Wrapping Up The Goodbyes

What will you be doing in a week?

Oh!  How interesting!!!

That was in response to my imaginary friend.

I’m joking.  Maybe.

In reality a lot of you will be living your daily lives.  Some interesting things may be going on.  The students and staff of DU will be participating in the studying, taking, and grading of finals.  Goodbyes for winter break will take place and they’ll be joining the loving arms of their families and friends back in their other homes.  That’s the interesting thing about college.  You have two homes.  Two places filled with people who love you.  Every so often you leave one to go to the other.

In a week I’ll be doing the same thing.  I’ll be leaving my current home and entering the arms of my family and friends.  I don’t get to return to this home though.  It will be by official goodbye to South Africa.  To UKZN – PMB.  To Petrie Hags, home group, and room 2A.

To the people.

While I’m excited to be returning home, there are things that I’ll miss. I’ll make a top ten list not in any specific order.

1.    Food

Debonairs, Rib Co, Nandos, and Steers are the fast food places that I love.  Aero candy bar, Heaven ice cream, iron brew, and the biscuits are the sweets I’ll miss.  Chips with the seasoning put on it and samoosas are also things I am sad to leave.

2.    People

I strive on people connections.  I love human interactions.

3.    Purple Trees

The Internet calls them Jacaranda trees.  I just think they’re beautiful.  When I grow up and get my own home I want to plant one in my back yard.

4.    Monkeys

No one here likes them because they’re annoying.  It’s an American equivalent to a raccoon they say.  I think they’re entertaining to watch.

5.    Home group

Otherwise known as bible study, cell group, or connect group.  The biggest reason I’ll miss it is for the people, but it was also my Jesus time.  I got to really connect with God through home group.  It was easily one of the highlights of my week.

6.    Salvation Army

Another weekly highlight would be volunteering with my babies.  And yes I mean my babies.  I’m going to steal them all and take them home.  Okay, so I can’t do that.  Everyone keeps telling me that I’m so good with them and they love me and that I should take one home, so I want to.

7.    Petrie

The dorm I’m living in.  It has it’s own atmosphere about it.  The community is wonderful and it’s just a comforting place to be.

8.    Free laundry

We don’t get this at DU, or in America, okay.  It’s important to me to be able to wash my cloths for free.  That means that there were often broken machines, but hey, you get what you get.

9.    Being a complete adult

In America you’re fully an adult at 21.  In Africa it’s 18.  There are many perks that comes with that.

10. Being a ninja

Besides being a time lord, I’m a ninja in my free time.  In case you missed the story, I’m a time lord because my VISA says it was issued in 2015.  It’s only 2012 folks.  I’m a ninja because in order to get into the theatre department they have to thumb print you.  Yep, that’s right.  I place my thumb on a scanner before every class; it turns green and shows my name, thus unlocking the door.  Ninja status achieved. 

-Sarah Caulkins, DUSA Blogger

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The Life and Adventures of an Abroad Student

On my personal blog I began by writing posts about preparing to come to South Africa.  I had a count down for each week.  I’ve been avoiding this count down because I am still working on not focusing on home.  Yet as a math major I’m designed to like numbers and I make count downs and create fractions for everything in my life.  *cough19dayscough*

Everyone knows that I’ve missed home since I stepped into the airport.  Hopefully everyone knows that I love Africa too.  The experience has been great and I don’t regret a second of it.  Not even the parts that I regret.

Think about it.

Of course my issue is that I am too connected to the people back home.  I feel like I’m missing so much.  I feel like I’m letting friends down when I’m missing their break ups, their birthdays, their new relationships, their engagements, their injuries, and their success.  I’m missing the important milestones in the lives of the children I care about.  I’m so used to being there for people and now I’m not.  Even if I’m not letting them down, I just want to be there.  Whereas here I’m just a blip in the lives of others.  They have internationals come and go every semester.  They are friendly to us, they care about us, but it’s hard to connect.  They know that we are leaving soon.  There is no point connecting to closely to us when they have life long friends to hang out with.  With the exception of Thuthu and Dom, my closest friends here are the other international students because they are alone too.

I’m also aware that I was meant to be gone during this time period.  I needed to miss the things I missed and that’s okay.  The experience has been great thus far and the last 19 days will be great too.  Some of my friendships at home have actually strengthened due to the distance.  My family relationships have strengthened too… oddly.

So, how did I spend my day?

It began with a lovely email from Taylor, a best friend from back home, that I didn’t respond to because I woke up late.  Then it was STUDY STUDY STUDY.   I had my first final today at two.  I started studying this morning at 10 because last night I was watching scary movies until 1am for Halloween.  I spent most of my time staring at a window.  The trees here are purple and mesmorizing to look at.  Then I had lunch with a Norwegian named Ola.  Oh, I’m pretty sure I got an A on my final too.  I learn quickly under pressure.  Then I spent some time with Carolyn (An American) and Carla (A German).  Then I responded to Taylors letter and talked to Adam, another best friend from home, on facebook.  Then I had dinner with Caleb, an American who also goes to DU.  I got back and spoke with Cassie from DU and my brother on facebook.  Then I decided to write a blog post because it’s been a while.

Why has it been a while?  Because this is my life.  I remember when I decided to audition to be a DUAbroad Blogger.  I thought, “I will have a new blog post every week!”  What I failed to realize is that eventually being abroad turns into life.  I mentioned this in a previous post.  Everything is so natural now; it seems silly to write about.  I live a life of connecting with friends here, connecting with friends from home, going to school, and watching a lot of tv.  I don’t watch tv in the states.  Here there is so much time.

On the note of having time, it is really nice to get a break from the busy life of the States.  At DU I hold two jobs, have a full schedule, I’m on leadership for three clubs, and I have every meal with a friend plus coffee friend-dates.  Not to mention family and church life.   Here it’s not as crazy.  I do get to volunteer a lot though.

Of course I travel occasionally and do things like jumping off stadiums, zip lining, and kayaking with crocodiles.  Truly great experiences and the detailed versions of those trips can be found at sarahsouthafrica.tumblr.com

This blog isn’t for highlighting travels and touristy things though.  It’s to describe how South Africans live life.  It’s easy to do when you’re new to their life style.  It’s a lot harder to do when you’re a part of it.  If someone asked me four months ago when I was in the states, “How do you live life?”  I’d say, “Uhhh… I live it?  I go to school, church, work, and hang out with friends.”  When I first got here my ability to answer that question with an interesting response was so incredibly easy.  Now my answer is the same as it was four months ago.

This is me working at the Salvation Army with the babies.  You can’t take pictures of their faces.

This is a good thing, just so you know.  To finally be a part of the community you’re in instead of just observing it.  It’s a bad thing for a blogger though.  Maybe I’d be a better writer if I were able to find the and discuss the tiny jewels in life and translate it into blog form.  Maybe I haven’t been here long enough to do that yet.

In case you’re wondering what my part of South Africa looks like, here is a great video that Caleb made.  It truly shows the things we see almost every day.

– Sarah Caulkins,  DUSA Blogger