Here it is nearly midnight and I’m exhausted and somehow WIDE awake. Not that its a surprise, given the excitement of the past week.
This past week I was blessed to have two visitors come and spend a few days with me. My friends Amanda and Hannah, both fellow young adult missionaries with The United Methodist Church, took their leave to come and spend time with me here in the beautiful city of Cape Town. Hannah, my former roommate and co-worker while I was in Joburg/at SHADE, flew down from Joburg to spend 5 days here, while Amanda deserves a medal for flying all the way from New Orleans, Louisiana, USA for only one week’s stay.
The week was filled with tours, site-seeing, wine tasting, coffee drinking, beach-sitting and mountain climbing (well, only a little because my knees are still not well). The weather was very cooperative, as it was clear and beautiful all but one day. Pretty good for this time of year!
We did have a hiccup in our journey, as a puncture on the side of the highway left us with one handbag and very expensive camera being stolen. Certainly one of the most difficult and helpless feelings I’ve experienced in a while as we watched a man run away with all of Hannah’s belongings. While it is always sad to lose things, the great sentimental value of her belongings that ran away before our eyes were definitely the greatest loss, putting into perspective the things we take advantage of. We could be heard wishing he had taken all of our money and valuables but left behind things like her little red notebook filled with thoughts, memories and priceless writings, while at the same time we were grateful to be safe and were “just glad no one got hurt.”
Despite the struggle and heartache that came with this isolated event, we found ourselves making the very best of the time we had together. We even made light of the unexpected couple of hours spent in the Khayelitsha Police Department, as it provided an opportunity for Amanda to have a small tour of a township and a look into the RSA police. By the way, I must say: I have never, EVER had a better experience with police than we had that day at the Khayelitsha Police Department. To the officers and staff we encountered: well done, and Thank You for your incredible service and dedication. Hats off to you. Really.
Despite the unfortunate circumstances requiring our presence there, the couple of hours spent being well cared for at the PD were more representative of this week spent with good friends than of the 2 minutes that caused much distress. (And for any worried about safety, I remind you of the first words out of Amanda’s mouth upon a discussion about safety: “Wait, you’ve never had anything like this happen? I’ve even been mugged in New Orleans - it happens everywhere!”)
So that’s our check back into reality, and looking back over the rollercoaster of the past week, I am left with few words other than “Thank you.” Thank you, Amanda and Hannah, for your visit. It is SO GOOD for me to have the reality check of friends. Friends who serve as a mirror, really, as through time with them I am able to see reflections back of myself. Reflections of ways I have grown, adapted or changed over the past 12 months. Next week will mark one year since I first arrived in South Africa, and this visit was 2 things for me: a timely reflection back on who I am and how I’ve grown, and time to be refreshed and renewed through opportunities to be surrounded by familiar, welcoming, gentle friendships that offer perspective, reassurance, love and support that can only be given by an “old” friend who knew me prior to this experience.