Monday, July 7, 2008

A Chapter Finished...

Today I finally realized that I'm actually going home in 3 days. I can't believe it. Festival is over and all the visitors are gone; Grahamstown is back to normal, which is only making this ending more difficult.

It sounds stupid, but today we went to our favorite coffee shop for the last time and said goodbye. It was a killer. We were there EVERY DAY except Sundays and over the last month we had become very close with the family who runs the shop. Mad Hatter's is our spot - everyone who knows us knows this. People don't believe that we spend as much time there as we do until they see our interactions with the staff. Yesterday we had to say goodbye to our favorite waitress and this morning we enjoyed our last snack of cake and coffee with the owner. They gave us beautiful books of Grahamstown. They wrote us personal notes in the front; it was very sweet of them.

I also had to say goodbye to a good friend this morning which is really sad. Although we had a real love/hate relationship he definitely helped shape my experience here. It was sad saying goodbye. I was in res for the last time today, as well. The last 6 months of my life were spent in the residence halls of Rhodes University and today I walked through the halls for the last time. I can't believe it.

It seems so premature for the next chapter of my life to begin, or to resume in this case. As ready as I thought I was for home, as the time is approaching I'm realizing how scared and sad I really am. The thought of not waking up to the sounds of South Africa is devastating. I know that I've grown up and changed a lot since I've been here, but I'm not ready to face this changes in my normal surroundings. I can't expect myself to fit in the space that I left myself in the States. I'm sure that being home is going to be bittersweet and I'm prepared for that, but I don't think that I'm going to be prepared for the reversed culture shock that I thought I wouldn't have.

Grahamstown is an amazing place, as is the rest of South Africa. I couldn't have asked for a better study abroad experience. Here I am saying goodbye to a place that has become home. How do you do that? I know I'll be back, but I also know that it won't be soon enough. South Africa has been a dream come true.