Reflections and Memories: South Africa

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”

The funny thing about studying abroad and I suppose travel in general, is that you treat the entire experience as if your mind and heart were an open passport; just waiting for the city and people to make their mark. Then, after returning home, looking at those stamps with a smile and fond memories rushing through you. But then, for some people, they suddenly realize one day while laying in bed or strolling through town, that this foreign city isn’t just a mysterious cool place they pointed to on a map a couple months ago. And those people they met aren’t just friends. This city, this “foreign” place, has become your home. And those friends have transformed into family. That’s what happened to me. I fell in love: with the city; with the environment; with the culture; with the people; and with a wonderful person. And I think the hardest thing I’ve experienced since returning home isn’t so much missing the place or the people or the cheap price of good quality wine (which is A LOT by the way), but more so acknowledging this feeling that my home and my heart will never truly be in the same place anymore. There will always be a part of me missing. Then, an even more daunting thought comes to mind: these are the only two places in the world I’ve really lived/travelled/known for a “substantial” amount of time in my adult life. What about the rest of the world? What do those magical places have o offer? And what then can I give in return to the people and the places that have given so much to me?

I’d love to dive into my hopeful travel plans but I know I’ve neglected to finish sharing with you all the rest of my experiences in Cape Town. In order to spare you all some time, I will bullet point some memories and leave it up to you to ask me any further lingering questions you may have.

-shark cage diving

-hiking lions head for sunset and picnics

-eating weekly sushi at Beluga

-watching sunsets with a bottle of wine over Camps bay

-seeing penguins at Boulders

-exploring kirstenbosch gardens

-shopping in the waterfront

-visiting Robben Island twice

-Viewing District 6 museum

-Having a braai and a jol at mzoli’s

-experience the townships of nyanga, langa, and mitchels plain

-going to a wedding from the township ( and meeting the bride and groom)

-clubbing on long street

-shopping on Kloof

-playing beach volleyball every weekend on Clifton and Camps

-trail running behind Rhodes memorial

-having fun at World of Birds

-Enjoying brunch at the Old Biscuit Mill

-Strawberry picking and wine tasting in Stellenbosch

-Whale watching

-Hiking crystal pools

-going on safaris in the bush in Botswana and Kruger park in South Africa

-Going on an ocean safari in Mozambique

-quadding through Praia do Tofo, Mozambique

-camping in swazliand (Seeing rhinos and listening to lions)

-Driving the Panorama route

-Looking through God’s window

-competeing nationally for beach volleyball in Kimberley and polokwane (best finish 4th place)

-kayaking down the Okavango river

-sunset cruise on the Zambezi river

-Flew over Victoria falls in a micro lite

-Hiked down to the boiling point

-felt the showers of the smoke that thunders

-Got bitten by a ridiculous amount of “mozies” (mosquitoes)

-Got hooked on Savannah dry

-basked in the cheap price of wine and other spirits

These are just some of the experiences I had while in South Africa, and while there are so many more, no list could ever properly sum up the memories I made over the past 6 months. Although I’m happy to be home with family and friends and extremely efficient and abundant wifi, South Africa has stolen my heart. Counting down the days until I come back to the Mother City. Look for my new years resolution blog in the next few days!