23 January 2012

4 Years Ago Today...

... I was disembarking a British Airways flight at Cape Town International Airport.

I had never set foot on South African soil before, but was excited to begin my semester abroad and couldn't wait to learn more about the country, make lots of new friends, and plan tons of adventures.  I was a little nervous about who my roommates would be and whether I would fit into this huge group of Americans.  I wondered what our dorms would be like, what the food would be like, and whether I would end up making friends with South Africans, or end up mainly hanging out with the other American study abroad students.  I even felt a little bit home sick {which is really unlike me} as I had left a very tight knit group of friends and a boyfriend back in California. 

Still, the day that I had been looking forward to for so long had arrived, and I was ready to put all of those months and months of planning and saving and researching into action.

If you would have asked me four years ago what I had in mind for my semester abroad in South Africa, I would have told you that I expected an amazing five months full of travelling, volunteering, and studying, with a healthy dose of partying thrown in for good measure.  In my mind it was just another international adventure - something which I would look back on and think:

"Wow, that was one awesome semester abroad!  I can't wait to go back someday for another visit."

But, four years later here I am. 

Still in South Africa, still very in love with my thick-accented boyfriend, working full time, studying towards a second degree, and fully enjoying {almost} every second of it all.

Sometimes I still can't fathom how it all happened, but, more than anything else, I'm so overwhelmingly grateful that things fell into place like they did because I really and truly wouldn't have it any other way.

It's been nothing short of a wonderful and exhilarating adventure.

As a means of commemorating my fourth anniversary in the Rainbow Nation, I thought I would share my top ten favorite memories from the time I first landed up until today.  They will be up on the blog in the next couple of days and I can't wait to share them with you guys!

p.s. It was really hard to choose just ten! 


  1. I LOVE this! It's amazing what life throws at you. This is my 4th year in New York and here I am, married and baby on the way when I was only coming to Au Pair for 1 year back in 2008!

    Very excited to read about your top memories in my beautiful HOME country.

  2. That's a great idea! Looking forward to the posts, sounds interesting! :)

  3. Wow, what an adventure! Love the photos, especially the first and last, amazing!

    I am really bummed we're not going to SA for our honeymoon, we really wanted to visit, but unfortunately it was too expensive, there wasn't that many good honeymoon deals from the Uk, shame!
    I'm hoping to come one day though, it looks so amazing!

    xo Lisa

  4. I'm very very very happy that you are in South Africa, because if you weren't we would never be friends.

    By the way, the lion (i nearly said tiger) photo, is amazing!

  5. wow. you are officially the coolest person in the world! cheers to that.


  6. Oh my goodness...I had no idea you started this adventure as a studying abroad trip! That is truly amazing! So neat you follow along and hear how happy you are there! :)

  7. So amazing! One of my good friends is from South Africa! I am dying to go! XO

  8. that's so awesome. i'm hoping everything falls into place for my trip to barcelona

  9. wow! 4 years!? that is really incredible...and to think of what your life had planned for you that moment four years ago when you landed in south africa! it is crazy to think of how we end up in places :)

    i cant wait to read your favorite times/places/things from the past few years on here!!!

  10. Wow! Amazing photos. I can't imagine heading to somewhere so different from what I know. Happy 4 year anniversary!

  11. i loveeee your blog!!! <3 i love missions myself, and so i ADORE your blog! (: following you now(duh!) follow me back?? (: <3

  12. hi jenna! i just found your blog and am really enjoying SA through you! sounds like an amazing place and i cant wait to see it in person one day! its amazing what doors studying abroad open...i studied abroad in finland, met a dutch guy there and now i'm almost at my 4 year mark living in Amsterdam! and me and the dutch guy just got engaged :). keep up the great blog! oh and i'm from sunny So Cal too!!

  13. That is so amazing!

    Minted Magazine


  14. What an adventure to celebrate! I have a dear friend from South Africa and she says it is beautiful.
    Cheers to more days ahead!

  15. I love this post! It's so inspiring! I'm so happy that you're living the dream :)

    I guess this will be me in about half a year :)


Thanks for the love!