I met with my students today for January’s study abroad. They are a small, but mighty group and I look forward to the ways they will challenge me as an instructor. One of the first tasks they do for the course is to create their blog. Then I follow them as a way to keep up with their writing throughout the study abroad program. Well, when I was connecting to their blog I had mine up and started scrolling through my posts.
I ran across this one and I’m about in the same place as I was in 2014 when I wrote it. I’m trying really hard to focus on all that I’ve had here. I’ve had amazing experiences that have enriched me in ways that I could not have imagined when I left the US back in July. I feel like my pedagogy has grown roots that now reach deep into the ground.
I have been trying to appreciate my time here, especially as it got down to the last 30 days in this apartment. I’m about to head back to the US for Christmas and then back here to teach my study abroad. My time here, in this place, in this way is about to come to an end. However, I do not want my relationship with Johannesburg or South Africa to come to an end. I don’t know how it will develop in the future, but I refuse to use the metaphor of an ex. I almost started to use that metaphor today since I have so often used the metaphor of a relationship to describe how I feel about South Africa and Jozi more specifically. Sometimes, I suppose, there is no clear metaphorical equivalency that helps other people understand. How can there be? I am not clear on this myself. The only metaphor that has ever really made sense to me is love. I deeply love this place, this city. Love is a complicated thing. So, we will go back to having a long-distance relationship when I leave at the end of January. Still, the relationship between us will exist and live into the future.
As I get ready to leave South Africa my time could quite easily be consumed with marking a list of lasts. But then I would forget to marvel in the beauty that each new day brings. I keep thinking that this is a bittersweet moment. However, today I had a realization, my heart is not heavy from sadness. On the contrary, I leave South Africa with my soul opened, a wealth of new experiences, and friends. My heart is heavy with love.