Week 15

Hellloooooo!

I am officially under 5 weeks till I go home. I feel that everything is getting a bit rushed, and for the first time while being here I actually find it hard to live in the present. My friends and I have talked a lot about how it is challenging to live in the “now”, and we have come to the conclusion that we’re just anticipating home more—I mean, it is a month away. But as my teacher Grant says, we must finish as strong as we began. So with that, I had a very good and pretty eventful week.

On Wednesday, one of the girls in AIFS (my program) organized a beer pong tournament with one of the Stellenbosch residences. All the Americans lost (even though beer pong is American…). But it was still really awesome, and pretty cool to see a residence. The beer pong tournament took place in the residence’s bar (yes, the residences here have bars).

Beer Pong Tournament

Beer Pong Tournament

On Thursday I planned to do homework, but that did not happen. I ended up going to a restaurant with a few friends and just hung there for a while. When my friend and I were walking back to our dorm, we found a TV with Spongebob playing in our student center. Since we have not watched anything off a TV in four months (and because Spongebob was on), we decided to sit down and watch it. Really productive day, I know.

On Friday, I had my last real lecture of LSCE. I will really, really, really, miss LSCE. We have class this Friday, but we are doing something different (I am not really sure what though). I figured I would explain exactly what LSCE is, and why it has taught me so much. On Mondays we teach the children based on lesson plans that we wrote earlier this semester. Working with the children on Mondays has taught me a lot, but my favorite part of LSCE is our Friday class. Beyond LSCE, Grant (my teacher) is also a Social Work professor at Stellenbosch University. Grant has a wealth of knowledge that he so openly shares. The class itself is very discussion based, and every comment is 100% accepted…sometimes starting heated debates (which get extremely interesting given the select group of students in LSCE). Anyway, we begin class with a “check in”. Basically, Grant gives us a question to answer and we take about 10 minutes or so to draw a picture of our answer. Then one by one (in any order we want) we stand up and explain our drawing and what it means to us. Grant always adds in his comment to all of our pictures. For example, (relating to my first paragraph in this weeks post), last week the question was “where are we at this point?”. Below is a picture of my answer (and of course, I messed up the coloring on the SA flag…even though I painted about twenty South African flags on the student’s faces the previous week).

LSCE Check-in

LSCE Check-in

Anyway, when explaining this picture I said how I feel happy and very proud (I really do feel so proud of myself… anyone who studies abroad should! It is not always easy) of my time in South Africa. And while I cannot wait to see friends and family once I am home, I also am so excited to see the person who I have become when I return. It is kind of hard to see how much I have changed when everyone else is changing with me. Don’t worry, this isn’t any “new country, new me” kind of thing, I promise. I am still the Leah, you all love (maybe). It’s like when I finished my first year of college and I thought to myself, “wow, I am so independent!” (even though everything was still basically being done for me). Studying abroad is that feeling times a hundred, and with a lot of other adjectives as well. Anyway, that was kind of a long tangent. The check-in’s can get pretty emotional, deep, etc. and last about an hour and a half. From there, we have three presentations given by students. I never was disappointed by a presentation as they are all interesting topics and are discussion based. Some examples of topics were politics of food, cognitive justice, sustainable agriculture, ethics, etc. After everything is over, we have a check-out. The check-out is way shorter than the check-in, but the concept is the same. Instead of a question, we are open to say basically what ever we want to. Also, I cannot forget to mention the AMAZING lunch we are given. Grant’s mom cooks us lunch every Monday and Friday, and it is definitely the best food I have eaten here.

In general, completing LSCE means we receive a community development certificate. A major aspect that we focus on is sustainability within the community development context. Learning about the process of community engagement has broadened my own perspective on the social work field. I am excited to merge the idea of sustainable community development with the area of social work I want to enter.

Anyway, after LSCE on friday I went out to dinner with some friends.

Friday night dinner

Friday night dinner

This weekend was a really nice weekend. On Saturday, Colleen and I decided to spend the night in Cape Town. We took the train into the city in the morning, and then took a second train to Muizenberg (where we went one of the first weekends here). It was a really nice day so we walked down the beach and ended up in a town called Kalk Bay. The town had a hippie vibe to it, and had a lot of cool shops. We ate lunch in a restaurant that was in an old train. It reminded me of American diners. Afterwards, we walked around town and explored a little. Around 4 we took the train back to Cape Town and took a taxi to our hostel. We went out to dinner on Long Street (the popular street in Cape Town). Our table overlooked the street, so it was an awesome view. After hanging out on Long Street for a little, Colleen and I went back to the hostel and just relaxed there.

Halk Bay

Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay

The Train Restaurant

The Train Restaurant

Halk Bat

Kalk Bay

Halk Bay

Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay

Today (Sunday), it rained. It has probably rained about 5 days out of the 4 months I have been here. We were supposed to go to Robben Island with my AIFS group, but since we have to take a ferry the trip is weather dependent. So since all the AIFS students were already in Cape Town (and it was raining), we decided to go to the Aquarium. After the Aquarium, we walked around the Waterfront for a little, and the came back home.

"The cure for anything is salt water--sweat, tears, and the sea"

“The cure for anything is salt water–sweat, tears, or the sea”

That’s all for now!

Until next time,

Leah

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