This Friday marked the end of the first week of my South African internship at the Social History Centre. It’s been a great week — I’ve already gotten my hands dirty (well, figuratively speaking since wearing protective gloves is usually required) moving artifacts in an exhibit, assessing the condition of recently acquired objects, and recording the climate conditions in various storerooms.
Despite my enjoyment of the work so far, there’s still something about getting back to that 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (or 4 p.m. in my case) grind. It’s exhausting! And even if you enjoy your work, it’s easy to dread the sight of the same office building for so many hours so many days each week.
That’s why I’m glad my walk home from work takes me through Cape Town’s Company’s Garden. Some of my fellow students have their internships at Iziko spaces in the Company’s Garden, including the South African National Gallery and the South African Museum, so after work we usually meet in the Garden to walk home together.
There’s something so calming about walking through the Garden as the sun is getting lower and lower in the sky and the light is turning amber. It’s a sigh of relief at the end of a long day — a time to empty thoughts from your head and just enjoy this bit of nature amid the bustling city. The garden has cobblestone paths, fountains, animals, and a myriad of different plants, from bamboo to rose bushes to palm trees. It’s filled with other people commuting home, families out for an evening walk, and children enjoying a game of cricket or soccer (football!) before they’re summoned to dinner. I love it. The walk usually doesn’t last more than 10 minutes, but I could spend hours in the Company’s Garden.