- I get tapped on the shoulder while grocery shopping by a guest of the hostel where I served as bartender.
- After seeing my friend off to a shark diving trip, someone in the van turns to her and says “Is that Kyle you were just talking to?”
- While lounging on the couch, a couple I shared Amarula shots with in Johannesburg walks into the hostel; “Oh you’re staying here too?”
- After a few minutes of chatting with Jabu, the bartender in my Cape Town hostel, we realize that we overlapped a few weeks of both working at CurioCity with tons of mutual friends.
- I hiked up Table Mountain this time from the Botanical Gardens on the last sunny morning in the city. Just before the big storm that gave some much-needed water back but did some damage on its own.
- I visited TRUTH Coffee more times than you would think for a 5-day visit to the area and restocked on beans for the unknown coffee situation in Namibia.
- After thinking I have successfully visited all the restaurants along Bree and Long street worth visiting, I discover the slightly hidden Galbi, a Korean Barbecue that serves up a variety of game meat. We had springbok, ostrich, zebra, and warthog.
- Craft beer and wine tasting including a visit to Woodstock Brewery chosen after sampling at the food market at the Waterfront.
I had no idea when I first arrived last year that the Rainbow Nation would become a second home for me. I remember during my exit interviews last year, my HR department said they’d have to reconsider sending anyone to South Africa again because everyone seems to quit after they return. I argued that it takes a certain type of person to ask for a short-term international assignment, a certain type that wants some type of big change anyways; it wasn’t South Africa but rather the person asking to go. Looking back though it might only be half true. There is an energy in the country that makes you want to work for a life bigger than the one you already have. I’ll always be inspired by the people I’ve met here.
So goodbye, for now, Rainbow Nation. I’m sure I’ll see you again much sooner than I could guess right now. Thank you so much to all of my families of travelers and locals from Durban to JoBurg, Cape Town, Oudtshoorn, Nieu-Bethesda and beyond. You’ve made this country for me.
“My country is rich in the minerals and gems that lie beneath its soil, but I have always known that its greatest wealth is its people, finer and truer than the purest diamonds” – Nelson Mandela