Four years ago, when moving to Cape Town was still just an idea I toyed with, a friend said, “Cape Town is a very good mother.” Three and a half years down the line and I agree with all my heart.
I arrived at the foot of Table Mountain with a somewhat broken wing and Cape Town’s peaceful beauty and inner-city vibrancy gave me room to recover; room to grow. I could walk out my frustration and confusion down Belle Ombre and Tamboerskloof Roads. I went on journeys of discovery along Kloof and Long. And when I was desperate for peace Clifton and Sea Point were always just there.
Living in the city bowl has been a bit like nestling in the arms of Table Mountain. In between the fynbos and the beach sand I found healing; I found clarity and I also found myself. In a way I found a mother’s love.
This city holds some of the worst and best memories for me. A broken heart, two muggings and an incident that left my car on bricks were some of my worst moments. It did make me a lot more street smart though. Nowadays I’m always ready with pepper spray and a stun gun.
Some of my better moments are thanks to the city’s eclectic mix of creatives and adventurers who made for delightful new experiences and the very of best friends. One of them recently said, “you can’t really ‘find yourself’ on your own; you can only do it in community.” I couldn’t agree more. And I’m thankful for all the randoms that make up my community. There’s the editors, the teachers and the City of Cape Town employee; the actuaries, the fashion designers and MBA graduate; the meteorologists, TV presenters and the neuroscientist; the electronic, industrial and chemical engineers and the Brazilian who loves JM Coetzee’s writing; the copywriter, the lexicographer and the social worker; the student recruiter, the brand manager and the CA; the landscape architect, the StrengthsFinder coach and the sommelier; the many fine artists, illustrators, graphic designers and photographers; the entrepreneurs, the teachers and the professional communicators – these all become my friends and my family.
Now that it’s almost time to bid the mountain farewell, I realise what I’ll miss most. More than its cityscapes and nature scenes, I’ll miss all the familiar faces.
But as it happened nearly four years ago, when I fell in love with a city and its people, I know it will happen again. I will again discover hidden gems in the streets and faces of my new city. In fact, waiting for me are even better arms to nestle in – the arms of my love and the arms of bright and blossoming Jacarandas.