RAWR

So Imma backtrack a bit.

Last Friday I went to Johannesburg Lions Park, and I had a blast. I went with Hannah, Hanna, Kat, and Marion. We went on an hour tour to see the reserve. We saw Impalas, Wildebeests, Springboks, Ostrich, Zebras, Lions, Cheetahs, Wild Dogs, and giraffes! Then we got to pet cubs and feed giraffes! SOO COOL. Then we had lunch on the lawn of Mug and Beans. Scary chickens were running loose around us. Kat asked the waiter if those chickens were what they killed for their food. He nervously laughed and walked away.

Monday was my first exam. It was for Sociology 310. IT WAS CRUEL. So apparently the United States is the only country who doesn’t make all their exams written. I have never taken a written exam before over one question. I don’t think I did well, but I wrote 6.5 pages so hopefully something good happened in that mess.

Last night I went with a lot of girl to see the movie Lobola. SO CUTE. and funny. And I loved it. And I recognized a lot of the places in it.

I am studying this weekend for an exam in International Relations. Bluck.

On a brighter note, Daphne just came home and surprised me with a Flower! HOW NICE.

Photo on 3-8-13 at 3.45 PM

Anotha Update.

Its 3am. Why am I awake? Hmpf. 8am will come too soon. Well, I feel as if I should make an update even though I haven’t really done much recently. Its all been hectic and confusing, and so I have really just been napping a lot. Classes are getting better. I finally have a permanent schedule so I’m trying to get into the swing of things. The whole set up of University here is just so different.

Hmmm.. let me think if I have done anything funnnn recently….
OH. Sunday, I went to Park Acoustics which is a festival that is held at the end of every month at Voortrekker Monument. I met the South Africans, Alice and Alex, who lived up to their very kind reputation. They brought two huge tents so we were all able to just kick back and enjoy the music from above. WE EVEN HAD A BREEZE. WUT. I wouldn’t be against going again sometime.

Monday in my religion class I made a new friend! Her name is Tamara. She is from Swaziland. She even hugged me goodbye today. Very nice. I’m just really excited about it because even though I am taking courses with all students, its difficult to make friends with other people (besides all of the wonderful people at Tuksdorp).

And Tuesday, a few of the girls from Tuksdorp did a workshop to learn Ikebana in the Kado Sanguetsu school. Its hard to explain but basically you have a theme (ours was heart) and you arrange flowers in a vase that match that theme. So we all made one that reflected our hearts. It was interesting to hear all the explanations at the end. Also, I finally met the infamous Melba. So that was exciting.

But honestly, the week days are similar to those at home. Class. Eat. Class. Sleep. Stare at homework. Occasionally go out to the movie or dinner. Sleep. Whine about not having done homework. Eat ice cream. Sleep. Sit in a circle and talk about nothing for 2 hours. Sleep.
I think you get it. But only like 3 weeks until Break! SO I HOPE I GET TO PLAN SOMETHING AWESOME TO DO. There’s just so many options. If I get that extra scholarship, maybe I can extend my trip and extra week and do some more traveling. Who knows?

Anyways. I know this was an exciting post. It took 5 minutes to write. So now its 3:05am and my eyes hurt and I have to Pee. Night, y’all.

The All Important Courses..

I have survived my first week of courses here at the University of Pretoria. Maybe its cheating, considering I don’t have class on Fridays but I like it that way. Its kind of exhausting starting back to school after 2 months of break, but I am starting to get the hang of things. I am a bit worried because I am not enrolled in the courses I have been attending. They only allow you to change your schedule once, on February 22nd. It really doesn’t make any sense to me, but what can I do?! So fingers crossed that these classes won’t all fill up before I am able to enroll in them. I feel like in most cases here, international students are exempt from the norm and are allowed to do whatever. Seriously. So I’ll give you a few deets about each of my classes thus far.

1.) Cultural History 310- So far its boring. But the teacher is very nice, and all but 2 people in the class are from Tuksdorp which is pretty funny. We’ve been talking about how Cultural History came to be (Props to Da Germans), and thats it really. The Prof. even admitted it to be boring at first, but she promises it will get better.

2.) History 210- All about Africa, which is perfect. Except that the classroom is a sauna. Literally, I am drenched in my sweat after 5 minutes. The Prof. seems like a nice man- not one to entertain though, but I am okay with that. He’s made a few jokes about Americans, but what he said was sad but true so Im not offended. I am supposed to read Heart of Darkness for this class by next week and I refuse. We’ve just been discussed intro stuff about pre-colonialism and all the jazz. Its a bit of a review from my Soc. of Africa class from last semester with Doctor Bass, but thats alright.

3.) International Relations 310- This is going to be my most difficult and intense course. This woman means business. Shes actually quite funny, but in a dry way. The first day of class she yelled at everyone who was late, and refused to let people in class late the next day. The first module is about International Law, so that’ll be good. She’s really expecting a lot of us which is nice but scary at the same time. She reminds me a bit of Prof. McGonagall.

