Reading the description of the course, certain phrases struck a chord with me: "Their story of overcoming Apartheid is unfinished yet their spirit to endure is essential to our understanding of human possibility," "forgiveness," and "moving forward." I knew little of the story of Apartheid, but I have come to learn more about it in these past few months, and I am now excited to meet the people who have overcome such a tragic time. I think I will have a lot to learn from them, as I too have been through some difficult times (which pale in comparison to the struggles of the people of South Africa.) I absolutely adore listening to the stories that people have to share about their lives, and I tend to always see a thread of commonality in everyone that makes us intrinsically human, which I will be searching for in South Africa. I feel that us citizens of the United States have so much to learn from non-Western cultures; we are not the only beings on this planet and I believe there is more to life than we see here in our consumer-driven society. It is easy for me to read about non-American countries, and learn in classes about non-Western cultures, but I know it will be life-changing to immerse myself in another country.
I can't say that I'm not apprehensive about this trip at all. After all, I will be going to another country for the first time, for three weeks, with people who I have only met a few times before. However, the nervousness hasn't really sunk in yet. Right before I leave, I have had to finish up finals, and finish applying for grad schools. This is one of the most stressful times of my life, and its hard to feel worried when I have so many other things going on. South Africa will be a welcome "break" from my hectic life here in Minneapolis, and from what I know of the people I'm going with, they are awesome. Honestly, the biggest thing that's bothering me right now is that I will be leaving my pets, and my boyfriend, Corey. This is the longest I will have ever been away from my cat, Distance, since she was born, and Corey tells me she often sits by the door and waits for me to come home from work.
(This is her)
I think I am just rambling at this point; I always do that when I am faced with the task of writing a blog. I want to leave some final words to my friends and family: I know you are worried about me, but I am going to be okay. Others have made the trip before, and survived. I am extremely excited to be able to participate in this wonderful opportunity, and I know I will bore you with many stories on my return.