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I just wanted to write a little something before I head off to the airport to come home. Cape Town and South Africa has been full of unexpected journeys. While the whole “study” part and academic experience wasn’t quite what I had hoped for, the adventures along the way have been so wonderful and memorable. I’ve made South African friends, I’ve become closer with people I’ll see on campus next year, and I’ve gotten to know some people that I really hope I will see again. I don’t really have any regrets, only that I wish I had spent more time with my Clamily from the Botswana/Zimbabwe trip. I ran into a bunch of them at the Old Biscuit Mill yesterday and remembered how much I love them. They are all so funny and sweet, and they always make me smile. Clam, if any of you are ever in Boston, you of course have a place to stay! And I better hear from you again!

Spending this past week looking at more of the city and its surrounding areas, I wish I had had more time to just explore and take it all in. Taking my homework to Company’s Garden would have been a smart move! But I have been so lucky to have spent the last five months in such an incredible and beautiful city, and I have accomplished and experienced things I had once only dreamed about. Hanging out with all those animals was certainly a treat. Of course, I think many of you who have been reading my blog know how much of a homebody I am. I’m really excited to head home for Boston, even if it is only for five days before I begin my next adventure in New York City (maybe I’ll start a blog about that?). I’m sad to leave this beautiful place and realize that all of these adventures are officially in the past, but I know that I will see the friends I’ve made here again. And hopefully one day I’ll come back to visit Cape Town, this time with friends and family in tow.

xoxo

alex

Check out the gallery page!

This past Wednesday and Thursday, I did a little mini Garden Route trip. Technically, it wasn’t the Garden Route at all, since that does not really start until you go further east of Mossel Bay, but I like to call it that. I had really wanted to go for three reasons. Cape Agulhas because it is both beautiful and the southernmost tip of Africa, Mossel Bay because of the Bartolomeu Dias Museum, and the animals at Cango Wildlife Ranch in Oudtshoorn. I was having trouble finding people to go with, so I finally took matters into my own hands and hired my friend Mike, owner of 2WayTravel, and his friend to drive me and show me around, all within a timeframe of thirty-six hours.

We got off to a somewhat early start, leaving Cape Town at around 8am. I pretty quickly fell asleep in the car. Cape Agulhas was our first stop, about a two-hour drive from CPT. We took a quick pit stop in a small town (I’ll have to ask Mike about the name) to grab some coffee and find a bathroom. We stopped in this little shop run by an older man and his wife. The wife sold lots of jewelry, scarves, and clothing, while her husband sold his handmade chess sets. He was kind of a crazy guy, but also kind of cool. He hand carves and paints all the chess pieces to look like different famous “face-offs.” He had Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham, the American Civil War, a couple of famous British battles, and a South African battle as well. They were all pretty amazing. Downstairs, he showed us his medal collection. There were hundreds from different countries and different wars. Pretty neat.

When we stepped out of the car at Cape Agulhas, I suddenly felt like I was seeing and smelling very familiar things. The beaches in Cape Town are really nice, but so many of them are just a little too perfect. Miles of sand, and the rocks look like they’re just a nice decorative addition to the scenery. Cape Agulhas reminded me so much of Quonnie. Lots and lots of rocks, sprouting everywhere and coming in all different shapes and sizes, constantly crashing waves. It was beautiful, the kind of beautiful I hadn’t seen since last summer. There were some plaques to give us information, like how “agulhas” means “needle,” as in the needle of a compass. It was great to take a nice long break from the car ride and just take the time to look out at where these two incredible ocean currents meet at the most southern point of the entire continent of Africa.

Cape Agulhas!

Cape Agulhas!

