Tuesday, December 4, 2007


That means see you later in xhosa. My last few weeks in South Africa were amazing but difficult here goes the final post.

On the Monday after we got back form the trip I ran some errands with Chels and Blake and brought the tent back. We got a Gatsby, which is a huge sub. Like 2 ft long with curry chicken and chutney sauce but what makes it a gastby is they put chips (French fries) in it. It was so filling. Then we ran some more errands I got my letters. Thanks for those who sent me them it was great! We then went to see the Heartbreak kid which was probably out way long ago for you guys but that is okay I enjoyed it and it made me laugh. That night Katy and Rita came over and we hung out. The next day I volunteered at the hospital with Blakelee, which was interesting. I made a bed saw a crazy bed sore and talked with some of the patience. I then took a nap and cleaned a little. The flatmates and I then watched Madagascar and played cards. We then had tortillas with Tillie and went out for coffee but juice for me at a local place. The next day I slept in and got somethings sorted out. On Thursday of thanksgiving I went to the hospital to watch a surgery we were supposed to watch a cesarean section but there was another surgery where they were debating whether or not to cut a little boys finger off or sew it back on. I fainted on the first surgery something about seeing the boy being sedated and move around made me uneasy. I was allowed to watch part of the cesarean section from a distance, which was so neat, but I do not want to be a surgeon. While we were walking back we ran into Chels and Jen and Katy who were going to a restaurant in Kayamandi and we decided to join. When we got there Rita, Eric and Kylie were there so we joined tables and hade a great meal. Also that afternoon we had to turn our bikes in. It was so strange because everything was coming to an end. Final time in Kayamandi turning the bikes in it was a strange feeling. After that I went and bought a bottle of wine and amarulla for the flat. Then I cleaned some more made dinner and called home to say happy thanksgiving. After that Katy came over and we sat and talked and drank the wine. After that we ended up going out to one of my favorite bars and one of the first ones that we went to. We met up with a bunch of people from AIFS and had springbokkies which are delicious and danced and basically had a good time. Then we went to Springboks after and more of the same. After that we went to McDonald’s my first time and I got a McFlurry and then I came back and went to bed.

So on Friday I woke up…it was everyone’s last day in Stellenbosch. In the morning we cleaned the flat it is so strange now and I don’t like going out into it because it doesn’t feel like it is mine. When I am in my flat I stay in my room because it is the only place that is somewhat the same as I remembered it. We then got the flat checked where they took our bedding and kitchen stuff which was pretty sad but still I can handle it. After that me and a group of people (Jen, Blakelee, Chelsea, Kylie, Eric, Rita, Tillie and Spencer) all went out to a restaurant that I have been meaning to go to ever since we got here. This was great it was nice just talking and people doing things that I associate with them for example Jen reading the history of the restaurant in one of her crazy voices. We then walked around town and through campus which I started tearing up at even though I knew that it wasn’t my last time but that was rough. After that it was time to grab everyone’s bags and load them into the vans. Luckily Chels and I had talked to Hestea about going to the airport with everyone so that we could say good bye so we did. We all piled into the cars and the whole experience was surreal. We stood around and talked while people were getting their bags checked. After that was all done which took a long time we went to a restaurant in the restaurant and ate. Once I was told that after dinner we were leaving it got difficult. So once we paid the check the good byes started. This was so difficult it was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. I started crying almost immediately. I saved certain people for last just because I was closer to them but there were so many hugs and kisses. It was difficult and there isn’t much that you can say. I brought a box of tissues and so I was handing them out like crazy. Saying goodbye to my flatmates at the end was the most difficult. Jen one of them does not touch people and does not cry we hugged a bunch and cried. It is amazing how much I cared for these people and how much they have helped me to develop. I think that hear I have had some of the most real friendships in my life. No one had to be someone that they weren’t. It didn’t matter what we were like because we were going home in 5 months so we could be ourselves. I have been so honest with these people and in a heartbeat would turn to them for anything and I know that in a second they would be there. I hope that I can be like this at home and that I don’t forget how to be this real with the people at home. It makes everything so much more worthwhile. Also especially in the last couple of days it was amazing some of the things you were telling people it was just so truthful about how you felt about people and the worries you have when going home. Everything seemed so genuine, not forced but just genuine. The honesty here is something I want to emulate at home. I hope I am able to be as much of myself as I was here. It is amazing how close I got to these people in such a short time. Normally I don’t let my guard down so that I don’t have to deal with this but in South Africa I didn’t. It stinks just because I had to deal with these emotions and I wont lie I was very sad and still am and randomly will start crying. But then again it shows me just how much everyone here means to me and that the experience was worth it so therefore I wouldn’t change it for the world. I know I met some of the most amazing people in the world and I hope that someday everyone will get to meet people like I did.

