by Addie Gill, junior writing coach
On January 12th, 44 Minnetonka High School students departed for Cape Town, South Africa. It took around 26 hours total of traveling , but we now have taken selfies with some penguins, swam in the ocean, experienced history at the prison Nelson Mandela was held in, and overwhelmingly found ourselves engrossed in a new place across the world.
My own experience was a whirlwind: I had never been out of the country before in my life, only to be dropped into a culture unlike my own. I loved learning the nuances of the way my host family worked. I got to experience the diversity of people walking in the streets, and saw some of the most beautiful scenery in my life.
One of the most striking places we visited was the District Six museum. During Apartheid, District Six was a housing area that held people of all backgrounds, races and religions. This harmonious living did not follow Apartheid laws of segregation, so over a period of many years, the government bulldozed the area and displaced thousands of people from their family homes. We had the privilege to talk to a previous resident of District Six, and he told us of his heartbreak when his home, where multiple generations of his family had been born, was torn down in front of his eyes. Although the government had shown great cruelty towards him, our guide showed stunning forgiveness and love for the people around him.
Traveling is quite an experience. This trip has reminded me of that in every second, and I hope this can be a reminder for everyone (as life is a trip anyways):
Remember these moments. The good, but the bad was apart of it too. The whole collection- that is what we have. Treasure each piece, each moment, each cry, each laugh.
For they are our lives, our loves.
I personally follow this by writing in a journal; it comforts me in knowing that my memories and my thoughts will forever be with me. I challenge everyone to remember this even as we transition into our new semester. Take all your experiences in stride, for they shape much of who we are.
Good luck, and hello from South Africa!