Ari’s Reflection

My experience in Cape Town was nothing like I would ever expect. I went through so many emotional jumps and life hurdles. I feel that, even with the moments of anger, sadness and confusion, it has been the best experience of my college career. Not only did I work in a group with people I had never met before, I completed that project and worked my hardest to give a voice to vendors in a different country. I am proud of my work and what I accomplished in South Africa. I am proud that I took the opportunity.

Working with my teammates had been a struggle. Not only did we lose a partner but we also had to learn how we could best interact on a daily basis. Gianna, Nadjia and I became so close. We knew if one of us wasn’t feeling quite right, and 80% of the time we knew how to fix it or at least patch up the hurt. It was nice to work so closely with people and feel a bond being formed. I know that I will see them on campus and feel a sisterly/friendly love that will never diminish. That being said, it wasn’t all pixie dust and sunshine. We had our moments and they were nasty! Sisters we became very quick! No longer were we always kind or worried about how the other would respond to a comment. No. At times we were vicious, lashing out due to hunger, anger, or homesickness. But the sisterly love remained. We understood that we couldn’t be close every day, and that we needed time apart and moments to ourselves or with others. We would allow for that time, and kick each other out of rooms in order to eat or have fun. We understood each other, and it felt nice to have that.

I know that I will never have this opportunity again. I may have something close to it, or I may never have anything like it. The factors that played into this intense experience are impossible to replicate. The people will change, the places will change, the living quarters will change. This experience was not perfect. It was not even close to it. There are many things that I would change and adjust in order to make it perfect. However, it wasn’t meant to be perfect. It was meant to have its flaws and draw backs. And because of that it may have been the greatest thing to ever happen to me.

I feel oddly close with everyone who was at the Cape Town project center. I want to see them again and laugh about the crazy times we all had. I know that we may not see each other on a daily basis, or a weekly basis or even a regular basis, but I hope that when we do see each other it doesn’t feel strained or awkward. I want it to be natural and feel just as it did on those final days in Cape Town, when everyone wanted to stay for weeks and weeks with the same people who had been there for two months. When everyone said heartfelt goodbyes and couldn’t imagine waking up without them around.

I keep telling everyone as many stories as I can, but the stories that are left untold are the important ones. I miss everyone so much, and I miss that beautiful city unbelievably so. If someone came up to me with a ticket to Cape Town, I would take it and ask no questions. I would get to the city work for the Big Issue, start a life for myself and be happy. I would be gloriously happy.

Well, I have rambled enough. As you can tell I loved Cape Town, the people and the work. If you want to know more you will have to contact me.


p.s. That hand shake will never go away, the reflex is so strong to thumb flick! But no one understands how important it is! Yet I do it with everyone!