The last two weeks have felt like I have been living in a dream that I never want to wake up from. I realized that last week, my friends and I have exited the “honeymoon phase” of studying abroad, and we are now becoming comfortable with our day-to-day lives. Life in South Africa is not too extremely different than life at home, but there have been a few little things that I have had to adjust to:
- Looking right then left when crossing the street
- Learning 24 hour time schedules
- That an iced coffee isn’t a coffee with ice in it, it’s more of a coffee milkshake
- The code to get into my flat (and my friends’ flat)
- Calling an apartment a flat
- My rock hard mattress
- Walking everywhere (even in the pouring rain)
- Understanding South African accents (they sound a bit Australian/Indian/Dutch)
- The conversion rate of South African Rands to US Dollars ($1 = R15!)
- Cooking for myself
- Not having data on my phone and always searching for free WiFi
- That people smoke cigarettes inside (ew)
- The fact that segregation is still a subtle and lingering issue from apartheid that ended over 20 years ago
- Lack of bagels (miss you already Gunther Tooties)
- Cold rainy winter in July
- And something I’m not sure I’ll ever adjust to, the breathtaking mountains surrounding our campus.
At first I was surprised at how quickly I have been able to adjust to this new culture, but then I realized that you have to adjust quickly, otherwise you will always be lost and confused! The faster you adjust, the faster you can feel happy and comfortable in your new home. It’s almost like it was a survival instinct.
I also think I have learned more in my last 2 weeks than I have in my last 3 years at High Point. I can literally feel my brain growing, changing, and thinking in new ways. In my classes we discuss issues about race, gender, language, what it means to be a human, history, and apartheid. It feels like a door has been opened in my mind and I have discovered a new part of myself I have never met before. How sweet of South Africa to introduce me to myself!
My soul has never been happier. I am always looking forward to what I am going to see, learn, eat, and do next. If I had to describe this feeling in one word, it would be “bliss”.
This weekend, I will be going on an excursion with my program, AIFS, to the Cederberg Mountains. We will be hiking, wine tasting, visiting San cave paintings, and relaxing in nature! It is a unique opportunity that not many tourists get the chance to do so I am sure it will be special and exciting. Be on the look out for a blog about this wonderful adventure next week!