Traveling is something no one can express, you see the happy pictures, the many destinations that are reached, the smiling faces, but there are things that aren’t shown. When travelling I miss out on a lot of things. While preparing to embark on this journey I never took into consideration what I will be missing while away. I miss food, gr
aduations, holidays, birthdays, weddings, and many other things. This year I have missed graduations from many of my close friends and now I am missing a second holiday. I miss the food that we have during these celebrations and the faces of those I love while they are accomplishing a remarkable transition in their life. I wouldn’t trade anything in this world but to be where I am now, but when holidays or special occasions roll around I do start to miss home.
Today is mother’s day and I am half way across the world and I know that saddens her. Having a child that travels and lives life day by day to the fullest can make ones heart cringe. I give my mom a heart attack at least 50 times a day. I remember sometime last June I woke up one morning and declared I wasn’t going back to school in January. This was not an easy conversation for either of us and she completely disagreed and let me know her opinion. I do not need a mom that allows me to run in the street like a wild child; instead someone that challenges my thoughts and pushes me to be better. One of the things I will never forget in the mist of one our heated conversations when she told me, “Go take a slow boat to China for all she cared.” I know she cared whether or not I took a boat, but it’s what I needed to hear. The tough love and affection my mom has shown me through every stage of this journey and life has helped me become something incredible.
Today on this day, hold your mom a little tighter because she has dealt with all the crazy things you have thrown her way. Make her dinner, buy her flowers, and show her that you care about her. I am not the easiest child to be a parent to and I am so thankful that she is my parent. She continuously prays and encourages me through any situation. I have seen her do selfless acts like take the smaller portion of food. Although we do not really enjoy the same things; I loved the times we spent together. As I grow older our mother daughter relationship improves and continues to get stronger. There isn’t much I can do for my mom on this day, but I hope this makes me you smile.
By the way the road trip Is going great Ill update you shortly on my adventures.
Lately I haven’t had much to write about. I think I have hit the point in my trip where we are no longer going to all these adventure activities, things are no longer super exciting and I am just enjoying life in South Africa.
South Africa has become like a second home to me. Living here in South Africa has become a way of life. Driving past the guys panhandling on the street has become normal. One thing that has caught my attention the last few days is Family.
Family is everywhere. I have family in America that has been cheering from the sidelines. The support I am receiving is sometimes overwhelming. I have family here in Johannesburg, South Africa. I have been blessed to have aunts and uncles that are distant family to open their doors up to me many times. This family is amazing because we were strangers before I came, but turned into close family. I flew to Johannesburg for the weekend and they throw a surprise belated 21st birthday Braia for me. I truly feel as though I am sitting back in America with my natural born family when I am around them. My life here in Cape Town I am also surrounded by family.
The Three Germans I met while living in the house have become sisters. We argue, laugh, play, and go out together just like sisters would. I am so glad to be around wonderful people who encourage each other to be better. I never would have thought half way around the world I would have found such amazing friends. I cannot forget about my lovely host parents who open their doors to many different international students. The support they are giving each of us through the different transitions and issues we have had.
My last circle of family is my kids. Today we watched the movie Home together. In my heart I was so disturbed and saddened because there is a big theme of family and how much family means to the main characters. My kids do not have a proper family, but still within their hearts they know the importance of family. A lot of these kids have been growing up together since they can remember. The staff members have been their aunts and uncles, the other kids are their brothers and sisters, and occasionally when they make a special bond to a volunteer another piece of family is found. Family can never be defined, it can never have a specific structure or look. Each of these kids have become a part of my family inside of my heart. A simple smile warms my entire heart. My days at the orphanage are slowly coming to an end. These kids have been my entire life these last three and a half months and I cannot de
scribe the feeling I receive everyday by being around them. Two weeks ago I walked pass this gem (picture to the right),
I had never seen her before and didn’t quite know where she came from, but I loved her. I had only met her for 3 seconds and I already hugged, kissed, and spread as much love as I could towards her. It doesn’t matter what your family consist of whether its mom, dad, dog, sister, or brother, as long as love resides in the middle everything else can be over looked.
On my first day at the orphanage I was given a crash course of exactly what could happen if anything goes wrong. I was also told that many children have HIV and that I must always take major precautions while dealing with each child because everyone should be treated the same. At the same time I was told the volunteers are allowed to take the children out on day outings to have some fun. Due to the importance of everything else told to me I completely did not pay attention to the day outing information. About two weeks ago, I become aware that at any moment the volunteers can take a child out as long as its cleared by management.
Here are the pictures from my two outings, one to the beach and the other to a big play house. The children I chose to go on these trips were not the “ideal” choice. Because of their disabilities they can be considered “hard to handle” quiet at times, unresponsive, and somewhat whinny. To my surprise, both of these trips were absolutely amazing. The reason I chose these two children was to give them an opportunity to see the world outside of the orphanage. Even with their perceived difficulties, they needed a chance to go out.
Outing #2 Bugz Big Play Park
The attachment that has grown in my heart for these kids is unbelievable. Every time someone stares while we are out in public causes me to protect their little hearts. Due to their age, they do not understand some of the looks they receive because of the tantrums and behaviors they show in public. I know cannot protect them from everything, but I will definitely try my best.