Our next stop was Mossel Bay and the Dias Museum. This seems like the kind of town where there isn’t a whole lot of stuff to do, but it is absolutely beautiful, situated perfectly on the bay. Mossel Bay is the point where Dias first stopped in South Africa in 1488, the first to make it that far south. The museum was cool, and I was especially excited about the oldest post box in South Africa. Now it is represented by a fairly modern post box, but sailors and explorers used to put letters in a shoe that hung from the branches of this Milkwood tree. If you send a postcard from there, it gets a nice little special stamping! Inside, there was a replica of the ship Dias used to trek here over five hundred years ago. For the anniversary in 1988, the Portuguese made a replica and sailed it down to Mossel Bay, where it now sits in the museum. It was a lot smaller than I expected. Nothing like those big ships you see in Pirates of the Caribbean! And the only nice thing about the captain’s quarters was that it was private; only a small cot fit in there!

Milkwood Post Office

Milkwood Post Office

Mossel Bay

Mossel Bay

 

We had to drive a couple more hours to reach our accommodation for the night. Mike suggested staying at his friend Barry’s place in De Rust; besides living in a beautiful home in the valley and running a b&b, he also has a fully working farm! He’s originally from California, but has been living in South Africa for a long time. I was immediately settled when I found out that he has two dogs and three cats, all of which are incredibly friendly. He served us a really wonderful dinner and a nice big breakfast in the morning. I was so exhausted from the day that I fell asleep just after 10pm, with a few midnight dog kisses to keep me company.

After saying goodbye and thanking Barry for his hospitality, we started the twenty-minute drive to Cango Wildlife Ranch, where even more of my animal dreams would come true. I was definitely glad to get there early; there was only one other group there, and they were starting their animal encounters while we got a nice private tour. Our guide, Duggy, took us through the entire ranch. There were non-blind, non-nocturnal bats called Flying Foxes, lemurs, lazy crocodiles (it’s winter), nearly extinct Cape Vultures, pygmy hippos, African hogs, and otters. Then he took us to see the cats. Cango is known for its effective breeding program with cheetahs and Bengal tigers, so we saw those, along with lynxes, servals, the very rare white lion, leopards, and white tigers (one born without stripes!). Our guide was really great, but there were just a few things that didn’t seem to be quite right. For example, he said that in the wild, once the male lion has basically used up all his testosterone after breeding for so many years, the female lions come together and kill him…so Nala will kill Simba. Still have yet to look it up online and see if that’s true, but I’m a bit skeptical.

Then came my big moment. More animal encounters! I signed up for the cheetahs, tigers, and lemurs. First stop were two of Cango’s cheetahs, Luigi and Kwazi. While we were at the ranch, there was this huge group of people from India, so I went in with a guy and two girls from their group. It was actually hilarious how terrified all of the women from their group were of these cats. Nobody seemed to want to go first with the cheetahs, so of course I volunteered. With the cheetahs, you could basically pet them anywhere except for directly on the face. So I just got down and started rubbing Luigi like he was Scout or Meeko. And he immediately started purring!! I was scratching him on his back and side, and I gave him a nice rub behind his ears. I could hear the guide in the background telling the other three people to follow my lead. Booyeah. Also, the black spots on a cheetah are actually softer than the other parts of their fur! Luigi even started licking my hand! The guy who was watching over pushed the cat’s head away, saying that cheetahs like to get tastes of things before they eat them. Once again, a little skeptical. Not quite sure a cheetah in the wild would go up to a zebra and say, “Oh, excuse me. Would you mind if I licked you a little before you run away and I give chase? I’d really like a little taste before we take the next step.” But hey, what do I know? Seemed like a very friendly lick to me.

Luigi

Luigi

Kwazi

Kwazi

After getting a bunch of pictures with both Luigi and Kwazi, it was time for some pictures with the Bengal tiger. With these guys, they only take two people in at a time. I was kind of confused at first because the Indian woman who came in with me had already done the tiger encounter; we saw her during the tour and she was absolutely terrified. Seemed like she wanted to go in again to get a better picture. Once again, I was entertained. Whenever I went up to the tiger, he was chilled out, relaxed, distracted, and petable. Whenever she went to pet him, he started to freak out. Honestly, I’m almost positive it was because she was so afraid of him. As the guides tried to distract him and lead him somewhere, she was literally clutching to my shoulders, hiding behind me, and poking her head out to see where he was. He smelled her fear, I just know it! Also, there was this one little boy from the same group who kept running around up on the catwalk. Of course the tiger noticed him and went into crouching mode even though there was no chance of him catching his “prey.” Kid. Stop moving!

