Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Good School Day

I was awaken this morning to Kate whose Jane’s assistant director in New Zealand. She’s here while Will is away (again). I thought I might have dreamt it because it was fairly early but apparently I did not. I went back to bed and finally woke up at 10:30 (yes I realize I’m a bum). I had a new granola that I was trying out and I have to say: it’s not that great. I guess I should just stick to what I love but whatever you gotta try something new sometimes. But that wasn’t the problem. For some reason, the orange juice made me nauseous this morning. It was not fun. I thought I was going to hurl, though I didn’t. I almost didn’t go swimming, it was so bad. But I was glad I did because I felt much better afterwards.

Before I went swimming, I stopped by the department and got a paper and a test back, both of which I did really well on. I was so relieved but the last couple papers I got back I didn’t do very well. Thankfully, that changed. But anyways, after I went swimming I ran into my friend G. Yeah, I can’t say his name is Xhosa so he just told me to call him G. It was nice seeing him since he is one of the only people on campus that talks to me. I know its weird to already have regrets but I do regret not getting involved with anything on campus but I know really it makes sense because I’m so far away from campus.

But on with my story, it was nice to talk to him and I got to talk to some other students, which was also nice. Mostly we talked about class, nothing too exciting, though one guy was asking me about my accent which totally give me away. I hate that sometimes but people are pretty friendly so I guess it’s fine.

Then I went to class which was fine. We talked about rural Jamaicans and their perceptions of body image which I found really interesting since I’m part Jamaican (my grandfather immigrated to America). Sad as this may sound, the article made me appreciate my body more because Jamaicans find plumpness attractive and associate thinness with meanness, selfish, etc. I just found that really interesting.

Then came my tut, which I actually really enjoy now. I used to hate it but I love it now. Today we talked about what we are attracted to which I liked. Most of us girls liked the same thing: tall, dark and handsome. I don’t know it was just a really interesting conversation. When it was my turn, the tutor embarrassed me since I was basically describing Loren and smiling to myself J Then the tutor starting asking about famous guys we were attracted to and Columbus Short and Taye Diggs came up and I kinda lost it. I love them!

After that was my other tut which rarely happens because no one comes. Today it was just me and G and since Joe called me, I actually got to leave early and not wait until five to be picked up. So I gave the tutor my email and left. I meant to work, I did. It just didn’t happen. I didn’t really get any work done. It’s that time of the semester when you’ve almost done. I have two papers and five finals and then I’m done, yet I’m finding motivating myself fairly difficult. Such is life. Look for more later!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

First Day Back with the Kids

I saw the kids today for the first time in two weeks. I had mixed emotions. I had enjoyed my break from them, yes because they are so exhausting, my own personal birth control but I did also miss their smiling faces and their almost innocence. So I came into it not knowing really what to expect. I came in earlier than I used to because normally by the time I get there, they are already working on homework if they have any. Today they were all eating and I got a chance to catch up with them and see how their breaks were. The responses I got were all very vague from “I slept” to “I ate” which I found strange but I’m learning not to question and just go with it. I was asked about my ring again today, if I was married etc. I’ve only been going there for the past two months (I think) you’d think they would have gotten the message at this point but apparently not.

Anyways, today I mostly helped my favourite, Liam because he apparently didn’t do some class work for whatever reason. He had to write six sentences about spring. I just helped with spelling but I was really impressed with his sentence stating that most animals are born in the spring. I just thought it was a very thoughtful sentence. After helping him, I listened to him read a few pages in his “reader” (that’s what they call books here or at least the ones that the children have to read). Then I went outside and watched the kids play for a bit before returning inside because the weather got cold today and it’s supposed to be summer!

Then I was coaked outside by Chloe because she wanted me to get some berries from the mulberry tree which of course was not a good idea because as soon as she asked me, a bunch of other kids also begged me to get them berries. So I got some one for each child and then sat down with Moo Moo who was being her crazy self as usual. She braided my hair and asked me if I was married (again) and when I replied that I wasn’t, she wanted to know why. So I asked the same question: are you married? She said no because she was small. Well, I’m small too I replied. Kids are crazy, asking a million and one questions.

I got cold again so I went inside and talked with Ester who had forgotten the African dress she was bringing for my mom. I had actually forgotten about it. She offered last Tuesday that she would bring in this dress that she’d only wore once for my mom. She said so that way everyday my mom wears it, I will think of her which I thought was so sweet. She promised to bring it on Friday. So this is just a little update on today, I know I’ve been bad lately about my blog, I will try to get back into the swing of doing it everyday like I used to. Peace

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Day One: First Game Drive!

Luckily, I actually slept last night. That annoying headache that you get from lack of sleep is finally gone. I woke up around 6:30 an hour before we were scheduled to be picked up, got dressed and hurried outside to enjoy the morning. It was quite cool but still pleasant. I ate my granola and was soon joined by the Marquette girls and Adam. After waiting a while, we were finally greeted by Brenda or our tour truck (not a bus but a truck). It can seat 24 people but we only have 16 which means plenty of room to stretch. I immediately went to the front because although I’ve travelled a lot by car (done it for years). I’m prone to get car sick/

Our group is an interesting one. I was surprised that there are so many older people. From front to back, there’s Kate and her mother who have been travelling around Africa for a while now, then two German girls who are in South African to volunteer, then several older couples one American, one French, and a Swiss couple. And there’s of course Adam, the Marquette girls and me.

We soon left Joburg and I enjoyed looking at the interesting landscape. It was weird because at first everything was just flat and reminded me of Illinois and their corn fields only I can’t really describe to you how it’s different. It just is. I took pictures anyway because it wasn’t what I was expecting. Then we stopped for petrol aka gas. We got out and went to the bathroom then it was back on the truck. I decided to take nap which went well. I also took notes on the trip. Then we arrived at Nalspruit for lunch. First we went to the grocery store, which was very nice. They had stuff they didn’t have in Cape Town like Frosted Mini Wheates. Then we had lunch which was lighter than I expected. It was just a sandwich and I was able to make a small salad with the lettuce, tomato, and cucumber provided. Then we were on the road again. This time the landscape got interesting and I got some great shots of the mountains and since we were close to the park we put the windows down which was great. We passed some orange trees and the smell was wonderful. I love looking at all the South African flora here because there is such a variety: pinks and purples. Beautiful flowers.

The ride just made me think about how beautiful the world is and also how small it is. I love it! I just love travelling. I now want to decide where to go next. Perhaps I’ll come back here for the world cup. That would be sweet. Or maybe I’ll visit Jane in New Zealand or perhaps Europe finally. All I know is that I’m addicted to travelling. I was just thinking about how weird its gonna be going back to Nashville and not seeing the beautiful mountains. St. Louis is even worse

Back to the trip, we finally got to Kruger and immediately spotted impala, which is sorta like a deer. It was very exciting. Then we stopped at the front gate and got out to use the toilet and I took more pictures. Then we continued on our game drive. We saw tons of impala, a giraffe and a bunch of elephants, even a little baby one. It was so cute. Then we got to the camp site where we set up camp. We were supposed to go on another game drive but we ran out of time, so instead we set up our tents, which wasn’t too difficult. Then dinner which was so good. It consisted of beef and rice and there was so much left over we were allowed to have seconds. After dinner it was bedtime.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Day in Jo'burg

I woke up super early this morning and I feel miles away from Cape Town, which now feels like home. I lucked out and was able to talk to Loren for a little bit before I left. I was nervous about not talking to him for five days, but now that I’m sitting her, I feel much more at ease.

Ivan picked us up around five and I was quickly reminded of the first night I arrived in Cape Town, though this time the scenery was much more familiar. Check in went on without a hitch though I did forget about my keys in my pocket and one of the security guys started engaging me in a conversation which I was trying to get through the check point. I’m still not used to that. I will be in my own little world, worrying about the next thing which in this case was just getting on the place so I could sleep when I suddenly I’m being talked to early in the morning and expected to engage. I must admit I got a little annoyed because I just wanted to sit down so I could semi-sleep but I suppose that’s a part of the American mentality: all business

The gates are all in one place, squeezed together and there are very few chairs for people to sit. But it worked fine. We first board a bus which then takes us to the plane: a very strange set up from what I’m used to. The flight was fine. I mostly slept. One thing I had noticed is that they play actual music on the plane as you board and get off the place which I love.

We land and I decide to finally open my eyes. Joburg is very ugly in comparison to CPT: no Table Mountain or any mountains at all as a matter of fact. But the airport is much nicer then what I’ve seen of CPT’s. We find our way through the airport and spot a Subway which I was so excited to see because I hadn’t seen one in CPT yet. Then we make it to where the public transport is and call for our free transport. The backpackers that we’re staying at is very close to the airport literally a stone’s throw way, but we would have never been able to find it on our own.

The guesthouse is so nice for R150/night which is under $20/night. There are three swimming pools, one small and two bigger ones, one of which has a slide and the other had a fun little island.

We check in and settle in a bit. The rooms are nice, tons of bed in one place with a kitchen, bathroom, living room: a really sweet set up for the price. I found it amusing that the kitchen was in the girl’s room but not the guys, yet the guy’s sheets were pink, purple and yellow...very masculine

Then we got sucker into going to the Apartheid Museum with this private tour guide. We had already planned to go just on our own but it worked out well. We paid only a little bit more which allowed us greater freedom.

Our guide was a proud Chinese man named Danny. Not a fan of Britain or America but a huge fan of China and the Dutch. He gave a really detailed account of the beginning of CPT which was great except for the fact that I was running on very little sleep and could barely concentrate. Needless to say, I missed some info but most of the stuff I had learned before. At one point, Danny slows down on the highway and scared the mess out of me. But he just wanted to show us the hostels that the miners used to live in, which was cool. We also got to see downtown Joburg which was surrounded by hills or perhaps they should be called mountains. Danny told us that the tallest building in Africa is located in Joburg. Then we finally got to the apartheid museum. Authestically it was hideous, all gray concentrate although there was a nice reflective pool with a Nelson Mandela quote. Again most of the info was things I already knew but seeing actual artifacts and getting a multimedia approach was nice.

