Today, I left you.
As I’m waiting for my connecting flights to Copenhagen at Dubaï International Airport, I am thinking about the 14 months I have spent with you. I came to you in October 2017 for an internship that was supposed to last 6 months. I was very excited, you were a dream for me. What I found was paradise. It was quickly summer: your weather was perfect, your nature was spectacular, your beaches were welcoming, your cultures was fascinating, your parties were happening. I saw whales, I went for wine tasting classes, I danced on rooftops and in festivals. Even if you had no water, you were paradise to my eyes. Therefore, when I had the opportunity to stay longer, I did not hesitate one second. I was less of a tourist then and, day after day, felt more Capetonian. I started to build durable relationships with locals. People who become friends that I feel sad to leave behind. I explored the city via food, eating in all kind of places. I was becoming more confident at work, building connections with colleagues and external contractors. I have truly enjoyed the life I have lived with you.
The lifestyle was what I’ve always wanted to have. For me, you were made of exhibition openings and fancy events but also of chilling at a braaï in someone’s garden for an entire afternoon. Life with you can be quite slow. Your vibe is contemplative. It’s part of your charm. Your night scene is so on point at the right places. Your queer scene is quite something … but it’s thanks to your salsa community that I met the most incredible people. Your different cultures, situation that can be found all over your country, is the most amazing thing I have experienced in my life. I believe they are all strengths that need to be cultivated. With you, when diversity takes place, it is beautiful, strong and proud. When equality happens, it is the best thing I have ever seen. Cape Town, you need to fight for these moments. They are what makes you such an incredible place to be.
During these 14 months, you’ve taught me a lesson: be yourself and don’t apologize, embrace it and embrace that your neighbor does the same. Fight for what you believe in, for what’s right. Cape Town, you should be proud of who you are. I fell in love with you, with your empathy, your kindness, your smiles, your joy and your craziness sometimes. Please fall in love with you too.
I couldn’t be more grateful for the people I have met and the experiences I have lived. You have changed me. You have changed to way I see my place in the world and how I want to use it. I have become more myself because of you. For this, thank you! … I know, it’s chilled ;).
When I left, a dear friend told me that once someone has been in Africa for some time, he/she will be back again, and again, and again. I am afraid it is true. Cape Town, it is just the beginning of my relationship with you. I’ll be back before you know it.
But I miss you already.
Maxime, a Capetonian at heart.