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Tiger!

My last stop was at the lemur encounter. There were both ring-tailed lemurs (like King Julien from “Madagascar”) and these brown lemurs. As soon as the trainers brought out some food, the lemurs were climbing all over my head! It was so funny! They were in my lap, putting their hands all over my face, and giving me some great photo ops. I got to shake some of their hands. When you just put a finger out to them, the lemurs grasp onto it. Their hands felt like rubber, and their fur was so soft.

King Julien!

King Julien!

Um hello!

Um hello!

After spending some amazing couple of hours with all the animals, it was time to get back in the car and head back to Cape Town. We passed through some incredible mountains, some even with some snow on top! I’ve updated my flickr with stuff from Matopos and seeing Master Harold and the Boys, and pictures from this adventure will be up soon.

I FLY HOME TOMORROW! WHAT?!?!?!

So my shark cage-diving experience ended at about noon, and after grabbing a quick lunch I decided it was time that I finally visit Boulders Beach, famous for the colony of penguins that you can see up close. I took a minibus a couple of miles down the road to see the little guys. Somehow, the driver dropped me off at the opposite end of the boardwalk, so I had to walk a little bit of a ways back to the national park entrance. I had only gone a few steps when suddenly there was a penguin. Just hanging out. I was way up from the beach in an area where there were lots of trees and bushes. And this little guy was right next to the fence. If I had really wanted to, I could have leaned over and petted him. Of course I took a ton of pictures of him, but when I went a little further, there was another couple of penguins up in the brush. I kept going, and soon I started seeing the little huts that conservationists had made for the penguins; I remember seeing and hearing about them when I went to the aquarium. There were already so many penguins! And I wasn’t even at the beach yet!

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Um...hey.

Um…hey.

 

After paying my entrance fee to actually go down to the beach, it was like penguin city. It was kind of weird! There were just African penguins everywhere. I saw some babies who were in the process of molting their feathers, and they looked hilarious. A daddy penguin came down from the bushes to the sand with some seaweed and twigs in his mouth to help with his mate’s nest. They are really cute, but also incredibly weird and silly. Let’s be honest, animals that waddle like that are kind of ridiculous! But still cute. So glad I finally made it to Boulders Beach. Can’t live in Cape Town for five months without visiting the famous penguin colony!

So many penguins!

So many penguins!

Took the train home, and from Simon’s Town to Rondebosch is about an hour-long ride. Remember, I had woken up at 5am, so by 4pm, I felt like Marlin in “Finding Nemo” in the jellyfish scene…STAY AWAKE! When I finally made it home, I had just enough energy to write a blog post. And then nap time.

Going to back track slightly. Last week I had my last two exams, theatre on Monday and archaeology on Friday. The theatre final consisted of two parts, an essay question that we got ahead of time and an essay question that we wouldn’t know until we started. The prepared question was long…and vague…but overall I think it went fine. I didn’t feel like immediately starting to study for archaeology right after my theatre exam, so I decided to take the Jammie shuttle into the city to Hiddingh Campus and then walk to the Iziko South Africa Museum. It’s kind of like the Museum of Natural History. I had quickly gone to it a few weeks earlier to look at the rock art featured there for class, but I wanted to do the museum in full. It was actually pretty cool. Their main exhibits were about the animals of the area. They had a huge marine exhibit, with stuffed seals, marlins, coelacanths (thought to be extinct until they were discovered off South Africa in 1938!), sharks, whales. They had a full blue whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling! There were also stuffed versions of a ton of the animals you can find in South Africa. Lions, hyenas, honey badgers (!), and elands. I had learned about elands in my archaeology class and learned how important they are to the San people, both for hunting and spirituality. I never realized until I saw them in the museum how HUGE they are! I was shocked. I had even more respect for the San people who go after this ginormous creature with just a poisoned arrow.