One thing they did have that I want to talk about is the Nelson Mandela exhibit. I’m not a fan of idolization and I feel that that’s happened with Mandela. Now don’t get me wrong, Mandela is a hero. I’m not denying that. It’s just that people idolize everything about him and that can be cribbling. It can cause South Africans to judge everyman in comparison to Mandela and it also can prevent them from looking at his faults. But the biggest thing I don’t like about the Mandel idol is that it prevents other people’s amazing storied from being told. There are so many unsung heroes whose stories should be told, but people are so focused on Mandela that little interest is paid to others who made freedom possible in South Africa, and this is not a phenomena only occurring in South Africa. The same thing is done with MLK. I remember the absolute shock I felt when I found out the Dr. King cheated on his wife. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I remember how it completely changed my view of MLK. It brought him down to earth. I blame education for that. When you learn about MLK in elementary school, you get a very black and white impression of him. But I supposed they do that with all history topics when you’re little. I hate that. The reason I love history so much is because of its complexity and I am a firm believer that a good understanding of history can help you not repeat the same mistakes.

But enough about that, I pretty much speeded through the museum because 1. I was hungry and 2. I was exhausted so reading every single word and caption was impossible. But since Adam was way behind me, I did some wandering and discovered that we had barely scratched the surface of the museum. I’m not exactly sure how that happened. I guess the set up was poorly designed or we just missed a sign. So we didn’t see the entire museum, but it was fine. We both weren’t in the best of spirits since we hadn’t eaten since early in the morning. Danny picked us up and took us back and I finally got to attack the bag of granola I brought. We were greeted this time by two Marquette girls, Rose and Nora who we didn’t know were also going on the same Kruger trip. We mostly chilled by reception, though I did wander around at one point and discovered the pool with the slide and the one with an island where the Marquette girls were chilling. I also discovered a bunny cage with two inside and one that had somehow escaped.

Then Adam and I decided to see if there way any place close by to eat. Basically it was something to do. We were in a very dull part of Joburg. It was just a surburb with tons of car dealership. So we went back and got a menu for the restaurant there. It wasn’t as cheap as I thought it was going to be, not really expensive but at the price we paid for the room I expected much less. But it doesn’t matter anyway because we ended up being invited to go with the Marquette girls for dinner with their program director’s girlfriend. She was really fun though she did scare me a couple times by running a red light. But we got to our destination, the Nelson Mandela square in one piece. It’s apparently is a very touristy area. We decided on this place that was famous for its meat. It reminded me of a classier verison of Mzoli’s. There was free bread, which was delicious and little sausages, also quite tasty. I ordered a starter portion of lamb but they apparently ignored that. The guy was a bit annoyed with us because we all pretty much ordered started. The place was pricey though and I hadn’t expected to have to pay that much. So I got way more meat than I wanted. I literally couldn’t finish it. I did finish the mashed potatoe no problem though. I was supposed to get the lamb to take home but they forgot, which I was actually ok with. I’m so over eating tons of meat. I literally can’t do it anymore especially when I don’t eat a lot of meat anymore but the last two times I ate at a restaurant, they give you way too much meat. So I think I’m going to stick with my one meal a day with meat.

On the way back, Nora started talking about “the Elders” a group of men who someone decided were. The list includes Koffi Anna, Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Madiba’s wife. I thought it was first surprising that Jimmy Carter made the list. I apparently don’t know anything about Jimmy Carter like apparently he created Habitat for Humanity. Also I think it’s interesting that the list is made up of majority blacks and most of the people are from South Africa. Once we got back I wrote in my journal, then went to bed super early I think it was around 10.

The day before the Safari

One day before my safari! I am packed and ready to go. I’m not looking forward to early flight (it leaves at 6:45) but I am looking forward to a major change in scenery. Tomorrow we get picked up at 5am and then taken to airport. From there, we fly to Joburg arriving around 9. Then I’ll probably crash. I don’t know. I haven’t been sleeping well lately so sleep is the one thing on my mind. But Adam and I are at least going to the Apartheid Museum so that should be cool. Then Monday is the big day. We get picked up around 8 and then taken to Kruger. I have deleted most of my pictures off my camera and bought tons of batteries so I should be set in terms of that.

Yesterday was a good day despite me not being able to sleep. I woke up several times during the night and finally at 8:30 I gave up and decided to make myself useful and go to the primary school. I helped the grade twos again because grade four and up were at a camp. So I helped Ramses again who has improved a lot over the weeks. He’s reading a lot faster, but I’m not sure exactly how to judge it because they all read the same book over and over so it could just be he’s memorized well. It’s hard to tell. Nonetheless it was very encouraging to see improvement.

After Ramses, I helped Tadala who struggled a lot but I love her because she’s very enthusiastic. She did pretty well too. Then I had a major change in pace with this kid Sesethu who was reading a more difficult book, which basically meant I got to hear a different story. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard about Kim and Paul and their birthday. So it was great for me to hear something different. I recall that he had trouble with the word “what” which actually Kgozi had trouble with too. I’m not a fan of that word because I have no idea how you sound it out. You can’t just say “at” and then add the “wh” sound at the beginning. It doesn’t work. The same thing goes for “could.” There is no “l” sound so it’s hard to explain. The English language is so weird. Then there’s “I’ll” also a weird word to explain.

But anyways, I watched some of the kids play during break and it was cute how excited Kgozi was to see me. I had Ramses’ books with me and he was so excited to read to me, which made me feel so honored that he would want to read with me during break while all the other kids are running around screaming. But of course, it wasn’t just him a few other boys wanted to read to me too. It was a bit overwhelming because I can only listen to one kid at a time, but it was still fun.

After going to the school, I came home and chilled, did some homework, nothing too exciting. I was planning to go to a play that Arcadia was supposed to be providing transportation too but our new student coordinator has been failing lately. Well, ok I shouldn’t say that but the same thing happened today so yeah, I’m not one to ignore the obvious. But I hope I’m wrong. I hope she’ll follow through with other activities. It is after all her first week. I should explain a little. This week Jane hired a student coordinator whose a grad student at UCT. Her name is Melangini. She seems pretty nice. I hope she knows what she’s doing.

Anyway, so instead of going to the play, I went with Amanda to this dance/play performance by kids from Khaylitsha a township outside of Cape Town. It was amazing. The singing literally gave me chills and the dancing and acting were equally incredible. I enjoyed every second of it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

constantly learning

Today was my last day of classes before break! I’m getting really excited about my safari. I can’t believe it’s so soon. Last night I sent my mom more info on it and decided to read the info I was sent too. It sounds like such a blast. We get to see the third largest canyon in the world and of course tons of awesome animals. The logistics still need to be worked out like how we’re getting to the airport and how much food we need to bring for the day before the trip. We fly in Joburg on Sunday but the safari doesn’t start until Monday. I’m sure it’ll work out fine.

I only had one class today which was sweet but I had to arrive early as usual because Adam had an early class. So I went swimming and again, they were playing Bob Marley. It made me so happy even though they were some of the least popular songs, at least it’s Bob. Then class and I found out I have a test which is worth half of my semester grade. I think it’s really strange because after that we’ve basically done everything that is require of us so does that mean we’re done with class? I guess, I’ll find out later. But I’m thinking it should be pretty easy especially since I have been reviewing my notes almost everyday.

After class, I did some laundry, reading, etc before going to the primary school. The kid I helped yesterday is named Kgozi (I might be spelling it wrong), and he was excited to see me which I found a bit strange because I basically made him cry, but perhaps he was just happy to get the attention. He again had trouble with the word “want” and this time I didn’t push too much, I just told him the word but then when we got to it again, he forgot it so the technique doesn’t exactly work either. But for the most part, it was good and he did pretty well.

Then I watched one of the older girls draw. She is such a great drawer and she was asking me about American songs like the Black Eye Peas “Boom boom pow.” It’s all the rage here and she also likes the song by Kanye West something about when love knocks you down, just get back up when it knocks you down. So American culture is very popular here in case you were wondering and then she recommended some places I should go like this restaurant called Spurs and the Grand Central Arena or something like that. They have a skating rink there and also a casino. It’s apparently really nice and I have to go before I leave at least that’s what I was told. I thought it was interesting as I was watching her draw. She was drawing different people doing sports. They were all white. I just thought that was interesting especially in a country that is majority black. White still rules. It just reminded me of that experiment with the dolls way back when and all the black kids in America would want the white doll over the black one. Same thing? Maybe, maybe not. But then she said that her best colours were black and peach, which I found to be interesting. But I’m probably reading too much into that. I found it interesting all the same. Now I’m going to get some reading done so I don’t have a lot of work to do once I get back. Catch you on the flip side.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Best Class Ever!

I just got out of the best class ever! Today our core class was held on UCT’s campus and we learned about crime. It was really great because actually we learned about a lot more topics dealing with crime like how to act towards strangers and stuff. I know it sounds strange but I honestly don’t know what to do if a guy says to me “hey sweetie” usually I just keep walking but I wasn’t sure if that’s rude or something. But apparently that’s ok because the guy obviously are looking for something when they do that.

But back to crime, the South African prison system makes ours look like heaven. There is a huge overcrowding problem and there are little if any rehabilitation programs. Strangely, I learned that if you’re a white guy it’s safer for you if you say you’re homosexual because then you get your own room. This is because the majority of the prisoners are black (go figure, it’s the same no matter what country you’re in). And it was just great because Hailey our speaker pretty much just asked us questions like what our perceptions were of South Africa before coming here, how we felt about it, etc. It was just really cool, not just listening to a lecturer but hearing everyone’s input. I forgot how much I liked it.

