Hello from South Africa

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By: Christina Mattera, Columnist

A sack of potatoes, a bag of cat litter and a six year-old child all weigh about 50 pounds. I think about this fact as I roll up my clothes to try to get them to all fit into my purple suitcase.

What makes fifty pounds the perfect weight-limit for travel? As I harshly push my flip-flops into the suitcase, I wonder if I’ll ever be able to get my weight down to this magic number.

I’ve spent the past two weeks packing my entire life into a fifty-pound suitcase. I’ve spent hours upon hours creating perfect Jenga combinations and deciding what to take and what to leave. It’s like an intense game of Tetris with the highest stakes.

I guess I didn’t realize how much unnecessary matter I kept cluttered in my life until I had to squish my entire set of belongings into one bag.

My stomach swells with butterflies, a combination of excitement and nervousness as I think about my upcoming trip.

In two days, I’ll be studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. Although I’ve spent the past year planning and preparing, I’m wondering if I’ll ever really be ready to take this giant leap.

Nervous? Hell yes. Little things, like not being able to sit at home with my mom and watch “The Bachelor” on Monday nights are what I’ll miss most. But I know that once I’m there, everything will fall into place.

I ordered a little bit of the South African currency, and when it came in the mail I danced around the kitchen for a solid twenty minutes while my parents curiously stared at me wondering how they spawned such a weird being.

Not only did holding the money make my trip finally seem real, but also there are various jungle animals on the bills. What could be better than paying with a lion?

After a month of pretentiously insisting that I’d need a plethora of random items, like a dual-voltage curling iron, I finally feel ready to start this amazing journey that lies ahead. I anxiously place my suitcase on the scale, terrified at how high the number will read.

I take a deep breath and look down to see 46.7 pounds. I can do this.

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