Coelacanth!

Coelacanth!

Elands...just too big for deer.

Elands…just too big for deer.

 

Once I was done at the museum, I walked through Company’s Garden. I had only been through the major walkway and never actually gone into what is considered the gardens. It was absolutely beautiful. So many flowers and trees lining the area, it felt like a mini botanical garden. I wish I had come here more often to read or just relax. It was incredibly peaceful.

However, there were some crazy critters in the area. Let me just say, Company’s Garden squirrels are insane! Some ran away from me as I expected, but a bunch didn’t back away. I had two or three squirrels come right up to me and start sniffing and touching my shoes! Of course I had to take some pictures, and I think the security guards in the area must have thought I was just as crazy as the squirrels. But it was so weird! And so cool! But mostly weird…

Ah!!

Ah!!

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Archaeology exam went pretty well I think. I studied a lot for it, but I didn’t realize until I sat down to take it that it was actually a THREE-hour exam instead of the two-hour exam I thought it was. Whoops. Grades don’t even get released until the end of June. That’s so long! Agh!!

This past Wednesday and Thursday I did a nice little trip that I had been hoping to do before I left. Trying to pack as much as I possibly can into my last few days in Cape Town. Stay tuned!

And what’s worse, you put Nala in danger!

Okay so I didn’t quite do that. And the only person I put in danger was myself. But. I did it. I went shark-cage diving!!!!

Yes, it might sound absolutely crazy, but it is something that I have really wanted to do since I decided to come to Cape Town. It just took me until I only have a week left in the country to actually do it. June to about October is peak season for seeing sharks from the cage and seeing them out breaching. I decided to go with Apex Predators for the outing. It’s run by Chris Fallows; if you love Shark Week on Discovery Channel like I do, you’ll see him a lot. He is the marine biologist who proved that breaching is not unique to South Africa’s Great Whites. He’s also done all the Air Jaws stuff, and I’m pretty sure he was part of the crew that shot that famous extreme slow-motion video of a Great White breaching.

As today got closer and closer, I still couldn’t quite believe that I had actually signed up for this. I was incredibly nervous and incredibly excited. Woke up at 5am to get picked up by Apex from Rondebosch to take the trip to Simon’s Town, where the trip starts. The boat would then take us to Seal Island, famous for the huge colony of seals there as well as the high shark activity. The sun was just coming up as the boat reached the seals. And oh my lord, do those things smell! It was so awful; definitely woke me up I guess.

There were about twelve people on the boat with four crew. I was so surprised to hear that only half of us actually wanted to get into the cage and see the sharks from under water. These trips are expensive! Probably would not have paid that kind of money just to watch them from the surface. For the first hour (or two?), we tried to catch glimpses of the sharks in predatory mode and potentially see a few breachings. I have so much respect now for the marine videographers and Blue Planet/Planet Earth crews; we never caught sight of a full breaching, and we towed the decoy seal behind us for a long time and never really got a bite. They must have spent days out on the water just watching the little fake seal bobbing in the water and hoping to get the right shot. We saw a couple of sharks try and go after seals. I didn’t get any good pictures, but I saw them really well. One kind of just stuck its head out of the water for no reason, another flashed its fins while it was attacking, and the best was when out of nowhere one came completely out of the water only about fifteen feet away from the boat! That was amazing!!!

Finally, we were asked who wanted to get into the cage, and I volunteered to go in first. I had to ask myself what in the hell I was doing, but I didn’t know how long the sharks were going to stick around so I wanted to get in. So I was in the first group to get in, and I stayed in until the end, almost an hour and a half! The other people came and went out of the cage, but since there were so few people who actually wanted to go in, I got to stay in for as long as I wanted!

