In some ways, this post has been the hardest to write so far, because it's the dearest to my heart. I've started it countless times in my head and no less than ten times online. It's a labour of love and will go through more drafts and revisions than most things I've ever written. Even now, I write... and I stop and stare off into space for a while, not entirely sure I'm willing to allow myself to openly tell the whole world what they already know.
I just commented to Phill about how great I feel after I finish one of these posts. Already, after only a few entries, I can feel my focus shift and something changing just slightly (for the better.) This feeling is actually quite addictive - and I'm okay with that, because there are many worse things to be addicted to!
Even now, I'm happily rambling away, not getting to the point of my entry. I could probably ramble for a whole entry (don't worry, it won't be this one... but I'm coming close.)
Nearly each and every single day, I think about Africa in some way or another. Mum was born in Uganda, while Dad and Navaz were both born in Tanzania. Although my parents informed me many, many, many times that I was indeed born in Canada, I swore black and blue that Sarnia sounded African, therefore I must have been born in Africa. It was a bit confusing when I looked Sarnia up in an atlas, but I simply could not be swayed. I'm not sure when I finally realised that they weren't just trying to trick me, and I really wasn't born in Africa.
I grew up with incredible, fantastic and absorbing stories of an entirely different life that Mum and Dad lead as they grew up. Even between the two of them, the differences were amazing. I was, and still am simply enamoured with the whole affair. I used to beg for stories about Dad in his boarding school, or Mum and the mischief her brothers and sisters got into. It was an exotic and exciting setting for their tales - with animals I only ever saw in a zoo and a language, Swahili, that just sounded like pure happiness to my eager ears.
As I got older, I became more fascinated with our family history and how we came be in Africa. I now often think about why we had to leave Tanzania and how Idi Amin's exile of Indians from Uganda has directly affected my life. I wonder what it would be like to see photos of my parents, uncles and aunties as children, to see the homes they grew up in and the toys they had since their birth. (I still have my pink teddy bear that I was given when I was born. It's in Mum & Dad's basement... it's hideous now, and I love it.)
Even with all our family history that lies in Africa, that's not why it's so close to my heart.
What I am, is immensely grateful for is the time I spent travelling around Tanzania with Navaz and Rahim.
Rahim and I spent plenty of time together when he lived at Mum and Dad's house. He's very much like a brother to me and we have a very easy relationship; not only because he's got an incredibly beautiful soul, but also because we are close in age and it is easy to relate to each other.
It's always been different with Navaz. He's my big brother. He hung the moon (or I told one of my teachers when I was younger - "He can do ANYTHING.") We've got a bit of an age difference and he's always looked out for me - as big brothers do. We spent a bit of time together when I used to drive downtown in the dead of the night to pick him up, but we were still at very different places in life. At that point, we'd spent very little time socializing as adults, aside from when Shazeen would bring him to my outings (e.g. - my birthday) as her boyfriend and not as my brother. We both thought it was wierd. Nice, but wierd. So I think we were both a bit apprehensive about travelling to Tanzania together.
Simply put - Navaz, Rahim and I had an awesome time. I knew Rahim was great fun... but I also got to hang out with my big brother and I found out that he was actually a lot of fun too! Who would have thought it?
Now I have my own African stories of mischief, mountains and wildlife to share with our future generations. (Love that!)
Our trip ranks as one of the best times of my life. I'm sitting here thinking of how much fun we had and I find that I've got tears in my eyes. Not only because I miss Navaz so very much, but also because I am incredibly grateful to have him as my big brother; that I got to have such an awesome experience travelling with him and best of all - I got to know him.