For example, she asked all the black students how we felt about being the majority or just in general our experience here. Someone talked about how it was weird being black here because people will come up to you all the time and start talking in Xhosa and then when you talk they realize that you’re American and the divide that sometimes happens because of it. I remember Bianca also talked about people not believing she was black but thought instead that she was coloured, etc.

One of the most memorable thing was Toni talking about getting to know people instead of just walking by people acknowledge their presence and at least say hi. He mentioned some girl he knew that worked on the minibus which was hilarious to me because she apparently was a little white girl and the thought of her shouting out the minibus is just hilarious. Perhaps I should explain further. Minibus travel up and down Main Road and they all have someone shouting out the bus telling you where they’re going. It involves very loud yelling and whistling. They constantly are yelling at you even if you clearly don’t want to get on.

What else? Jane mentioned a case where some guy stole R1000 and had to wait six years for his trail and when he was finally sentenced he got five years. Five years after already serving six. Insanity! The whole prison system really is a brilliant scheme to keep the people down because once you’re in prison, you have that label forever and there aren’t the programs in America where certain companies will hire you, you’re basically on your own, so what else can you do but go back to crime?

We also talked about xenophobia and how really it’s more against black people because you don’t find South Africans hating Americans. On the contrary, South Africans love Americans. In addition, it’s never hatred towards white European but the black Africans who come and take jobs. So Melangini asked if it might just be a hatred towards the lower class instead of just foreigners. I don’t know I just found it interesting the complexity of the issue.

So I know that was vague and probably uninteresting but basically all you need to know is that my class was awesome and I really enjoyed listening to everyone talk and even put in my own input. The rest of the day was fine. I only had one class because my others were cancelled but then of course the one class was supposed to have lasted all of five minutes. What a waste of time. Oh well, at least I attempted to be a good student because I was thinking about not going in the first place. But I got some readings I needed plus went for a dip which of course put me in the best mood so I guess it was worth.

Now to yesterday, Tuesday. It was a good day. I only had one class. Unfortunately I was my early class but it was only one class all the same. Then I just went home and chilled. I went outside for a while and just soaked in some rays because the weather was so nice. Then off to primary school, I helped this grade one kid read and it was so sad. He actually reminded me of me when I was little and struggled to read. For the life of me, I couldn’t get him to get the word “want.” He could pronounce all the individual letters and even get “wa” and “nt” but he couldn’t seem to put them together and it just broke my heart when he started crying because of it. I felt so bad because I had been there before and know what it’s like but for whatever reason I couldn’t get him to get it. So we moved on for a while and he was fine. I really don’t understand how they learn to read because he could get words like “helicopter” but not “want.” He kept on telling me it was “went” and was so frustrated by me repeating say no it’s not “went” but still not telling him. Also he couldn’t get the word “no.” He told me it was “on.” I was able to get him to guess it my asking him about the what the book said before it but still he couldn’t sound that one out either. It also really frustrated me when the other kids tell him the words because that’s obviously not how you learn. You have to learn how to do it yourself. One of the teachers was explaining to me how he was almost a year younger than the other kids which made sense because he is so much smaller so that’s why he struggles so much. It just made me feel even worse for him. I was proud of him though. I know he tried his best and I can understand his frustration with it.

After helping this student read, I went outside and watched some of the kids play. I have no idea what they were playing. It involved a soccer ball but it wasn’t soccer. It sort of reminded me of dodge ball and kickball. But anyways, I recognized one of the kids in grade two that I’ve helped twice on Fridays. His name is Ramses and his English isn’t very good. I think he’s just learning and his first language is French. So he was watching them play and starting cautiously moving in to play too. It was so cute then Mama Ester one of the teachers, points at him and says “I’m going to talk to your parents.” Ramses looks up completely bewildered and slowly sits back down with the saddest face on. Then Liam (I think I love him even move for this) comes up to Mama Ester and says “he doesn’t understand English.” Of course, Mama Ester doesn’t care because he’s not a part of the aftercare program i.e. his parents are taking advantage of the fact that the teachers are there but they’re not paying for the service which is understandable but Ramses has no control over that. I understand the point but it was still really sad seeing him sulk back into his corner which is why I loved the fact that Liam went over to him and starting pulling on his jacket, telling him to come play, which he did. That pretty much made my day. I love Liam for that. it was so sweet.

The day before Monday was also pretty chill. I didn’t do much. Went to class, came back and actually the girls and I walked to Cavendish which is a mall in Claremont. It’s a good little walk but the weather was nice so we decided to walk. My foot has been bothering me since Sunday so I wasn’t exactly a fan but it wasn’t too bad. I survived. There I got a sleeping bag and something for my boyfriend which I know he’s going to love but I won’t say what because I know he’ll be reading this (so ha!). But yeah, that’s been my week thus far. I’ll probably write again on Saturday just to post something right before my safari which Adam and I leave for early Sunday morning. I can’t believe it’s so soon! Hope all is well back home. Peace

Monday, August 24, 2009

Moving Mountains

Yesterday was awesome. Amanda, Joe, Andrew and I all climbed Table Mountain. It was the first time for Amanda, Joe, and I and it was rough. The path basically goes straight up but zigzags back and forth. It took us about an hour and half which was good considering how many times we had to stop and breath. I was still sore from Friday's hike and Saturday's surfing so it was definitely a struggle, but once I got into it, I couldn't really feel anything. I just kept telling myself "one step closer, one step closer." Plus it helped that Andrew was basically breezing through it like it was nothing. I always need someone to look up to (this time literally) so I know that if he can do it, so can I. It was a struggle but I was so glad I did it. It felt so amazing to finally get to the top but it was crazy how cold it was. It was really windy and even though the sun was shining right on us, we couldn't feel its warmth. Because of that, we didn't spend too much time at the top.

We walked around a bit just soaking in the beautiful sites. Unfortunately, because of the wind, we couldn't take the cable car back down. We also discovered that the restaurant at the top was closed because the cable car was closed. We did however have an encounter with a couple dassies, which I would describe as a cross between a big fat rat and a beaver. They were quite bold animals. At one point Andrew was trying to take a picture with one and as he leaned in, it bit him on the finger. I'm pretty sure I was more frightened than him because I screamed so loud but then of course I found it hilarious. Luckily, it didn't break the skin so Andrew should be alright.

Also while we were up there, Amanda and I both had brought snacks and were eating. Those dassies definitely walked towards us more than once. I can only assume to try to get food. I guess I might have been teasing one by eating PB & J right in front of one and it was just staring at me the entire time. Finally we got sick of being semi-chased by these overlarged rodents so we decided to make our way down.

The way back was a lot easier in terms of cardio. I only stopped once or twice. But going downhill is hard and uses a lot of muscles because you're walking with gravity and its harder to control. But we made it in record time. The whole trip up, plus hanging out on top, and going down took three hours. Of course all of us were aching and smelling but we decided to go to Cafe Gnesh in Obsevatory. Unfortunately, it was closed so after walking around a bit and being stopped by Dominique, we decided on Babo. Of course, Dominique was there with her boy, Jerome. We talked for a bit before getting seated and ordering food. I haven't had ginger ale in the longest time so I decided to treat myself with one. It was awesome and brought back memories of New Jersey and my grandparents. I ordered a plain cheese pizza which was kind of disappointing but it filled me up nonetheless. Then we walked home and I relished the thought of taking a hot shower after finishing my homework.

Side note: the night before Loren and I were talking and he asked me out on a phone date which was the cutest thing ever. So I get on Skype as usual and he does video chat and he's all dressed up button down shirt (a blue one at that) khakis, the whole nine yards. It was the best surprise ever. I loved it. Just had to mention that because my boyfriend is so awesome and it also should be noted that the post title is after one of his favorite songs by Usher. Ok, that's all for now. Peace y'all

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My awesome week

Alright let’s try to recap on the week. Monday: I went swimming and it was wonderful as usual except for when a bunch of boys came into the swimming pool area and a couple decided it would be cool to walk along beside me as I’m swimming. I didn’t really notice because a guy who I’m assuming is a swim coach gave me some pointers on my breast stroke. It threw me off at first but I think I’m getting a hang of it. So when I saw I was being followed by someone I assumed it was him…yeah so I got finished with my lap and saw a couple of ten-year-old boys staring at me. I said hello aka what the hell are you staring at? They just laughed and watched me get out of the pool. Not cool.

After that I went to culture, power and wealth class. It was really interesting because we basically unpacked the concept of the witch. It was actually amazing to understand something as childish as a witch and find such deep meaning in it. Everything about a witch symbolizes an unmarriable (I realize that’s not a word) woman. She’s not attractive, she’s old. The most interesting symbol that once I thought of it made perfect sense is that of a broom. It represents a penis. The things that a witch cooks are unedible, etc. I just found it so fascinating how the evil witch that I’ve never thought too much could symbolize so much.

Tuesday brought more swimming and of course class. Nothing too exciting to report there. Then after class, I went to Hillcrest and the kids were absoutley insane because the weather was awful. They didn’t have much work to do which I always hate because I don’t know what to do if they don’t have work. That day we ended up playing Uno. At first it was me and a couple of grade two girls which was fine but then some of the older boys decided to play which just continued my dislike for teenage boys. They were just obnoxious and doing obscene things. I realized afterwards being angry about it and openly probably didn’t help but it was just annoying. I was just reminded of Winnie and how he used to annoy me and if he knew he had annoyed me, he’d just keep doing it. the best thing to do is just to ignore but apparently all that torture he put me through didn’t register. I guess it’s just been a while since I’ve had to deal with that.

