When I was in college my friends and I did this often. We’d get up at 5:30, run up to First Beacon, make a quick cup of coffee on the camping stove, then run down and be in class by 9:00. So when I had the opportunity to stay over for one night in my old town this week, I knew I had to do this run again. For old times’ sake.

The only problem is, it’s been a long time since twenty-two. So it wasn’t as easy to get up there as I remember. But I pushed through, I made it, and I looked out over the valley of my youth, letting the memories wash over me and remind me of how much has happened in 15 years.

In a week where Nelson Mandela’s legacy burns strong in all of us, I was suddenly reminded of something he said once:

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.

That is what Stellenbosch will always be for me. No matter where I go in life, I know I can always return to this place if I need to figure out what happened to me. That is something I’m incredibly thankful for.

Lester, Jacob, Paul, Cassie and 10 others said thanks.

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Rian van der Merwe

Family, design, coffee, and Oxford commas. On Twitter: https://twitter.com/rianvdm

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