Friday, April 27, 2012

YA South Africa Tour: Day 1

April 25, 2012. Well, I'm in South Africa and very exhausted. I lost my journal but the biggest loss of it is the little dove chocolate wrapper I taped in that has Alex's & my favorite phrase: Too much of a good thing is wonderful. The plane ride was hard for me. Usually I'm a pretty good traveller, but I had a hard time this time around. I hadn't really slept the night before (not for lack of trying) and then I had to wake up at 4:30 to meet with the other YAs on time. Alex was so sweet. He stayed until I left. Then we flew to Atlanta and that was fun. It was about 4 hours & I sat next to Loren Hawks & we played the in-flight trivia game and we both did really well (: It was fun. Then I started reading the Hunger Games. It's intense so far. I'm at the point now where she's up in the tree after the fire and just received the healing pot and is about to attempt to drop the wasps on the career tributes. Once we got to Atlanta we had a 4-hour layover & we had lunch at TGIF's & played games & walked around a bit. Then we got on the forever long flight. It was like 13-14 hours. I was in the middle isle seat & had nothing to lean on or anything so the little bit of sleep I attempted to get was uncomfortable and unsteady at best. The lack of sleep and the long plane ride and missing Alex got to me at one point and I just started crying. I sobbed and sobbed and prayed and sobbed. I don't think anyone noticed though. It was dark and the plane itself was noisy and bumpy enough to cover my sobs. In my journal entry that I lost I described the feeling as claustrophobia because it was the closest thing I could think of. At that point on the flight the permanence of the whole situation sunk in. Once this plane landed I would be in South Africa and stuck there for an entire month, unable to see or text or call my Alex, unsure when internet would be available for Skype--if that would even work. I just was and am missing him so much, and the lack of sleep isn't helping me be rational about any of it either. I really need to just go to sleep. But I want to finish it out. Anyway I felt very claustrophobic--trapped for an entire month away from him. I haven't been away from him for this long since he came to visit me in Ohio when we were dating. The longest we've been apart was his California trip when we were engaged and that was super hard for me. I guess the word I'm trying to avoid is homesick. That's what I am. It's weird. I've never ever felt homesickness in my life. I've always embraced traveling and adventures. I've never really been attached to a specific place. I love to move and change environments. But now Alex is my home. And because he's not adventuring with me, I feel a gap. His not being here is taking a greater toll on me than I expected. And it's only the second day. I just need sleep. Really everything will all be 10 times better once I get some sleep. Well, we're here with our host family. Here at the house right now is just Sister Alette Philips and her 18-year old son Deon. I'm rooming with Shae tonight and it was really fun to get to know them at dinner. They were very interesting to talk to  and we were able to compare cultures & learn more about how things are in South Africa. they showed us some cricket being played on TV. Neither Shae or I had ever seen it before--but then I realized it was the sport they were playing on Becoming Jane. Currently I'm sharing a room with a Boa Constrictor. He's a baby so he's not that big yet, which is good.  Oh! and Sister Phillips was so nice! She let me call Alex on her landline! So I got to talk to him on the phone for a good 10 minutes! It was a treat I didn't expect.  Another treat I didn't expect was our welcome at the airport. We walked out of the baggage claim area and were greeted with shouts and horns and aayayayayayayayya!!! It was so fun! And we met them and they sang with us and danced with us and took pictures of us! It was so exciting! There was even a big banner that said "South Africa welcomes the Young Ambassadors" on it.  Well, I'm going to read my scriptures and go to bed. Alex and I decided to start reading 2 chapters a day of Acts so we can have sort of a scripture study kind of thing going on.  Goodnight. Ps. I'm thankful I was able to talk to Alex on the phone a little bit ago. That was nice.