Posted August 9th, 2007 in South Africa by Frérieke
08.08.2007 Reflections

It has been a year now.
A year IR Fre. A year Cape Town.

Cliché but true: It seems like yesterday. The morning was still dark. The road packed with cars, trucks full of people. The townships along the highway were shocking. My very first moments Africa. A new continent. It was so interesting and so exciting!

It has been an extremely amazing year! Not one moment that I regret.

Week 1 I had to choose between 2 architectural firms to work, I made my first friends, got to know my roommate. The most amazing moment was to step on to our balcony. The view! This view seemed so familiar. And it was. It had been my background on my laptop screen for the past month. It was as if I stepped into a dream world. (I had found roommate Tasch on the internet) Each time I step onto our balcony I’ve got that same overwhelming feeling of joy. A feeling that everything in life is possible. It is possible to live our dreams!

I loved to explore this new town. New people. Interesting cultures living in one place. I loved it a lot to spend some days on my own. The realization that a new life, new friends are made so easily. And such a great feeling to know that you all, friends and family would be there in case I would go back.

Week 3 I picked up Hes from the airport. We had an amazing 6 months together. There has hardly been a day, an hour that we didn’t spend together. (we even shared the same room! One bed! (no we’re not lesbian) This could have gone completely wrong. But it didn’t! The other way around > we had so much fun together. We made lots of beautiful trips (with a big one through Namibia). Have been windsurfing lots and lots. Have been laughing even more. We are both so flexible. We stimulated each other in all the energy that we had to spend. We got to know each other better and better. This would not have been possible with some one else. Hes, these months were amazing…I’ll always remember them!

We flew back together. How strange it was to go to The Netherlands for just two weeks. Going on holiday, to go home. 2 weeks being all over the place to see as many of you as possible. Flying back to Cape Town on my own was so weird. I couldn’t decide if I was happy to go back or not. On my own again. After such an intensive period together with Hes.

Not for long. A few days later, I picked up Lin from the airport. Another dream coming to life. The moment I’d decided to go to Cape Town, we knew we were going to meet here one day, the three of us. Edith, Linda, me. Since high school together. We know each others families, ex-lovers, problems and excitements. Every new experience with these girls is one that adds to a long list of amazing other memories and forms part of an ever going friendship! Love you girls!

I got more and more involved with the local community. Visiting the township. Contacts with local organizations. Interesting lectures and discussions about democracy, peace, freedom, human rights. Very much inspired by the great volunteer work and intern that Edith and Lin did for the department of Public Health and Human rights.

It was my heart that brought me to Africa. My will that made me follow my passions. I’d known for a long time, that I couldn’t find my meaning in life with just being an architect. No aspiration to become a famous one. My intuition told me to go to Africa. An architectural master degree offers many possibilities to work all over the world, also for a short period. Having a degree in general offers a save base, just like the idea of being able to go to The Netherlands. Going with the flow, that’s what I told myself to do. Enjoy every day. I struggled some days > to enjoy my every day work, with the realization that lots of energy inside me didn’t come out. Things improved a lot when I decided to work only 4 days a week. It is a struggle money-wise, but brings so much more satisfaction. The time was right to start working out this idea that I had for 1.5 years already. I’ve always known that the moment would be there some day. Right now, right here, the right people, the right thing to do. Umeebee was born.

What else did this year bring? I learned to kitesurf, to wave surf, to wake board, did my first (half) marathon, learned to swim properly, met some great great friends (a real friendship takes a while to be established, JL and Tina you guys are the best. I appreciate our open and honest friendship, the trust, the idea that you’ll always be there for me..). I’ve re-designed an old Brewery, a school extension, seen so many beautiful places, got to know some amazing different cultures here, realized more and more that I feel such a happy person, that life is an ever growing process, that love is the most important force, that a choice is in my own hand, that a path is spread out already, that fear is such an interesting thing, that the creator of this world has humor, that things are connected, that global awareness is such a beautiful thing to live for, that a smiling face is worth a lot, that there is no such thing as coincidence.

I am thankful, very very thankful for this past year and even more for the one that will come..

Hope you all had a great year as well. Would love to hear your experiences!

With love, Fre

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