It’s hard to believe that I’ve been back in Seattle for almost a week now. My time in South Africa felt like it lasted months. There were so many new experiences had, new foods to try, and new friends made. When I left, it almost felt like I was leaving home. It’s amazing how such a short time in a place can make you feel so connected to it.
The lectures at the conference were very stimulating, but the real immersive part of this experience was getting to know the people and cultures of South Africa. I will always remember my new friends trying to help me pronounce “Xhosa” or “Qwaqwa” with the correct click sounds from the Xhosa or Basotho languages, respectively. I never did get it right, but I sure had fun trying! I’ll always remember the drums they welcomed us with at the Qwaqwa campus, as well as the spontaneous dancing and singing that erupted every so often at different events. What a beautiful culture!
While I was in Bloemfontein, many South Africans I spoke with recommended that I visit Cape Town while there. I figured, “When else will I be here?” and went for it. Cape Town was amazingly beautiful. It was like stepping into a postcard. One of the great things about study abroad is that it brings you to these amazing places, and often-times you have the freedom to explore wherever else you would like to on your way to the place, or before going home.
On the flight home, I flew over the North Pole. I never really thought about it, but it is actually shorter to fly from Seattle to the Arabian Peninsula (I had a layover in Dubai on both my outbound and inbound flights) by flying over the North Pole. It was very cool to see the ice covering that part of the world. I almost half-expected to see some polar bears down there!
It’s good to be home, but I left a little piece of my heart in South Africa. I hope to return there at some point in the future.