Take a deep breath…

My name is Abby Evans and I am an Anthropology and Africana Studies double major at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. I am a second semester junior, and I’ve chosen to spend this semester on the adventure of a lifetime in South Africa. On Wednesday, January 23rd I am flying to Durban and beginning my semester at the University of Kwazulu-Natal at the Howard Campus! I am hoping to take this semester to live my academic passions and explore myself through new friendships and experiences.

I have titled my blog “Digesting Culture” since I am obsessed with the field of sociocultural anthropology and never stop thinking about food…  I mean really… it’s on my mind all of the time. One thing I have learned to recognize about both of my loves, is that they actually have a lot in common. Like trying new foods, anthropology requires an individual to challenge their preconceived notions of comfort and the world and attempt to become a member of cultures that are unlike their own. We often say that our job, as anthropologists, is to “Make the strange, normal; and the normal, strange”. As I look forward to this incredible adventure in South Africa, I m hoping to do just that. I want to take my field and put it to the test. I want to eat foods that I never dreamt of existing. I want to adventure into parts of the world that will make me feel uncomfortable at first and question why. I want to build relationships with people who I otherwise wouldn’t have the privilege of knowing. And most of all, I want to feel my heart beat faster when I remember all of the experiences that I have had, that I’m still having, and that I will have in the future. I am going into this experience with an open mind, heart, and sense of self. I am so ready to admit that I need this… (whatever “this” may be!) I am hoping that this blog will serve as a way for my loved ones to stay in touch and to know that I am doing well. Besides that, I am hoping for it to tell my honest story of being absolutely terrified for this adventure to start and the blank page that comes next in having no expectations, other than to live. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said; “the purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived & lived well”, and it is with that mindset that I am going into the most ambiguously anticipated time of my life. Bring it on, world!

7 thoughts on “Take a deep breath…

  1. Girl you are such a great writer !!! I hope you have a blast! I know you will with the spirit that you have. I miss you dearly! Stay safe and keep that free spirit alive :)

  2. Take deep breaths, use your smile, be your wonderful self! Enjoy fully this unique time in your life. Please keep up the wonderful blog work.

  3. Have an amaaaaaaazing time. I have no doubt that this experience will be one that alters your life forever. I have been to SA many times, Kwazulu-Natal being one of my favourite places. South Africa in general, is my favourite place on earth. The richness of the landscape, the kindness of the people, the food, and just the very essence of the air you breathe there will make it so difficult to leave when the time comes. I am anxiously awaiting pictures and more of your blog. Would that I could be in your place right now. Enjoy yourself Abby. Make HWS proud.

  4. I studied abroad at UKZN Pietermaritzburg with Interstudy and truly enjoyed myself! If Anita is still the Interstudy person in Durban, tell her I say hello (and Sandra from PMB or NJ)! (You will do some joint activities with the other Interstudy students in the country – which is a neat feature of the program.)

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