My apologies for taking so long to update this blog! I arrived home to Winston-Salem, NC on Sunday, September 30th, after an 18-hour flight (during which the two people on either side of me were sick and I watched four movies since sleeping had become impossible). I don't think I've ever slept so badly on a flight, and, therefore, I don't think I've ever been so grateful for my bed at home. It was, thankfully, a very smooth flight schedule and my luggage arrived late, but intact. I'm now spending time with friends I've been missing, looking for jobs, and enjoying time with my family. There are a few promising job possibilities but nothing yet; I'll let everyone know when that changes!
The social life really picked up towards the end of my time in South Africa. The last few days in Margate, especially, it seemed like I was going from one goodbye event to another, so much so that I was hardly eating at home! I certainly had friends and plans with people before, but the weekends started getting more exciting around six weeks from the end. Inevitably, at the end of my time in South Africa, I started to feel especially close to a few people, and began to realize who my closest friends there were. While there are many South Africans who I share memories with and made connections to, there are a few who I expect to visit and be in touch with over the long term.
There were a few moments in the last weeks that were especially special to me:
- My colleague Lindo giving a short speech at the goodbye braii that SDC had for me thanking me for my work and how I’d helped her
- (at the last Co-Op Board Meeting) Hearing Lindo, the Co-Op Manager, explain to the farmers (in Zulu) my work over the past year and seeing their reactions and heartfelt thanks
- A farewell with my church home group involving pancakes (with every imaginable topping) and an intense game of 30 Seconds (similar to Taboo in the U.S.)
- Enjoying a wonderful South African breakfast with the hosts of my home group
- Giving a short testimony/speech at Gates of Praise telling everyone how I ended up in South Africa, how much I got out of the experience and what God taught me through it, etc.
- Nights I’ll always remember with people I’ll never forget ;) (you know who you are)
I ultimately left with the sense that I had been able to make a real difference and significantly help the Co-Op. I’m so glad it worked out for me to come to South Africa and do what I did. Even though I couldn’t have known in advance what the experience would be like, I feel like I hit gold in terms of the work, the people, the location, the church, and many other things about the situation. I’ll remember everyone I came into contact with there and hopefully I’ll be back to South Africa to visit before too long!
This year I’ve often felt a little self-absorbed, and I’ve also felt like people have been sort of affirming me in that self-absorption. When you go abroad and do something that people consider objectively impressive, you often get asked so many questions about your life there that people seemingly forget to update you on theirs. I feel a little bit out of the loop with life and friends here, and I look forward to catching up on that in the coming months. My phone number hasn’t changed (336-306-3587), so I’d love to hear from you all when you have the chance. Facebook is nice, but it’s not the same as hearing someone’s voice. :)
I’ve decided to continue this blog, though I guess I’ll have to call it something different now. Any ideas??