Whew. It’s been a hectic two weeks — international travel, catching up on sleep, reacclimating to ‘normal’ life, battling a sleep-deprivation-and-travel-induced cold, starting the summer school session, moving offices at work, turning another year older. Major life shifts on all levels. I guess it’s true that when it rains it pours.
As part of that reacclimating, I need to get back to blogging and talking to all of you fine folks, my loyal readers. I have so much to tell you that I almost don’t know where to begin. South Africa was incredible … truly the trip of a lifetime. We could have just loaded on a tour bus and viewed the pretty scenery, which we did. But we also delved into the social and cultural issues, talking with business leaders and average joes about their experiences living in South Africa today, 17 years after the end of apartheid. I found it to be a country of contradictions, but also one in the middle of dynamic social change. Nearly everyone we met, when asked about the future, said, “We have no idea.” There’s turbulence in that, sure, but also hope and possibility.
So while it was a nice trip, it was also extremely meaningful. I think we were all touched, surprised and captivated by some part of our experience. At least two of my tripmates pledged to move to South Africa in the next five years just to be part of it or even to lead some of that change. As I started to realize in my last post, being there made us think about our own beliefs about race, our histories and life back home in America. There are a lot of lessons (and parallels) for us.
It’s going to take me a bit to process all that I saw and learned, but I journaled like mad the whole trip just trying to capture every statement and nuance that we heard and observed. I’ve also downloaded my 700+ photos, so my aim is to recap our adventures for you over the next week or two. Or three. Or sometime in 2011. Stay tuned!