06.14.10
I can’t wait to get home to see everyone. But I don’t want to leave SA at all. I think the perfect solution would be for me to go home for a month, and then come back for another 6 months. Or I wish, very irrationally, that I could just transport everyone here, so I wouldn’t have to leave at all and I’d stop missing them.

06.15.10
I love this country, it’s so beautiful and inspiring. It is definitely a country in transition but the rapid changes and varied possibilities are fascinating. Took two great walks today– one up to the edge of the ravine with great views of the surrounding mountains and another deep into the forest that almost felt Jurassic Parkish. The ecological variety of this place is only the tip of the iceberg…literally because it’s been so cold these past few days.

06.16.10
I don’t want to leave the people I’ve met here in SA, and I don’t want them to leave either. I am glad I will be busy all summer when I get back to OK, otherwise I’d miss everyone/thing too much. But I am excited to get back. I was showing pictures of Norman to a friend and talking about the campus; I actually miss it a little… I am just having so much fun here in Nature’s Valley. SA is an amazing country. I am actually getting into World Cup– I like watching the matches on TV with everyone at the hostel.

06.17.10
Crying is not fun. I hate saying goodbye to friends. It’s just so hard, especially when you don’t know the next time you’ll see them. I left Nature’s Valley most reluctantly. Pretoria and Tuksdorp are so weird without everyone there. It’s so empty and listless. Yet, the World Cup has taken the city and the country swiftly and loudly. It’s like a fever. But without everyone there, it seems I am immune suddenly. And I can’t hear properly because of the vuvuzelas.

06.18.10
Packing is so hard and frustrating. It’s the physical facet of the anticipation. I keep slowing down and then not doing anything because I really don’t want to pack…it means leaving, which means saying goodbye. Had my last SA coffee/dessert outing at Newscafe. The city was bustling and foreigners were everywhere, talking, looking, watching, cheering, booing.

I left. I am sitting in the Joburg airport waiting to board. I paid for one extra bag ($200) and almost had to pay $150 for an overweight bag but I slipped the desk lady 100R and she let it go. God, I am gonna miss SA. I’ve started crying 3 or 4 times in the airport…all the World Cup visitors keep looking at me like, ‘What are you crying about?’

06.19.10

I stepped off the plane into the thick Atlanta heat and my heart lurched. It’s good to be back on home soil, things are familiar in a strange dreamlike way. But entering the airport I freaked a bit, there are so many white people and they kind of scared me. Plus, it’s weird to see the few black Americans–they are nothing like black Africans– and hear them speak English to each other–it’s crazy. I want them to joke and yell in Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Sotho or something. Plus, the women’s hairstyles are so much better in Africa. I saw a couple of the airport employees and I thought, ‘Good Lord, what are you doing?!’. Braids and dreads look sooooo much better than relaxed, frizzy, broken, strangely curled and therefore, generally unhealthy, hair.
I got a cup of coffee and had to reconvert it into dollars and then remember to pull out dollar bills rather than rands. Then at my gate– I started crying again. This older white lady next to me and this large middle aged white guy stared at me. The lady talked to me a little but she didn’t really understand or care to, but the effort was appreciated.

Another thing I noticed– most white people are not made to carry extra weight AT ALL. Their body shapes are not ones built for that. After seeing bodies that were designed and mostly looked well carrying extra weight for six months, seeing the overweight and, frankly, ugly majority of Americans was shocking. Not that I am one to talk really, but still I noticed this.

I am so nervous to land in OKC. I am scared to see my family for the first time in 6 months. Will they look really different? Will they seem different? What about me? This whole leaving thing feels like a dream. That I will just wake up and be back in my little bed in Tuksdorp and I’ll think, ‘Wow, weird dream, thank God I still have some time before I leave.’

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