Tuesday, January 12, 2010

SC in Zimbabwe

Many years ago I was a student at Lake Forest College and a Sociology and Anthropology Major. I desperately wanted to study abroad as most of LFC goes abroad their Junior year. I had been to Europe as a high school student and knew I was going back after college with friends. Wanting to do something a bit unique I looked into India, and Africa. The University of Zimbabwe in Harare was the only program that would count credits towards my major so I could graduate on time. But, there is always a but, I did not have what one would refer to as a strong GPA. My only back up was to attend Franklin college in Switzerland and cross my fingers I could take classes that would allow me to graduate in 4 years. As much as I loved college, I didn't want to be left behind when my friends and classmates graduated. I was never a student. I went to college to be in a sorority, meet my husband and travel abroad Junior year. I accomplished 2 out of 3.

I was accepted last minute and I'm not going to tell you my theory as to why but let's just say I was the ONLY person on the trip that didn't receive financial aid.

Zimbabwe, and South Africa changed my life. I don't talk about it much. But with you supportive blends I feel comfy opening a part of my heart that is still vulnerable and in awe of the beauty I witnessed in Africa. Everyone on the trip wore Birkenstock. I wore Laura Ashley. Most of the students were very environmentally aware and PC. I was a debutante that read the society section from my home town paper my mother mailed to me each week. But, and there is always a but, we all hit it off. I made amazing friends and grew so much as a person. I could write an entire blog chronically all of the amazing things I did and saw. I pushed myself more than I have probably ever in my life, with the exception of being a mother.

I have tears in my eyes as I type this. Thank you Zimbabwe for allowing me to live in your country for 6 blissful months.  In an effort to hold on to some of my memories I decorated my oldest sons nursery with a safari theme. My son is turning 10 in only a few short weeks and I've promised him a big boy room with a ski theme. So it won't be long that he will not live in the dream world I created for him using my memories of Africa.

 
 
When I left Zimbabwe I flew to London with my 2 best friends from the trip-Katya and Mariya. In London I went to my gate to fly home to Philadelphia. I cried the whole time in the waiting room. The first big girl tears I'd ever shed. I watched a remake of Father of the Bride by Nancy Meyers on the Virgin Atlantic flight home. This is why I'm convinced she will make Social Climbers into a movie. Plus, it doesn't hurt that she grew up outside of Philadelphia. Thank you for all of the lovely comments you leave on my blog. I live for and can't wait to read each and everyone of them. The love that has been shown to me in the blog world resembles the love I felt in Zimbabwe.

xoxo

SC

43 comments:

  1. Fascinating. I love learning about other peoples' travels to different countries. Write more! :)

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  2. That sounds amazing! You are so fortunate to have had an experience like that! I would love to see pictures! Have a fabulous day! xoxo

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  3. I'm sure it was tres fab...Out of Africa is one of my faves...always wanted to go on safari

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  4. You are a very fascinating woman. I'm so glad I follow you.

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  5. OMG. I loved reading this...what an absolutely fabulous trip. I would love to see pictures!

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  6. Thank you for sharing this! I have to tell you I had the chance to study abroad twice and didn't do it, something I regret. I'm glad you got your 2 out of 3...I know I went to college to go to football games, meet amazing people and grow...I'd like to think I did that and more.
    Keep writting! It makes me smile on a daily basis! xoxo

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  7. That is such a fascinating story! So many of my travel experiences have made me the person I am today. Your son's room is so special. I love it. Thanks for sharing. xoxo

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  8. What an extraordinary experience you had as a student. I'm sure you have a lifetime of memories to share. Now, ya'll this gal would have to pack up and leave while that beautiful room was being redecorated. I'd have to be carted off in a big old ugly cry in a puddle of tears.

    Have a great day....{SIGH}

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  9. What an awesome experience you must have had. I spent a summer in Egypt and it changed me forever. My plan is to send each of my boys abroad for at least 3 months so they can get that perspective.
    I'd totally go see your book made into a movie, BTW.

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  10. I feel I am just the same way now as a freshman in college. Joining a sorority was the top priority as well as going on some school sponsored trips. My mom sends me the one STL society newspaper too. Others think I'm crazy. I loved reading your story! Have a great day!

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  11. Wow! A trip of a lifetime! I can only imagine what a tremendous impact that had on your life!
    XO

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  12. I too studied abroad and it CHANGED my life. My baby sister just got to Spain on Sunday....a life changing experience for her. British Airways lost her luggage -- let's pray she gets it soon.

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  13. You are one lucky gal! Sounds like an amazing 6 months! Your son's safari room is so neat...like sleeping in the sahara! :) Beautiful!

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  14. I've heard it's beautiful there. Did you PAINT those wall murals?

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  15. Thank you for sharing this! It sounds like you had a wonderful semester studying abroad. Your post is very timely. As I type, my husband is on a SAA plane from Harare to Maseru, Lesotho on then back to Johannesburg (which he calls NJ!!) on Sunday. He travels to Southern Africa a lot for work and I am sure y'all would have lots to chat about. Right now I'm thinking of tagging along on his trip to Mozambique in May.

