I arrived at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport four months ago with a hoodie around my waist and three pieces of luggage holding my entire life for the previous four years. Imagine trying to cram four years of your life into three bags that couldn’t possibly be as full as they could be because they had to be under a specific weight limit.
I knew a lot of things were going to happen, but I wasn’t prepared for them. I knew I’d have to get rid of a lot of clothes and give up my mini library, for example. I knew I’d have to say goodbye to some of my friends who had turned into family over the previous four years. I knew I’d be leaving everything I’d known for the previous four years, and that even though I’d be returning home, I wouldn’t be returning to anything because everything had moved forward while I was gone.
It was exciting to arrive in Lusaka. My original flight had been canceled two days prior to my departure due to the “discovery” of the Omicron virus in Southern Africa. I was relieved to be back in my own home. Furthermore, I hadn’t informed some of my loved ones that I would be returning, so it was wonderful to surprise them and witness their surprised expressions. Is it something I’d do again? I’m not certain. Maybe just let people know you’ll be returning. It was good to be back at home, surrounded by friends and family.
One question I’ve been asked several times is how I’m settling in and transitioning. That is, after all, the purpose of this blog entry. I have been at home for four months but this is when I’m really beginning to understand it.
This whole post can be summed into one word, change. And boy can change be ugly. You’re moving from getting an allowance every month to nothing. You’re moving from seeing your friends as often as you like because you all live next to each other to maybe once a month if you’re lucky or even never at all. So much change happens in such a short space of time and it can take a while to adjust. It has taken me a while.
The beauty of the first month and confusion of the second
The first thing I’ll say about settling in or transitioning is that the first month is fantastic, but the second month is less so. You’re technically a guest for the first month. Everyone is looking forward to seeing you, and you are looking forward to seeing everyone. However, after the first month, you realize that you’re not going anywhere and will have to unpack your belongings and adjust to life at home. But that wasn’t the most difficult part for me. The most difficult aspect was establishing some sort of schedule.
The organized chaos
The first few months were a struggle for someone who relies on routine and planning. Because I planned for my days to run a specific way and my mother would arrive in the morning to tell me she wanted me to run certain errands for her, it was really difficult for me to establish a regular schedule and stick to it. I now have a better organized schedule and more control over my days than when I first arrived.
Going From Very Independent to Not So Independent
Well, the definition of independent will vary from person to person. What it means for me is life moved from me doing what I want to when I want to (responsibly), to doing things based on other people’s time. Living with my parents means following their rules and doing things as they want to. Suddenly every little thing has to be explained. I can’t just leave the house at 8 or 9pm anymore to go and hangout with friends. Granted, I didn’t do that often when I lived alone but I did every once in a while and it was fun. It’s little things like committing to a day of rest that you can’t do anymore, leaving the house to do nothing and other little little things that make me realise I miss the independence I had and felt when I lived alone.
I Promise I’m Not A Kid Anymore
Well it turns out it’s not that easy to understand. I thought them sending me away to another country all alone meant they understood that I am responsible, or at least that I can be responsible but that is painfully not the case. It is taking me a lot of patience to understand and deal with my parents. It’s really taking a lot.
Sometimes I just don’t understand how they were fine with me being on my own for 4 years but suddenly when I’m under their roof I am incapable of being a functioning and responsible adult. A few days ago, my dad said my brother and I weren’t being responsible about something and when I asked how, he also couldn’t give me a solid answer.
If there’s anything I am struggling to learn, it’s that your parents will take a long time to really see your for what you are and where you are after 4 years or however long it would have been since you left home. Parents will parent but I am a strong believer in saying how I feel no matter how hard it may be and so I do intend on letting them know everything I’m saying here and more.
The Job Hunt
I’m not very sure if I mentioned this anywhere but my plan for after uni was to work for at least a year before going back for my masters degree. I’m 3 months post undergrad and I haven’t really started looking for a job yet. I wanted a couple of months to rest before I can fully dive into a new phase of my life and I think I’m ready for that now.
However, I do need to find a job so that I can start gaining experience and of course, funding my lifestyle. I intend to make the job hunt a series of some sort; depending on how it all goes, of course. I have an idea of what kind of job I want, specifically what field I’d like to work in. I just hope the hunt doesn’t reach a point where it becomes less of what I want and more of me just settling for what’s there. Wish me luck!
Trying Not To Lose Myself
At the end of the day, I’m trying not to lose myself and not to forget the person I fell in love with the last four years of my life. I believe those were very formative years of my life and I grew so much and learnt so much about so many things, myself included. The process of going through change can make it easy for me to forget the things that made me happy or the things that made me feel at peace but I am committed to always remembering those things.
Lately, I have found myself withdrawing from those around me and really just not being present for things but I’m doing my best to not go back there. It’s just that certain things happen that want to push me into that corner but I don’t want it. So I wake up everyday, determined to not lose myself or lose the person I have become, the person I have fallen in love with.
I hope this answers the question of how I’m adjusting to being home. I promise you, not everything is challenging. It’s just that the challenging things seem to stand out more than the easy things.
If you have ever lived on your own then had to move back home, how did that go for you? How were your first few months? Leave a comment and let me know. I would really like someone to assure me that it gets better.
Thanks for reading!