Facing Fears

I was afraid. I was afraid of forgetting something at home, like my passport or my phone or my credit cards. I was afraid that my train would be delayed and I would not make it to the airport in time. I was afraid that I made something wrong when I checked in online. I was afraid that my backpack would have to be checked in as odd-size luggage. I was afraid that my carry-on was to heavy. I was afraid of every time I had to show my passport, because I somehow have a fear of offical kind of things. I was afraid of the take-off, I was afraid of figuring out the transfer in Qatar, I was a bit afraid of being in Qatar, because that is very far away from home. I was not that afraid of the takeoff anymore when I finally boarded the flight to Jo'burg. But I was afraid of standing in line in Jo'burg, I was afraid not to find my backpack amongst all the luggage, especially after waiting at the border control for an hour or so. I was afraid not to find my sister in all of the chaos in the arrival area. I was afraid of South Africa. I was afraid of Jo'burg. I was afraid of driving on the left side of the road. I was afraid of spending nights in a tent in a country that is full of wild animals and in my mind a lot of dangerous people. I was afraid of so many things. 

And what remains is the feeling of surprise when reality is so much better than our expectations. South Africa blew away my mind. It is a country of such strong contrasts and I really want to return. There are dangerous places one should avoid, but most places we were met with kindness and gratitude. There are things we can't prepare for, and one of them is the love of strangers.