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  16. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I so hope DD decides to study abroad her junior year. I think your son's room is absolutely adorable and I am sure you are sad to see ALL the memories held in those beautifully painted walls disappear from sight (never from heart). I do hope you post pics of his new ski themed room. I can only imagine how creatively it will be decorated!

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  17. I am so thrilled you shared this. It has been such a wonderful pleasure to get to know you and share our African adventures.

    And to Whitney and the Preppy Puppy - GO! I'm from Johannesburg, and most definitely urge you to tag along! ;)

    It's so wonderful making all these connections! :)

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  18. So wonderful! I cried on the plane when I left Morocco!

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  19. preppy puppy Mozambique was at war when I was there but I went hiking in the mountains on the border anyway and it was breathtakingly beautiful. Thank you everyone for your kind words. I really mean when I say I love the blog world. I love it! xoxo

    SC

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  20. What a fabulous opportunity! It's amazing what we take from our journey through life.

    Your son's room is adorable.

    Jo

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  21. Thanks so much for sharing your lovely story! Your son's room is absolutely beautiful and remember, you will always have the photos to remind you of it and his early years.

    Seashell is looking forward to her semester abroad, too!

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  22. The room is simply beautiful!

    Love this story.

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  23. That must have been a truly amazing experience!

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  24. I know that experience touched you in ways you still may not know.

    I have to laugh at the Birkenstock comment. I actually was one of the first (if not the first) girl at Converse to have a pair. Of course I wore them with Laura Ashely and pearls!

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  25. What a wonderful experience you had. Good luck with the room makeover. I can understand how hard it will be for you to let the safari mural go, it is so beautiful. Garnet Hill has the cutest ski sheets right now that you might want to take a look at for the ski room. They might help you make the transition ;). I so want them for our Chalet up north.
    Hugs,
    Sue

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  26. I want to study abroad someday! Hopefully London or Paris. Your son's room is too cute..I remember getting a "big girl" room when I was ten. Funny thing is, now I'm redoing it.

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  27. I also benefitted from my experiences studying abroad in college. Ironically, after reading your sweet Tweet the other night, I was thinking today while driving about my "main" idea for a book (I have several, but one feels more creative&unique than the others). This post is so, so close to what I'm thinking about writing about...I may just have to get to work on it...& I may just have to beg you for some more insights from you! Thank you for sharing w/ your readers. =)

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  28. what a sweet post, you definitely have a generous heart!

    and I heart father of the bride. my dad is steve martin in that movie. after i got engaged to the mr and i gave my dad a dvd of that movie!

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  29. Interesting post - thanks for sharing your past and your heart.

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  30. Very cool post. LOVE the room!

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  31. Great post, and your book should definetly be a movie!

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  32. This was a beautiful post!! What a great experience you got to have, and I love how you put it into your son's room.

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  33. I longed to study abroad in college, but sadly I couldn't make it happen financially. I am in awe of your son's room. It is simply gorgeous. Also, I firmly believe the blog world shows you love because you deserve it. Being so kind, open and honest is a rarity. Even without monograms, LP, and all things SC I would still read your blog because of the heart you show us all.

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  34. What an amazing adventure you experienced! I love love the bedroom - will be heartbreaking to cover. I have always wanted to go to Africa..
    Love to you.'
    Kelly
    http://www.ivebecomemymother.com

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  35. Love that room! What a great experience for you in Africa. I think going somewhere like that is very brave.

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  36. I love all of the stars that aligned and how deeply you felt Africa.

    kHm

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  37. It sounds like an amazing experience! This is a beautiful post...xoxo.

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  38. I would love to hear more about your time in Africa, it sounds like a life changing and wonderful time abroad!

    Tell you little guy that the jungle is way more badass then skiing!!!

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  39. How wonderful to hear about your adventure in Africa. I love how dedicated that experience to your son's room and can certainly understand the room change to be dramatic for you. The fond memories however will always delight you.

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  40. What an amazing story! I have always had a love for Africa as well. I've planned a mini safari in Tanzania, with a relaxing few days on the beaches of Zanzibar to close it out. I planned it 5 years ago :) I keep praying that I will find the time, and a travel partner to go with, some day soon!

    PS...your son's room is fabulous!!! What a wonderland to grow up in. I understand his desire to have a more "grown up" room now, but rest assured he will never forget the room where he grew up ;)

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  41. The room is AMAZING!!! You did such a great job.
    AND, I think EVERY.SINGLE student should study abroad. I studdied in New Zealand, which is a lot different than Africa, but I was BY FAR the "Odd" one out in the group of all the other study abroad students in NZ. They all looked like hippies who did not wear make-up! I brought my fur coat and high heals with me in my suitcase. My mother had to ship over hiking boots and other practical gear for my 6 months there! I met so many friends who I dont think I would have met otherwise while studying there. I learned A LOT...and of course I now have a cute Kiwi Husband! :)

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  42. Ah Miss Social, what a lovely, wonderful, fabulous post. Really. You are the bomb!
    hugs at you,
    tp

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  43. Awesome! I hope you share more about your experience there. I'm sure that there are so many wonderful life lessons and inspirations you gained from Africa. ;)

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Talk preppy to me! xoxo