As of now I am back in the United States far away from where I used to be in Cape Town. I'm visiting some friends in Grinnell and settling back into life here. My last weeks in Cape Town were fun but a bit of a blur, going by far faster than I could have anticipated.
It seems like one I was taking exams and then the next thing I knew I found myself on a long, long plane ride back to the United States. Exams were over. My bags were (hopefully) safely stowed in some cargo compartment. I was going home.
It was pretty similar to my flight to South Africa in July to be honest. The airplane food. The lost sense of time. The long layover in Qatar. It was all familiar to me. I was just there wasn’t I? There was one crucial difference though.
In what was probably a poor choice for my own emotional stability, I decided to look through my old photos and notes from this semester to fill some time on this long flight. I went all the way back to a short note on my phone I wrote July 30th, a few hours after boarding my flight to Cape Town. “I expected to be nervous,” I wrote, “But I'm not, I'm just relieved.” I remember writing that. I remember feeling it. I listened to Frank Ocean and watched the cities disappear me and felt immediately lighter. It was a feeling like ‘Thank God.’ Thank God I’m about to be in a whole other continent and have so many adventures and learn so so much.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little heavier the second plane ride around. My time in South Africa wasn’t all perfect. There were times that were very difficult for me my and my friends. And of course there were times I felt lonely. Times I missed my life people and places from home. But I had a whole life there. It turns out four months is enough to do that. And now I had to go back to the whole other life that I put on pause to come to South Africa. I couldn’t help but feel like I needed more time.
For now I just have to tell myself that my South Africa life is on pause too. I am leaving now. But I’ll be back.
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<p>Hello! I'm a current junior at Grinnell College, studying sociology and planning to go into public health policy. Outside of classes, I stay busy by volunteering to help (and play with!) dogs at the local animal shelter and organizing around national issues with other on-campus student activists. This semester in Cape Town will be my first time out of the United Staes, and I'm beyond excited to see where it takes me.</p>