After I had been in Cape Town a month or so, it occurred to me that I should check with the Davidson College (my undergrad alma mater) alumni office to see if there were any fellow Wildcats in South Africa. Davidson is a small school and there’s a special bond between alums. The alumni office never wrote me back (what’s up with that?), but it turns out I didn’t need them anyway. One of my favorite Davidsonians was already here.
Molly McGowan was in the class above me, and we first met in the UK during a summer study program in Cambridge. Molly is vivacious. I liked her instantly. But we really bonded on our birthday weekend that summer in 2005. Leos unite—our birthdays are one day apart. Instead of going with the rest of the group into London, we took a train to stately home in the middle of the country and watched Jamie Cullum play an outdoor concert to 20,000 or so of his fans. Long story, but through the sheer luck of sitting next to a couple that booked Jamie his first jazz gig ever, we ended up backstage after the show, drinking a beer with Jamie himself.
Needless to say, Molly holds a special place in my heart, so my reaction when I learned via Facebook she was also working in Cape Town for the summer was nothing less than a minor freak out. Molly is getting her masters in public service from the Clinton School and working with the Desmond Tutu Foundation. We’ve both been busy, but the nights we’ve been able to grab dinner and have a glass (or bottle?) or two of wine have been these awesome, unexpected treats. Having her here has elevated the entire experience.
Looking at pictures from this summer and from that summer six years ago, I think two things are clear. We’ve haven’t aged too badly, and I really need to invest in a new denim jacket.