Everywhere I go, “Oh you are from Alabama? Sweeeet Hommeeeee Alabamaaaaa!” That’s the only phrase from the Lynrd Skynyrd song they recall, but it never ceases to make me smile. South Africans remind me of Alabamians. They are hospitable; they have a “Southern” charm about them. And although I would consider Alabamians laid back, South Africans are even more flexible. They aren’t bound by time as much of the world is today. We forget what day it is here, or in some cases what month it is (names won’t be mentioned). It doesn’t seem to matter as long as we are doing our job, and doing it well.
Time passes slowly and then all to quickly in Knysna. If I stare too long at the Knysna Lagoon who’s mouth opens into the Indian Ocean, I get lost in the white foam that swirls in and out of the infamous Knysna Heads. The picture above doesn’t do my view justice, but you can get the idea. It is captivating.
My time here has been filled with beautiful scenery, rich food, and enchanting people to share it with. I never imagined that I would relate so well to people of a different culture, but then again people are the same in their essence. Even if we are raised differently we still laugh at the same jokes, and smile when a student is successful.
Over the holiday I got to experience South Africa up close. I took a road trip with six girls and we covered the Eastern Cape to Western Cape all the way from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town. We visited Stellenbosch, home of the lush wine vineyards, and learned how to do a proper wine tasting. The Vineyards were in the mountains and everything for miles was green.
I’ve taken some risks, one being the tallest Bungy Jump in the world. It was terrified, but when I heard that a 90 year old man jumped, I figured I could overcome my fear of falling. It was worth it. A few weeks after, I was coerced into Shark Cage Diving, and although the boat ride brought on sea sickness, I forgot all things when I saw an 8 foot Great White glide right past my nose. Shark’s are fierce, but my favorite is still the elephant, and that’s not just because it reminds me of the Crimson Tide, but because they are so clever–you can see their cunning in their eyes. More than other animals, they communicate with their bodies, and it’s quite easy to pick up on when they are flustered, scared, or hungry.
I’ve accumulated a vast amount of African treasures to bring back with me. How I will successfully manage that, I am at the moment unsure, but I am brainstorming. I’ve collected African maracas, a rain stick, and I’m on the lookout for a cool Djembe for my future classroom. This stuff is authentic, and I’m pretty pumped about it. Why am I collecting instruments? I am a Music Teacher, and South Africa’s music history tells such a powerful story. These instruments will be a tool for incorporating the South African history into my classroom. I can’t wait.
I’ve been nostalgic lately, but it a good way. I can’t wait to eat Chipotle in the Atlanta airport. I’ve been craving it daily! Just thinking about hugging all my friends and spending Thanksgiving with my family gets me excited. But leaving this world behind will be hard as well. Four months has just been a fraction of time, but it is a time that I will never forget. I won’t leave the people here for good though, as I’m hoping to come back and visit one day. 25 days to go. God bless!