So the time has come for me to blurt it out. I wanted to write it all down and post some pictures in an effort to explain myself and the decision that I’ve made. Those that know me personally will know the crumby past year and a half I’ve had and will also know the amount of happiness I currently have in my heart due to a special soul.
Let’s cut to the chase. I have a wonderful boyfriend. His name is Greg and he is a South African. He is an amazing chef (like the best if you ask me) and a first-class human being. In 2009, he got offered a job as Executive Chef at Leopard Rock which is a prestigious, colonial and famous hotel in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe. He has been there since then, creating waves of excitement, change within the systems and within the local’s mindsets, groundbreaking food, service and overall experience within the hotel and has been, quite simply, a breath of fresh air in a place that has grand potential but needed some Greggifying. Basically, he has a wonderful job, is settled, has fallen in love with Zimbabwe and is not quite ready to leave for his Northcliff meisie (although i know he would if i asked him to)
Soooo in a nutshell, I will be packing up everything I own and moving North to the mountains I will now call home.
I am a Zimbabwean by birth but moved to South Africa with my family just a few years into my life. So moving there feels partly right, partly safe, wholly exciting. Most reactions so far have been dumbfounded: “huh?”, “oh, um, that’s really cool”, “what you wanna go there for?”, “um, ok” but most important to me has been the reaction of my family. I am touched, blessed and so very grateful for their grace, support and love even though I know they think I’m mad. I feel so betwixt because I know they’re thinking how they gave up everything to get us out of there all those years back, start from nothing here and now I’m turning around and going back. The irony being that Greg is there coincidentally and that is all. It’s a big step for me because my family is everything to me. We are immensely close-knit and being apart from them is going to be my biggest challenge yet.
You see, we're not getting any younger and Greg and I see each other in our futures. There has been ring talk and the W word (eeeeek) so it’s not a fleeting decision. It’s one I think I will never regret and one I am not scared to make.
So, Zimbabwe you say? Isn’t it war-torn? Isn’t it crap? Isn’t it dangerous? Isn’t it scary? Don’t you have to queue for petrol and bread? Answer: No. Zimbabwe is rad. It is an African country. And like all of those, there is poverty everywhere. There are sad people everywhere. There are signs on every face and street and newspaper headline that there was/is war there, that times are hard, that they live unwillingly under a dictator. However, they live with vigour. The people are gentle and kind and they possess an attitude I wish some South Africans would pick up. Zimbabwe is exciting. There are post depression undercurrents of zeal and vigour that stem from a need to survive. It is derelict and poor. It is Africa. Creativity is abound though. I never failed to see someone creating something I wasn’t in awe of. When I visited recently, I felt alive. I felt I could make a difference there and maybe even leave some footprints.
We will be living in a beautiful house on the grounds of Leopard Rock. Little does bf know, I’m bringing all my crazy bright pink things, my bike and my beloved shoe collection (amongst everything else) Our back garden looks like this:
Above all else, this is just a chapter in our lives. An adventure. My record of 7 years of long distance relationships may have been fine in my student days but no more. So this is just me being grown-up, embarking on an adventure, trusting Greg with all my heart and spreading my wings. Lately, the city life I lead has felt overwhelming, pressured and not really worth the daily madness, stress and fear. I longed to simplify my life, bring things back into perspective and live surrounded by beauty. I cannot express my excitement at living in the place I’m about to, growing all our own vegetables, fruit and herbs, making our own cheeses, butter and bread. Cooking together, walking in the forests, riding horses, waking up to a sunrise over a valley and watching the sun set behind mountains. All alone. Not a sound to be heard forever.
"when you visit nature, you see clearly how modern man is under a spell. a religion of chaos"
We will be living in the Eastern Highlands in a place called The Vumba Mountains. The closest town, Mutare, is about 30km’s away. And Harare is about 4 hours away. The mountains we will live amongst are those that border Mozambique. How rad?
All in all, a big fat adventure for City Girl over here but one that I am extremely excited for. Emotional times are ahead – closing my business being one of the biggest. But I am strangely comfortable with the idea. I believe that things have lifetimes and I am perfectly fine with bringing her to a close and remembering her for all the wonderfulness. We have some super exciting ideas for when I actually get to the mountains. Can’t really splash them all over the interwebs just yet but rest assured, I will still be cooking up a storm. And keeping it pink.
And visits to the Big Smoke will happen very often. There is no Mr Price in the Vumba. There is no Clicks. There are no clothes shops and there sure as heck isn’t a Woolworths. Or anything even remarkably close. In fact, this is going to be a new lifestyle for me. Reshifting what is important to me, rearranging my mindset and building a life with the man I think the world of. In paradise.