Friday, 6 January 2012

Contemplations in Hong Kong About "Home" and Things I Miss

My annual visit "home" is a strange journey, for in South Africa I do not have a "home" in the traditional sense of the word. It is probably better to say that their are homes, in the plural sense, but that is not a complete truth either. Rather, there are many people in whose homes I will make myself at home for a couple of days at a time, until I return to my "home" in my guest country. Thinking about this "home"-topic, I always think of the essay "Nowhere Man" in which the author admits his strange impartiality to all places, never a patriot of any place, but also at home everywhere. I resontate with that -- I feel equally at home and foreign, equally comfortable and uncomfortable, where ever I go. Another half truth, of course. There are places where I'm more comfortable (or uncomfortable) than others. I'm definitely more comfortable here in Hong Kong than I was in Kungmin, Mainland China; defintely more comfortable in Seoul, Korea than I am in Johannesburg, South Africa; definitely more comfortable in Potchefstroom than I am in Cape Town; definitely more comfortable in Luang Prabang, Laos, than in Polokwane, Limpopo; definitely more comfortable in Harajuku, Tokyo than in Bangkok, Thailand; more comfortable in Bangkok than in Richardsbay, KZN. If being "at home" equates the place you feel comfortable, then there is little doubt that homeliness is a very relative concept.

In my little 3m x 4m room here in Tsim Tsa Shui, in Kowloon, Hong Kong, I'm pretty comfortable with my wi-fi, double bed and cozy duvet, my tablet, and books (both paper books and electronic books: philosophy, short stories, martial arts, religious, poetry). The fact that the shower's water is not as boiling hot as I like it, is probably the only discomfort I'm experiencing at present.

"I'm a citizen of the planet" sings Alanis Morissette.

I decided to visit Hong Kong again because I've missed it. I've longed for it as for an old friend I haven't seen in a long time. It happens. As an expatriat people often ask me if I miss South Africa. An honest answer is no. I miss people in South Africa, I miss the energies of specific places in South Africa, but I do not miss South Africa as a whole. I miss sitting in a coffee shop in Luang Prabang, but I do not miss Laos. I miss feeling at home amongst the freaks in Harajuku, but I do not miss Japan. I miss that little jazz cafe in Apgujeong (Seoul) that closed recently; I miss my childhood friend Keith McKenzie with whom I was only friends for a year; I miss some of my Taekwon-Do students that I ony taught for a couple of months; I miss Jackie Horn, another childhood friend whom had the most beautiful singing voice; I miss my mother in front of the organ; I miss the big bath tub I had in the commune I lived in during the final year I worked on my master's degree thesis; I miss taking drives from Richardsbay to Kloof, Pietermaritzburg, with my friend Garnet that now lives in the UK; I miss dancing on New Year's Eve with my brother's ex-girlfriend; I miss the trees I climbed in as a child; I miss all my cats that had lived up their nine lives; I miss easy access to deep one-one, face-to-face, conversations with my best friends; I miss double cream Greek style yogurt; I miss innocence; I miss my grandmother's apricot jam tarts; I miss kissing soft lips; I miss characters from The Death Gate Cycle; I miss the smell of horses; I miss the old lady that made chamchi-kimchi bokkembab (Tuna and Kimchi stir fried rice); I miss the feeling of a man's stubble on the back of my hand; I miss South African achar in red pepper oil; I miss the Chonin Exam in Naruto; I miss drinking chocalate milk while sitting on the beach in Mtunzini; I miss smelling a women's neck; I miss my childhood flights of fantasy when I imagined myself being a unicorn, or a black panther, or an elf; I miss eating whitebread peanut butter and apricot jam sandwiches with a glass of freshly milked milk; I taking swims in the farm dam with my dog Tiga; I miss seeing flying peacocks (we had peacocks on our farm when I grew up); I miss thunderstorms in the Transvaal; I miss hugging trees while I still was a pantheist; I miss writing songs on my guitar; I miss running and sliding on a rugby field on a winter's morning when it is covered with frost; I miss taking piano classes; I miss getting excited about the actual good news of the Gospel with someone else that really get's God's character; I miss eating mango and coconut desert in Hong Kong (the last one was a lie since I've had it two times since being in Hong Kong -- that was part of the reason for coming here again); I miss the beautiful summer clouds and sunsets in the Laeveld; I miss playing Legos; I miss Dawie, Die Kabouter; I miss dancing with my mother in the kitchen; I miss the excitement I felt when I learned about Postmodernism and recognising myself in it; I miss; I miss lying on the roof of our farm house and looking at the stars; I miss the overlapping character sketches in Catch-22; I miss being able to do the splits; I miss a world where some people do not try to controll or rule over other people; I miss bunny chows; I miss working on my fantasy-adventure novel "Lightning Twins"; I miss first snow, first blossoms, first kisses, the first shaky steps of a toddler; I miss such things.

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3 comments:

BoerinBallingskap said...

Ek stem nogal baie saam met jou gevoelens en sentimente in hierdie skrywe. En jy skryf eerlik en uit die hart. En hoe ouer mens word, hoe meer raak die dinge wat mens mis...

Sean Smit said...

Home is where the heart is................

Skryfblok said...

Aai Sean, dis juis die probleem. My hart is op te veel plekke!