Jan 24

“Our hearts are singing, we are home”


Homecomer Jennifer McQuillan recounts her homecomer journey since returning four months ago. 

We arrived in Johannesburg in September, and the last four months have been wonderful and frustrating and hectic and on the whole, oh so very GOOD.

South Africa is one rather special place… we are getting used to being greeted by strangers again, bantering with the ladies at the till, chatting to a stranger in a queue and people wanting to help. Smiles are generally open and genuine.

We are also getting used to the utter joy of being close to family again. We’ve been living in the pool, having braais and sharing so much that we have missed over the last 15 years – school concerts and sports events, birthdays, babysitting our nephews and nieces and just popping in to each other’s homes.

There’s so much to see and do here. Game viewing, botanical gardens, gorgeous landscapes, galleries, theatre, music, arts and crafts, restaurants, socialising in homes (not pubs) and so much more. Johannesburg is a vibrant and welcoming place.

The sunshine … need I mention the sunshine! And the glorious highveld thunderstorms (grateful for the rain!).

We’ve joined a fabulous church and are reconnecting with friends.

We are getting involved in the local community, and what a friendly and engaging community it is.

It’s a good idea, and personally enriching, to not only get involved in your own residential community, but also a community that might take you out of that comfort zone. There is much need, and volunteering skills and time is very much appreciated.

There is a national crisis here with children being orphaned. So many people, whether they have biological children or not, are adopting. Mostly across the colour barrier too. What a privilege. There is so much inherent goodness on the ground.

We are also getting used to dealing with frequent inefficiency in state departments (much patience required) and being more security aware.

We had become more security conscience in London due to an increase in crime there, and we are vigilant with security. One simply has to be. If you have an alarm, arm it. Don’t leave your windows open at night (the mossies are another reason too!), and be wise.

There is work here. Look for it and you will find it. Network, be proactive, and have a positive attitude. Some sectors are easier to find work in than others.

If you battle to find work, be prepared to do one of two things. Either move out of your comfort zone and do something you haven’t done before (who knows where that might lead?), or start your own business. Either way, don’t give up!

We have had job opportunities, but prefer the self employed route, being entrepreneurs. We established and grew a super business in London, and we will do well here too. We have no doubt about this. We are excited about what the future holds for us.

We will always look back at our years overseas with thanks and a smile, we had the opportunity to travel, make an abundance of diverse friends from all over the world, and in the process we grew professionally, and more importantly, closer as a couple.

It was quite an adventure, but it wasn’t home.

When you return home, lean on your loved ones for support. Be prayerful. Be grateful for each new day, which brings with it new opportunity, you only need to take the considered risk of reaching out and nabbing it!

A huge life change like this comes down to what YOU make of it. No-one else can make it work for you. Only you can.