Wednesday was my first braai which was cool. Our core class was held at our house and Jane our interim program director cooked brats for us. they were damn good and while we were waiting we had a lecture on education. Tony is such an interesting character. He does so much stuff. When he first got to our house, he had apparently just came from interviewing young boys about growing up without a father. It sounded like a really great experience, heart-breaking but touching as well. He does lots of stuff like that. He always seems to be up to something different. Class was structured interestingly. He first asked us to write down any thoughts/questions we had about education and then proceeded to ask one of us to go through our lists so that he could talk about it. It was really interesting. He knew so much about the system but it was also very overwhelming because he was giving us so much information in no particular order. The gist of what I can recall is that the South African education system has a long way to go. There are so many issues. It’s hard to begin. For example, there’s a huge issue with corporal punishment because teachers aren’t allowed to hit the kids but often in the African culture, that’s how kids are raised and parents will give the teachers to hit the kids and sometimes that the only way you can get them to react because that’s how they’re raised. I see this in action all the time at the primary school because the kids can be so bad and the teachers are very limited in what they can do.

Thursday was awesome because I had finally finished my two papers that were due and was able to turn them in and now I only have two things to worry about Monday and then I’m basically home free until after break which starts for me this Friday. To celebrate being done with papers and the start of the weekend, I decided I would try to make something that I’d never made before: risotto. The recipe was fairly simple but one thing I could not find at shoprite: gorgonzola. It’s apparently a kind of blue cheese. I was able to substitute with some blue cheese that shoprite had but I think I used too much. It was difficult because the recipe called for grams and of course I’m not used to cooking with that so that threw me up. But the recipe called for rice, butternut squash, dry white wine, chicken stock, sage leaves, etc. It was intense. I started cooking at six and didn’t start eating until almost eight. Most of it went well. But the recipe called for creamy gorgonzola. I wasn’t sure how that would work since I bought a block of cheese. I used up just mixing it with the butter and sage I was making. The recipe called for sage leaves which I couldn’t find but I did find chopped up sage. So yeah, the whole crispy sage leaves didn’t happen. But first I chopped the butternut squash up which was fine. The worse was chopping onions. I know they make you cry but I hadn’t done it in a while so that was awful. You cook the onions and then add the rice. Meanwhile the butternut is baking in the oven. It was actually probably the most complex recipe that I’ve ever made. The end result was disappointing. I think another problem I had was with the chicken stock. The recipe called for 100 grams or something and I think I added too much or something. It was just way to salty and it sucks because though the recipe claims its enough for two. I feel like it was a lot more than because I have tons left over but I’m managing. Like tonight (Saturday) I made some plain rice and green beans and combined it with some of the risotto to help neutralize the saltiness. It works pretty well. So lessons learned: use less if you’re not sure how much you need. It was really fun though. I just like the experience of trying something new so all in all I’d say it was worth it.

Friday was awesome. No classes but I went to hillcrest in the morning. I first went to grade four as usually but they were taking a test so I went down to grade two and helped the same kid, Ramses (I think that’s his name) whose French read. He does fine for the most part. He’s just a really slow reader and I’m not sure how to help him with that and I tried to ask him if he wanted me to read a page and then he read a page but he apparently didn’t understand me which was awkward. Then I went back to the grade four and helped again with Valentina. She did well for the most part but it was really frustrating because sometimes she just wouldn’t try. I would ask her how to pronounce part of a word and she would just smile and not try. I also helped with another girl and she struggled a lot but did really well with words I thought she would. Then the bell rang and I went to see my aftercare kids for a bit before going home.

Then I decided to make brownies because I wanted something sweet…duh. And Adam came over and we started to plan our garden route trip for September. It was so confusing. We think right now that we’ll be renting a car because it’ll allow us more freedom and more money. But the problem is the time constraint. We only have four days and lots of things we want to do. Plus the distance between all the places we want to go made planning this trip very difficult. We ended up planning at least three different trips, each starting with a different city to try to make the travel time less daunting. It didn’t work out to well. We finally gave up and during all this I was trying to make brownies, they did cook right for some reason but they were still really good. The top cooked fine but the bottom for whatever reason was really gooey.

Then Jamie invited all of the girls to climb Lion’s head and watch the sunset. The weather had been crappy again yesterday aka raining in the morning then clearing up then raining again. August weather here is very unpredictable. But I decided that since I hadn’t done it and I had no set plans for the day it was a good idea plus it was a great workout (which it absoutley was, I’m still sore).

We took a mini bus downtown. A minibus is just that…a minibus but it’s a really cheap way to get around the city. It’s sort of like a taxi and a train. It can get drop you off where you need to go but it only goes on a certain route. Catching one always involves flagging down a minibus that is always speeding down the road. Riding in one is a quiet an adrenaline rush. The one we rode stopped way too close to other cars for my liking. Then we took a taxi to Lion’s head. That driver scared me as well. He blatantly ran a red light. I almost had a heart attack but we ended at the foot of the trail in tack.

The trail started out rough. It went straight up. But it was also really cool because it went a round and a round the mountain. Ok, to clarify to convenience sake I’m calling Lion’s Head a mountain. I’m not really sure if it counts as one.

We eventually caught up with the Marquette people who were also walking up the trail. The views were spectacular. You could see all of downtown and Table Mountain on one side and on the other you could other parts of the city and Robben Island and of course more mountains and lots of ocean. It was great. I ended up being at the end of the group because I kept on taking so many pictures (of course). Once we got close to the top, we took the chain route which involved a bunch of chains and ladders. It was really fun and kind of intense. I just kept on thinking the entire way up how hard it would be going down (it wasn’t that bad actually). So we finally get to the top and the view is breathtaking. Everyone starts taking out wine and food and I just there taking it all in. it was so beautiful. It’s really hard to describe: just breathtaking.

The sunset wasn’t as beautiful as I was expecting but it was still nice. There were just a bunch of clouds on the horizon so the very end of the sunset was covered up by clouds. What was really cool was seeing the city light up. My camera has to be really steady to take good pictures in the dark but I managed to take a couple good shots. After freezing for a bit too long and taking a bunch more pictures we descended to the bottom. It wasn’t too bad at all. The phone I got from Arcadia had a flashlight on it which was really helpful. I think my favourite part was climbing down the chains in the dark. I was nervous about it but it was really easy actually. The descent went fine. I was in front this time because I was ready for food and warmth. So I had to stop a lot to make sure I was still pretty much with the group. But it was really scary when we were nearly at the end I noticed a flashing light pointed directly at us. I didn’t really think much of it until we got really close. I noticed it stopped, then I got worried. Who in the world could that be? We were the only ones on the mountaintop therefore the only ones coming down. So I slowed down and let a couple boys go ahead of me. Apparently it was a ranger because someone had seen a light flashing and thought we were in distress. So everything was fine. I was just nervous that we were in big trouble but all was well.

Now for the ride home. That was interesting. There were probably 13 of us total and only two cabs. So we crammed seven people in the car I was in. It was a very painful experience. Jamie sat on my lap and somehow my leg was contorted in a weird way that made the ride the longest one of my life. Needless to say, I was happy when most of the people got out at the Marquette house. I went home. I just wanted some warmth and some food. It was great experience though. I took 250+ pictures

And now to today and then I’m done. We went surfing. Jane decided to take all of us or anyone who wanted to go, surfing and for free. All we had to pay for was the train ticket down there which was R11 (11 rand) which is a little more than a dollar. I love the train ride. Seeing all the different houses was really cool. And I decided to separate from the group to try to observe how South Africans ride the train. Most were alone and quiet listening to music or something. I thought about talking to some but that’s a fear I’ll need some more time to get over.

Finally we get to Muizenberg. I don’t even have to look at the sign. You can just see the ocean from outside the window so you know. It’s so pretty with the mountains and the oceans. We met up with Jane and got suited up. Wetsuits are very interesting to get on but even worse to get off. Today marked my third lesson and it went really well. I honestly didn’t really think I needed other lessons but I wasn’t about to turn down free lessons. I love surfing. It’s so fun. It is a great workout although I did something weird today with my right knee because it’s giving me trouble. I might have to take tomorrow off in terms of working out but the nice thing is I can go swimming on Monday and my knee should be fine. I think just jumping up on the board bothered it somehow. But the actual surfing was awesome. I caught lots of waves. It was exhausting but the only reason I got out was because I was hungry. After changing and stripping off the wetsuit, I ordered hot chocolate and calamari. It was delicious. I love fish here. So good and so cheap. I also got waffles and syrup with Zina which took way too long and it didn’t even end up being waffles. They were definitely pancakes but whatever they were still good. Ride home. Chilling in a quiet house. Did laundry. That’s the end of the exciting stuff. Amanda and I are making coffee cake. And next week I’m trying to make cheesecake. That’s all folks. Hope you enjoyed the super long read.

Monday, August 17, 2009

busy busy busy

Ok, so I’ve been bad. I haven’t written in a while. So I gotta update you on the last couple days. Let’s start with Tuesday. I had French toast for breakfast which was delicious and then went to class. Nothing too exciting. It’s class. But I did find out that apparently our readings would be available by the end of the week. I haven’t checked yet. Hopefully we’ll be good on that front. After class, I went swimming which of course was amazing. I love being in the water. It’s like being in a completely different world. Then I finally got started on my interviews for my sociology of health class. The paper is due this Monday and as of now, I’m half way done! The interviews were about organ donation and I had to interview 8 people. So I decided to call Will for my first interview. That went well. He was really helpful and then I called Debbie, the international student coordinator and she also agreed to an interview. I was thankful for her input because she is coloured from South Africa and her perspective is obviously different what a white American like Will. Also I was happy to have two interviews out of the way. I actually ended finished all my interviews in one day. After classes were finally done (their magic they once had over me is now broken…it’s official I’m sick of school), I went to Hillcrest and helped some girls with addition and subtraction. It’s was nice helping the kids with something other than reading though I’m not exactly sure if I helped them or not because they did addition and subtraction horizontally whereas I found it easier to show them how to do it vertically because that’s the way I learned it. Then I watched a bunch of grade ones play soccer. They were so good but I don’t know if that’s just because last time I tired soccer I tripped over the ball (Loren witnessed). They would move the trash bins (they call them dustbins) to make goals and once they ran outta people to have as goalies they moved the dustbins closer to make it harder. They were still good. After watching them for a while, I went back home and finished the rest of my interviews. Then dinner, homework and bed…not a very exciting day.

