I have a new love in my life. He isn’t tall, dark and handsome, nor is he broad, blonde and built. He doesn’t take me to dinner or hold my hand in the dark of the cinema. He isn’t even human, or a ‘he’ for that matter. I have fallen in love with my hometown.
Sounds ridiculous, right? I’ve been lucky enough to live in the Mother City my whole life, and have always had great affection for it, but in the last year I have seen my city through others’ eyes, as if anew, and like what I see. So many of my friends have moved away – mostly to the UK and to Jozi for work – and they are all rather homesick. They pine for Cape Town, and their longing has made me realise how very lucky I am to live here. One friend claims to have such a spectacular reaction to being reunited with his favourite city that “it’s like I’m on drugs!” he says. I suggested it might be the change in altitude between Joburg and Cape Town, but he promptly pooh-poohed the idea, saying “It’s definitely more romantic than that.” The kind of dizzying, heady daze he experiences when he visits the Mother City is not uncommon, and it’s starting to rub off on me.
We Capetonians get a lot of flak for being smug about our city, and I have no doubt that we are thoroughly annoying to be around, or Facebook friends with, particularly in summer. Endless updates of “Ryan had the BEST weekend, like, EVER. Wine tasting at Constantia, cocktails at Caprice and Goldfish at La Med. Hells yeah!” have got to grate after a while. And when we’re not deliriously happy in recounting our weekend exploits, we’re either bitching about the heat or moaning about the wind. During our two-week mini ‘heat wave’ in February one of my friends living in London commented “We get it, Cape Town! It’s hot there. Stop complaining already!” She was right. We practically live in paradise, what on earth are we bothered about?
But we’re entitled to be smug. While I admit my snobby prejudgement of Jozi was ill informed (here) - nowhere else in this country can you go wine tasting, sunbathing, hiking, surfing, and picnicking in one weekend (one day if you’re feeling energetic). And if you don’t get too comfortable with your routine activities, there is always something new to do. In the coming weeks I aim to explore some new places, revisit some old favourites, and generally bask in the sheer beauty and vibrancy that makes this city a place I will always be proud to call my hometown.