Honestly, I had completely forgotten about the blog until a friend reminded me. I finally feel completely at home here and have become so consumed with having fun, exploring, running, classes, and homework that the blog had escaped my mind. As I was telling my mom the other day, so much happens that I would like to share with her and others that it is impossible to do so. It is also hard with something like this to then narrow down what to share.
A little more than a week ago the majority of my LSCE group and I went to Capetown for the weekend. We all took the train from Lynedoch where we work and learn at Lynedoch Primary to Capetown and made our way to a hostel. That weekend I had the chance to eat at remarkable restaurants, explore Capetown, and even go to a Springboks game – the SA national Rugby team! Being in Capetown gave me a chance to see a different side of South Africa – one that appeared to be much more culturally diverse and a faster pace than Stellenbosch. At the end of the weekend we met up with our AIFS group and made our way to Cape Point and Boulders Beach to see the penguins! Those trips were definitely on my SA bucket list and it was an amazing experience! But who knew penguins were so unfriendly?
Another adventure I have had since last blogging was Shark Cage Diving! A few of my friends and I went on a boat in Gansbaii to Shark Alley where we jumped in a cage and got to see up close the massive and beautiful Great White Sharks. They fed them while we were there and so they came very close – one even latched on to the cage while I was in it giving me quite a view of his mouth, teeth, and eyes! Honestly the scariest thing I have ever done but it was one of the best experiences.
Things like shark cage diving, making my way to Capetown, staying in a hostel, running more and more, working with my third graders at Lynedoch, and my other classes have all demonstrated to me how I have already grown immensely in confidence and strength. Whenever I reach an obstacle or am unsure I have no choice but to take a deep breath, laugh a bit, and find a solution. These evolutions in myself make me wonder who I will be come November when I return stateside. The point of life as I see it is to constantly evolve to be a better version of yourself, to enjoy the moment, and to love yourself and others. It strikes me that I had to come all the way to South Africa to finally be able to begin to truly embody these principles. South Africa, the experiences I’ve had, the people I’ve met, and the lessons of LSCE have already taught and allowed me to be more comfortable in my own skin. While I will never be perfect I certainly feel more comfortable with and appreciative of myself.
Sunday was the first night homesickness truly hit me. I was feeling very sick with a chest cough and needed my mom and familiar things! Luckily I have two amazing flat mates who have helped me through. That night I went to church for the first time since being here which was absolutely amazing. It was just what I needed – a lively night of praising with people from all over. Finally I felt like I welcomed back into my heart what I was missing. While I still feel sick today I feel more centered and positive. Every day no matter where you are there are challenges – I am learning and have gotten better at facing and loving these challenges while abroad. Watch out, what doesn’t kill me is making me one wicked strong woman and a happy one at that. South Africa is the time of my life…Table Mountain, the Garden Route, Kalahari Desert Safari, and more to come soon!