A Reflection on Summer: A Summer of Firsts

by - October 02, 2016

I am currently writing from my new room at university, with my first lecture of second year being tomorrow morning and so, with regret, I think it's time to accept that Summer 2016, is over. 

Summer 2016 has proven to be one of the greatest (I say this every summer) but it's true, since every summer I seem to be doing amazing things and having an amazing time. This summer has been a stand out for me though because I have tried so many things out for the first time, and been ticking away at my bucket list. 
This was my first summer blogging, and I've loved it! I've enjoyed writing, and hearing from people who have read it and having conversations with some incredible people because of it. I'm so glad I decided to start this blog, and look forward to what happens next. 
Obviously the most unbelievable thing I did this summer, which is something I did for the first time, was volunteer with big cats. Volunteering on a wild cat sanctuary was like a dream. I will never forget it, and hope to do it again. I learnt so much and had an amazing time. I got to do some life-chaning things (for the first time) such as getting up close and personal with lions, cheetahs,  and caracals, and learning individual animals characteristics and personalities. On a tour once I was asked how to tell the difference between some of the lions, and I produced a lengthy list of every single difference. The owner said to me it was clear where I was spending my free time.. I loved getting to know the animals individually, and being able to know them all by name. I miss them everyday and am constantly looking back at pictures. I met some incredible people as well and made friends from all over the world, which really excites me and I hope to go travelling around to see them all one day. May have been my first time working with big cats, but it won't be my last! 

Another first for me from South Africa was bungee jumping!! Much to my mothers horror, I loved it. Skydiving has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, and I still plan to do that one day (hopefully in Australia) but bungee jumping was never a "must-do" for me. However, as soon as I found out it was an option I had to do it. I am the type of person who doesn't like to say no to things, and I know I will always regret the things I don't do. I wasn't at all convinced I would even enjoy the jump, but I knew I had to try. I was terrified on the top of the platform, and had to take several deep breaths before jumping, but once I was off, I was loving it. So happy I did it, and would recommend it to anyone who's unsure. Sorry mum and dad... 

In fact, it was the first time I spent any real time in Johannesburg. Although it wasn't all smooth sailing, and my wallet was stolen, I did really enjoy the day I spent having a tour of the city. Obviously the bungee was a highlight, but I also really enjoyed Constitutional Hill. If you have time in Johannesburg ever, it's a well worth a visit. 

Back in the UK I did some things for the first time as well. I tried water skiing. Turns out, I'm not very good at water skiing, but I had fun. A group of 6 of us went out on a boat for a day and had a go. Obviously the boat's owner was very good at it, and we all optimistically thought it would be quite easy. Some of the others were surprisingly good at it, but I was not one of them. I love the sea though and was having a great time trying to stand up. I did get up for about a second so I'm happy. Would love to try it again, but maybe with some gloves. 

Although it was not my first time in Canada, it was my first time visiting Thornbury, my first Canada wedding, and my first time meeting the newest member to my family, who was born in July! I loved Thornbury and felt lucky to have been there. Since it's such a small town, I think it's somewhere I would never have even known about if I didn't have family there, and yet it's such a beautiful place! 

Of course, there were other amazing things I did this summer, that I had done before. I went to my friend's festival for the second year in a row. I had a great time as always, and is definitely going to be my bank holiday weekend fix for many years to come. I went on a one day safari in SA, and saw rhinos and water buffalo among other things. That was one of the best days of the summer for me (read more..). 

The best thing about this summer was meeting so many new people. I've made some friends for life, and had some unforgettable experiences. Thank you to everyone who's made this summer one of the best ones yet! 

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