I am because we are.
Life here in South Africa has come to an end. My blogging slowed and then stopped, I think, because I didn’t want to keep reflecting. I wanted to stay in the moment as much as possible, and I wanted my life here all to myself. I was selfish and lazy and happy and didn’t want to have to stop and think and write about my time here, especially as the days started rapidly dwindling.
But now I’m home, and that’s all that’s left to do. Stop and think and write.
Ubuntu is the shortened version of a Zulu proverb, “umuntu ngumuntu ngamantu” which translates as “A person is a person through other people”.
This one word carries so much meaning, and has resonated with me so forcefully that there’s no turning back. The whole study abroad process has been the experience of Ubuntu.
I’ve made friends from eleven different countries around the world. Eleven.
I’ve eaten authentic French cuisine on Valentine’s Day, celebrated Queen’s Day with the Dutch, braiied with South African’s on a wine farm and been kloofing with an Aussie. I ran a 10K mountain challenge with a German (Sophia came in 2nd place!) and went dancing with my favorite Swedish couple. I beat the Mexicans in beer pong, and lost to a Belgium in Taboo. I traveled the Garden Route with some of the coolest Americans you’ll ever meet. And so much more.
Countless friends and faces have shaped my experience here. Have changed me in small ways and big. And I am so thankful.
To Molly and Paulina,
How many times did people comment on our dynamic, our good vibe, our weirdness? How many times did we notice it ourselves? The flowing, happy balance that was the three of us made my time in South Africa what it was; amazing.
You remember coming home after a night out dancing? We filled up the tub to soak our feet, one of us grabbed the ice cream, another grabbed three spoons. Two in the morning we sat on the edge of the bath tub eating ice cream and laughing till our sides hurt and our eyes were smudged with mascara. I have a snapshot image of this in my mind and for me it marks the beginning of our close friendship. Every moment, every shenanigan in South Africa we shared together, side by side, because we wanted to, because it wouldn’t have been the same without each other.
You two are my deepest Ubuntu.
For my friends still in South Africa, I miss you, enjoy.
For those of you who kept up with my blog, thank you for letting me share my experience with you.
And for my friends and family that welcomed me back, thank you for giving me a home to come back to.