Today marks half way through April—how crazy! My time here is really beginning to dwindle down. I have about 1.5 months left until I return to the states, and I know the time will fly by extremely fast. It’s a very sad and happy thought at the same time. However, I still have a lot of adventures in the 1.5 months I’m here so the thought of leaving is not close in my thoughts.
This past Thursday I decided to participate in the International Food Evening at Stellenbosch University. I thought the night would consist of a bunch of countries simply giving out samples of their food. However, Wednesday afternoon when I collected pots and pans from the International Office, I realized I was in for a little bit of a bigger project than I thought. First, the pans were what I would imagine the cafeteria at my high school would have used—they were huge. Shocked by how much food was expected to be made by each country, I turned to a Kenyan man next to me and asked him how much food he was making. After his list went on and on about what he was making, after he collected his 9 pots that he (and his friends) were going to use, and lastly, after he requested a second table for a TV that they were going to use for a slideshow, I realized that I was a little in over my head. After struggling to carry all the pots back by myself in 90 degree weather, my friends and I decided we should start cooking Wednesday night (as the International Food Evening was Thursday). We made Macaroni and Cheese (with bacon of course), 7 Layer Dip, Apple Pie, and Ranch dressing (they don’t have Ranch here for some reason). After cooking with Colleen all day Thursday, we finished the food (and were pretty happy with how it all turned out!). About 10 of the Americans and I wore red, white, and blue in order to have a little decoration. The outside of the International Food Night had all the flags participating, and of course the American flag was double the size of every other flag. I asked why that was, and the Stellenbosch staff said that, “Americans always overdo everything”. Anyway, after being out of the country for 3 or so months, I have begun to understand some of the American stereotypes…but I am still not comfortable when America ends up being the topic of many jokes. However, the International Food Night turned out really well and I am so happy I participated. I ate food from many different countries—Rwanda, Iran, Sweden, Germany, Zimbabwe, etc. I even at a worm from the Zimbabwe table! As a study abroad student in South Africa, I have really been given an amazing opportunity to talk to students from ALL over the world. It really has been eye opening.
On Friday I had LSCE, and presented my constructivism presentation. I am very happy how my presentation turned out. Following LSCE, a few LSCE students and I went to get some food. Over the past couple months, I have grown really close to my fellow LSCE students. They are all really great people, who bring their own experiences and knowledge to class every Monday and Friday. I have learned so much through their (and my teacher’s) stories, opinions, and experiences. Because South Africa has a lot of holidays and random days off, I only have two more Monday and Friday classes before our Celebration of Work finale. I will really miss LSCE…The class has easily been one of the best parts of my time in South Africa.
On Saturday a group of the LSCE students and I went into Lynedoch to begin painting the main walls of the primary school. We are painting an ocean scene. On our way back home, we got stuck on a non-moving train for about an hour. South Africa has been in a hot spell for the past few days, so it was 95 degrees when we were stuck. It felt like I was inside a human oven. But, as we always do when we take the train home from Lynedoch, we blasted some music from speakers (another way to tell everyone, “hey, we aren’t from here!”) and made it through. Saturday night, some friends and I went to an international-South African party. We left pretty early since we had to wake up at 6:30 am to leave for the Table Mountain hike.
On Sunday I finally completed the infamous Table Mountain hike. Table Mountain is one of the 7 wonders of nature because of the vast amount of wildlife diversity in the particular amount of space. I was very excited to finally see the infamous view of Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain. I went through the International Office, so my friends and I didn’t begin hiking till about 9:45 am (a HUGE mistake…we should have began around 6 am). It took about 2 hours to get up the mountain, but it was definitely one of the most difficult 2 hours I have ever lived. It was 95 degrees out, no shade, and the path was basically like walking up uneven stairs the whole time. I honestly did not think I would make it to the top. My friends and I basically had to take a break every 30 seconds of walking because it became so challenging. Needless to say, when I finally reached the top, I was so relieved and happy. We had about two hours on top of the mountain, so we ate food and took the classic Table Mountain pictures. I was way too exhausted to hike back down the mountain, so I opted to pay for the cable car ride back on—It was probably the best ten dollars I have spent since I have arrived in South Africa. I was surprised how fast the cable car went, and the bottom of the car spun in a circle so you got a view of all the scenery. It was pretty cool.
Yesterday (Monday), I had LSCE. The LSCE students and I completed our special project with the learners (a fair). After our lessons, we had a brass band come so the children can hear the different instruments and listen to some music. Following the brass band, the kids put on a talent show—Grade 5 was awesome…I am very proud of my class. Following the talent show, every LSCE grade group created a different activity that the children could chose to do. My LSCE group and I did face painting. I basically just painted a lot of butterflies on the girls and a lot of South African flags on the boys. The fair went well, but after Table Mountain and running around with children for 7 hours on Monday, I was beyond exhausted.
Today I received a package from my mom and it made my day. So thanks mom, I love you! This weekend I am traveling to Hermanus if all goes smoothly—where I can see a lot of whales and also where I am planning to go shark cage diving.
Happy Easter and Passover everyone!
Until next time,