4.) Sociology 310- Hilarious Professor. The class is always laughing, but you can tell he really knows his stuff. The first module is Urban and Rural Sociology, so it has a focus on South Africa. This is the point of taking the class of course, but sometimes its hard to follow because I don’t know what he is referencing. I am probably more excited about the second module which is on Social Movements, but I like it anyways.

5.) Religion 310- I honestly don’t know what to think about this class. We haven’t received a syllabus yet so Im not sure what to expect. And in class we have only talked about signs and sacraments. He’s nice though. BUT. I JUST. I NEED SOME INFO.

So thats that.

In other news, have you all heard about the Paralympian Superstar, Oscar Pistorius? He shot his girlfriend four times, and its just awful.  It happened here in Pretoria and he was a hero here, so everyone is quite upset. His poster is even hanging in the student gym! We talked about it a bit in my Soc. class and ugh. It just hurts my heart.

But on a happier not,
For Valentines Day last night all the International Girls of Tuksdorp (there’s about 20) had a pizza party! We also did a Secret Valentine gift exchange which was nice. Every time someone gave their gift, the two would hug and it was so cute. It was just a really nice night. This kind of thing doesn’t happen often in life- people from all over the world, celebrating a silly holiday in order to get to know each other more and have a good time in a strange place. I ruv it! Also, its incredible how popular American music is. I mean, really.

My Housemates!

DSCN0468

Holiday

I have been awful at updating this blog. ALREADY. I just get so bored and lazy I don’t want to do anything but sit on the porch, eating a juicy peach and reading a book… or sit in my room with the fan pointed on my face because this heat can be killer. I just got back from the movies. The cinema is only a short walk from here and its fairly new movies for only 22 R which is about 2.50$. You better believe I will be at the movies ALL THE TIME. Right now RAG is happening. RAG (Reach Out and Give) is a student volunteer group, and the procession today includes shutting down roads and having a parade. Its then drinking time. From noon until 3am. The road outside of my house is filled with people tailgating and getting drunk and being extremely loud which started at like 10:30-11am. Apparently well known South African DJs will be playing tonight in the “Square” and many dance parties will ensue. Ill probably head over in a few hours to check it out. There’s just ALL DA PEOPLE.

The most important news though is that 4 days ago Hannah had her baby and now I am Auntie Em. I couldn’t be more happy. I’m sad that I won’t be holding her as a newborn, but I know we will be close later on. Hannah has been so good about updating me on everything and sending me so many pictures. She finally sent me one of Layla Bug crying yesterday and it was hilarious. Hopefully soon I will be able to Skype Layla and then we can take our very first picture together. So Presh.

Last week I was able to go on holiday to the Wild Coast with some other International Students here. I went with Lisan, Cannelle, and Daphne from my house, and Christa from house 6. First we took the Greyhound to the bustling city of Durban. It was so exciting because South Africa had just won against… Angola I think? in the Afcon. There was so much traffic because the police had to shut down a road because everyone was celebrating. I wish we did stuff like that in America. Unfortunately, South Africa, days later lost against Mali so they wont be in the finals tomorrow. We stayed at the Happy Hippo Hostel which was bright and colorful- and even had a bar on the roof! I spent most of my time on the balcony because it felt so nice, especially when it rained. We stayed there for 3 nights. Some of things we did was visit the Indian Spice Market, roam the streets for like ever, went to UShaka Marine World, looked around a museum about the era of Apartheid and the mandatory pass books that all blacks had to have- less they face imprisonment or banishment, ate bomb Indian food, had a picnic in the grass. We also enjoyed the wind from the beach and just good conversation.

DSCN0074Street

Then off to Coffee Bay! The most relaxing of our destinations. As we hoped off the shuttle at the Coffee Shack, Cindy greeted us and gave us the grand tour and afterward treated us to a Welcome Drink. The atmosphere of this place was amazing. It was all outside- the tables, the bar, etc. And I stayed in Rond Thatched Hut. Everyone was drinking, listening to music, laughing, and having a great time. The Hostel took a group trip to this big hill where we watched the sun set and we had a beautiful view of the beach, and of course I treated myself to a Savannah Dry. Nom Nom Nom. Then the Mamas showed up (two local women) and sold us some of their homemade jewelry. They were so silly and sweet. Before dinner some of the local girls danced and sung for us. AND THEN WE FEASTED. We met a lot of interesting people. Like the Australian man and his English girlfriend who are traveling before moving to Australia together to go to school. And then the HILARIOUS American Lesbian married couple. Every time they opened their mouths I was in tears. The next day we just hung out on the beach. It was a lazy day. Ate and talked. It was nice. The next morning before leaving we ran into the other group of girls from Tuksdorp who were just arriving. So nice to see them.

