\Day 1, Monday May 14, 2012:
After over 24 hours of air travel, too many airplane meals, and some serious jet-lag, we FINALLY made it to Stellenbosch, South Africa. It didn't really hit that we were in Africa for a while because Stellenbosch is so similar to the States and Athens especially. Today was a day of rest and relaxation where Margo, the Post Grad & International Student Coordinator's assistant who helps us, took us on a tour of the campus & surrounding town.
|Academia, where we live|
|center of campus|
|Reagen hanging out|
That afternoon we napped, went for dinner (at an amazing pizza/pasta place) and then had our night out on the town. Needless to say, we might be far from Athens, but we always know how to find the bars..And some hilarious people. One guy we met was drinking a Smirnoff Ice, so of course we made fun of him relentlessly and by the end of the night, the “smirnoff was talking” and he was getting a little too sassy to be straight. Either way, he was a great sport about being humiliated by random American kids.
Day 2, Tuesday May 15, 2012:
We met with our “helper” Margo, who took us around to get the necessities: student ID card, internet access, South African Rand, cell phones (of course), and an orientation session. Breakfast was served at the prettiest little restaurant nestled in an alley (I plan on returning to this restaurant & I'll take pictures just to show how adorable this place is) where we got to eat the first REAL meal in over 24 hours. We had a South African breakfast, which is almost exactly like an English breakfast complete with yogurt & granola, freshly cut fruit, fresh squeezed fruit juice (Which was beyond fresh and delicious), eggs, mushrooms, shoulder bacon, boerworst (sausage), and cooked tomatoes. While we were eating all of the delicious food, we got to talk to our coordinators and each other to get to know one another a little better. (As if flying for over 24 hours together isn't enough bonding time). If you know me, you know no meal isn't complete without some shenanigan causing: luckily this time it wasn't me, but Jack who had an accident. When serving me some bacon, he dropped a piece of bacon in the jar of berry juice. This probably doesn't sound very funny, but we were all jet-lagged and exhausted, so we got the contagious giggles and I probably didn't stop laughing for a good 10 minutes.
Basically our trip revolves around food... Which shouldn't surprise you since I'm on this trip and I love to eat. After breakfast and a couple more orientation sessions, the group headed back for a much needed nap to get ready for the night ahead.
Our driver was a nice, but very strange Afrikaner from near Stellenbosch who loved dubstep music and had some very interesting theories on America and politics. Anyway, before I get to our dinner conversation I'll fill you in on our actual dinner. We went to the Africa Cafe in downtown Cape Town. Dear goodness I've never eaten so much in my life. The restaurant is decked out in African cloth and inspirational words all over the tables and walls. I wish I had gotten a picture because it was BEAUTIFUL. The women serving us first washed our hands, then we began our 14 (yes FOURTEEN) course meal. We had traditional African dishes from around the world ranging from cheesy flat bread, vegetable soup and stir-fry vegetables to lamb stew, fried rice and some lentil dish. Every single dish was phenomenal and I couldn't stop eating even though I was beyond stuffed. I sat a the end of the table with Reagen, Jack, and Blayne our driver from earlier. We had some pretty interesting discussions... Blayne thinks the Illuminati is behind the 9/11 attacks and that the US government killed Michael Jackson because he converted to Islam and was about to go on world tour. I still can't tell if he was joking the whole time or if he truly believed this stuff and was that off his rocker. I guess we'll see if he drives us again (I kinda hope he does so we can try to understand the complexities that goes on in his thought process...). Anyway after that we were all exhausted and had to meet at 8 am the next morning for the first day of class!
Day 3 Wednesday May 16, 2012:
We had an early start (We had to be at the front of our residence at 8 am) for a morning full of class. (gag). After our first lecture from Dr. Finlay, which was really interesting and I'm actually really excited for all of these classes, we were a liiiitttllleee bit tired. Dr. Crepaz came in and although his course content is really interesting, I couldn't seem to keep my eyes open... Even as he was STARING AT ME IN THE EYES. We were making eye contact and my eyelids were so heavy I couldn't keep them open. Not the best first in-class impression.. oops! I'll talk more about my classes later because I know that nobody cares about what we're actually learning in South Africa, it's all about the adventures and sight seeing, duh! So, on to our first BIG adventure!
Well first-- lunch. We have access to Neelsie, the student center here, to get food and such, so we decided to get lunch (hamburgers of course!) and eat outside of the student center (which we call Tate 3). Jack got the biggest burger I've EVER seen in my life. It had 2 chicken patties on one bun, a burger patty and a fried egg and an onion ring on the other patty, salad on the side, and sauce everywhere. It was ridiculously huge and looked absolutely scrumptious. On the way to our sunny little picnic patch, Jack's hand slipped and he dropped half of his food on the ground. EVERYONE around us just stared and gave us dirty looks, so we just hurried away. Lucky for Jack, he still had half of his food, so he had an ENTIRE hamburger to eat.
|Yeah, it doesn't look like much, but it's very big|
See this mountain? yeah, we hiked it. TO THE TOP!!
I obviously am out of shape because I was one of the kids bringing up the rear.
But we made it!!!
|Caroline and I at the top!|
Anyway, I'm a bit tired (exhausted, actually) so I'm off to watch Invictus with Caroline! I'll update what we did the rest of the week tomorrow!!