It was fairly harmless, the text message from a friend I left behind in London. Of course I didn’t leave her behind at all, she was in fact already living in Cape Town after her two year stint in London when we moved back here 6 years ago. But she was in a long distance relationship with someone she had met while there, which meant she soon left the sunshine, mountain, and in her case, car break-ins again, to head back to an SW postal code shortly after we got back.
Her great idea (after too many Skype calls where I may, or may not have, complained about everyone settling down with their kids, no one to have fun with and certainly no one to drink wine on week nights with) was that I, we, should move back to London. It was a great city after all, it was summer (when she messaged. That day it was summer) and I’d be closer to her, plenty of other childless friends and of course the 2015 Bride and her little new baby (kinda defeating the purpose of her motivation for a second) plus there were more travel and career opportunities…And something about riding a bicycle to work.
I had zoned out as I stared at the mountain from my desk on the 19th floor. And responded something that was more a picture. And may have also contained that tongue sticking out emoticon. I love that emoticon.
But the truth is, I really have considered it. I love London (I can say that now. A) she’s not listening and 2) It’s easy to say it from miles away when you don’t have black soot in your nose from travelling the northern line).
I love the idea of drinks in the sun along the river, and seeing more of Europe (would you believe when we left I claimed I was done with it? Having never been to Iceland, Portugal or a Scandinavian country. Albeit having gone to every other Western European country), travelling further to the Americas, getting all bank (public) holidays on a Monday and ofcourse, the pound (which really- is only good for anything when you convert it back into a rand and daymn, the round is on you!)
But no, I’m not moving back to London. Mostly because it’s fekking freezing there for most of the year and if you happen to be out the country (visiting one of those European countries) on the weekend summer arrives, you’ll have to wait another year before drinks on the Thames is a thing. Also, leaving there remains one of the best decisions we ever made. Cape Town offered us so much. Things finally came together in Cape Town. Until now.
Maybe not to London, but I have thought about leaving.
New York. Singapore. Hong Kong. Sydney. The world is big and there are so many places to go. Why go back to somewhere we’ve been (although I’m sure I’d be happier there now than I was back then)?
Cape Town, full of people with babies and families and doing family things like weekend markets, with the baby in the pram. Or braais with the kids. Friends who arrive for dinner with so many belongings from bottles to camp cots, to blankets, books and toys they feel like they’re moving in for a week. Only to pack it all up and take it home some 4 hours later.
We do not fit in in (this) Cape Town anymore. Everyone is moving forward, and we’re now standing still. We are that kid who wore their uniform when it was actually civvies day. The odd men out. Black Sheeps. Or sheep. Whatever.
All around me, people are falling pregnant (mostly on baby 2), watching their babies become little people, enrolling them in schools, having play dates, lunching with their ‘antenatal ‘ girls. (What does that even mean?), having get togethers around kids sleeping times or feeding times. And no one drinks for fun anymore!!
People are leaving or changing jobs, working reduced hours, working from home, or not working at all. Everyone is moving into mid-thirties all the while we’re 19 year olds stuck in ageing bodies. We’re in a city we love, a home we’ve created. But we’re not going anywhere. We’re being left behind.
So I consider New York, Sydney, Singapore (I don’t think I could live in Hong Kong). Where we could move, live in an apartment and make new friends with people our age who don’t have kids, and who drink wine midweek without any guilt. Who travel and don’t put up Christmas trees either and saw Easter as an opportunity for champagne breakfast instead of Easter egg hunts.
That’d be nice.
Except. I kinda like it here with my mountain. And they’d too probably have kids eventually and stop drinking midweek.