Twelve years without being in the place you call home is a really long time. I always said to myself “someday I will go back home to visit my family after I came to the states.” Then days went by, weeks went by, months went by and then years went by. It was embarrassing to tell people that I have not visited my home in over ten years. During the year 2013 I promised myself that 2014 will not go by without me visiting home.
It was quite a long process to get everything together but I worked hard to stick to my time frame. After several months of hard work, days of constant phone calls and paperwork, on November 2014, I booked a ticket to the city of Luanda, which is located on the west coast in the state of Angola , near the Atlantic Ocean. On December 25, 2014, I departed to New York, my first layover. From there I went to Dubai, the next day on December 27, I arrived in Luanda (yeah!!!!).
For the first time in 12 years (almost 13) I was reunited with my family. I reconnected with childhood friends, I visited the places where I used to go to when I was a child. I walked the same streets I used to walk, I felt the same atmosphere I used to feel as kid. Sitting at home with a home cooked meal from Mom was an experience like no other.
I felt like a foreigner at times because I could not stop staring, and admiring the changes. Stores, banks, buildings, and more had been added to places that I remembered vividly. While some other places remain the same, most locations were abandoned. The park where I grew up playing with my siblings and friends was one of the places that was abandoned and destroyed. Walking around my neighborhood felt very different but I was thankful for walking down the same path that I missed for so long.
As I walked around there were people that I could not recognize, but that just justified that I waited too long to visit home. A sad statement to make but it is the truth. A couple of childhood friends were kind enough to visit, we talked about the old times and we were able to catch up. Nothing like a good conversation to bring you back to the days when we had no worries. The joy to sit and talk to them was inexplicable.
The term “home” is definitely different to all of us. While others will be glad to return home, some are not as happy to do so because of their circumstances. I on the other hand was fortunate enough to return back to the motherland. I love my home more than anything. Home is where my heart is and it will forever be. I can live in ten different countries but at end of the day my home country will always be the place where I have had the best memories of my life. I plan to visit as often as I can and as often as time permits.