Saturday, August 1, 2009

Counting Down

Well family and friends the countdown begins. It's hard to write this post, because it is the last one that I will write before I leave. Truth is, I have more things to share, but not enough time to write them all on the computer or upload pictures or videos. To be honest-it just takes too long and unfortunately, I don't have the time to do it. I will however commit to finishing my book of memories that I will be glad to share with you all. I have learned so much that I want to teach you. I have met so many people that I want you to see, and I have done so many things that I want to share with you. The blog is not the end.

There are things that I hadn't thought about wanting because I knew I couldn't get it in South Africa. But now that I know I will be home a week from now, I have been craving some of the oddest things. You would think I wanted some of the big stuff like comfortable bed (well, yeah, I want that too!), or taking a bath everyday (yeah, I want that too), but really, I have been craving Maruchin noodles, ravioli, hot dogs, chicken salad, Honey Comb, and tuna fish. Go figure.

If you know me at all, you know that this adventure would not be complete without tears. Yes, I get quite teary-eyed. Some times are better than others. I think the hardest thing is that I had to spend the first few weeks building relationships that were NOT easy to build. It is not that easy learning and remembering AND pronouncing names. Picture trying to build a positive and trusting relationship with young people and teenagers especially who have people come in and out of their lives. I totally understand having that guard up. I understand not wanting to get TOO close.

Once those walls start coming down and you realize that you have a connection and you build a strong relationship- you look at the calendar and realize you're leaving. You think about all those days that were hard for you and you were out of your comfort zone and you wish you had them back again. You wish you had at least one more day to see people who you only saw once. You wish you could ask one more question or give one more hug.

But this isn't about regrets friends. It's about life. It's about a time to meet a friend, a time to greet a friend, a time to embrace a friend, and a time to kiss and say goodbye to a friend. I truly believe that God gives us the gift of each other. He puts you in someone's life and He puts them in yours. You can either appreciate His gift by making the most of your time with each other or you can choose to take it for granted. I appreciate every moment I had here.

There are two reasons that tears are warming my cheeks. I cry because I am sad. Sad because I will miss seeing the faces of each person I have met here. I will miss the children assuming I know Zulu and the women in the market trying to teach me the language. I will miss the kids playing soccer with me or trying to practice my accent. I will miss being in the classroom with 42 children learning the English songs I taught them or listening to the Zulu songs that they are teaching me. I also cry because I am happy. Happy because although I will not see some of these people again, I have been touched by their presence. I am happy because I have learned so much about the Zulu culture and I at least have a perspective on the life of a South African. I am happy because I have been around happy children. Children with a thirst for knowledge, a hunger for life, and a heart for love.

These tears sum up my life in South Africa. Nothing can take away how I feel about the teachers and learners I have worked, the staff and children at the orphanage, or the people in the communities. I have been through a lot and if you ask me would I do it again, my answer is : Yes, in a heartbeat!

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