‘Homecoming London Gave Us the Final Push to Return Home’
Lerisha Kissoon-Higgs was born and raised in Durban, South Africa. She returned home after attending Homecoming Revolution’s London 2015 event.
South Africa has always been home for me. I met my husband when he was on holiday in South Africa in 2009. He had been living in the UK for 7 years. We got married in October 2010 and I moved to London to start my new life.
I was suddenly a young professional in the corporate environment in a first world country. I am very well-travelled and I have had extensive work experience. I have worked as a radio journalist for the SABC, I have taught at my university, the University Of KwaZulu Natal. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communication and I have an Honours in Culture, Communication and Media Studies. But nothing prepared me for the life I was about to step into in the UK.
It was a beautiful city with so much to offer. Freedom like I’ve never seen before. Parents allowing their children to play in the parks while they read, people walking to work and to shops with no threat factor, the use of public transport so extensively. The city centre was amazing. Wonderful architecture, beautiful buildings and majestic bridges. It was easy to fall in love with London. Then there was the fact that you could so easily travel to anywhere in Europe, which we did. It was an amazing place to be. It was a major cultural change which took me time to get into, not to mention a huge shift in mind-set after you’ve lived in SA all your life. Getting a job was easy. I started temping at the head office of a large retailer then later became permanent. I went on to become a buyer in the food industry. I found the corporate world in London to be significantly more demanding than South Africa despite all my work experience.
Then of course there was the cold. Being a true Durbanite, I love the sun, the ocean, and of course, the bunny chows. Three things that were not so easy to come by. The ocean was no longer at your doorstep, bunny chows were practically non-existent, and in winter, there were very few hours of sunlight. The living spaces in London were quite small, especially if you’re adapted to having lots of garden space and big rooms. The killer for me personally, was being away from FAMILY! My family was and to this day is everything to me. Yes, I had my husband and he made our lives amazing. But disaster struck when I lost my 21-year-old cousin in a car crash in November last year. Suddenly everything changed. I had gone from a carefree person with no worries in the world to someone who was distraught by grief. In January 2015, we decided it was time to come back and be with family. We heard from my husband’s sister about Homecoming Revolution’s Speed Meet in March so while still in London, I decided to take a few weekend courses, one of them being a coaching class.
Sitting there in that coaching class, I knew my life was about to take a very drastic turn. I had found my calling. After 30 years of doing a regular job that I liked, I found what I loved! All I knew is that I was going to start studying towards being a life coach and wanted to start my own practice but I had no idea how I was going to go about any of this at that moment. Before we knew it, March came and we attended the Speed Meet.
At the Speed Meet, we learned that there weren’t just opportunities for employment but also opportunities for people to start their own businesses. My husband and I knew right away that this was an avenue we wanted to pursue. After the Speed Meet, we went home and decided we would leave the UK in 3 months. We had no idea how we were going to do it, but we were determined. We had been procrastinating for 2 years and attending this event gave us that final push that we needed to get moving. So we booked flights, found removal companies, handed in our notices and got ready to start a new adventure.
We had a chance of a fresh start. We left the UK on the 30th of June and landed in SA on the 1st of July, which was my grandfather’s birthday so already a great start for someone who treasures family.
I started a diploma in Life Coaching and I now offer coaching to people to get practice. I am also the Guest Relations Manager for holiday apartments called The Horizon On Shelly Beach in the south coast of KZN which belong to my family so this allows me time to study and to set up my own practice. I now work and study at my leisure which is a much more relaxing task than the high pressured corporate environment in the UK. My husband has started his own IT company called IT Expert Solutions and is in the process of getting it launched.
The journey from then to now has been amazing and I only regret not doing it sooner. As with everything, coming back to South Africa also has its downsides. You have to be more aware of safety, more alert of your surroundings. We have had deliveries stolen from our mailbox so it’s a reminder of what we need to be aware of and watching out for. We have also had to deal with not having access to beautiful walks along the Thames, burritos, Patisserie Valerie, Bonne Maman Madeleines and dim sum as easily, but they’re minor in comparison to what we’ve gained. We have access to our family all the time, we’re happier than we’ve been in a long time, and most importantly, we’re home!
Join us at our 2016 London event, taking place at the Park Plaza Victoria on 4 & 5 March. Book Now.