I touched the Indian Ocean for the first time today.
I am farther away from home than I’ve ever been, for longer than I’ve ever been away from home. I feel guilty for saying that, because the people closest to me are ones who have given up the comfort of their homes and family lives for the educations that we are so lucky to receive.
We’re in Durban for the Mr. Price Pro, an international surfing contest. We’re staying off Florida Road at a backpackers’ hostel that’s currently raging despite the fact that it’s a Tuesday night. I’m a little unsure as to what choices in my life resulted in me being in this situation. Why South Africa? Why sport for development? I need to reevaluate. I’ve considered changing my concentration to Slavic Studies way too many times on this trip. (That’s irrational. I love studying development just as much as I love the Cyrillic alphabet.)
These are the final few days of the Original Plan (i.e., the Original Plan that Self-Destructed, Leaving Us Confused and Displaced and Generally Freaked Out) before we head off to the unknown (i.e., the Football Foundation of South Africa in Gansbaai). I’m nervous but I am looking forward to this change. The idea of being needed, useful, and welcome somewhere is refreshing.
This whole situation has lent itself to a massive plummet in my self-esteem and perception of my own ability to deal with life. I find myself questioning things that should be a given—my education, my social life, my relationship—because it feels like everything is now suddenly completely out of my control. I barely have time to return emails or talk to my parents, let alone do so in a fashion that appropriately portrays my current state of affairs. I feel like I am lacking the mental space to process this mess, and am desperately hoping for patience from everyone around me to understand how spread thin I am mentally and emotionally, and how completely helpless and useless this makes me feel.
I have never been in this city before yesterday. I went jogging this morning and probably could have been mugged on seven different street corners at any given time. I am displaced. I have been flung off a building, and I am flailing wildly in desperate hopes of grasping onto something solid and controllable. There is very little to grab.
On Friday, when we were in Cape Town, we hiked Lion’s Head, which offers a view of the city and surrounding mountains and coastline. I felt happier on top of that cliff than I had in weeks, so thankful to be in this beautiful country and out of a messy situation that had been hanging over us for weeks. There are days like Friday, and then there are days like today, where I can barely string a sentence together over a long distance phone call in order to make up for my absence.
Maybe what I need is patience from myself.