Also I began to realize how much I liked my independence here. People didn’t know where I was 24/7. Not just people at home but people here. I didn’t owe an explanation to anyone. As worried as I was to come here alone it was by far the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I gained self confidence and this independence that I found is something that I want to stay with me I am a capable person who can get things done when I need to. Also South Africa taught me how to live a little. At home sometimes I feel like I am just doing things because that is what I am supposed to do. I go to school, I do my work, I just run through the motions. I don’t have to do that there isn’t one right path and I have heard that before but I have discovered it for myself here, which makes the lesson ten times more powerful. If I want t go skydiving then I am going to go I need to live my life. I am sorry I don’t want to be preaching but if you can gain anything from my experience then I will be happy.

Okay anyway after Chels, Tillie, Rodger, peter, and Luke (his brother) all hung out and had a sleepover. It was a sad evening.

The next morning I woke up and hung out in bed with Tillie and Chels for awhile then came back and showered and ate and worked on some things that I wanted to get done before I came home which I haven’t finished yet. Went back to hillbillies and just hung out for most of the day.

On Sunday I went to Canal Walk which is a huge mall in Cape Town and walked around. It was huge and nice. It was a good way of keeping my mind off of everyone being gone. That night I went over to Hillbillies which is where Chels is now living and made dinner and hung out and then walked home. On Monday I went to the school store here and bought some souvenirs and then went wine tasting. We went to 2 farms Waterford and Beyerskloof with Tillie, Renee, Peter, Luke and Chels. I wasn’t a big fan of the second one but the first one was okay. We then went to the grocery store and made dinner. Hung out some more walked home read did some things here etc…

Me and Tillie during the wine tasting

Renee driving us

The next day Chels and I got up early to take the train into Cape Town where we became part of the US Delegation J. It was so cool. We met up with Ed (he was my Dad’s roommate at UNH and now works for the EPA) and him and a bunch of other important people from the USA were taking a tour of different things around Cape Town. Ed invited me and a friend so I went. It was so cool and everyone was so nice. Okay anyway we went to Cape point and Cape of Good Hope and got to look at the weather observatory here, which was wicked interesting. We learned about what they were monitoring and different programs they had with other organizations. We had time to walk around which was nice because the last time I was there it was cold and rainy. After that we went to the Brass Bell for lunch, which was right on the ocean. It was so nice and Ed paid for lunch (I threw that in there for Dad). After that we went to Khayletisha where there was a monitoring station. It was strange though because we went to the firehouse and it was windy so it didn’t really feel like a township. The smell wasn’t there and the surroundings were nice because you couldn’t see past the wall. But that was so interesting to. What was also cool is some things would be over my head but others I was like hey I remember learning about that. Basically it was a great day. After that I said goodbye to Ed and then took the train back home. We ate at Hillbilles and then I walked home and attempted to read but ended up falling asleep wicked fast.

Wednesday I woke up and read some more and then packed a lot of things. After lunch I went shopping for some gifts that I have been meaning to get but haven’t gotten around to it then I laid outside and read trying to enjoy the warm weather while it lasts. Then I read and ate and worked on the blog some more. Basically a low key night just trying to get some things finished before I get home. Thursday I spent the morning reading and walking around Stellenbosch taking some pictures and just trying to come to terms with leaving. I had lunch with Renee, Tillie and Chels at Arizona Apur and then walked around some more and took more pictures then went to see Balls of Fury which is an awful movie might I add. I hung out at Hillbillies that night and then went home for my final night in my room. On Friday I got up and packed everything left up and Chels came over to download some music and some pictures.

this is what my room looked like before i took everything down
Then we walked around some more took some more pictures reminisced and had dinner with Tillie, Peter, Luke and Grant. Tillie made her famous curry which was delicious and then Chels and Tillie drove me to the airport which was pretty sad but the sunset was absolutely gorgeous!

Campus is gorgeous

the sunset on the way to the airport.
I then flew home which was difficult and I am still trying to adjust to everything but all the hard stuff was worth it because this was a great experience. One of the things I noticed while flying into Boston was how flat it seemed. There were so many mountains by me in Stellenbosch and also how many baseball fields there are it was strange. So I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for being so supportive and making this experience amazing. I couldn’t have done it without you. I am back in the USA.