Well I guess I did it, my junior year abroad is now officially over. I have been home in Maryland now for about three weeks and Africa seems like another planet that I inhabited 40 billion years ago. However far away it was, I will still recount the last of my adventures.
On the morning of May 6th, I jumped in the car with my friends and drove to the Joburg airport to say goodbye to those who were with me and to meet my family. The whole drive I was unable to sit still, unable to grasp the fact that the semester was over, that I was having to leave my friends, while simultaneously getting more and more excited to see my family. I managed to say goodbye to everyone and shakily get myself through security to the little Johns family clan who were in quite a state after an 18 hour plane ride sitting at our gate to Cape Town. It was so good to see the fam, but also so strange knowing that my group of friends, the support system I had depended on for the last four months was dispersing for good. Regardless of my somewhat rocky emotional state, we boarded the plane and headed to Cape Town, the city everyone at home seemed to assume I was going to be living/studying. Cape Town was absolutely beautiful and one of the most interesting places I have ever been, but it was so incredibly different from Durban and my experiences throughout the semester that I almost didn’t know what country I was in. Although different, we had a wonderful couple days exploring the city, eating marvelous food, seeing the Cape of Good Hope, wandering Boulders Beach (where the penguins live), and experiencing the winelands. After a couple days we got back on a plane and headed up to a game reserve near Kruger National Park for three days of safari. These three days were some of the most incredible days of the whole trip to Africa. We stayed in little huts next to a watering hole and went out for 6-7 hours a day on off roading safari jeeps that seemed to find no difference between driving on a dirt path and driving through heavy brush or down steep banks. Through the many hours spent out in the bush combined with the off roading capabilities of the jeeps, we were able to have some incredible encounters with completely wild and free roaming animals. The animals were not afraid of the vehicles which allowed us to get up close and personal with giant sleeping lions, grazing giraffes, and amazingly enough, mating leopards, among many others. After our three days we returned to Joburg for my Mom and I to fly home, leaving the boys to continue their adventuring together for another week.
I guess I realized about halfway though the 18 hour flight home that this year of adventuring was over. I was coming home to the US for good, not just stopping by to repack my bags and head off for another international experience. It was a sad realization, but it also was a bit relieving since during the last weeks of the trip I found myself day dreaming about sitting in my room and just simply staring at the walls for a few days thinking about nothing. I guess my exhaustion was finally starting to catch up with me. Now I am home for a few weeks before heading up north to work as a camp counselor for the summer. Sometime in July my beloved Danish family will travel to the United States and will drive up to my camp for a visit. So it all comes full circle.
I guess I will put this blog on the shelf for a while during my busy senior year of college, but who knows, perhaps I will bring it back to life for my next adventure. Thanks for reading!!!