We are finally back from backpacking as of a few days ago (I finally have a chance to write a post) and I for one am very happy to be back in the city of Cape Town. Although backpacking was by far one of the hardest things I have ever experienced, I am very proud of myself and glad I was able to go through that experience. We were in the wilderness/ high desert of South Africa from last Saturday to Wednesday; I was unable to blog while I was in the mountains. I just wanted to spend some time re-capping one aspect of my experience in the wilderness: my secret angel. (As a side note, I will also be re-capping other experiences from my trip, not necessarily in the order they occured due to issues with time and wifi).
During our time backpacking, my group was paired with our agency counterparts as a way to get to know South African social workers in a more intimate way. Prior to actually goig into the wilderness, we were each (there were about 20 Americans and South Africans in total) a “secret angel”; we each drew a name out of a hat, were instructed to do whatever acts of kindness for our secret angel during the trip, and then would reveal our secret angels when we came back. Throughout our adventures in the wilderness, I was busy trying to figure out what to do for my secret angel (Jason, one of the instructors for the group) which was a challenge since he kept helping me out with various struggles I faced. Jason also came very prepared for our backpacking trip, making it hard for me to give him anything I might have had on me as a tangible act of kindness.
While I was busy trying to survive the wilderness (quite literally ha) the secret angel was busy helping me out by asking how I was, giving me little tangible items, etc. Although at the time I was greatly appreciative of all of these obvious acts of kindness, I was more appreciative of something else: my secret angel pulling me out of my comfort zone. Although not many might know this, I do not like being the center of attention. I like being involved and speaking up at times, but I do not like “all eyes on me”. However, there were many moments where we all had to be out of our comfort zones (besides the backpacking part) and for some reason one person kept pushing me out of my comfort zone; after a while, I knew “Koosh” was my secret angel.
At the time being pushed out of my comfort zone even more than I was, was fairly overwhelming. Once we were back at base camp, I was no longer overwhelmed and could truly appreciate how important it is to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I was not going to make this happen on my own, so Koosh did for me; that is how she gave back to me. Koosh let me shine by allowing my to feel uncomfortable at times, but realizing I was okay after everything. She is the most considerate and generous person I met while in South Africa. Koosh was like a big sister/ mom to me during our time together and I will never forget how well she treated and took care of me. While being away from her, I have missed her so much. I love you Koosh and cant wait to see you again!