Driving to the Cape Town suburb of Simon’s Town for dinner one evening, my fellow DukeEngager Chaele and I were discussing the incredible view of the city bowl as we drove a highway along the slopes of Table Mountain. We remembered the first time we saw the city lit up at night, and laughed remembering our initial awe and amazement. But as we looked out the window, I remarked how beautiful it was, even seeing it for the hundredth time. Chaele agreed, noting that living in such a gorgeous place can sometimes desensitize you to the beauty surrounding you - And then she said something that particularly struck me: “After a while, you forget to see it.”
I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately - whether or not I still see the beauty in everyday things. Nature surprises you in the funniest of ways – I always thought I appreciated the trees and hills of New England, my home, and going to the metropolitan, commercial city of Cape Town it never crossed my mind that this would be challenged. But as our time in Cape Town continues, I find myself progressively falling more and more in love with our stunning host city. During our stay, we’ve had the chance to walk the shores of Muizenburg, Simon’s Town, and Camp’s Bay; climb Table Mountain and Lion’s head; visit the vineyards of Stellenbosch, and much more. Most of all, I think, I appreciate these natural surroundings. Every day as I walk to work Table Mountain is a constant reminder in the background of the wealth of magnificence Cape Town, and South Africa, have to offer. The environment surrounding the city creates an atmosphere of boundless significance for everything and everyone over which it presides, and it’s easy to see the beauty with which nature can imbue a place.
It occurred to me, however, that though I always enter a new environment with an attitude of wonder at my latest setting, I barely take the time to notice how picturesque my own hometown can be. As I think about it now, I nostalgically recall the Massachusetts foliage, snow, and Atlantic ocean - the very same ocean I marvel at on Cape Town’s coast. Hopefully, as I return home to a comfortable space of unlimited internet, television, technology, and everyday life, I don’t forget that.