Greetings from Cape Town!
How amazing that I am able to write those words! A year ago, a month ago even, the prospect of being here was merely a dream and a hope. Up until the moment that I boarded the plane, I had doubts that I would actually arrive. But, praise the Lord! I am here!
My time in South Africa began with a great deal of resting and eating. My hosts, Malia and Terence, are amazing beyond words, and Malia is a fantastic cook! Weight has definitely been gained. But that is a worry for another day.
I have reacquainted myself with the city of Cape Town, and I have introduced myself to the town of Stellenbosch, where my university is located. Stellenbosch is about 30 minutes from the city, in the winelands of the Western Cape. Stellenbosch is beautiful. The town itself reminds me very much of Palo Alto and the surrounds of Stanford University.
Of late, I have been apartment hunting. It seemed to me, and to my friends here who are helping me look, that Stellenbosch would be the ideal location for me to live. Primarily because rents are much lower outside of the city.
As we began our search, however, we learned that the Stellenbosch housing market is as bustling as the New York City housing market! Literally overnight, 7 appointments to see apartments dwindled to 2 appointments, as apartments were leased before we could view them. There are many students who want to live within walking distance of campus, it seems. I am hoping that as the days pass, and students settle in, the housing market will cool off and the right place for me will present itself. Alternatively, there is the possibility of moving into an adorable, tiny, flat in a student housing development in the city.
There’s a saying that you never step in the same river twice, and the church I attended here is proof of that. The congregation has grown and diversified, there is a new worship team, and the preaching that was so transformative for me when I was here last, is different in a very good way. How beautiful to come back and see such signs of renewal! How beautiful that, despite the changes, the warmth and love of the people at the church remains the same.
Work on my dissertation has not yet begun in earnest. I will be meeting with my supervisor this week to strategize the crafting of my initial research proposal that must be presented to the PhD Committee in late April.
In three days Lent 2016 will begin.
It is like I am on a plane that has just taken off, and while I have been leafing through a magazine the plane has left January and entered February. Then after a quick meal the plane is arriving at Lent. In the time it takes to watch an in-flight movie, I will be passing Easter on this plane, I’m sure, and then the half-year mark will be in sight.
I only want to remember, to savor, every one of these gorgeous days.