While in South Africa I have decided two different realities are inevitably true: the first being that time does in fact pass by at an extremely fast pace and the second being the formal plan that I will live in Africa for a period of my life. I am completely unsure of how to change the reality of time, because I’m pretty sure it is set in stone, but who knows, technology advances quickly in this day and age! I can, however, control the reality of my desire to live and work in Africa in my future. In the short and quickly passing time I have spent in South Africa, I have fallen in love with the land and the people. I want to further delve into the complicatedly simple lives of the people, entangled with oppression, poverty, disease and everything it means to be human. Besides, I also adore the accent of South African people speaking English. My experiences in South Africa have made me feel both eternally grateful and painfully guilty about my reality of life, but most importantly motivated to further promote change. As much as I spend my time planning the most creative, far-reaching and effective method to eradicate adversity in Africa, I find it equally important to pause everyday and appreciate the simplicity of life. Living simply is an idea that I am learning to adopt from the people and culture of South Africa. There is so much happiness to experience and I have found that it is sometimes necessary to look past the hardships and enjoy the complexities of life from a positive perspective. I have also found that a majority of the people in South Africa are naturally positive and have a very admirable ability to live in the moment – despite the fact that the ‘moment’ is not always an ideal situation. So appreciating the little things, as cheesy as that sounds, has been quite humbling.
I wanted to share my current appreciations in life as an insight into my deep emotions and feelings, which I may or may not have because I am female (that statement is intended to be completely sarcastic and is an inside joke here at TBB, apologies for all who do not understand, hopefully someday you will be able to think deeper thoughts). In all seriousness, this post is focused on my “personal core,” and my serious, but not that serious, appreciations about my current life in Africa, so take it or leave it.
I would like to start by appreciating zucchini. I miss vegetables dearly, especially well cooked and well seasoned ones. This past weekend in Cape Town I was lucky to have a group that loved to cook and lucky that Ben made zucchini multiple times. The group is feeling very ‘healthy-food-deprived,’ so we have to embrace it when we have the chance! That brings me to my next point – I have developed quite a passion for chocolate bars. For all who know me well, know that I am much more of a gummy person than a chocolate person, but the inadequacy of South Africa’s gummy selection or maybe the fact that South Africa has far better chocolate bars than the United States, has changed me. This discovery, although quite delish, is not ideal because I have put on a few pounds, but I appreciate the sweets nonetheless.
There are so many interactions and sights and sounds and ideas that I process everyday and like I said, time moves so damn quickly, that I tend to forget a fair amount. Possibly my favorite, or most appreciated appreciation is the time I get to spend in Percy’s van driving from place to place. The van is physically not all that wonderful and the 8 hour drive back from Cape Town was only 3 hours longer than expected, but if I get a window seat and we have a long ride, putting on headphones and closing my eyes with the wind and the sun simultaneously penetrating my face brings me nothing but happiness. I have time to think about anything my heart desires and I can watch the ocean turn into mountains and then to fields and then back to mountains that I daydream about summiting. Life occasionally slows down in the moments I spend in Percy’s van and I could not be more thankful for the opportunities I get to relax and daydream and listen to my favorite tunes.
Another appreciation stems from my profound realization at the National Gallery of Art in Cape Town - I have finally reached adulthood because I honestly enjoyed an entire museum!! I was enthralled by the diversity and energy of each of the pieces displayed in the small gallery. The history and the culture of suffering became alive in my mind through photographs, sculptures, abstract art, and multimedia creations. I gained a different perspective on apartheid - the perspective of the people affected. I had never thought about art in such an influential manner, but I now appreciate the depth of contemplation that one piece of art can arouse in me.
I also appreciate everyone at home that makes a point to reach out and talk to me – and also the fact that they are usually brief messages, just to check-in, but they are thoughtful and sweet. I appreciate Mclaine for staying up till 1 or 2 am to talk to me at the only times I have access to the computer and I appreciate my parents and family and friends for emailing me, but not too much and for not drenching me with information about what is happening back home. I honestly appreciate not having a phone. The conversations are more vulnerable and honest when I don’t have a distraction.
I could go on and on, but I’ll wrap up with a few more small joys:
- Real towels. I had my own towel, a real big fluffy one for the first time in over a month last weekend. As cool and functional as sarongs are, I forgot how quickly I could dry off.
- Going to bed early. Self-explanatory I feel, but very rewarding when it became easy to roll out of bed at 6:30.
- Idols, South Africa’s singing competition show. It’s probably down to the final 6 now – I’ve missed two weeks, but I’m rooting for Keegan, so I will keep you all updated.
- Coffee. I reluctantly admit that I have become a coffee person. It had to happen at some point, but now I appreciate a nice cappuccino or iced coffee a little too much, every time I can get one.
- Toilets and warm showers because I’m assuming that they will be less readily available in India.
- Life. Can that be an appreciation? I’m so grateful to have this opportunity and I absolutely love travelling and exploring and everyday I get more ecstatic about life as I shape my future!!
Peace and love and everything that makes you happy – appreciate it!!
An attempt to document my journey through 5 countries, 3 global issues and billions of people