Sunday, July 01, 2012

one person's exotic is another's normal

last weekend, we had a visit from south african bloggy friend tara who blogs at c'est la vie. she's in denmark for a two-week study trip that's part of her business degree. i was pleased when she said she wanted to come a little early and hang out with us for a few days here in the old run-down farmhouse. true to form for something not unlike blog camp, the farmer who has the field across the road sprayed it with poo just in time for her visit. *sigh*

the afternoon she came in, i decided that we had to dash out to the west coast, as it was going to the only remotely nice beachy day to go there. i somehow had it in my head that it was Very Important that she got to touch the north sea. we were glad we did (tho' that water is COLD!), as it was rainy and grey the following days (no suprise there, except perhaps to the danish meteorological institute, who always seem to be surprised by the weather around here). after the beach, we got a giant ice cream and headed home to barbeque on our grill table in the garden while we laughed and told stories and learned a bit of african history too.

tho' i was running around, chasing kittens and tending chickens and bunnies and popping into the kitchen for more wine, i loved hearing tara's story. born raised in zimbabwe, she went off to college in south africa and stayed. she'll be getting married in a couple of months. this trip to denmark was her first big trip abroad. i had to chuckle at that as zimbabwe and south africa strike me as pretty abroad. but it's really a matter of perspective. a little bit like how my sister was born and raised in south dakota, but went to the university of iowa and then stayed in that area after college.

tara's excitement at her trip and the adventures she had exploring copenhagen on her own for a couple of days before coming to visit us and at her weeks of study with a group of other international business students reminded me of my own trip to study in russia when i was about her age. the excitement, the butterflies, the small niggling fears and ultimately the feeling of satisfaction that i was strong and fearless enough to make such a long journey alone. the rush of new impulses and thoughts and experiences - there's nothing like it.

of course, today, via a myriad of social media, i'm able to follow along on her adventures even after she went on to her course and i can tell she's having a great time. it makes me a little bit nostalgic for those old days of studying. yes me, nostalgic, who would have imagined that? but it's a good kind of nostalgia and for that, i'm grateful to live a little bit vicariously through tara's adventures.

so glad you visited us, tara, i look forward to reading your stories as you digest them in the weeks and months ahead.

1 comment:

~C said...

Love your description of the feeling of a first big solo trip abroad. Matches so well with what I remember feeling when I studied abroad WITHOUT the watchful eye of a chaperone or someone else making the plans for me. It was so liberating to go and see and do and experience, in spite of fears and in the process of overcoming them. I have never learned so much so fast, about the world and myself, and those are some of my favorite lessons so far in life.
I wish everyone could have those feelings. So glad you were part of this experience for Tara!