My attachment to Zambia will always be part of me, even though it’s been years since I’ve lived there. Whenever I’m preparing for a holiday there I feel excitement and longing build up, happy that once again I’ll be “home”. This all inevitably leads to be being disappointed when I arrive in Zambia and realize that it isn’t really “home” anymore. Yes, it’s familiar: the long winding roads, the green everywhere, the houses with large backyards, thatched fences and towering trees. My dad’s hospital, the house he lives in. I know it all. But it isn’t mine anymore. Zambia doesn’t belong to me the way it did when I grew up there, when I didn’t know any other city other than Lusaka, and when I didn’t think about where I was from or what it meant. Zambia was home and it was just that simple. Why is it so complicated now? Could I ever go back and live in Zambia again? Yes, of course, and I would like to one day. But it will never feel the way it felt when I was little. It would be a different Zambia, since I inevitably would be a different me.
Someone once said that what makes you miss a place is not the physicality of the place, but the memories. To an extent that is true: I miss the gardens we always had, I miss Manda Hill, I miss the rainy season and the green everywhere. But do I miss the memories I had in these places or the places themselves? If I had all these places again, would they mean the same thing?