The countdown

I have just one week left in South Africa. My plane flies out of Cape Town next Saturday afternoon. And I’m beginning to feel pressed for time — this sense of urgency to go to every cafe and shop and hidden treasure I’ve read about, to experience everything Cape Town and life as a South African has to offer.

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But time throughout this trip has already felt limited. I’ve found myself trying to balance a few dichotomous roles while here in South Africa: I am a student who has weekly assignments to complete and longterm projects to think about; I am an intern who is working full time, giving her all to contribute something of value to her employers; and I am a traveler who wants to get a taste of everything she can while she’s in this foreign land. There just isn’t enough time in the day or days in a week! I want to spend my weekends trying new restaurants and wandering around nearby towns, but I also have laundry, grocery shopping and homework to do. This is not simply a vacation for relaxing and exploring and abandoning responsibilities for a week or two.

Still, I’ve tried to fill every week, embracing just about every opportunity for a new experience that comes my way. Last week alone, I climbed Table Mountain (see the standard picture of arms-open, mountaintop glee above) and went to Fugard Theatre to see the lovely Dear Reader in concert; I spent time with a Capetonian and listened to her friend, a local DJ, play a set at a nearby venue; I hung out with other “tourists” — Europeans — and was inspired by their stories of travel; I continued work with museum artifacts and learned more about South African history in the process; and I babysat the daughter of an American expatriate and his wife, getting a glimpse of South African family life and the chance to enjoy the evening in a “real” South African home.

If my final week in South Africa was anything like last week, I think I can leave feeling content. I might not have seen everything there is to see or done all there is to do here in Cape Town, but throughout this trip, I sure have done a lot.

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