New City, Same Old Sun

It’s 6:30 AM in Kampala, Uganda. It’s been a long night of trying to rest my eyes despite the fact that last night I didn’t get much sleep on the flight either. Sitting on the balcony at my new apartment in Africa, I find it hard to comprehend that I’m actually here, that this is actually happening.

A few months back, I was still in Jerusalem, walking home from work, closing my coat as it was getting chilly towards sunset and wondering where I’ll end up in a few months. Somehow, I knew that I was going somewhere, I just wasn’t sure exactly where. It was one of those moments that just catch you by surprise and hits you with a series of thoughts that make your stomach churn and your heart skip a beat. Nothing special happened then that made me think about the things that I do, there was no truck that almost hit me or a child that lost his mother, nor was there a beautiful sky or a butterfly that decided to rest on my hand. It was the most regular of moments, a usual walk home, a standard evening sky. Even the sunset wasn’t particularly beautiful and it was simply the same Jerusalem that I’ve had for the past five years that made me realize that I want to go, to change, to see something new.

I love you Jerusalem, but like preventing an inevitable breakup that you know is about to come, I had to leave you before we would both start to forget all of our good moments together and only remember the bad ones, the ones that lingered on too long and left a bad taste in your mouth. No, it’s time. I’ll be back sometime for small flings of remembrance, but we both know that we need some space right now.


So this is my new home now, I think to myself. In the next few months I will get to explore every inch of this city, to feel every vibe, to walk down every road, to eat every dish and to listen to the beating heart that makes it run. Where does it beat? I don’t know yet, but I’m sure I’ll find out sooner or later.

Maybe it’s the intensity of the African Metropolitan that quickly wakens in the horizon, or the peacefulness of Lake Victoria that brings me to a state of elevation. Or maybe it’s simply the excitement of a new city about to reveal itself and slowly share its secrets with me. Whatever it is, my heart has returned to the state that it loves so much, enveloping feelings of anxiousness and dread on one hand and excitement and wholeness on the other.

As I stare at the changing colors in the sky, I realize that this is the moment that I’ve been waiting for, this is the beginning of a new adventure, a new romance, at a new home, but I am looking at the same old sun.

About the Author
Yotam Guggenheim is a city planner currently residing in Kampala, Uganda. After finishing his BA in philosphy, politics and economics (PPE) at Hebrew U, Yotam worked for several years at the Mayor of Jerusalem's office where he advised in matters of public enquiries and welfare. Yotam is currently finishing his MA in Urban Planning, and is now working on transportation planning in African cities.