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.

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