Yesterday I got the opportunity to go to Kruger National Park, and I drove the jeep the whole way (except for the way back). We packed a padkos and headed for the road. A padkos is a picnic for a road trip and traditionally includes hard boiled eggs. Coffee, tea, sugar, and teacups were all in there. South Africans drink a lot of tea, which is perfect for me. They are also very proper and speak so eloquently. This is the area I don’t fit in. They say, “Good morning Elizabeth, I hope you got a proper rest last night,” (In a fancy accent), and I’m like,”What’s up?” I feel like people sound smarter when they have accents. It has actually helped me widen my vocabulary a bit.
The park is massive, and it is actually larger than the country of Israel. It is home to so many species including the endangered rhinoceros. Rhino poaching is growing here. Their horns are highly sought after mostly from Asian men since they are considered a natural aphrodisiac. It is so sad that they are nearly extinct for the sake of sex. Eat some dark chocolate and pop a Viagra, don’t kill a Rhino! (I’m making a bumper sticker). 🙂
Driving through the park was very humbling. God’s creation is so amazing. I got to see zebras, elephants, giraffes, hippos, assorted types of deer like creatures, buffalo, monkeys, a lion, and tons of birds and bugs. I feel my experience is surreal. Am I in Africa?
Last night, the college principal (Werner) and his wife (Anine) had Eben and I over for dinner. They both grew up in a surf town in South Africa and have since done missions work in Asia and now live here with their four kids. We talked for hours as they shared about their experiences and the amazing things God has done for them. They wanted to hear my story and had some encouraging words to share with me. They also told me to apply for a position to work at the school here. I laughed and sipped my tea. They had me laughing all night. They are truly inspirational, and I felt an instant connection with Anine.
In church today, they had a going away for a young couple with three little kids that is moving to Turkey to do missions work. The husband spoke the message today, and I was really moved by it. He spoke about Jacob, wrestling with God, and receiving blessings. The idea of it was to not let go, don’t give up, you might get hurt and bruised, but if you hold on it’s worth it. I sat there crying as he spoke the words I needed to hear. Crazy how that happens sometimes. I spoke with him and his wife after the message and was once again inspired.
The rest of my day was magical. Eben took me to a a little town called Kaapsehoop. Once I heard there are wild horses there, I was on cloud 9. The town is high up in the mountains, filled with trees, flowers, rock formations, a blanket of dew and mist, soft grass, and wild horses. As we got closer, I started to see some wild horses and just about lost it. Eben probably thinks I’m crazy especially after I started talking about wanting to roll in grass, sleep under the ferns, and frolic through the forest with the fairies. This is my favorite place on earth.
I’ve been around horses before, but there is something about a wild horse. Beautiful, bold, free… romantic. I’m still in awe from today. I’m typing this smiling like an idiot. You know the smile I’m talking about: the one that everyone knows who you are texting because you have that idiotic smile on your face… ya, that one. Apparently wild horses in green meadows do that to me.
The mist ran through the trees and flowers and moistened everything it touched. Singing birds and chirping crickets were the only sounds that accompanied our stroll through the soft green meadows. My feet had to connect to this beautiful earth, so I took my shoes off as we made our way to top of a cliff. The grass was soft melting me deeper into this whimsical scene. As we neared the edge, I was curious to see what was on the other side. Mist, all we could see was a wall of mist that I swear was laced bubbles of bliss that held the hopes and dreams of the world.
Everything about this place was seducing me. I was interrupted from my fairy daydream when Eben asked if I wanted to see the Magical Forest.”Wait, it’s called that?” I asked trying to pick my jaw up off the ground. “Ya, you’ll see.” And to my surprise, it was a magical forest. I could feel the the breath of the trees and songs of the mist filling every cell in my body. Highly intoxicated by the moment and what my eyes beheld, I couldn’t help but begin to daydream of what it would be like to live like the horses here. There is a reason almost every little girl loves horses. They are beautiful and strong. The ones here are untamed and free. Those words resonated with me: untamed and free…. What would my life look like if I embodied these traits? And then it sank in: I am living a life that is untamed…. that is free.