I have now lived at Casa Cali for as long as I lived in Mozambique. Four-and-a-half years. Combining both places, nearly a decade.
I think about the fact that I moved to Chimoio when I was 23 and it blows my mind. So ambitious and precocious and confident and arrogant. So open to radical change. So unfazed by geography.
Between then and now I got married, created a lucrative freelance career for myself, left said career, became a homeowner, went to art school, became a metalsmith, learned how to parallel park, set up a collaborative studio space, and now - most recently - with lots of help from lots of people, opened the showroom.
I also felt my wanderlust and expat identity transform into something more grounded, content to stay in one place and invest in that life as a solid base from which to explore.
In many ways, the process of making art feels like living abroad. It can be frustrating and lonely and full of fear. It is continually humbling. There are lots of tears. And yet it is also enlightening, inspiring, and an unfailing way to get to know myself better.
These days life is grand and it is also very hard. All of the aspects of being a self-employed artist, an entrepreneur, a collaborator, a mentor, a boss that I knew would be a challenge have been just that. But in a good way. In a growing way. In a way that makes me remember every day that it's the cumulative and sustained efforts that make a difference. That Rome wasn't built in a day. That it's okay for things to be continually in flux.
The reality of my latest leap is still sinking in. I write this from the most calming and beautiful space imaginable, in a community that I am wholly part of. My fledgling business is flourishing. Rico is here helping me close for the day. We will likely go next door to the wine bar and have a glass of something delicious before going home. Then I will cook, we will relax with the cats, and tomorrow I have the chance to do it all again.