Friends always ask me this question and they don’t know how annoying it can be. Most of them can’t believe that I would spend more than a year without seeing my mum. And I’m here thinking, how can I go home at least every three years? Yea 3 whole years, because it takes a lot of time and money.
A flight ticket is about 500€ to and fro if you book early enough. Yea you think it’s not expensive? Guess what, congratulations you are rich. For me that’s a lot of money. It represents a monthly student salary. I struggle to pay my rent already. However, when I find the money to buy a flight ticket, I must have enough money to pay for my rent and my health insurance during the time I plan to be away and the month after. Best believe I just give up, because why should I stress up like that?
Some of my friends don’t know all it takes to actually plan a trip like this one, because they either live one train or a bus away from home. Many don’t have to pay for their flight tickets and others just have the guts to use their savings. The only category I could fall in is the savings one, because as much as my mum and siblings miss me, they won’t buy me any ticket. I have to figure that out on my own, plus they casually expect me to bring them gifts whenever I come back. The audacity! Haha!
Most Cameroonians think we make money quite easily here. A savage cliche, that pushes them to believe that we can go back to Cameroon when we want. Which implies that we don’t want to? Seriously? Let me make it clear, I would travel every year if I could, because Germany is a stressful country. Our best way to break the studies or work routine is to escape, literally. To go somewhere else and have fun. Another option is to sleep, to eat and drink, to watch movies all day and avoid the letterbox for maybe 2 weeks. A really cheap break.
I had been choosing the last option for 5 years straight, before finally travelling to Cameroon last December during lectures. I bought my ticket after working for 2 months during lectures the semester before. I had just had a crazy semester and I needed to go far away for some time. And like I mentioned before, I had to buy gifts for all my family.
Believe me you don’t want to know how many we are, because eventhough not everyone is in Cameroon, I had 2 baggage full of gifts. It was my first time since I arrived Germany 5 years ago to go back home. Yea! They were all waiting for their made in Germany everything. Thank God for sales. Eventhough I still was very broke after buying all those stuffs.
Another issue is saving money for Cameroon . The truth is you can’t go to Cameroon without pocket money, because no one is waiting there to take care of your expenses. You need enough money to go to cool restaurants, make a trip to the beach, hang around town and buy a lot of things. But if you just want to stay at home once you’re there, well you might not need money at all.
For these reasons I can’t go home as much as I want. Last year was an emergency trip, in order to finally see my family. Some of you keep saying, “how about you really miss your family and all?”. Guys I miss them a lot, but honestly I’m not spending money that I don’t have to have fun. I’m thankful I could see them again. But there’s quite never a perfect timing and I don’t know when next I’ll see my mum and siblings. We just hold on to texts and video calls. Maybe another five years? Who knows?