Jun 10, 2011

Things I will miss about South Africa, part I

Part of my continuing series.

1) The village.  Strange as it might sound, I think I will miss this place.  Not the people as much as the land, the overgrazed washed-out rim of the Kalahari.  It's not beautiful or spectacular like Victoria Falls, but I like its quiet unassuming presence, and interesting hidden features.  Though it is terribly inefficient, I like living out of the way in a small community; I enjoy being right on the edge of the wilderness.  I've never lived anywhere I didn't love at least a little before I left; there's something worth savoring nearly everywhere.

2) My host family.  As I've said before, these folks are a preposterously inappropriate choice to host an American for two years.  But that isn't their fault—they're not bad people, and they've tried to do right by me, in their own way.  They've taught me a bit about the Tswana way of doing things.  About the only friends I have in the village are my family, and I'll certainly miss them.

3) Living simply.  Getting back home is certainly very appealing, but there's a certain satisfaction to be had living Thoreau-style.  I've got basically every need taken care of (and then some). and there will definitely be some tradeoffs being thrust back into the hardened arteries of America.  Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to creature comforts, but cutting back to the basics has a way of focusing the mind that I'm going to try to remember.

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