It was 1997 when I spent my last schoolyear in Bulawayo (Zimbabwe) as an exchange student. I lived with the Doolabh-family who looked after me as if I were their own child. This was the right age and the right place for me. I officially call this the most important year of my life. I stopped biting my nails and started growing my hair. My English was bad but when no-one speaks Dutch, you learn fast. There were no smartphones, mobile data or videocallingapps. Phoning home was expensive. I wrote letters (a lot) and my parents phoned me once in two weeks, mainly for their own peace of mind. I remember I did not suffer from homesickness for a second. That year, I got rich. Those were the days. I still lean on them. I got homesick the day I came back home, to this day, 20 years later. 

As from 2000, life got rough in Zimbabwe. Many left the country. My friends are now living all around the world.