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Parting Words

by Maya Byrne
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It’s my last full day in Stellies and my emotions are all over the map, quite literally. It is not that half of me is excited to go home and the other half of me never wants to leave this amazing country. It is that all of me is excited to go home but somehow all of me never wants to leave South Africa. It is a weird feeling I have never experienced before which has resulted in many tears but also many laughs.

As I reflect on my experiences here, I looked back to my first blog about making the familiar strange and I realized that now when I go home, even though it will be familiar, I will be looking at it through new eyes.

I will have to remember to drive on the correct side of the road, and remember to change the direction I look when I cross the street. I will have to remember to count my money in dollars instead of Rand. It is small little things like that I have gotten so used to here in South Africa. The changes, though small, will be strange to me when I return home. It truly gives you a new perspective on life.

I am excited to use the new lenses I have gained in South Africa back at home. I know they will help me see situations and experiences in a new way and I am really looking forward to that. The people I have met both in the AIFS program and local South Africans have truly touched my heart and helped me create a second home here, one that I know I will be back to visit without a doubt. I have always hated saying goodbye and it is not something I look forward to doing, so instead I will say “see you next time” to this beautiful country and all the lovely people I have met along the way.

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