To think that in less than 24 hours, I will be mid-flight on a 19-hour flight from JFK to Cape Town International Airport is hard to wrap my head around. After a 72-day long winter break, feeling "ready" to go to South Africa is an understatement. When I think of all that my life will become this time next week, I feel so much more than ready. My heart feels open to experience the culture and beliefs of the people of South Africa, to live in a society that is still so heavily influenced by the effects of apartheid, and to fully embrace being present with myself and with those that I will cross paths with along my journey. Maybe riding an elephant or an ostrich is somewhere on my list of things to do too, but for now I'll try to focus on the big picture stuff. But truly, I am most excited to live on the other side of the world for five months, and to embrace a culture that will help me grow, if nothing else.
Aside from its breathtaking landscape and rich cultural history, this experience for me so is much more than this. I want to open my heart to South Africa and allow it to transform my outlook on the unknown. I want to embrace the uneassiness and nerves that are settling in the back of my head, and push through to the fact that I am about to live in one of the most beautifully exotic countries in the world that I hope will help me grow more deeply and love more fully.
Although, in this exact moment I feel ready, I know that this journey will result in a tangle of emotions that I am overlooking. I have to remind myself that a large part of the reason I chose South Africa was to to help me embrace change, so I will hold myself to this in the next months to come. I am choosing South Africa because I want to lose myself in a world that is so vastly different than the one that I have known my whole life. I want to understand and live in a culture with such intertwined melody in its music, traditions and political history. I want to see and understand the effects of the apartheid on the people and politics of South Africa. I want to fall in love with a country that has gone through so much hurt and pain, yet still seems to shine through with beauty and power. I feel so pulled towards South Africa, and while I don't want to set too many expectations, I cannot help but feel that so much insde of me is about to change for the better.
"So when the world knocks at your front door, clutch the knob tightly and open on up, and run forward and far into its widespread greeting arms, with your hands outstretched before you, fingertips trembling, though they may be" -Anis Mojgani
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<p>Hi! My name is Alissa; I am from NYC and am studying politics and psychology at Catholic University in Washington DC. I am unbelievably excited to be studying abroad in South Africa, and truly want this blog to reflect on the emotional, cultural, and intellectual experiences that Cape Town will lead me towards. Hope my blog will do this justice!</p>