It’s a strange feeling, having to say goodbye to people you have only known for six weeks, yet who have shared an experience with you so special you feel like you have known them for years. An experience that has stripped you down to your ultimate self; the self that you were too busy, or to shy to really get to know, or simply the self that you never had the opportunity to get to know.
As the last day dragged on with goodbye after goodbye, I realized that my heart felt heavy not just because I was parting from a group of people I had grown, learned, and lived with for the past two months, but because I was parting from an adventure that held a significance only I would ever fully understand or appreciate.
My friends and I joked about the fact that we would return home and everything would seem meaningless in comparison to the indescribable journey we took together. No one would care about our myriad of stories, or comprehend the vast number of people and places that we had grown to know and love. This anticipation was verified in many ways as I greeted my family, holding back tears that I feared would suggest I was not happy to be reunited with them, but that represented a lost feeling after having returned from what I know to be the best summer of my life.
I lay in bed that first night wondering how I would be able to hold onto these memories – would my photos, my blogs, or my journal be enough? Probably not. But what I do know is that experiences are not just transient moments that occur throughout our lives, but moments that are imprinted on us, that linger with us as we continue to evolve. So even if I forget the name of the restaurant I really liked, or the exact date of the Alma-Ata Declaration on primary health care, or the smell of the breeze that sweeps the top of Lion’s Head, I will carry with me the sense of compassion, sadness, inspiration, humility, and overwhelming love I developed in the city that stole my heart during the summer of 2016.
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<p>My name is Evie and I am currently finishing up my freshman year at Princeton University. I am thinking about studying public and international policy, and have a special interest in health policy and public health. When I'm not studying, I like exploring new restaurants with my friends, singing with my a cappella group, going on runs, taking pictures, and napping. I love to travel, and am so excited to explore Cape Town and its surroundings and experience a summer I won't forget!</p>