The water was a wonderfully balmy 59°F (please not the sarcasm). It actually didn’t feel that cold; I kind of got used to it. After taking forever to get into our already damp wetsuits (which I discovered are extremely difficult to get on when they haven’t fully dried), we dropped into the cage. By far the most horrible and frustrating part was the cage itself. It was a pretty choppy day, with four to five meter swells, so I quickly gave up on using the snorkel. If I even tried to go underwater a little bit, the snorkel would fill up with water. Decided to just hold my breath when I went under. Also because of the waves, it was so hard to be in the cage itself. I was constantly being jostled, ramming into the cage bars or suddenly getting slammed to the surface. I’m definitely going to have some bruises!

Rough seas!

Rough seas ahead!

Other than that, it was an absolutely incredible experience. During that hour and a half, I started to develop a technique of keeping myself underwater and timing when to get air. There were about five major moments of seeing the sharks come around us. It was breathtaking. They don’t look nearly as horrible underwater as they do when they are breaching. Great Whites are so majestic and beautiful and frightening all at the same time. And I loved going underwater. It was so silent and it was perfect. Even though sometimes there was nothing in the water around me, I felt so at peace. One time a shark was heading straight up for the surface and showed me it big white belly, another came straight across the front of the cage to inspect the bait we had out. There was also a piece of bait that was deeper in the water and not on the surface. A shark came right underneath us and ate it! I was so happy that I had stayed in the water the entire time. I got to see every shark that came by, and that was exactly what I had hoped to do. It may seem silly, but this is definitely up there with the lion encounter as one of my favorite experiences during my time abroad. I went shark-cage diving in one of the best places in the world to see Great Whites! AHHHH!!! I loved it!!! I would absolutely do it again in a heartbeat.

Here fishy

Here fishy

IMG_0304

 

Oh hey!!!

Oh hey!!!

IMG_0318

Back at Cocoa Wah Wah, having an iced coffee and an omelet because my apartment is kind of crazy. Apparently the manager of the building decided that finals week was a good time to redo the tiling in our main stairwell. You know, the stairwell that shares the entire length of the wall of our apartment. Banging, jackhammers. It was frustrating when I was trying to study. Now it’s just annoying! Argh!!

So I had my first exam yesterday, and it was for the history class. I did not go crazy overload with the studying, and I’m so glad I didn’t. One thing that’s good about UCT is that they provide online past exam papers for the classes. So I was able to look at four past tests, and three out of four of them had almost the exact same questions. I had a good idea of which ones would be repeated—Xhosa cattle killing, slavery, and iconography of the Khoi. I made outlines of essays for those, and literally word for word, the exact same questions appeared on the test yesterday. Pretty easy. Although the set-up was kind of stressful. The test, along with a bunch of other classes’ tests, was in the big sports center. In the first area, there were three exams happening, mine and two others. They had set up over 500 desks and chairs in rows where we sat for two hours. When I first saw it, I almost ran away!

Enough about exams, because they are just a pain. Last week was an interesting week to say the least. Last Wednesday was my last day in Manenberg with SHAWCO. Overall, it’s kind of been a mixed-bag experience (something that seems to describe a lot of things at UCT). It felt so disorganized to me, but of course I’m kind of hyper-sensitive about things like that. Half the time it was like, “Okay, we’re here, this is what we kind of have planned, but you can work it out on your own.” One week we tried to show the younger kids a movie—bad idea to begin with because they don’t even sit still long enough to watch it. Also, we decided to show them Cars 2, but it was neither in English or Afrikaans. It was in some kind of Russian language, so that seemed kind of pointless as well. One time I had to work with the 8th and 9th graders, and they have them do some exercises on the computers. Most of the time, these kids just guess the answers until they get a 60% or above so they can move on to games. I was trying to help this one girl with some basic algebra; I tried to teach her how the problem could be solved, writing the process down and showing her. But she still had trouble adding six and six or doing four minus eight. I had to count it out on my fingers. Maybe this was just a specific problem with this one girl, but I did not understand why SHAWCO was attempting to teach these kids algebra or trigonometry when their math skills are still at such a lower level.