Wednesday was long. I got to sleep in but I also have class until about eight. I had a tut instead of my usual sociology of health which was pretty much pointless. Someone asked how to reference Google. I am ashamed to admit I almost laughed out loud. I just couldn’t believe. I guess, they’re just on a completely different level then I’m used to. After that I had no class, because the tut for sociology of health was held during regular class time. So I walked around and discovered a computer lab which was amazing because I have found computer access here extremely lacking so finding a computer lab was awesome. I was able to get some work done which was nice still after classes on Wednesday I never feel like doing anything. 3:10 came and myself and two others were sitting in the classroom wondering where everyone else was…apparently class was cancelled even though there was no email sent out saying so. We had Monday off so apparently that meant we didn’t have a tut. But I made a friend. I cannot say his name but he said to call him G. He was really nice and encouraged me not to be afraid to talk to people which is funny because that’s exactly what I’m afraid of. I just hate talking especially here because I know automatically people know I’m different. I sound American, and I’m sure with that all those preconceived notions come into play. I just wonder if I confirm or deny those notions. I hope I represent America well. I think I do but I really never know because I don’t really talk to people and most of the time that I do talk it’s during class and there’s big lecture halls so yeah, I don’t know. I just feel a little lost here especially with the big classes I’m not used to.

After “class” I wandered around some more, before going to where Ivan usually picks us up. He was late but eventually he arrived with Robbie from Stellenbosch. That day we went to the Bo Kapp Museum which wasn’t really a museum. Actually I don’t think we actually went to it. We just walked around Bo Kapp which means “above the cape” in Africaans. It used to be called the Cape Malay quarter which were a certain category the Afikaans made up. I believe they were coloureds and Indians. The area had some awesome coloured houses. All bright blues, and pinks, and greens very “tacking” but I loved it especially since all the houses were like that. It was an interesting tour and it ended at a restaurant that I have to go back to at some point because the food looked delicious (I had no money at the time).

Thursday was chill. It was nice because I only had one class. I went to the primary school after class and they didn’t have anything for me to do, which was really disappointing. I love helping the kids with their homework but for whatever reason they didn’t have a lot of work to do. So I read to the grade ones who were apparently being bad. I was looking through the books and when I came to Cinderalla they were quite adamant about me reading it. Reading to those kids was nearly impossible. I could not get through a single papers without one of the guys saying pick me pick me! And then summarizing the entire story or adding their own thoughts to it. It was cute at first but after a while it got annoying. I was just expecting to the read the story and for them to be listening attentively. But I guess I should be grateful for their enthusiasm. They were just a handful.

Friday I got up early to go to the primary school but the grade four teacher didn’t need me so I was sent to grade two where my favourite Liam was. He looked so surprised to see me. It cracked me up. The teacher directed me towards this French kid who she said spoke only French. Yeah, I don’t speak French. I know hello and that’s about it. So I was very apprehensive about helping him to read but it wasn’t bad at all. He was really good from what I was expecting. He only had trouble with a few words. After reading with him, I was sent to Tadala who had a bit more trouble but was tons of fun. I was only there for an hour but they didn’t have anything else for me to do so I went home. Adam and I finally booked our safari for spring break. It’s so soon. It’s ridiculous. We walked to 2way travel and booked it and I asked Heather questions about doing the Garden Route. The garden route is basically a road that drives along the coast of South Africa. It’s supposed to be beautiful so Adam and I decided we wanted to that during September because we have a long weekend at some point which would be the perfect time to do it. I had tons of fun researching it. I love planning trips. We were thinking about doing the Baz bus which takes you along the garden route and drops you off at different backpackers hostel but its very limiting since they don’t take you anywhere except the hostel so we would have to taxi to anywhere else we wanted to do. Heather suggested doing a car rental which actually turns out to be a lot cheaper. It’s just the whole driving on the other side of the road thing…scary. We have time so I’m sure we’ll figure something out.

After booking our trip, we booked our hostel for one night since we have to arrive in Joburg the night before the safari actually starts. Then I went with some of the girls down to city centre and walked around the company gardens which were beautiful. I was pissed I didn’t bring my camera. I have to go back at some point and then we stopped by the south African art museum which was very cool. It was just really neat to see African art in you know…Africa. I loved it and I got some great postcards to send back home. After that, we walked to Long Street and ate at Royale which was damn good. I got an Oreo milkshake and a fat burger. Heaven. I was so stuffed afterwards. I was pretty exhausted once I got home but Amanda and I walked over to Highstead since I’ve never been there to watch a movie with Chelsea. We picked a horrible chick flick but it was tons of fun to make fun.

Ok and now to the point of this post: the homestay. Amanda and I spent the night in a township called Guguletu. It was a great experience. Our hostess was Mama Noks and she has two children: a daughter and a son. We didn’t see to much of the daughter but her son pretty much took all the pictures for me this weekend which was nice. I didn’t have to worry about taking pictures. He took over 200 and I only took about 50. and he was pretty good at it too.

Mama Noks made us dinner which consisted of pap (ground up maize), cabbage and minced meat. We had to eat with our hands which was quite an experience, but rest assured I tore my plate up. It was delicious. We also had Rooisbos tea which I’m addicted to now (its caffeine free) and milk tart, which I have to learn how to make. I was surprised when I asked her about malva pudding that she hadn’t heard of it… After that we watched a local soccer game which unfornately her team the Kaizer Chiefs lost. But we had fun talking to her and learning her story like how she has five sisters and three brothers who all live in the Eastern Cape. She came to the Western Cape in the 1980s and had to live in a shack because there was little housing. The house that we were in was government housing and she had extended it since she first got it. She mostly hosts students, makes beads and caters. Her jewellery was beautiful and I was so upset that I only brought a little money but I did manage to get my mom this beautiful stone necklace with matching earnings. I hope she likes it. She wanted me to get something that was made by an African so I at least succeeded in that respect. Mama Noks also taught us Xhosa (pronounced with a click then ko-sa). I learned how to say my name is (igama lam ndingu…) and I’m from (ndisucka e…) which was great. She also told us that the next day at church she expected us to introduce ourselves in Xhosa…more on that later. She also tired to teach us some other things like the different clicks which was very hard but I enjoyed trying and laughing at myself.

The next morning Mama Noks made us oats (aka oatmeal) which was very good, following by toast and more tea. I could definitely get used to eating with her. The food was so good. After that we had some down time, which meant of course Supamanga (it sounds similar to superman) her son wanted to take more pictures which was fine with me because he knew a bunch of kids so I have some great pictures of cute little kids. So mostly we spent the time taking pictures and chasing the kids around. It was really fun.

Then we went to church which I absolutely loved. I don’t know what it is about church here but I enjoy it so much more than back home. I guess it’s because its in a different country and you can still feel the power, but something is definitely different. The service was in Xhosa and English so I got to sing in a different language which was interesting. It wasn’t too hard because they had a projection of the words so I could follow along and they had English subtitles. Hearing the sermon in English and in Xhosa definitely took some getting used to but I loved it. I really don’t know how to explain it. It was just powerful and very refreshing as Mary Kate put it. After church, more tea ( I love that) and we milled around a bit more before having to say goodbye to Mama Noks and Supamanga and heading off to Mzoli’s Meat.

First off, I didn’t know it was called Mzoli’s Meat. I thought it was simply Mzoli, so I’m thinking regular food. But no. It’s basically like going to the butcher and picking out your meat. They give you a receipt and you can literally watch them make it if you want. Outside there are tons of chairs and tables and great music playing, people dancing, all just having a great time. So the main thing here is meat. Almost everyone brings their own drinks, chips, etc. You can buy bread and/or pap if you want which I really liked. I don’t know what it was but I really enjoyed the pap. Our guide ended up getting a loaf of bread for the meat. But in the meantime, we start and enjoyed the atmosphere which was hopping. It was definitely a sharp contrast to church, but fun all the same. So the meat finally gets to our table and its in obscene the amount of meat that on the plate: chicken, lamb, pork…it was crazy. I don’t think I’ve eaten that much meat at one time in my entire life. That was definitely an experience but not one I care to repeat because once I got home I felt sick and decided that I would take a break from meat for a bit (meaning tonight will mark over a day since I’ve last had meat, which for me is unusal). I’ve pondered being a vegetarian but I love meat. It’s great. I love the taste so I’m not sure I will but I am planning to cut back. It’s just not good for you to eat a lot of meat (we talked about that today in my social change class).

The rest of trip was chill. We walked some more and I took some more pictures before we were sent off on our minibus towards home. The rest of the day is not really worth mentioning. I just worked on a paper. But that my friends is what I’ve been up to recently.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

lost.... and not found

Yesterday was Woman’s Day and not a very good day for me. It started out fine. I finished my crack granola and Joe called wanting to go to Cavendish but first Amanda and I had to go to the hardware store to get her room key. We tried the locksmith first but they were closed for the holiday. Luckily the hardware store was opened and had what we wanted. Once we got back to the house, we just chilled and then Joe called saying that he was going golfing. It should be noted that it was windy as hell yesterday and slightly stormy. But that’s Joe for you. He loves golf. He asked if we would join but I decided against it. The weather didn’t exactly have me wanted to go try golfing for four hours and I learned that golf has a halftime. Who knew? I know I didn’t. Apparently back home, there are 18 holes and at the end of the ninth, it’s “halftime” but here there are 20 so at the end of the tenth you get “halftime.”

