Saturday, March 14, 2009

March 11-14

It's been an interesting last couple of days. Honestly, a string of really bad days. Wednesday roles around...the day our group project is due for my crime and deviance in south African cities class. Laura, Katrina and I are all in a group with 3 other south Africans, David, Haseenah and Langa. We had split the project up into sections where the 3 of us did parts A and B, David did C and D and Haseenah and Langa were to do the powerpoint and works cited page. So all of the parts were done, A B C and D and they were sent to Haseenah to be put altogether in order to do the powerpoint. Wed. roles around...Katrina, Laura and I are laying by the pool in between classes and we decide to give our dear friend Haseenah a call to make sure she got everything printed out. She decides to inform us an hour and a half before class that she A) hadn't put everything together and B) needed us to print it out and make a cover page. This begins our downward spiral. So the 3 of us rush to the computer lab to get everything put together...mind you David for some reason did not receive our email 2 nights before with what we had written so he just put down his POV on the topic without seeing what we had written. Therefore, the paper didn't make too much sense. THEN we take a gander at the wonderful powerpoint dearest Haseenah put together. Needless to say, it's shit. There are a ridiculous amount of grammatical errors and there are full paragraphs on there that were not even mentioned in the paper. We get to class and are fuming the entire way through. Once class ends we have a group meeting about the terrible project we are about to hand in. Our friend Langa, mind you, didn't show up for class. We later learned that he was working. Nice. The situation basically ended up with me and Laura confronting Haseenah about the shitty work that she barely did in front of the professor. I have never done that in front of a prof before, but this was warranted. All the annoyance and running around to put this together doesn't translate into writing like I would like it to, but hopefully you get the point of frustration. I then have to write 2 papers that night...

Thursday was going well UNTIL i decided to make the really amazing decision of getting a haircut. I went to the Cavendish mall, which is in a little suburb 5 mins away from us called Claremont. I tell the woman exactly what I want...only a trim and whatever else I wanted done to my hair. She then proceeds to chop my hair off. I can honestly say that she took off at least 2 and a half inches. That may not seem like much but if you knew how short my hair was before, its really damn short now. I know, I know, it's only hair, but to me it is important and it only added to my terrible day before. By Thursday night all I wanted to do was be home sitting around with my family. It was the first time in a long time I felt homesick. 

Today (saturday 14th) was much better though!! Last night we didn't go out because interstudy had planned a full day for us today. We were out of the mowbray mansions by 7:45 this morning to head to the District 6 museum. This area used to be filled with blacks, colored people and whites. Basically, in the 60's the govt. said that all the black and colored families had to get out so they literally bulldozed their houses down and that's when they moved them to the all black and colored townships. It was crazy to see pictures of what District 6 looked like when there were streets, apartments and houses everywhere versus what it looks like now...tons of grassy, run down areas. Once apartheid ended some of the blacks and colored people moved back, but it didn't happen with too many families. 
Next we went to the Langa township, which is one of the biggest in CT. We did a walking tour through it and stopped in a couple of the formal and informal living quarters. When townships were first implemented, the govt split up men from women and children. Their driving idea behind this was to keep the black and colored people from procreating. They thought that if men and women weren't together, they obviously couldn't have more children. Pretty messed up. So the formal home we went into had 3 rooms with 3 beds on one side and 3 rooms with 3 beds on the other side (18 men altogether). Once the govt. let families join back together, there ended up being 3 entire families living in one bedroom. Say there were 5 people to a family...90 people living in TINY quarters. Now, there is 1 family to a room. Still a ton of people living in a very small space. The informal housing is shacks. People have taken container bins and made them into their homes. Who knows how many people live in those...again, terrible conditions and small living space. We got to play with a lot of the kids who were so adorable and exciting to see us and play. Overall though, the experience made me feel plain and simply, weird. Our group had driven in in a coach bus, walked around with our cameras and tour guide, saw the abysmal housing these people live in, played with the kids for 20 mins then left in our coach bus again. It made me feel terrible and uncomfortable. Ideally, I would want to go back there with 1 or 2 people at most but that's just not possible. I would get raped without a doubt and robbed. That's just the way it is. 
After that experience we went to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years. There's so much history on that, obviously, but I feel like I have written enough and that more people know about Mandela. To cap off my really upbeat day today, I am going to see Slumdog Millionaire hahaha