BAM
Then we took a local taxi cab to the stop where another shuttle would take us to Bulungula. Local transport won’t go to Bulungula because the roads are that bad. The Taxi driver turned up the music loud to Nikki Minaj, Beyonce, and Usher. I sat and watched the hills roll by as more and more people packed into the taxi. We were like sardines. The shuttle was late by 2 hours which was frustrating. BUT we got to meet this 17 year old guy who dreams of studying at Harvard and becoming an astronaut. Very confident and ambitious. I hope to see him in the media some day. Then the shuttle arrived and the roads really were that bad. Everyone got sick but me, but thats because the driver asked me to sit up front for 1/2 of the ride. We talked about Obama and he tried to teach me some Xhosa, but I am horrible at clicking. We arrived at Bulungula, and it was instantly my most favorite place in the world. It reminds me of the Shire- even though they are really quite different. Rolling green hills, roaming cattle, round huts, a view of the beach. *Sigh* They had compost toilets and paraffin lit showers which was amazing and scary and smelly and incredible.

KAK

We didnt do much the first night but eat and chill. The next day we did Women Power. We went to a local woman’s hut and she painted our faces to protect it from the sun. We then fetched water from the spring and carried it on our heads (I WAS THE BEST). We gathered fire wood and also carried it on our heads. Then she made us a traditional Xhosa meal of rice, cabbage, and potatoes. Then we went horseback riding on the beach and through trees and on the beautifully green hills. Everyone else went galloping but apparently I had the crazy satan uncontrollable horse so I opted out and was led back to the lodge with a little boy who was actually quite afraid of the horses.

Boy

Then me and Lisan walked the beach for like an hour and half. And I really don’t know how to accurately describe that. But I literally felt like I could stay forever. I never wanted to leave. I hope to visit again. Also I made best friends with their cat and we had a photo shoot. Here’s a glimpse.

CatCat3

Our last stop was East London. We stayed at the Sugar Shack. Our door wouldn’t lock. It rained. And we ate dinner with a crying baby. But it was nice. We visited a lovely Art Gallery and another museum about paleolithic fish. We also went to a small aquarium which was so small that my heart hurt for the animals. Especially the seals and turtles. Then we tooked a 14 hour bus ride back to Pretoria. It was so good to be back. I had only stayed in Tuksdorp a week but it already felt like home.

School starts in two days. So hopefully that goes well and I live to tell you all about it.

IM HERE- First Day

I step off the plane, and once Chandler meets up with me we head to baggage claim. Then we see Norman, our shuttle driver, holding up a sign with our names on it. This has never happened before so I felt fancy. He was great. As we pull out onto the road and I smell that beautiful South African air, I look up and see a billboard that says SEX TRADERS on it real big along with a website to visit. It just made me laugh, okray?

So far I have 3 roommates. Cannelle from France, and Lisan and Daphne from the Netherlands. I think I will have 1 more though. Everything here makes me laugh. Like the bathroom with the sink and tub, and how its separate from the Toilet and shower (which has no sink). I will put up some pics eventually. Anyways. I haven’t changed clothes in two days so I am off to finish unpacking and then to shower (did I mention there is no hot water?)

Edit: I ended up sleeping for 5 hours because I was so tired. Apparently people were looking for me but Oops. Then many international students went to Chandlers and had a BBQ. It was fun! So many different people here. Then me and my roommates went back and talked for an hour or so on the porch. It was nice. I guess thats something they love doing all the time. Its nice, but different from what I am used too. If they didn’t ask I would probably just go sit in my room and read. BUT IM BEING SOCIAL THIS SEMESTER. Anyways. Today is orientation. Its like an all day thing starting at 8:30am. Its so loud here that its 6am and I am already awake. SO. Gross. but YES. Today will be productive and I will learn many things.

London Heathrow

Having mixed feelings about this airport. ITS HUGE. And me and Chandler got lost. And security hated her. And I got cranky. But all the accents and beautiful people. And this sandwich with cranberry. My flight to JoBurg leaves in two hours. About 10 hours of misery and then South Africa. And hopefully nap time. I have yet to cry. Its impressive. I’m impressive.

One More Weekk

Excited.

 

But sick.
I hope my cough ends soon, or a whole plane full of people are going to hate me.

12 days until Lift Off, Bon Voyage, Tchao.

I am about two weeks away from my trip to South Africa. I will be studying there for 5 months. I apologize now for all grammar and spelling mistakes (and there will be many). I am not sure yet if I will update frequently, but I spent some time with a friend tonight and he told me that I should journal in some way. I am pretty stoked about leaving America for a bit but I am also reluctant to leave for a few reasons (a friend is graduating,  sister having her first baby, etc). I still have so much to do to prepare for the trip, but I am so overwhelmed I keep putting it off! Fortunately, I am very lucky to have a friend like Kasey! We went to dinner tonight and he helped me get so much more excited for what is to come. Despite my indecisiveness we had a great time– or at least I did! He is so thoughtful and even bought me two books to take with me on the plane for entertainment. Too Funny!  That is what the following picture is from. The bow was wrapped around the books because Kasey is Mr. Fancy Pants, and I couldn’t leave it out because its fantastic! SO YUP! This is my blog. Wish me luck on it. I got a camera for Christmas so maybe I can do some of that on here as well! Who knows?!? Tootles y’all.

Photo on 1-8-13 at 9.11 PM #2

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