I spent the day doing nothing really. Adam came over and we walked to Café Sophia and I got my beloved Chai tea. So good! Then we went to Pick n Pay and that’s where everything went downhill. Well ok not really, I got a bunch of groceries because I was low on a lot of things so I stocked up but when I got home a reached into my pocket I couldn’t find my debit card. I searched high and low. Looked through all my groceries, all my pockets, all over the floor and even walked outside to see if it was on the brick walkway….nothing. so I call Adam hoping that for some reason he hadn’t but he offered to walk all the way back to Pick n Pay to look for it (such a good friend, thanks Adam). My eyes were glued to ground searching for the debit card but nothing. We even went into the Pick n Pay and I talked to the manager to see if perhaps someone had found it there. No luck. So we walked back, me still searching the ground for that glint of blue that is my debit card….and still no luck.

So I went back to the house, tore up my room, took all my groceries out of the fridge, the freezer and the cabinets…and still no luck. At this point, I decide to call Sir William (it fits). He is not really a help. He asks if I’ve searched everywhere (no, Will I looked in my pocket saw it wasn’t there and called you….I mean, really). I’m sorry but when something like this happens it never puts me in a good mood. I mean, really it’s fine. The short story is no luck finding it today either which in fact wouldn’t have helped regardless because I called my dad yesterday and we cancelled. I’ll get another card….soon I hope. Loren sent me a letter about 2 and ½ weeks ago and it’s still not her so who knows? Luckily, I have my mom’s credit card in case of emergencies such as these so I’ll be fine until then. The only real problem is that I have about $5 worth in cash. It won’t get be far. It’s especially a problem for the taxis…they only take cash. Oh well, it’s replaceable. It’s just a hassle. Yeah this fact didn’t stop me from freaking out. Well, in fact it wasn’t losing the debit card that made me upset it was just the being unable to contact both my boyfriend and my dad when I really needed their support. It has nothing to do with them. It’s just the internet here is so moody. Sometimes it works fine and other times it’s impossible to do the simplest thing and on top of losing my debit card, I just lost it. I do that. I need to get better at it, but I haven’t figured that out yet. Though I have discovered things I do to help. I eat not crazy amounts but I hadn’t eaten since lunch and it was around dinner time when I discovered I was missing the debit card so I was searching for it, trying to take care of everything before eating…not a good idea. I’m especially cranking without food. So I made so banging ass tuna with a boiled egg like Nana used to make. That and watching Scrubs cheered me up. So yeah, that was yesterday. Today was better but I’ll write about that later. Peace!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

another interesting day in the cape

How the days seem to slip by without me noticing. It’s crazy. Anyways, today was interesting. It started with the roommates who were up until pass one waking up and making plenty of noise at 9:30am while I’m trying to catch up on the sleep I lost because of last night and Amanda running home because she got mugged. Yes, you read correctly she got mugged. Now I was in bed when she came in but I knew something awful happened because let’s face it, I can’t sleep if people are making noise. It sounded bad and despite me wanting so bad to go back sleep I roused myself up and got out of bed. Amanda was seating on the couch tearing eyed and it just made me feel awful. I’m never good in those situations. I mean, I’ve known her since she got her and we’re actually pretty close especially in comparison to the rest of the girls but I still never know what to do. It doesn’t matter if I’ve known you forever or rest a couple weeks I never know if I should go over and sit and comfort that way or just leave her some space. Despite that, I helped in anyway possible.

She had to call the police who of course didn’t answer (this is South Africa after all). Whatever number we got didn’t work and the new number was disconnected (go figure). So I offer to walk down to the police station with her since it’s literally a stone’s throw away from the house.

The police station seemed small inside in comparison to the big brick building you see from the outside and of course, there was chaos. Nothing seemed organized. There were people sitting waiting for something and a bunch of officers talking and doing whatever. We walk in and start talking to an officer and it’s difficult because there are so many people in there and it’s loud. But we fill a police report because our program director, Will told us to. We found out that they needed the serial number and a passport number so that they can search second hand shops for the camera that was stolen. Luckily Amanda’s parents had that information, we just needed to give them a call. We leave after what seems like ages to wait for Uncle Will to come to rescue. Really I feel like he doesn’t know what he’s doing, which I mean is in good reason because he is brand new to this country. I just feel a little less safe with him than I felt with Andrea. But Andrea and Kevin are on vacation right now so even if they wanted to help they really couldn’t.

Will shows up and I’m surprised to see him without his usual suit and vest combo. He’s dressed up as always yet dressed down because he’s only wearing a sweater and a nice pair of slacks and oddly has a New York jacket over it. Anyways, the phone that was stolen was easily replacable because Will has tons of extra so that was easy. The problem came with the keys. Amanda’s room is locked so she can’t get in so Will brought over all the keys that he had in his possession from Andrea.

This was an ordeal because we had to sort through all the keys because they weren’t labelled so we had no idea which key went were and there are six bedrooms, a gate and the house doors that all have keys. Needless to say, that took a while. Entirely too long actually. Will did call a locksmith but since it’s Sunday they really couldn’t do anything so Will tries calling our landlord, Terry whose a really nice guy. He was very concerned about Amanda which was very sweet. He suggested that we go the Pick n Pay because they usually have spare keys and our room keys are standard keys (I’m not sure if I feel safe knowing that…). Will decides he wants to sort out the rest of keys first before trying to the Pick n Pay which leaves Amanda and I sitting there wondering when we can go do something because we feel just leaving Will in the house and everyone else is going off somewhere else. Emily and Sam went to Stellenbosch and Jamie went to Muizenberg. So we’re stuck in the house with Will who seems to be taking his sweet time with the keys taking several smoke breaks.

To pass the time, I introduce Amanda to one of my favourite card games: Spit. Mary and I used to play it all the time. It’s a really fun game. It’s similar to Speed if any of you readers know how to play it, but it’s a two person game and it’s a lot of fun. We ended up playing twice (she won one and I won one) before we decided we’d had enough of waiting around and asked Will if we could just go to the Pick n Pay ourselves and try to get a spare key. Of course, this is when Will decides he’s done sorting the keys and comes with us. So we walk down to Rondesbosch to the Pick n Pay but unfortunately they didn’t have any keys. But we were told that there was a locksmith nearby so we of course check that out only to find that that too couldn’t help us because it was closed.

By this time all of us are starving but Will couldn’t really do anything else to help so we went our separate ways. Us back to the house and Will somewhere in Rondesbosch for lunch. My lunch was basic. I really didn’t want to spend any money today since lately it seems like I’m spending it like crazy. So I just had PB and J, a carrot, an orange and a granola bar. I love the peanut butter here. I just buy the store brand but they have crunchy peanut butter (my favourite) and it is so sweet. It’s really like having dessert. I’m sure it’s really bad for me but I love it.

After lunch, we just chill because while we wanted to climb Table Mountain that takes several hours and by the time we finished lunch there wasn’t enough time to get up the mountain and down before dark. So we were pretty much stuck in the house again, at least this time without Will. I realize I sound like I’m not a fan of Will which is semi-true. But it’s just he seems too much like a parent and I’ve gotten used to not being around mine. Plus he really is not organized and today we found out that he’s leaving for a couple weeks. Are you kidding me? We lose our first director and our second one is leaving. He’s coming back but he said that he had some family things to take care of. So a woman from New Zealand is coming up. It’s just a bit annoying to have three different director in the span of about two months which is about half the time that I’ll be here. Chaos!

The rest of day was chill. We pretty much just hung out at the house. Amanda called her parents and told them and they didn’t seem to freak out too much which was good. Then Joe came over and tried to pick Amanda’s lock which was amusing. It would have been amazing if it would’ve worked but it didn’t. So we were still stuck at the house. We resolved to watch a movie: Almost Famous. It’s really entertaining. It’s about this baby-faced kid who loves rock n rock and wants to be a journalist so he goes on tour with this band Stillwater and writes about them. I just love it because the kid is so awkward and cute.

After the movie was over, I finally had dinner: pasta and string beans again which was fine. It’s simple and quick. Joe left and Amanda and I decided to make another batch of brownies since the last ones were so good. Last night I used one of the ovens that we used before to make my birthday cake but for some reason it cooks unevenly. So we decided to use the other oven. Mistake. The brownies took much longer than last time and they ended up being a bit overcooked. They were still good but a little too crunchy. While we were devouring almost the entire pan of brownies, we watched Death at a Funeral, which if you haven’t seen is hilarious. I highly recommend it. So that was pretty much my day, just chilling in the house with Amanda since all the girls are spending the night in their respective cities. It was nice though having the entire house to ourselves. Plus I know I can go to sleep tonight without having to worry about them coming home late tonight making noise. I realize I sound like an old lady when I says things like this but I just really like my sleep and if I could sleep with people making noise it would be fine but I can never seem to. Trust me, I’ve tried. Ok, that’s it. I’m done complaining. I’m glad to be in a beautiful city, living in a beautiful house and enjoying the many things South Africa has to offer. It’s bedtime. Night y’all

2 Oceans Aquarium

Yesterday I went to the Two Oceans Aquarium and it was amazing. I felt like a little kid again. They had the usual stuff: jellyfish, starfish, sharks, sting rays, all sorts of fish and frogs. It was pretty cool. Adam and I took a taxi down to the waterfront where the aquarium was. I really don’t know how to describe besides the fact that it was gorgeous. They had this cool tank filled with clown fish and there was an area where you could go “inside” the tank and see all the fishes around you. Adam and I took some pictures of course. It was really cool. They also had this huge tank that arched over you and it was really cool to see a huge sea turtle swim right above you head, not to mention the sting rays and sharks. I took about 250 pictures total yesterday. I especially liked the jellyfish. They were pretty tiny in size but had really long tentacles. They were so graceful. I probably could have stared at them for hours.

