I grew up in a wonderfully unusual manner which involved not only moving house and school, but also moving country every couple of years. This means that, while still at home, I lived in 4 countries (Zimbabwe, Spain, Argentina and South Africa), on 3 continents (Africa, Europe, South America) and went to 2 primary schools and 3 senior schools. Since leaving home I have lived in a further 3 countries (England, America and South Africa) once again on 3 different continents (I'll let you work that one out). No, we are not evading the long arm of the law or dodging taxes, my parents are teachers, well they were then, they are now much more than that, and we moved from international school to international school. Where am I going with this?
I feel a little flighty. I can list the myriad advantages to living this kind of lifestyle, to being exposed first hand to the many and varied cultures, languages, viewpoints and cuisines, to having a narrow child's mind opened up to the wonders of the world, learning far more than school could ever teach, I could go on. What I don't seem to have is deep roots. I am still trying to decide if I mind this very much. The world is continually changing and therefore seems to me a great place to venture out into. What I want to know is whether or not I will ever really feel rooted in one place. Will my children have a base they call home, where they store their treasured memories until they have a home of their own? Is it important? Will 'home' be where ever we are or where ever they are? Home for me now is where I am with Sean, Shannon and Jordan. When I go to my parents (in which ever country they are at the time) the accessories are always the same. Those familiar things plus the presence of my Mum and Dad also feel like home. Perhaps 'home' is a state of mind?
I was chatting about this with a friend recently and this was the perspective I got: She is surrounded by 3 generations of her immediate family; parents, brother and sister, husband, her own children and her nephews. All in one province in South Africa. That is roots. She feels inclined to stay put. Our families, both mine and Sean's, are a little less sure footed than that - or perhaps more sure footed and therefore more likely to travel. We are strewn across the following countries:
Turkey - My Geriatric Gappers
Spain - Sean's parents
England - My sister, brother-in-law, niece, sister-in-law and nephew, uncles, aunts and cousins
Australia - My other sister plus various cousins
New Zealand - A cousin
The High Seas - Sean's aunt and uncle who are currently trying to decide where to settle
Zimbabwe - A multitude of aunts, uncles and cousins
South Africa - My brother-in-law, sister-in-law, 2 nieces a nephew, various aunts, uncles and cousins and, of course, my hubby, myself and 2 adorable children
This makes the world a fairly small place. We are mostly all in touch to one degree or another and so the distances between us blur a little. I do not feel inclined to stay put. There is the crime factor that sends me into a frenzy of Moving On, but that does slip to the back of my mind and I love my life. But I still don't feel rooted here.
I wonder if the next place will be the last stop? I wonder if Shannon and Jordan will feel inclined to travel the world as I have. I hope so. I hope they always come home and tell me about it afterward. Where ever that may be. After some consideration I think I like the big world to be a small place that I can wonder through without fearing it. But I will put down roots. Somewhere. Sometime.
Mother of two
8 years ago