1 year in Cape Town

Wow. Today I have officially lived in Cape Town for 1 year.

I started my journey down to Cape Town on the 8th of April, stayed over in the Karoo and then arrived in Cape Town on the 9th of April 2013.

I had no idea if I was going to “make it”, if I would enjoy it, if I would be able to live here, work here, love here and I feel incredible celebrating my year and knowing the answers.

In certain instances, it has flown by and in others it certainly has felt the length of a year.

I am really really happy I made the move, that I took the risk and the leap of faith and today I celebrate that success.

I feel blessed to live here and there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t look towards the mountain – Table mountain or Lions Head and the ocean and say a “Thank you” bursting with gratitude.

I don’t take the beach for granted. I vowed I wouldn’t become one of those people who forgets it so quickly or doesn’t make time for it.

I don’t take the lifestyle for granted and I am so happy that I have adapted so quickly and also learned a great deal about myself in the challenges I’ve faced in moving city on my own, leaving all my family and friends behind and starting anew.

There have been some really tough moments. Moments when I’ve questioned my move and what I was doing. Moments when I’ve wondered if I’ll make it. Moments when I’ve been really really homesick. Moments when I’ve had such light bulb epiphanies – Aha! moments as to why I am here – it’s bigger than me and definitely part of my course. Moments when my soul is so happy I could burst. Moments when I can’t believe it took me so long to get here and no matter how much Johannesburg will always be “home” and the place I grew up; there are moments when I realise that I really am home now – a new home and a new place where I feel like I belong – a little more than I did before and it still feels weird saying that. I still have a sense of guilt, like I’m forgetting Joburg and where I come from. I’m not forgetting Joburg, I’m just closing that chapter.

I think it comes from my favourite quote – my Matric Yearbook quote:

“When fulfilling your dreams, never forget who you are and from whence you come.”

People often ask me if I’ll move back and I now know I can never say never. I never thought I’d ever live anywhere but Joburg, so you just never know. Right now though, I can’t imagine ever moving back. However, it might feel that way because I do get to return often enough, so I don’t really feel as if I’ve been away from Joburg for it to not be a part of me anymore.

People also ask me or just assume that I moved down for a job and for a man, but it was actually neither. I had been wanting to move to Cape Town for a very long time, but I was in a comfort zone in Joburg and Cape Town seemed like a pipe dream. It was only when I got pulled out of my comfort zone that I got a chance to re-examine who I was, where I was and so on.

Ahem… This is all wonderful hindsight by the way… At the time of being pulled from my comfort zone, it was frightening and terrible.

I had been taking some business trips down to Cape Town and every time I did, I just felt like I was “home” – a bizarre, inexplainable feeling. I started investigating the possibilities and started setting up and making opportunities. It was on one of my business trips that I met my now boyfriend (May 2012) and I thought it was yet another little sign and nudge in the right direction. After some careful consideration and facing fears, I took the risk, but still put out a “safety net.” The “safety net” would be that I would give myself 3 months to figure out if I liked Cape Town and if I could see a future there. I was realistic in knowing it wasn’t going to take 3 months to fully know and settle, but it would give me some indication.

The indication was when I suddenly realised 3 months had whizzed by unknowingly and I was suddenly celebrating 6 months of living in Cape Town.

I absolutely love Cape Town. I love my life in Cape Town. I feel as if I’ve come into my own down here. I feel like I’ve grown up a little more (goodness!) and stood on my own 2 feet a little more. I always thought I was very independent, but I’ve really had to be without my family being 3kms down the road. I have learned so much about myself. It’s been such a journey so far.

This was my very first photo as Table Mountain came into view on the 09th of April 2013… I was driving and my mom took the photograph for me. I can’t explain the emotion I felt. My mom knowingly squeezed my leg and told me to breathe. I felt excited and terrified all at the same time.

My mom and I had driven in and I drove straight to my new apartment. My boyfriend met us there and he helped us take all my boxes out of my car.

These are photo’s I’ve taken over the year…

If there is one thing I’ve learned and there have been many in the past year… Follow your gut, take a risk and if it scares you – excellent. It may sound funny, but if it doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough.

Listen to your intuition and don’t give up at the first sign of a “wobble.” Sometimes those “wobbles” are sent to test us to see how badly we really want something. Trust your gut though – if the wobble is just a scare but you still want it badly – stick to that. If the “wobble” is telling your gut otherwise, listen to that too.

Make a decision, commit to it and go for it.

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