We spent about an hour there and then wandered around the waterfront for a bit. I took some more pictures because you could see all of Table Mountain from the waterfront and the harbour was really pretty. We also saw some seals just chilling on a wooden platform. It was funny because I was just singing the song “Fly like an eagle” by Seal and then we saw some seals. They were hilarious. I took some video of them because one of them was just sleeping in the sun and then another one would come up and start making these crazy noises bothering the sleeping one and they’d just start talking to each other making lots of racket. It cracked me up. After that we wandered around some more and found this official South African flag shop, they had some really cool things but I was out of money, so I just looked and now I know exactly what I want to get.

We came home around dinner time and I made some pasta and green beans, which were tasty. Then I made brownies which were so good that they are currently gone and it hasn’t even been 24 hours since I made them. I really didn’t do much last night. Adam and Joe came over and we pretty much just chilled until we got tired. Not an exciting night but a good day nonetheless.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

mama afrika!

Yesterday marked my one month mark in this country for those of you interested. It’s been interesting to say the least. Tonight was great so I’m going to talk about that.

So Amanda and I wanted to go out tonight. We weren’t sure what. We just knew that going to club all night long wasn’t exactly what we were looking for. So we did some searching. I found this amazing jazz club that in Camps Bay but that’s quite a distance from us and we decided against us. We also looked at going to see a play but nothing really jumped out as being interesting enough for us to rush out and see it (we were searching around 7 and plays usually start around 8). So we finally settled on this place that we’d pasted way back when we had an orientation dinner with Arcadia. The place: Mama Africa. It’s a restaurant and bar and has live African music so we decided it was perfect because it wasn’t far and didn’t require us to be dancing all night long if we didn’t want to. So we go. I call a cab and it’s Henry Africa! I don’t think I mentioned him before but he was our cab driver on our way back from Cavendish last weekend. He played the same two Cecil Dione songs so yeah he was ridiculous. But we randomly got him last night which just made this world seem a lot smaller. Anyway, I’m pretty sure he took us a long way because though I’m not an expert on this city, I know the general direction and he definitely turned when he could have continued going straight.

But we got there in one piece. Some of the drivers can be crazy but Henry was relatively slow actually. Mama Africa was packed. We thought we were going to have to stand which sucked because the music hadn’t even started when we got there, but luckily a bartender grabbed an extra seat and brought it to the bar so at least one of us got a seat. We ordered drinks and the best South African dessert I know of: malva pudding. It is so good. But of course the drinks came first and were way too strong for us. Both of us aren’t drinkers so that was difficult. I didn’t end up finishing my drink because after I went to bathroom I wasn’t sure if anything happened to it….better to be safe than sorry.

But back to the actual happenings in the bar, it was great fun. First off the music was amazing. Really chill at times and then suddenly it was speed up and make you wanna dance. Plus the singer was amazing. He literally seemed like two different singers because he was able to sing really high and then suddenly switch way down low. It was so strange hearing at first and to be honest, we never did get used to it. But it was very entertaining. The band even had a saxophone and trumpet which you know I loved. I am very sorry to say that the trumpet was much better at improv then the sax but it was still enjoyable. Highlights of the night included “Somewhere over the rainbow,” “Papa was a Rolling Stone” and “Is this Love” all with their own unique African twist. I loved it.

Not as far as the atmosphere went, it was really chill. Lots of people just having a good time. But as with most bars there were the creepers. Like the guy who was staring at me most of the night and even had the nerve to take out his phone and take a picture, more than once. That was awful but I tired my best to ignore him but it was hard just noticing out of the corner of your eye noticing this guy not taking your eyes off you. Very creepy. At one point he disappeared because there were finally people blocking his view but then he pops up out of nowhere and starts talking to Amanda asking why I hadn’t come over. I’m sorry but that’s not my job. I don’t know maybe that’s how it works over here. I really wanted to go over there and tell him to stop but I don’t know if that would have just started trouble. Anyway, nothing happened there. He never actually started talking to me it was just really awkward.

Then the most hilarious thing happened to Amanda. This older woman comes up to her and asks her if she could bring her friend over. Amanda thinks: why not? So this guy comes over and is definitely at least 40 which cracked me up. Yeah older guys are fine but that old? No thank you. He tried to convince her to go back and sit with the rest of his older friends and we’re just like: no thank you. So the guy leaves after the repeated no’s and this woman sitting next to us tells us that the woman who brought over the guy hires prostitutes at which point I die laughing. What a crazy night! Now I’m not sure if she was just joking or if she even actually knew but either way it cracked me up.

I also had another admirer but he wasn’t nearly as creepy as the first guy. Well, I’m not sure. He did blow me a kiss which made me question what exactly was going on in this bar. But he didn’t stare as much or maybe I just didn’t notice and at least he actually came up and talked to us. He sent his friend over first, whose name I can’t remember but he chatted us up. Made us feel bad for turning him and his friend but it was all in good fun and we actually had a decent conversation about politics. He just talked about how America is rich enough to start trouble somewhere else and then leave, while other countries are struggling to deal with the trouble inside their borders. He wanted us to give him our numbers to hang out again and wasn’t too thrilled when we were reluctant. We ended up leaving after agreeing that if we can back today (yesterday it was tomorrow) then we’d hang. Yeah, I don’t think that’ll be happening. But he did intrigued me by talking about this new South African film that had just came out though I’m not sure if he was making it up.

So that was last night. The morning was also good. I woke up surprisingly early like around 9:30am and had some granola. It’s like my crack. I’m so addicted. Then I walked to 2way travel, a travel agency on UCT’s campus and booked an overnight homestay for next weekend. I’m excited it should be good. Then I walked back and saw a baboon. It was crazy. I had heard the other students talking about seeing baboons on their campus but to see one for yourself was a trip. This cyclist came up to me and started saying something in other language and when I said: what. He just asked if I was scared and said no, I just wasn’t going to bother it. it probably couldn’t have anyway because it was fenced in. I was perfectly safe walking on the road passing it by.

Once I got back I went straight to Hillcrest to the fourth grade teacher. I helped a few students with reading. The first girl was named Valentina and she was really sweet. She’s from Anglo and struggles a lot with reading. It wasn’t too bad at first but it got bad when we got to the word “unlimited.” I tried the whole breaking up the word into different parts and using rhyming words but she still didn’t get it. We finally made some head way by going one letter at a time and it was awesome that by the end I could point to the word and she would know it. I also think she liked me because she wanted me to walk with her back to the classroom.

I helped another boy who really only struggled with a few words and then another boy who was fine expect for one word, I can’t recall which. I felt bad because I had wasted so much time in the morning that I didn’t get there until around 11:30 and class let out at noon because it was a Friday. So I was disappointed that I couldn’t help more but was glad to at least make even a small difference.

After the bell rang, I saw some of the kids from aftercare. I said hi and told them had a nice weekend, to which they replied: you’re leaving?!?!? I said yes and then asked if they wanted me to stay; they shouted: yeah! So I suckered into playing with them for an hour. Running around with them was exhausting. But I counted it as my exercise because I definitely sweated while running around playing tag with them. When it got to be about one, I decided it was time to go, said goodbye to Mama Esta and made my getaway.

Back home, I had lunch another tuna melt. Delicious. And then decided to check out the Mowbray library. It was so small. Just one level and very few books. There were four computers but you had to have a library card to use them and getting one required proof of residency which I of course didn’t have. The guy at the front desk said that I could get it from my landlord. I’m not sure if it’s worth the hassle because you can only use the computer for 45 minutes/day. But it is free internet and close by so we’ll see.

I didn’t stay long because I discovered that there were no books of interest for the papers I was going to write and my computer battery was low and there was no place to plug it in. Unfortunately they didn’t have free wireless at the library so I just started doing some work to my computer before I decided that it wasn’t really worth it and left. It is very quiet so I might use it as a quiet reading place.

Next I went to the pharmacy to see if they had malaria pills. After searching around the store, I finally asked and told to ask the pharmacist. So I waited in line asked the woman at the front desk who told me to sit and wait so more. Almost as soon as I sit down, exhaustion hits me like a bus. Those kids killed me. I was completely wiped out and had to struggle to keep my eyes open. Eventually the pharmacist joined me and told me I get some pills for about $10 with little side affect or pay seven times that for basically the same thing. Needless the say, I got the cheap kind. Hopefully that doesn’t come back to haunt me.

I love cooking. Can I just say that? I love it. It makes me think of my grandmother. She was a great cook. Maybe one day I can be just as good. I just like it because when I cook I think of her. I actually do that with a lot of things like one of the main reasons I drink tea is because my granddad drank it. No coffee, but tea, you can a little sugar and it’s just fine. Plus I don’t like being dependent on caffeine and you can get decaf tea. The roobios tea here is decaf and delicious. Another thing I do to remember those now gone is watch Monk. It was Aunt Winona’s favourite show and I just started watching it because her and I’m definitely addicted. That show is hilarious.

But back to now, I guess I really have not much more to say besides the fact that I made rice again. This time I think it turned out better and I made green beans. I basically just mixed up rice, green beans and some chicken I’d cooked a couple days before. ‘twas tasty. Ok that’s all about yesterday. It wasn’t really in order but you get the idea.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My little angel

The last few days have been stressful. Monday I was getting a bit paranoid because someone at Stellenbosch University died of swine flu. His is the first death in South Africa due to swine flu, and although Stellenbosch isn’t close, it is like an hour away and Robbie goes there and he came to UWC yesterday for our core class. Yeah, I realize I haven’t talked about him much, it’s just he’s the only here for the core class and then goes back to Stellenbosch. It was interesting though the first time I met him. He has a weird accent that made me doubt that he was American but who am I judge? Yesterday I had little kids laughing hysterically at me because of my accent (I don’t consider myself as having one)

Tuesday was my first time volunteering at Hillcrest Primary School. I decided to volunteer there three times a week just because 1) I love kids with cute accents and 2) its literally two houses down from our house so it’s super convenient. I met the principal and she took me to a fourth grade teacher. I will be helping some of her students out on Friday because school ends at two here and on Tuesdays and Thursdays I can’t get there until around 2:30.

