“If you don’t go, you won’t know”

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Istanbul skyline by night. A city I want to visit. I got to know a South African girl in the plane studying in Istanbul. She taught me so much on Turkish as well as African cultures… So intriguing.

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My first glimpses of South Africa. Love at first sight šŸ˜‰

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The stunningly beautiful campus buildings. This one is the faculty of law.

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Stellenbosch Christ Church. So pretty. The Dutch architecture with the white stone buildings are simply stunning.

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At Winelands Chocolate Festival with my roomies. Stunning sceneries in the middle of mountains and winelands, tasting coffee, wine and chocolates of local producers… If you ask me, Saturday couldn’t get any better. The ones who know me well also know that these three foods are closest to my heart. Besides guacamole.

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On my way to the gym… No words to express how grateful I feel of walking along these scenic roads.

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At the Woodstock Winter Beer Festival. PJ and I sticked to cider though. My hot mulled cloudy apple coming up šŸ˜‰

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Followed by a visit at Woodstock Street Food Festival. Fueling with a fresh pressed immune booster juice and some flat breads.

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Followed by a visit at Waterfront to toast for PJ’s friends for his birthday. Not sure if it was purely the alcohol or my emotional state of our perfect Sunday that me feel extremely high šŸ˜‰

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My new baby, the old-school Mercedes. Simply love it. And the surroundings on my way to school. Still can’t believe these are the views I get to watch while driving to school and back.

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Also still cannot believe I live in these sceneries. Stellenbosch is simply indescribably beautiful, idyllic and inspiring place.

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Quiz night Tuesday. Wine, food, quizzing, friends. We didn’t win but didn’t lose either. Another great night that we enclosed with chocolate and cheesecake at Basic Bistro. Perhaps the most delicious chocolate brownie I’ve ever had.

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Caption tell the essential.

Here were some snapshots of my first days in beautiful South Africa. Though my exchange destination came as a surprise for me, I had dreamt about this country for years. I visioned lions, unique nature and vineyards. After five days here, I can already say that SA has provedĀ to be everything I expected and so much more. I experienced no culture shock whatsoever, yet everything is different than back home. I get so many wow-moments every day. All this has made me better than ever aware of how important it is to stay curious, creative and have courage to step out of your comfort zone. And once you do, cherish the experience with gratitude and being mindful. Some observations of things I appreciate here the most so far:

1. People
You experience this everywhere. South African people are the warmest, most smiling, friendliest, helpful and hospitable people I have ever met. People are polite and genially interested and happy to help. I love the way how you can easily engage a conversation with just about anyone. IĀ honestly have not met a single person who I wouldĀ not consider as friendly.
2. Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch is everything I dream right now and more: stunning sceneries, white and pure Dutch architecture that reminds me of a village in the Alps, theĀ cosiest and most delicious restaurants, outstanding sports facilities. Buzzing joyous, open minded people. The local markets and grocery stores sell anything a healthy foodie can hope for, with half prices (for Scandinavians).
3. Food & wine
This topic needs (several) own posts. I’ve only eaten couple of times out so far yet I can easily state that this town serves perhaps the best food I’ve ever had.
4. Festivals
Chocolate, cheese, wine, champagne, vintage… You name it, there’s something happening everything.
5. Sports
Again, you name it.

I strive to practice gratitude every single day, but changing your surroundings every now and then truly gives a new level of awareness to life. Suddenly, you realise what are the most important things back home, yet how much experiencing new places can teach you about the world and yourself. As in the past, I feel like I’ve learned so much about new people, cultures, myself, experienced beauty and felt so alive. Feeling alive, isn’t that the feeling we are looking for? I am constantly looking for ways to feel alive, and traveling simply is one of the best sources of this feeling. Can’t wait to the adventures ahead.

xxx

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