I’m preparing to go home. (My other home). It’s the strangest feeling to pack my bag with excitement knowing that soon I’ll see my family again – but I now have a home here too. The only time I get homesick now is when I’m actually preparing to go back again. It’s a familiar ache that tugs on the edges of my consciousness, reminding me that part of me lies elsewhere. And yet, when my plane touches down at Heathrow, it’s a homecoming too. I leave home to go home and return home again, like eating candy that’s sweet and sour at the same time.
Living in the diaspora is a peculiar contradiction. Almost everyone has a plan for when they return home. And yet, the years drift by and sometimes you find that your other home is where you lay down your roots for good. Or, you do return but soon realise that the home you cherish is perhaps the home of your childhood, or your teens – it’s a storehouse of memories but just as you’ve changed since you left, it has too. I also nurse the hope that one day I’ll return to live somewhere in Africa, if not in my own country. But I know too that even though it will feel in some ways like returning – mostly it will be a case of starting over.
Britain is home. Malawi is home-home.
When I tweeted that, someone asked, “What about home-home-home?”
We have those too. I think we have as many homes as our heart has room to love.
And that’s quite a lot.