Love from George.

  • Eating: Chockits, my snacking vice of the summer. Made here in South Africa, they are a self-proclaimed “Crunchy oat choc biscuit,” which basically just means delicious.
  • Listening to: Charles Trenet.
  • Wearing: Layers & layers, but none of it matters, because for all anyone knows I’ve worn nothing but my big, grey peacoat this week. Starting to get quite sick of the thing, or rather of never being able to take it off.

Hello from George, cheri!

I’m writing to you from the plush, fashionable quarters of the quaint B&B we’ve camped out in for the week. A simple two-hour plane trip & 6 hour drive from the city, George is a small but not tiny town sandwiched between the mountains & the sea. It’s mainly Afrikaans here, & most street signs & strangers’ conversations are in an unfamiliar tongue, which is much different than good ol’ Johannesburg where I often find myself forgetting I’ve left the country.

When I first stepped into the room & caught sight of the fluffy furnishings & geometric-patterned décor, I had one thought: I’ve seen heaven, cheri, & it is pink!

The bed, swimming in down & duvets, is about six times the size of those I’ve been hopping between in Joburg, where I remain a suitcase-savvy nomad for the summer. All I wanted was to hop into the middle of it & spread as wide as my little arms & legs would go. Only one thing was in the way: The giant spider that scurried out from underneath my pillow as I made my move.

Suddenly, the bed seemed much less inviting. Kind of like swimming with sharks, really. Heaven had a dark spot, & it was crawling. The next morning, as I was steaming up the stone floor of the rainfall-style shower, another creeped out from behind the sink directly in front of me. Slowly, every comfort was being tainted by the sinister spiders &, yes, my irrational fear of them. This got me pretty miffed. But I’m here covering a 10-day mission to the area. And the 15–25 year-old kids that are here to do the work? They’re staying in shabby cabins & tents—and this place is not just cold, it’s wet. Real wet. But these people have the best attitudes I’ve ever seen, talking about they’re mud-flooded tents with laid-back smiles & laughs. They’re here to work with youth in four shanty towns in the area, where I’ve followed them around. There, the people don’t even have solid walls & ceilings & floors, much less indoor plumbing or plush mattresses & duvets. But if you offered them a warm bed or a warm hug, they’d choose your arms every time. Before I’d even said hello, one small girl had hugged me twice & latched on to my arm. Another reached to stroke my straight & shiny hair.

People say it all the time, but it’s never bad to be reminded: Love is all you need. Really, truly, cheesy or not, that’s what it’s all about. All of life is about that one realization, that one word, that one awakening. We know it, but we forget it. So tonight, here’s your friendly reminder. Put on the Beatles, or perhaps some Billie Holiday, & think about all the people who love you. Who can you show love to today?