Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Blog Abandoned

Hello all six people who follow, or were following my blog. I apologize sincerely for not being on here in however longs its been...which is reallly long. I took to writing in a physical journal, several of them, and trying to save money by not going on the internet as much. Consequently, this blog went unattended for some time.

My apologies.

A lot. A lot has happened since I last wrote. I'm not sure how long it was, but I had a birthday here in Cape Town, one of the best ones of my life I'd have to say. I spent the night at a popular club at the top of the ABSA building in the city bowl called "hemisphere". There I rang in 21, and then went home to start my first twenty four hours of my 21st year. I spent the day at a book store down town with my friend Kate. We had coffee and talked for a few hours, then headed back. When i got home, all my friends and housemates from the area came over for a potluck dinner for my birthday. After dinner we did the birthday tradition Sarah Gatti introduced into my life a few years ago. It was incredible. I had an awesome time.

Life here as sped up academically, and that is most definitely the most frustrating part. It's really hard to do everything you want to do while having 4000 word essays due on subjects you don't really care about. The problem is you'll spend hours and hours churning out a really bad paper, turn it in, and get an A. It ends up feeling utterly worthless because there is absolute not gratification. It feels like wasted hours.

Financially things are frustrating. I don't know if I wrote about Spring Break at all. I don't think I did. That is a post all on its own, which I'll have to get to soon, but that tweleve days of my life drained my bank account significantly and left me with a very frugal life style for the remaining two months. I have been spending my money on coffee, groceries, and transportation only as of late. In some ways it is very exciting, a new challenge, in others it is frustrating, because one wants to make the most of the last few weeks here, and doing so is hard on a limited budget. Luckily, I have friends who are very resourceful and fun for is does not generally require a lot of cash. In addition, the slight complication has forced me to give myself a lot of the alone time I've craved to try and process much of what is going on this semester.

Which is a lot.

I have alot more to write about and will come back soon.
The topics shall include:

-spring break
-CHOSA, my volunteer project
-climbing table mountain
-trip to observatory
-saturdays at Old Biscuit Mill
-the seminar I've been taking here through ciee
-poetry class and the many references to american media
-the impact american rap music has had on many people's perceptions of the states from this vantage point.

etc etc
there is so much more

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Long time gone

I am so sorry I haven't been here in so long. There are always a million and one things to do and there never seems to be enough time to do it all. going to class, reading for class, meeting people for lunch, catching up with people, calling home, writing home, volunteering, working out, waking up on time, eating dinner with the house, making my way to the dorms or to lesley's homestay, going out, etc. This is not me complaining. I would take these issues any day. This is just why I have been absent.

I want to update on the gay pride parade but I don't have much time to sit down and write it all out now, so instead I'm going to jot down this list of things that i've noticed are different here...I wrote this during an african lit and language lecture the other day and i'm sure i'll add to it later:

-paying for plastic bags at the grocery causes you to bring your own out of necessity...the states should try this if they really want to go green

-specifying if you want tap or bottled water, sparking or still everywhere

-when you ring out at a register they don't give you your total, there is a little screen that says what you owe and the employee will literally stare at you until you hand over the money, there's no "and your total is..." or "and your change is..." you just have to pay attention

-you never tip more than 10% here and you hardly ever tip cab drivers

-sarcasm is different, apparently...this is what my housemate Ken from Kenya tells me...i'll investigate more

-this is the most racist place on earth...and i'm starting to see it more and more
(the platforms at our local train station are stil relatively segregated...not legally of course...just socially)

-they say 'its a pleasure' instead of 'your welcome'

-they say 'cheers' instead of 'goodbye'

-the accent sounds very dutch/english/australian

-there are Obama t-shirt everywhere

-they don't sell a lot of regular, filtered coffee, it's either instant or some form of espresso. and when you order a regular filter coffee you must specify warm or cold, cream or milk

-there is a ton of avocado, everywhere, also they don't serve shrimp, they serve prawns

-the phrase "TIA...This is Africa" from blood diamond is used...i think that may not be that common...but we say it a lot and so do our RAs who are locals

hmm, that's it for now...i'll update soon:)

Friday, February 27, 2009


tomorrow morning I am getting up early to get breakfast and then head to the pride parade in down town cape town. stay tuned for more.

update on events coming.
I am sitting here in my living room after an average friday night here in cape town. I went out to dinner with some of my housemates (brian, ellen and julia) and then met some others when we got there.
I think I've gained social anxiety as I've gotten older, because I don't remember ever being this worried about making friends. However, since I've arrived in South Africa, and have found myself living with seventeen other Americans and two Africans, I have grown incredibly aware and concerned with people's opinions of me. I was only recently able to personally admit that I spend no more than two minutes in the presence of most of my housemates because of my fear of hitting a social wall in conversation. A drunk version of myself admitted this fact to one them over dinner this evening. It proved to be one of the funniest interactions I've had in a long time.

Seems she didn't think it was awkward at all. Instead, she thought my honesty was great, and turns out it paid off. Who knew. Go Africa.


my SOLmate Ken, was talking about eating the other day. We were on our way to Mizoli's Meat, which is an outdoor African meat restaurant in the townships. He said, "no, no, you just eat it with your hands. There aren't forks and knives and all that, you just use your fingers, and you all eat out of the same bowl...It tastes better. There's something about it, all of you eating with your hands. I don't know, it's just how we do it in Africa."

Mizoli's was incredible. And yes, we all ate with our hands out of one huge platter of lamb or chicken. We found our way to the makeshift bathroom in the corner of the lot (that made up the restaurant) and washed our hands afterwards. I had to wash my face too because apparently when I get excited, I get food on my forehead. Who knew.

Friday, February 20, 2009

what i think of kate and lesley while sitting next to them in cocoa wah wah on a friday afternoon

Kate is my friend from Cornell. I'm presuming she's intelligent because she goes there. she is on the shorter side, probably five three or so...with short blond hair and fiercely blue eyes. she went on a coffee date with this boy from Princeton the other night. she likes fathers. she and i share the same music library and appreciate the bird and the bee (that's a group, get your mind out of the gutter).

Lesley is me. essentially. she and i both love self deprecating humor. she has a mac book and loves cocoa mint crushes. she taught me the yeti call. Lesley does not like fathers. but she likes her own. she looks rockin in gladiator sandals. she is going to wear a navy racer back dress to my 21st birthday party. she has a really loud laugh and we finish pitchers of margaritas together at the fat cactus restaurant on Thursday nights. then we both go home alone. she taught herma, her host mother to use the phrase, "shut the front door." she also says "you're a crazy minx" a lot.

the end.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


The other night I was sitting on the couch that has recently been relocated to our back porch. I was in the midst of our first house party (Elsa and the awesomeAWESOMES had just performed. Sveen wore nothing more than a horizontally striped pair of briefs. He did some jumping jacks and tumbles while rapping and singing and drumming…in the horizontally striped briefs). My friend Thapz, a black South African from Joburg was talking to my friends Lesley, Sarah and I. He said he knew a girl from our program a few semesters ago who was coming back to Africa in a few months. He said she wanted to live here. She “has an African heart,” he said.
I went to bed about an hour later wondering what that meant, to have an African heart. And conversely, what does it mean to have an American heart? Do I have either? Do I have the heart of a country I’ve never even been to?
The possibility of being rooted in a place without even knowing it. Would this girl have known that she had an “African heart” if she hadn’t come to Africa? How do you know? How do I know anything like that… How do you place such a huge part of yourself in a geographical location…