Sorry this post was somewhat depressing, but not everyday can be wonderful. I thought I would give you all a taste of some of the fucked up stuff that is real here. By the time I update next Mom and Dani will have gotten here, which i CANNOT wait for! I am in serious need of family time. We have a lot of awesome things lined up for the 10 days they are here, including a safari so next time I post I know there will be some great stories. 
Love and miss you all.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hello, hello to all. 
Big big accomplishment here in Africa: WE GOT A MICROWAVE! This is really big heres the story. When we moved into our place at Mowbray mansions (this place isn't really a mansion at all, in fact, it is quite the opposite..hence the joke) we were upset to see that we did not have a microwave. But...interstudy (our program) came through all of the apts. and said they were going to get all of our amenities in place within the next week. Welllll a week here in actuality means a month and a half apparently! So about a month into our time here, we complained to creepy landlord Andrew that we still needed a microwave. One day we come home from school and miraculously we have a microwave! Laura, Julie and I were so excited that we didn't have to walk across to our neighbors to heat up food...this was a great thing. 3 days after our microwave walked into our house, we come back from school and our microwave was gone. We didn't see creepy landlord for a couple days so Laura asked the cleaning lady a few days later if she knew where it went...she told us Andrew had taken it back. We were confused. We then confronted Andrew when we saw him in the Mowbray streets one afternoon and asked where our microwave disappeared to. Basically, it was the last tenants who had left it and if you leave something that you bought Andrew just keeps it in the apt. for the next tenants. Well I guess the previous tenant came back and wanted his stupid microwave. So now we are sitting 2 weeks post our 3 day microwave stint and finally got a permanent one! Wooo. Long story, but entertaining to say the least. 

Anywaysssss. Thursday through Saturday were unbearably hot days. The average temp was about 104 degrees. Out of control. So going to class wasn't really an option. We had a lot of pool afternoons. Thursday late afternoon Laura and I went to Long Street to do a little bit of shopping then went out to dinner at this amazing restaurant called Fork. Momma, Dani and I will def. visit it when they get here in a week! We were too tired to go out that night so we stayed in and skyped with our lovely friends and fam. 
Friday (6th): After we went to our morning classes, Laura and I headed to the pool (again.) We met this really awesome girl there from the states. A little background. Shes 23, and just moved here in October. She was working for an NGO (non-government organization) and was supposed to be here until December. That was until she fell in love with a safrican! And she has been here ever since, now working for this man at UCT (uni. of cape town.) Of course Laura and I wanted to know EVERY detail because that is our fall in love and never come home. just kiddinggg. No, but really fall in love. Now we know it happened to someone so of course it will happen to us! Friday night we went out for our friend Charlie's 21st bday. We headed to long street after where I ditched the massive group we were rolling around with and danced for 3 hours with my friends Ben, Jeremy and Lul. (other Americans on a diff. program.) I really am such a god awful dancer, thanks judaism. Oh well,  I had a great time anyways. Side note: this night was the hottest night in CT so was like bikram yoga in the nighttime air. 

Sat (7th): Laura, Julie, Aaron, Jackie, Will, Jaime and I had an amazing day. We woke up at a decent hour to go to Camp's Bay (beach) to get some sun. Of course it was 102 degrees out that day...ya know, just a cool day at the beach with no wind as well, also really great. Despite all of this...we laid in the sun for 4-5 hours, nbd. We then ate a late lunch so we could hike up Lionshead, a mountain right next to Table Mountain. We had figured out when the sunset was before we began our day so we planned accordingly. The hike took a little less than an hour and we got to a spot to see the beautiful sunset just in time. We really haven't seen any sunsets since we have been here because table mountain obstructs our view. So this was a real treat...we got some beautiful pictures. If I ever figure out how to upload pics on this blog, I will get them up here. We also got to see some great shots of all of CT. That night Laura and I were super super excited to go to bed because we were skydiving in the morning....

Sunday (8th): ....Skydiving didn't happen, it was canceled. Apparently mother nature wasn't on our side that day. Of course it was blistering hot for the previous 4 days but on this particular day, we had some really great wind blowing all through CT. They said it was too dangerous to jump (safety first kids) so we had to reschedule. Next sunday is now the day. I will be equally excited to go on that day too. Since our plans were squashed for the day, we kinda hung around the Mowbray Mansions with everyone on our program and didn't really do much.

Now its Tuesday night and I had a great accomplishment of A) going to ALL my classes the past 2 days and B) finishing my first group assignment of the semester. I don't think it will turn out too hot because the safricans in our group aren't very on top of their game. Oh well, Laura, Katrina and my part is really great. Tomorrow morning is important..I am going to get my hair cut. Hopefully this Wayde character is as good as my dear friend Aaron has informed me. 

Matt and Seth, you now must come to visit me since I am putting in on my blog. No ifs, ands or buts, it WILL happen. 
Miss you all! Happy Purim!!!!!!!


