Hello (Africa), It’s Me.

January 26, 2016

in Africa, Caroline Riese, South Africa, Spring 2016

Leaving for South Africa is becoming more and more real to me every day! It’s crazy to think that in less than a week I will be in this amazingly beautiful place on the other side of the world that I’ve only ever seen in pictures. I am experiencing such a whirlwind of emotions that I am not even sure if there is a name for this. Of course, I am extremely excited to be going abroad. I can’t wait for the endless adventures and lessons that I will learn within the next 5 months. But also I am sooo nervous. Like ridiculously nervous. My last week of winter break has consisted of a lot of packing and putting together the finals details for my trip, but most of all it has consisted of tons of goodbyes. Being from Madison, I’ve never gone more than a few weeks without seeing my parents. They’re my best friends and I am going to miss them like crazy. Not to mention my awesome friends. It makes so sad knowing I won’t be seeing them for so long. To be honest, I’m also crazy nervous about whether or not I packed the right stuff. Like how many shoes do I bring? How many sweaters?! To top it all off, I’ve never flown alone and I will soon be embarking on a 30 hour journey by myself to reach my destination. But I know that it will all be worth it! I’m sure there will be difficulties along the way, but I can’t wait for every single component of this upcoming trip. This is exactly the type of trip I want and need. What so many 20 year olds dream of and I get to experience it. Woah.

​I will be staying in a neighborhood named Observatory. From what I understand, the neighborhood is close to downtown and known for being trendy/hipster. Hayyyy. One of the things I am most excited about is living with a bunch of other international students in a house. I’m expecting it will get hectic at times but I can’t wait to meet people from all over the world. Our first week in Cape Town will be an orientation to the school and city overall. I’m mostly looking forward to the orientation day that is centered on community service opportunities in the townships. This was one of the main reasons I chose to study abroad in Cape Town. It will be awesome to really be immersed in the culture and learn more about South Africans – and maybe even use some of that Zulu I learned last semester!

Although I truly will miss skiing and the snow, I know I definitely won’t miss simultaneously shivering and sweating while walking to classes at Madison. Soon enough I will be surrounded mountains and ocean all while being in a large city. And summer weather. Pretty much all of my favorite things combined. Oh, and also there’s penguins on a beach. Nbd. So here goes nothing. I’ve got two full suitcases, a plane ticket with an eleven hour layover in London, and an open heart. See you soon, Africa.

 

“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves, and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again—to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.” Pico Iyer

Mom January 26, 2016 at 10:22 pm

Sweeeeet Caroline! I am so very proud of you and so excited for you! I blinked and my precious child was the confident, smart, radiant young woman checking in at British Airways for a five month long trip to the other side of the world. So I lost it and made a scene. Sorry. I can’t wait for all of your updates — it’s going to be an awesome adventure. I love you so much!

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