tempting enough to make me dream away sometimes … it’s a strange kind of a far-distance relationship, really.
Whats worse, though, are stories of people giving you a warm welcome. Of such a basic thing as neighbours dropping by just to say hello and offer help with moving or whatever should arise. Here in Germany, though we happen to have great landlords, after three months still nobody has come asking why there are two Austria licence-plated cars in the street. Nobody gives a damn. And if my financée or me tell about the places we have been, the things we have experienced, nobody as much as lifts a brow. There is no interest in another. Or perhaps nobody dares to be interested. For so many reasons everybody is living in fear in Germany. And though it is such a safe, wealthy country I sometimes feel their fear is way more devastating then any fear of terrorist attacks, wars, even annihilation in Israel could have possibly been.
When I had just moved to Israel it was Pessah, and in the short time I happened to be left over for the holiday. It sure was a difficult evening being alone with everybody else sharing the night with their family – especially if you are a young woman thousands of kilometers away from all your friends and family – but it was nobody’s fault. Somehow everybody had just assumed somebody else had invited me over. Of course the day after people realized I hadn’t had an invitation. They were terribly sorry. Sorry in an honest way. I don’t think any German would possibly ever give a crap about what I am doing at christmas.
I, too, cried twice in Israel. Once that Pessah night, for I was so alone and everything was so strange to me. And another time on the plane back home. I still do every time I come back from visiting.
a pretty thoughtful,