It has been a little over two months since I have last seen my family, had Rooibos tea and slept in my own bed. I miss it all.

There is so much that I would love to share with all of you, but there is just too much to share. So let us start with my five favorites from South Africa and the things I miss the most.

1. I miss Rooibos tea. For any tea drinker this is the epitome of excellence when it comes to tea. It is refreshing, crisp and it tastes like home and hugs. I was raised on it. My mother would make me a bottle of Rooibos tea with honey and milk as a toddler and that would immediately set me straight for the night. Tourists who have travelled to South Africa and have tasted it, all agree.

2. One of my other favorites is the beaches. South Africa is located at the very south of the continent of Africa. So this means because of the two oceans on either side that on the east coast of South Africa the beaches’ water is warm and on the west coast it is ice cold. There is a beacon at the most southern point of South Africa that indicates the meeting place of the Atlantic and Indian oceans. It is a tourist attraction like nothing else. It is beautiful. If you need a starting point for the trip to South Africa that you are going to start planning after reading this article, that is a great place to start and spread out from.

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Photo by: Corlene Beukes

3. I miss vanilla candles. I know that this is not entirely authentically South African but I have a slight obsession with candles, especially vanilla scented ones. My room back home is stocked with them. I miss the warm, welcoming, relaxing and reassuring scent of my candles. Seeing as we are not allowed to burn candles in our rooms here, it is quite a challenge to recreate my candle-lit, book-reading, tea-drinking evenings.

4. I miss South African bread –and this is not just me. Most of the internationals have complained about the bread here just not meeting our standards. Back home on my home university’s campus we have a bakery called De Oude Bank Bakkerij. If you ever find yourself in Stellenbosch, South Africa, do yourself the favor and order a cup of Real Chocolate Hot Chocolate and a slice of whichever breads that look good.

5. I miss Conrad. I never knew that you could be homesick for a person. The most important thing that this exchange has taught me is that there is always this one person in your life that you do not deserve to have there; this one person who, beyond any understanding, just loves you so much. Being human, we tend to take this for granted. As a completely objective third party to whatever you are experiencing now: I have experienced innumerable events and happenings, but one thing that rings true: if whoever you are with loves you in whatever way they want to, do whatever it takes to keep them in your life.

Maybe one day you will wake up with six hours’ worth of time difference between you and them, in a strange land and realize the only thing you want right now is to see their eyes light up because you laughed at their joke. All these things that you thought you liked will bring you to the realization that it was not these things, but the people you shared them with, that you love. It will forever be about the people you are with, not the place you are at. Make that count and love the right people at the right time.

It has been a little over two months since I have last been on South African soil and left an incredible group of people behind, but the great thing about traveling is that after you have seen all these remarkable places and had all these noteworthy experiences, you always have your own bed to go back to.

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