After A While Crocodile...
I flipped through the pages of my planner today to find that I only had to flip twice to see “Cape Town!” written down only two Saturdays from now. After it was an arrow that was drawn across that days after it, pointing into the oblivion that is the five months that will follow that flight without a return. So, in two weeks, I’ll take a plane to South Africa, where I will submerge myself in a culture I have yet not explored. “Are you ready?” They ask. Not in the slightest.
I’ll tell you a little something that I’ve learned about myself over adventures past: it won’t hit me until my breath is fogging up the window of that plane, my forehead cold against its pane. My eyes will scan the mesmerizing landscape that is Cape Town from above, and it will be in that moment that it will hit me, and I will be speechless.
But for now? I do what I can to get ready. And let me tell you, even with the visa application process and the flight booking process down, I’ve still got a long way to go. Actually I haven’t even scratched the surface. I still have to:
- Buy sunscreen. A lot of it.
- Pack the sunscreen. And all of the other stuff that I need. But not too much stuff.
- Finish my Winter Break reading list.
- Decide what I’m going to do on the first day.
- Pay the bills.
- Go down a wormhole of South African travel videos and vlogs on YouTube (...again).
- Ask for recommendations from everyone I know who has been to Cape Town.
- Make a super long list of the places where I want to go out of those recommendations.
- Plan a budget so I can afford to get through that list.
Okay there’s a lot more where that comes from but I will spare you the neverending list of bullet points for the sake of both of us getting slightly too overwhelmed. Instead, I will focus on my things to do while I am abroad because those are way more exciting to think about. Here’s my list of intentions for my semester in Cape Town this Spring:
Prioritize Self Growth
With this journey to a new country ahead of me, I am exposing myself to the vulnerabilities of culture shock, unfamiliar cultures and experiences, meeting new people, and more potentially discomforting scenarios. However, I hope to be comfortable being uncomfortable. By embracing the discomforting scenarios, I will grow as a traveler, a student, a friend, and, most importantly, a person.
Seek Adventurous Ways to Learn
Just as much learning can occur outside of the classroom as it can occur within it. As I enter into a new environment full of new learnings to be sought after, I hope to find them throughout my experience, beyond the comfort of the classroom.
Be. A. Sponge.
As I go into a semester that will push my comfort zone and my typical personal surroundings, I hope to be as open as possible. There will be so much to learn from the landscape, from the locals, from my teachers, and from my peers, and I hope to absorb as much as I can.
Be Fearless But Cautious
Cape Town is an incredible place, with explorations to be had left and right. I hope to be as fearless as I can, within reason of course, in pursuing the many things to see and to do during my time there.
With these intentions top of mind, when it does hit me that I am spending my next semester in Cape Town, South Africa, I will be ready to do. Two weeks...here we go!
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Mary Kaitlin Enright
<p>I was born and raised in Glenview, Illinois, a suburb of the beautiful city of Chicago. When I was fifteen, I was surprised by the unexpected opportunity to move to Hong Kong, when my family was transferred there. That was the very beginning of my relationship with the travel bug, by which I have been afflicted ever since. I spent time traveling around Asia with my family throughout high school, then traveling through Europe in my first year of college while studying abroad in London. Now a Marketing student at Villanova University with minors in Creative Writing and Communication, my next stop is Cape Town, South Africa, and I am excited to share my experience with the world.</p>