Life of an Expat: A stranger in my home land

I left Mauritius when I was 19 with nothing but a suitcase, a teenager with my personality still being formed. I returned to Mauritius for a visit 10 years later as an adult, newly married and accompanied by my husband.

Reflection

It was a surreal moment. I felt like I knew this country but at the same time felt like a stranger in my own homeland. I could speak the local language yet I did not understand the conversation. The lives of the people with whom I grew up was drastically different to mine and we no longer had any common grounds.

I never quite fitted in my home country. I was a free spirit.  With thoughts and visions that were drastically opposed to the local ways, I left hoping that I would never return to live, yet I yearned for acceptance when I visited.

Scott and I spent two weeks in Mauritius and we did a mixture of tourist and local activities. We went and met many of my relatives, most of which, had never met my husband. We sat down, drank tea and ate some local delicacies and tried to fill the awkward silence with small talk.

A beach in Mauritius

Trou aux Biches, Mauritius

When I returned to my childhood home where my parents still live, I felt out of sorts. I hated that house with a passion. Not because it was ugly, far from it, but because it represents the minutes, hours, months and years that I felt like a prisoner trying to break free.

It was a very bittersweet feeling. I was happy to see my mother and eat her home cooking but at the same time I felt that the walls were closing in on me.

But amongst all the angst, I relished the smells and sounds of my homeland. I showed my husband my haunting grounds from when I was growing up, I gorged myself on local delicacies and in general had a grand time playing tourist.

On the last day of our 2 week trip, I said goodbye once more, not quite sure when I will be back. But this time as an adult and for probably the first time in my life, I had closure.

Outrigger Resort, Mauritius

Outrigger Resort, Mauritius

I will come back to this beautiful country and have a grand time enjoying the local culture, safe in the knowledge that after my trip I will board a plane and go back home.

 

A stranger in my home land

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