As I am now sitting at home I realize that just a day ago I was sitting on a plane returning from a country halfway around the world. The feeling now that I am home is a bit surreal. I am still in a little bit of shock that I was actually able to have an amazing journey to South Africa with some old friends, and many new ones. It was possibly the best experience of my life and I am already beginning to miss every minute of it.
There are a lot of things from this trip that I will never forget. Standing on top of Table Mountain and looking over the entire cape was something that words can only take so far. It feels almost as if you are standing on top of the world. Stellenbosch was such a cool historic town to learn about, and I won’t ever forget the wine tasting. Being able to work at Philippi was unlike any experience I have ever had on a mission trip, and yet it was still one of the most humbling things I have ever had the opportunity to do. I was able to see live penguins in action for the first time, as well as hold my breath for a boat ride to seal island, probably the most foul smelling part of the trip. But then again, being able to hug a seal and feed it a fish from my own mouth was something that doesn’t really happen every day. I loved the movie Invictus, but going to my first rugby match was a much more realistic approach to understanding the game. Going to the Cape of Good Hope, being attacked by the birds there, and climbing up to the light house also yielded an incredible view. However, it wasn’t until you hop over the precautionary barrier and step foot on the edge of the ledge do you really understand how marvelous the view was. Finally, it will be hard to forget the safari we went on at the Aquila Game Lodge. I have been to plenty of zoos in my life, but being able to be almost touching distance from an elephant is pretty cool.
I will also be able to relive all of these experiences with an entire new group of friends. Some may be old and many are new, coming from all types of backgrounds at school, but at the end of the day we all experienced this journey together and it will hold us apart from many groups back at school. From run ins with the British Royal Navy, getting phones stolen, and going out with graduate students from Cape Town, I can say that we all had a lot of fun even outside the classroom and scenery.
Finally I just wanted to take the time to thank all of the people that are responsible for making this trip happen. I think it far exceeded all of our expectations and there was certainly never a dull moment the entire trip. So thank you Dr. Turner, Mrs. Turner, Mike (Dad), Stuart Hendry, and all of the speakers that were willing to take time out of their busy schedule to come and speak to us. I think all of us students had a great time, and I think if we had gone with different professors/chaperones it would not have been nearly as fun. So, thank you to everyone that came on this trip and made it possible for me to have such a great time. I really am going to miss it.