You can only get to know a country by meeting its locals.
May I introduce you to Nicky, a local from South Africa.
Feeling home far away from home
Imagine you are travelling somewhere where you have never been before and you don´t know anyone. Wouldn´t it be nice to end up in a place that you can actually call home even though you are far away from home? However, wouldn´t it be nice to have someone that cares like a second mother?
Nicky became like that for me. She is a 67 year old host mother in Cape Town, South Africa. She is hosting people from all over the world that come to Cape Town for holidays, for internships or to study in language schools. Staying with a local means you get to know their lives, traditions, culture, you practice their language and receive insider tips.
Have you ever met someone who speaks 7 languages?
Nicky has an extremely interesting story to tell. She was born in Athens, Greece. At the age of 3 she moved to Brazil with her parents. 4 years later she left Brazil with her mother on a Japanese cargo ship bound for South Africa. Two parrots called Lorinho and Tiko were with her. “They always wanted Coffee”, she says. 3 weeks later they arrived in Johannesburg where her parents put her into boarding school. At that time Nicky wasn’t able to speak one word of English. “I had to sink or swim”, she says. Having learned Greek and Portuguese already, English was her 3rd language she was taught. In order to go to university she had to learn her 4th language Afrikaans, which is one of the 11 official languages spoken in South Africa. I am impressed as I am still seeking to perfect my English as my second language.
After finishing her studies, Nicky became a computer programmer/systems analyst for the government. At the age of 24 she left South Africa for the Ivory Coast where she got married. The fact that Ivory Coast is Francophone and her husband was contracted with Italians made her learning language number 5 and 6, French and Italian. Honestly I have never met a person that speaks 6 languages. It is stunningly impressive.
How she became a host mother in Cape Town?
After Nicky had been an interpreter for 20 years for the U.S. government her good memories brought her back to South Africa. She tried to figure out what she can do to not to be lonely. She has always been around friends and family, she loves communicating and interacting with people and was looking for a way how to maintain that. That´s why she came up with the idea of becoming a host mother.
When I first came to Cape Town, Nicky was my host mother. I already felt home after the first hug she gave me. I felt this woman cares about me and she really did. Nicky´s apartment is located in Sea Point, five minutes away from the Sea Point Promenade and a walking distance from the V & A Waterfront. I had my own room. Every day she would provide breakfast and delicious homemade dinner. She hosts more than one student at the same time. It was never boring and there was always something to do and someone to talk to. I truly enjoyed the mutual dinners and trips in and around Cape Town that we went on together. Nicky´s students are fully integrated in her life. I have stayed with host families before. Sometimes I got the impression they are just doing it for the money, Nicky instead is doing it with her whole entire heart. I truly loved staying with her and the more important things is: I felt home.
In Nicky’s living room you can find pictures of her when she was young. She used to be a beautiful girl, in fact she still is a wonderful woman. This welcoming and heart-warming human being really became my second mother.
You want to get in touch with Nicky? Send an e-mail to: [email protected]
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