In late December of last year (2019), I realised that my International Driving Permit and South African Driver's License will be expiring soon. I had to make a trip back to South Africa to sort it out...

As I embarked on a journey from Japan to my homeland, South Africa, the purpose was clear: renewing my South African driver's license so I can obtain my Japanese one. The realization struck me that I should have taken care of this matter earlier, back when I still resided in South Africa. However, amidst preparations for my move to Japan, it slipped through the cracks of my busy life.

Touching down in Johannesburg, my old friend Jonah and his father greeted me at the airport, offering a warm embrace and a few days of reconnecting in the city. I seized the opportunity to visit the Melrose Gallery and indulge my passion for sports cars at Daytona Motors in Melrose Arch. Savouring the familiar taste of Castle Lite paired with bogobe (maize meal) and various portions of meat, I was thankful to enjoy the unique culinary delights of my homeland again.

Seeing my family for the first time in six months filled me with a mixture of excitement and nostalgia. The joy of reuniting with loved ones and spending precious hours together left an indelible mark on my heart. I was also happy to catch up with Phenyo, Thobe, Kayombo, Siwe, Neo, Koketso, Shannel and Kwanele. Most of them being childhood friends.

A trip to the family farm offered a serene escape. Gathering with dear friends at my family home, we experienced the occasional inconvenience of load-shedding, a typical South African nightmare. Undeterred, we embraced the challenge, gathering around a crackling fire for a memorable braai and a refreshing swim, as laughter and conversation filled the air. The ability to fully immerse myself in Sepedi, my home language, brought a sense of cultural heritage. Seeing as Japanese and English are completely different languages.

Amidst the backdrop of breathtaking sunsets, I shared a heartfelt moment with my sister at an animal game reserve, we were both enriched by the beauty of nature unfolding before us. Another sunset atop a hill, accompanied by my friend Ryan Manning, reminded me of the simple joys life has to offer.

Navigating the bureaucratic process at the traffic department, I successfully renewed my driver's license, albeit enduring the two-week waiting period—a sharp contrast to the efficiency I had grown accustomed to in Japan. Luckily their systems were not offline this time. An unexpected turn of events brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in my plans, resulting in the cancellation of my return flight to Japan.

Fortunately, I was able to book a new return flight altogether, taking me through Hong Kong. Luckily I enjoy Cathay Pacific. Fate did my dirty as I discovered the loss of my wallet in the bustling city, causing a momentary panic. Concerns about cash and the cards added an extra layer of stress to the already eventful journey.

Just in the nick of time, before Japan closed its borders, I made it back safely, relieved and grateful for the timely return. Amidst the challenges and uncertainties, a ray of sunshine awaited me—a beautiful Japanese lady I had started seeing shortly before I departed for South Africa. Her presence brought warmth and joy.

Through this whirlwind adventure, an important lesson echoed in my mind: the significance of tackling important tasks promptly. Procrastination can turn seemingly simple matters into costly mistakes, as I experienced with the delay in renewing my driver's license.

As I reflect upon the rollercoaster journey, a mix of emotions fills my heart—nostalgia, resilience, and a renewed appreciation for the unpredictable nature of life.