OUR SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNEY – HOW IT ALL STARTED

It’s been a month. A month and two days exactly. It feels like we left Cape Town two years ago. There are moments when I miss everything badly. Like BADLY. I miss checking on HBO (a Facebook group for Hout Bay people). I miss not knowing what’s going to happen today. I miss people, I miss the mountains, I miss my runs on Chappies. Facebook posts on my friends hiking up Table Mountain make me want to delete the bloody app, or at least somehow filter all sunny hiking pictures.

It’s not that life in Helsinki is bad. Actually the opposite. No complaints. I’m even back on my feet after having the most terrible three week long cough I’ve ever had. I’ve got an interesting job, giving me flexibility to remote work, starting next week. Talky is happy at school. It’s been great to reconnect with some old friends. Everything works.

I’m trying to keep up with one post a week on this blog. Due to the fact we’re moving (yeah – you can start calling me a pro packer and unpacker who has developed a very good getting rid of stuff skill) this week and me being actually a bit busy, you’re going to get a post I actually wrote while still in Cape Town:

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And so it is, friends. The move. Not quite yet, but soon. We’re uprooting, packing up, heading to four seasons, flatter terrains, insulated houses with central heating. Getting rid of stuff. Contemplating a new reality.

This is a big journey. In some ways bigger than the journey here in early 2013. And as with any journey, it is an opportunity to reflect. 

FIRST TIME TO SOUTH AFRICA

Surprisingly, our son having South African roots had very little to do with that. However, I doubt without him we would ever have stepped on South African soil in the first place. For no specific reason. It just wasn’t on our bucket list.

The two weeks in Johannesburg in September 2009 fetching Talky did not make us fall in love with South Africa. Electric fences, armed responses, no walking on the streets, busy highways, shopping malls, freezing cold nights, artificial tourist attractions. A very confused two years old with two confused new parents.

DISCOVERING HOUT BAY

It was a documentary in early 2010 on Finnish television about a Finnish woman living in Hout Bay that changed everything. Never before had I seen anything so beautiful!

And so it happened, in the end of 2010 we spent three months in Hout Bay.

We’ll be back was the thought when the plane took off from Cape Town International Airport.

NOW OR NEVER

Life in Finland was good. Safe, predictable, easy. Every day was more or less the same as yesterday, and tomorrow would be the same as today. Is this it? For the rest of my life?

Our confused two year old had turned into a happy, outspoken, curious and energetic five year old. Friends were becoming increasingly more important.

I was at crossroads with my career. And myself. Everything was good but there was a profound feeling of emptiness.

We talked about a few other countries besides South Africa.

Ireland. Even crappier weather than in Finland. Canada. Not exciting enough. Too American. New Zealand. Too far. Completely wrong time zone.

We ended up with South Africa. Cape Town and Hout Bay. Because of the sea, the sun and the mountains. Because of the language. Because of the time zone. Because we wanted our son to get to know his birth country, in real. Because South Africa was a country and nation in making. Because we believed in the Africa Rising narrative, untapped business opportunities; and being part of a good story. Because we were (and still are) explorers, venturists, and weird.

THE MOVE

By the end of 2012 we had sold our home in Helsinki, organised our South African visas, rented a house, secured a school for our son.

A month before we were scheduled to leave my soon hugely successful startup got a fatal hit when one of the key co-founders decided to leave the company. The move became even more of a leap in faith than originally planned.

A few days after New Year 2013 we landed at the Cape Town International Airport with five pieces of luggage.

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Below some pictures taken during our 2010 visit to Hout Bay. Talky was tiny, I was thin, Dan was Dan, and Hout Bay as beautiful as ever.

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