Monday, March 2, 2009

woah its march!

I cannot believe that it is already March 2nd. I feel like I just got here yesterday butttt I've been here for a month and a half....crazy how time is flying. I just want it to slow down so I don't have to go back home. (Not that I don't miss all of you but I will never experience something like this again and I'm loving it so understand hopefully.) Now that school has started the weeks are going by so so fast and it sucks. 

So classes are good when I go to them. I really have been trying my hardest to make it to lectures but the weather and the beach are doing a really great job of pulling me out of those beautiful classrooms. :). Emoticon hahahaha. They loveee those here..I'll get into that later though. Thursday night Laura, myself, and 5 other girls went to this bar called Hemisphere. It is very chic and a little bit of an older crowd. It is in Green Point (also where the new soccer stadium is for the 2010 world cup) on top of the ABSA building. ABSA is the main bank they use here. But you can see all of cape town from the bar and it is an absolutely gorgeous view. Sadly, we had to pay way too high of a cover charge and the people there were older and creepy. For some reason a lot of short men and if I thought they were short then you know they were short! We then headed to Springbok (jug night) for a nice night cap.) Julie hurt her foot that night and couldnt really walk the next morning. Sad. But a good night.

Friday I went to my morning classes then Laura, Aaron, Jaime, Jackie and I went to Clifton beach for a beautiful day in the sun. Went to La Med for lunch. We didn't go out Friday night, just kept it chill. Saturday was a full day. In the morning I went with Matt, Bronson, Owen and Jill to the farmer's market. Every saturday from 9:00 to 2:00 they have this incredible market with amazing food and taste testing. It was amazing food and day until I lost my favorite sunglasses :(. (emoticon! ahah) That kinda put a damper on the next hour. I came home and Laura Julie and I went to Cavendish (mall in Claremont) to get Julie a new camera and an external harddrive for laura. We obviously shopped around for a couple hours after. Saturday night was way fun...we had 4 of our safrican guy friends over. Georgio (Greek friend not Italian, still weird), Johno, Nick and Demetri. We wanted to teach them our american drinking games but didn't get to the liquor store for beer in time (they close at 5 on stupid) so we played some card drinking games and they loved them. Our kitchen counter also broke that night when someone was leaning on it. The landlord fixed it the next day but it was still hilarious. 

Sunday: I GOT MY BIG GIRL BED!!!!!! I had been living in a single, spring box of a bed this entire time. I finally complained because I have been getting back problems and it was probably the most uncomfortable thing I have ever laid on and the landlord got me a new double, comfortable bed! I knew I would grow up coming here. Laura, Julie and I headed with 2way travel (the travel company we are going through for all of the trips we are doing) to Mzoli's. Mzoli's is a restaurant in one of the townships about 15 mins outside of where we live. Basically its BYO everything. So you have to bring drinks, napkins, plates, silverware. All 2way brought was drinks so we had to eat with our hands which actually worked with the vibe there. It is an outdoor restaurant that only serves meat...A LOT of meat. They sit this huge bowl of meat in front of you that has chicken, steak and tons of links of sausages on top. It looks absolutely disgusting but is actually soooo good. A really yummy lunch. I almost lost my purse and all of my belongings in it though because I was an idiot and left it with someone at the table while I went to the bathroom and everyone decided to leave without my purse. Luckily it was still there when I went back! Ah...lapse of judgments...always so fun. The rest of the day I laid in my bed and enjoyed how new and big it was! 

More observations:
1. They don't have salad ANYWHERE on the damn campus. I think I am going to go into business and open a salad bar here, I feel like a lot of people would really enjoy that. I realized I'm really spoiled coming from Boulder where salad is such a main staple. Oh well...a business idea if nothing else. 2. Pedestrians don't matter. Drivers will literally hit a pedestrian instead of stopping. I thought NY was bad but now I've realized that new yorkers at least care for their dear walkers...not so much here. So note to all of you...if you ever visit here expect to get confused at the traffic coming from the opposite direction and to almost get hit by cars 5 times a day! 3. They LOVE emoticons here. Like really love them. Their favorite times to use them are in SMS's (what they call text messaging.) It still makes me laugh when I am texting with a safrican and they will use lol or :) or ;) in their texts. I always make fun of people that do that at home because its just so stupid and corny but EVERYONE uses them here...its not the lame thing to do. Weird. Laura and I have been having a lot of fun trying to keep up with them and sound really safrican in our texts. 

That is all for now. I miss you all still. Momma and Dani come so soon and I can't wait!