The best part of it has definitely been the younger kids. I absolutely love seeing them every week, and even though I sometimes don’t want to go, once I’m there, I love it. I’ve worked mostly with the second and third graders, and there are three girls that I got really close with: Cassidy, Kim, and Tamia. They are absolutely hilarious and sweet. They love to run around though, especially when it’s time to play On-on (tag). I pull out some of my tricks: pretending to twist my ankle or finding a cool “bug” to get them to come close so I can grab them and tickle them. These are the same girls I taught Crocadiley Oh My to, which they always want to play now. I brought my camera on the last day, and they went absolutely crazy with it! They didn’t want so much to have pictures of themselves taken; they were far more excited to take the pictures. I had more of a hard time saying goodbye than they did!

Me, Kim, and Tamia

Me, Kim, and Tamia

After that, I said to myself, “Hey, tomorrow’s the last day of classes. I don’t have any work. Let me rent a movie or two.” Needed money so I went to the ATM. Denied. Tried again. Denied. Ran home to find a message from dad that I had “taken” $500 out of my account. Wrong. So I had a major freak out session. I have been so careful with my card, or so I thought. I haven’t ever let it out of my sight. Apparently, someone was able to not only get the numbers from my card but also my pin number. Which is crazy. Spent an hour on the phone with a Schwab agent going over transactions. Thankfully I have some of my mother’s tendencies, and I had kept all of my receipts over the past two months. It’s turned out okay, I’m getting reimbursed, and a new debit card should be arriving today or tomorrow. It’s just been upsetting and incredibly inconvenient. Thank goodness for Ida Cooper, my program director. She’s such a sweet lady. I had to fax a few things to the bank, and she immediately came over to pick me up. She bought me dinner and even lent me money. Felt so nice to have her there to help and comfort me!

Not much else to say. I have no desire to study…ah well.

So I haven’t written about my experiences in Cape Town in quite a while; April and May have been super crazy with work. Bleh…

Last day of classes is Thursday!!! Woohoo!! Yes, I have my first exam next Wednesday, BUT I’M STILL EXCITED!! I also just finished my last paper for my classes, thank the lord. School-wise, things have been somewhat annoying, labor-intensive, all of the above. My project for theatre went up on April 25th and went super well. Basically, very long story somewhat short, we went from a puppet concept to a history of technology/media concept. We (and by we, I mean I) made a ten-minute long video montage of the changes technology has gone through. We kind of wanted to show how much our lives have become obsessed with everything online and on screens. We did still use shadows, two of the girls in my group, Tarha and Wendy, performed behind the screen interacting with the images. It had kind of been an extremely frustrating project, mainly because it was something that we were working towards the entire semester, and it took us awhile to come up with a concrete script and movements. At one point, our teacher told us if he graded it at that point, it would have been a 4 out of 10…woof. But we pulled it together, and it came out really well. What’s great about being an actor or performer and working on something like this is that moment when you finally have an audience! An audience that reacts extremely differently from the self-described eastern European professor who is not easily impressed. And we got a 73%, which, when converted to the US grading system, is something like an A-. Yesssss.

What else, what else? History has not been fun. Sometimes I have to pat myself on the back for actually going to almost every single class. The lecturer for the second half of the semester has been a bit better, not as dry. And he actually uses powerpoints instead of overhead projectors!! But everything in his presentations is in CAPITAL LETTERS. I guess the information is REALLY IMPORTANT…

