Realizing A Dream – Step 1: Buying Land

“Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.”

– Anaïs Nin –

Life in the UAE has an expiry date. Every expat, no matter how many years he or she spends here, can only ever call it ‘home’ temporarily. We have now lived here long enough to understand the impact of a transient society on our hearts and minds. Not only have we said goodbye to various friends, but we have also experienced the uncertainty of job security, when the company Michael first worked at, closed down. Despite many long-term residents, there is no permanent place here for us, and although we love living in the UAE, and are grateful for all the opportunities life here has afforded us, we are also aware that we need to find an answer for our perpetual question, “Where to next?”.

Our desire to return to South Africa has faded over the past six years. It is no longer a country that feels like ‘home’. Politically, socially, and culturally, too much has happened since we left. Most importantly, perhaps, is the fact that we have changed. Close contact with different cultures has brought a deeper understanding of what makes us human, and although we haven’t turned into saints, our daily interactions have stretched out cultural preconceptions and values, until, what makes us different is perceived not as a curse, but a blessing. What we know for sure is that we want to live where people are tolerant, and where it is safe.

We think we have found just that. Or perhaps I should say that the country and the land found us. For as long as I can remember I have dreamed of a little piece of land, where I can live close to the earth. A simple life is something both Michael and I yearn for, and although his simple life could easily include sailing around the world, I far prefer solid ground beneath my feet. For the last three years, since good friends of ours bought a piece of land in Portugal, and started creating their dream life, we have turned our attention and conversations to that part of the world. Michael has trawled the property websites with the eyes of a dreamer, and although I looked at the pictures he showed me, nothing really captured my heart. That is, until recently, when he enthusiastically proclaimed, “Found!!!”

Not one to be easily swept up in a wave of excitement or dreams, I looked at the photographs, and just knew that he was right. We asked our friends, who live 30 km away, to go have a look, and started the buying process without stepping foot on the land. When we did, a couple of weeks later, we both instantly felt at home. Dotted with cork oak and olive trees, the land gently slopes in ways that draw the eyes to the horizon, where clouds often gather against a deep blue sky. To my delight, lavender grows wild on the land, and in my mind’s eye, a haze of purple undulates into the distance.

Even though the land has not been transferred into our names yet, contracts have been signed, and money has exchanged hands. And so we have started dreaming about the next step. Building a house.

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