So after being introduced to the fourth grade teacher (her name escapes me), I was taken to the aftercare room and meet the cutest little kids. The primary school ranges from grade 1 to grade 7. 8th graders go to high school, which is different from back home. Like I mentioned before I got laughed at a lot because of my accent and of course asked all sorts of question: like how old are you? Are you popular? (why I do not know) and then of course I was bombarded with questions in regards to my ring.

Loren gave me a ring way back when I visited him in Nashville. I can tell you that I was completely shocked because I’ve never gotten a ring before. It’s a promise ring and no, it’s not a promise ring like we’re going to get married after we graduate or something. It’s more like he promises to wait for me while I’m on this crazy journey so yeah, it’s cool. I love it because I always wear it so I’m constantly reminded of him.

But I digress, they asked if I was married and when I said no, they asked if I was engaged and they couldn’t understand why I would have a ring and be neither. It was quite amusing and Loren enjoyed hearing about that thouroughly.

I really didn’t do much that day. I got read to which was fun. I absolutely love their accents. Their sort of British but not quite like my favourite little one (his name is Liam…pronounced Lee-am) is Indian and I love listening to him talk. Today I helped him with his spelling. They all have to do homework before they can go play and he was last one working on it. He gets distracted pretty easily, which is understandable since there are kids running around all over the place, shouting and stuff. I’m pretty sure he’s like me and needs peace and quiet to get his work done. Anyways, I helped him and some of the other kids with spelling because each day they have to write “news” basically what they did that day or yesterday. It was amusing. Like Chloe (whose a boy…) was trying to spell yesterday and for some reason wanted to spell it with an “s” and he argued with me about it.

Today I mostly helped Liam because they were learning words that start with “dr” and had to memorize 20 and then write them out. Watching him do it, I realized that I probably couldn’t even do it on my own. I mean, once I got into it. It wasn’t too hard but still. So Liam ran into a bunch of trouble when he got about half way through so I helped him by giving him hints about the words. Like one of the words was “drink” so I picked up a bottle and was like “what am I doing if I do this?” It was fun and he was super cute because sometimes he would explain to me what a word meant like “drift” and start going on and on about cars drifting and racing. So cute. I was able to help with most of the list but for the life of me I couldn’t get him to guess the word “drank.” He said my hints were too hard but I even told him the word was similar to “drink” and “drunk” and that it had an “a” in it and he still didn’t get it which was weird because I got him to guess “draft” when I told him it was similar to “drift.” I forgot what grade he’s in but I mentioned vowels a lot and he didn’t seem to know what I meant.

Other adorable thing was if I was helping him spell things like the word “could.” I would sound it out and he’d copy me and “ooo” “ooo.” It’s weird but even when I’m trying to spell the simplest words like “could” I second guess myself because “could” doesn’t sound like it has an “l” in it. what’s up with that?

Today like Tuesday I also talked to Teacher Esta who I will be referring to as “Mama Esta.” She’s wonderful. She made me rooibos tea. It’s a South African tea and its delicious. Plus she gives me biscuits (aka our cookies) to eat them with. Yum!! She even offered me food and said that next Tuesday she’d make some authetic South African food for me. I’m excited.

Today I only had one class which was nice and after it, I had a continuation of our orientation with UWC. It was basically a small get-together with some students talking about adjusting to the culture. I mentioned not feeling included in the community and also having trouble finding a computer in the library and I learned that they are supposivley 80 computer labs on campus. Where they are hiding them is the question. But it was nice to at least talk a little bit about our frustrations with the campus and have people listening openly about it.

Yesterday was long. I had class from 1-4 and then class from 5 until 8ish. The first three classes were the normal tuts and sociology of health class. But the class at 5 was the core class. We listened to a political science teacher lecture us on issues in South Africa. It was interesting but way too much to take in on an empty stomach. It lasted way longer than I was expecting which was not cool. I got home and by the time I had dinner, it was already nine. So I really didn’t do much after that. The night was gone before I knew.

Monday seems like so long ago. I’m done with my school week already. Basically it was just class and I believe I went swimming. I went swimming both on Monday and Wednesday. Good times. I used my goggles and swim cap and I believed I’ve improved. I should have ran or something today but after helping the kids out, I’m exhausted and don’t feel like doing it. I should probably do it anyway. Ok that’s all for now. Peace

Monday, August 3, 2009

just what i needed

This post will be reflecting on yesterday. It was a good day as days goes, not too exciting but not obnoxiously boring either. I had granola and a banana for breakfast and then went on another run. It was good. I just ran to the track, did four loops, which hopefully is a mile and ran back. It was slow but it was 30 minutes which is longer than I’ve been running lately.

Last night Loren said he’d train with me for the half marathon in April. We’ll see if that happens. I would love that because he would probably get me into great shape if he doesn’t kill me first. The first time we ran together was three days after my first half marathon (next year’s will be the second). He almost killed me! We ran 2 miles in 16 minutes which was exhausted after 1) running the half and 2) not running in 3 days. Regardless it was great to run with him so training with him will be both amusing and painful. Amusing because he claims that he’s never run more than three miles. Painful because regardless of the pervious statement, he’s faster thus probably going to kill me. It’ll be interesting to say the least

After my run, I took the usual shower and had lunch. Yesterday’s consisted of grilled cheese, a carrot stick, an orange and eggs. The eggs because Jamie offered the rest of her eggs and I’m not one to turn down free food. Plus they were really good with cheese, tomatoes, and pepper. Delicious!

Once lunch was done, I needed something to do. So I convinced Amanda to walk with me to Rondebosch to go to an internet café. We ended up choosing Café Sofia. Yeah, free internet! You value that a lot more when you have to pay for it. But of course, you still have to buy something in order to get the internet. I ordered chai tea and cheesecake. The tea was great. Holly got me hooked on chai tea. I tried it with her once and loved it. I’m not even sure what’s in it. I just know it’s good. Sadly, they were out of cheesecake, so instead I got chocolate cake which I of course didn’t need, but I ran plus walked to café. Its not far but it’s not a hop, skip and a jump either. So we spent a couple hours there. I uploaded some pics to facebook from the first day at Kirstenbosch botanical gardens. Good times back when Andrea was program director. Not to slam Uncle Will as we’ve so fondly nicknamed him but Andrea felt like my mom. I could call her anytime and get help. But moving on, I mostly talked to Loren and didn’t exactly get work done. It was fun regardless.

By the time we got back, it was time to think about dinner. I wanted to go to church since I had yet to go since I’ve been here. I just can’t get myself up on the weekends. Yeah, there are 11am service yet I almost always seem to sleep later than that. But there are a lot of evening service. Originally I was going to go to 7pm service at the Rosebank Methodist church but then realized that it probably wasn’t a good idea to walk in the dark alone. So instead I called Adam because I there was a 6:30pm service he went to last Sunday. He was going so I joined him

But not before making dinner, I made Loren’s favourite: rice for the first time. It went pretty well. I must say though I was a bit rushed for time. I also made chicken and green beans. I made a legit meal that wasn’t just pasta and it was pretty good if I do say so myself.

I dressed up. Why I didn’t ask Adam about attire I do not know because walking in heels was not fun. It was especially awful on the way back. Never again. I should have known better honestly. But on the way there we ran into a few American students who were studying at UCT (university of cape town) for a semester. They wanted to find a service so they also joined us. It was cool listening to the things they’re doing and how their program is going compared to ours.

The service was as the title of this post suggested just what I needed. It just lifted my spirits and it was weird because usually I don’t like the contemporary style service. I’m used to Episcopal service. I know it so well. I know exactly what to expect. Contemporary services are always interesting because I never know exactly what to expect. But this one I really enjoyed. The singing was great and really enjoyed the sermon though really it was more of lecture. I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Now it actually lasted until 9 but there was a 15 minute break in between so I decided to make my getaway then because you never know, they could say 9 and then you’re sitting there until 10 wondering when it would end. So I decided to leave. Now Adam wanted to stay which was fine. The theatre were the service was held is pretty close to our house though in heels it seemed like forever. He told me something like I’ve catch up with you which of course would be easy while I stubbornly limb along in my heels.

But something interesting happened on the walk home. Adam never did show up by the way. But this guy walking in the same direction as me asked me if there was something wrong with my shoes. I said no, my feet just hurt. And then he just started talking to me, which was fine. I felt better walking with someone even though the street was fully lit.

He noticed my Bible and asked if I was Christian. I said yes and then he goes into this rant about the secret society that Obama and Bush are in, that don’t believe in God and all this stuff and then asks me my opinion about it. Now at this point I’m dumbfounded, thinking ok God must be testing me or something because wow, it was a complete surprise. I just told him the truth that I knew that some people don’t believe in God but I do, simply as that. Then he goes on to talk about Christianity as a institution has oppressed millions of people through slavery, etc. as if I wasn’t already aware. So what do I think about that? I’m never good at using my words especially if I’m put on the spot like that. So I say something like I’m aware of those things but I believe those in the past and that things are different now. As Mr. Holland would say way back in freshman year civics class: weak sauce. Oh, I don’t know I could’ve said something about how those people weren’t Christians and that I don’t support such things, etc. But no, as I said I was just at a loss of words.

Then he goes around and is like well I am a Christian and I just like to ask people questions. Now I’m really thinking ok this must be test. So he finally introduces himself as Espior. I don’t remember how to say it but he gave me his number so I know how to spell it. It’s French if you didn’t notice. And he’s apparently a graduate student at UCT. So yeah, I made a new friend. He wanted to get together and get coffee. I don’t know if that’ll happen but he seemed nice enough. If I do, I’ll definitely bring Adam along with him. Can’t be too careful. So yeah, that’s my story. It was interesting day.