Archaeology has been okay. I really enjoy the class, and I’m so glad I took it because there is absolutely nothing like it at BC. I had to write a big research paper on the origins of human behavior, but at least it was interesting! So much easier to write about something you like. Today though I had my practical exam. So besides having lectures four times a week, there is also a two-hour practical (basically a lab) period. Go look at objects, learn about the differences between sheep and springbok bones, learn how to determine the age of a bovid from its skull and teeth, which let me tell you smell absolutely awful. So we’ve had ten practicals over the past thirteen weeks, and today we had the test. Never in my life did I think I would be studying the different types of stone tools—there are a ton, and some of them have such minute variations. It might have been somewhat enjoyable to study for the test if it wasn’t so stressful. There were thirty-six stations laid out for us, each with a different artifact—stone tool, teeth, ostrich egg shell beads, bladelets. We had fifty seconds at each station to determine what kind of artifact it was, how old it was, and what time period it was from. Not so fun. At all…we’ll see what happens.

It’s starting to become fall here. The weather’s a bit cooler—not by much since there’s still been days where the temperature gets up to 80. For some reason though, our apartment has gotten way colder. I finally relented and started using my space heater—after seeing an episode of SVU where a family dies because of a space heater catching fire, I had been reluctant. But I’ve been careful. Fall season here isn’t as pretty as New England—obviously. The leaves do turn color, some to a deep red, others to a very dull yellow. But it seems like as soon as they change color, they immediately fall off the trees. There have been a couple of days where I’ve been out for a walk and it has just felt like the perfect fall day—the temperature, the blue sky, that smell. Made me really excited for autumn back home. Apple-picking, and maybe if I’m crazy enough, I’ll organize a trip with friends to Salem!

Oh, my apartment’s getting sold. Oh lordy. Landlord sent an email to us about a month ago saying that she had decided to sell the apartment. I guess I wasn’t too surprised, considering the fact that I haven’t seen her since February. Real-estate agent has been bringing people around, and I’ve been crazy enough to self-designate myself as the liaison between him and me and my roommates. Why I bring these things on myself, I have no idea. He’s brought so many people over. A couple of offers have been made, so hopefully people will stop bothering us. J

I’m really realizing how hard it is to be in such an amazing city and have to worry about homework and studying. Last weekend, one of my dad’s colleagues from BC was in town for a conference, so Saturday morning I had a very early breakfast with her at the Hilton. We finished by 9am, and I walked to Green Market Square, the major flea market in Cape Town. They were just opening up so the two people I bought things from gave me a “first customer” discount! A little disappointing though to see some of the same things I bought in Zimbabwe for sale here. I still spent all the cash I had on me…whoops. After doing a little shopping, I walked to the station where all the minibuses gather and took one back to my apartment. Discovered two things. The first is that sometimes waking up super early isn’t so bad—I “accomplished” so much by 10:30am!! Second discovery is that it’s so nice to just have the time to relax, take a breath, and explore. My last exam is the 31st, which means I have nine days before I leave to do just that. Definitely looking forward to it, since there’s a plethora of things I want to do.

Other than that, I think that’s about it. I’m really excited to come home. I miss my parents, I miss my friends, I miss feeling comfortable taking the train alone at 10:30pm, and so many other little things. It’s beautiful here, but I think I’m ready. Also oddly excited about spending 25 hours travelling home. Long flights are such a great excuse to relax, read, do crossword puzzles, and watch movies. I’m weird, I know. Now that classes are over, hopefully the blog will get updated more!

Anecdotes:

  • Kak=another word for sh*t
  • My Riggin genes came in handy today. I bought a UCT sweatshirt five days ago, wore it around the apartment and then washed it, following directions mind you. Lettering started coming off. I go to the shop, they originally tell me they won’t take it back because it wasn’t “their fault.” I find another sweatshirt on the racks in the store that is beginning to have the same deterioration of the lettering. I show manager, I get exchange. YESS! I have learned to state my case pretty well I would say.
  • On two Mondays, something great has happened. I’m coming home from class and I have to go through this underpass between Upper and Middle campus. As I exit the tunnel, there is this security guard who makes my day so much better. When he sees me, he says, “How’s this angel doing?” I say, “Good, thanks. How about you?” “Oh, glad to be alive miss. You have a great day.” I smile all the way home.
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