Because I know the past blog posts have been long and some of you may not have read very much of them, this one will be shorter and hopefully, more entertaining!
Links to photo albums:
Links to photo albums:http://american.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2089906&l=0546d&id=7407223 (pictures of Table Mountain, my res, the township etc)
http://american.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2091219&l=498ac&id=7407223 (more from the Township, res, and pictures of friends and parties)
This week was the first week of classes. After an unnecessarily stressful day trying to drop a class, I have finalized my schedule. I am enrolled in 3 classes, but because some are upper division classes, they add up to 14 AU credits. Sweet! I am taking Media in S.Africa, African Traditional Religion, and Understanding Gender. I like all my professors, and I know people in all of my classes. Also, I don’t have class on Fridays, which is an incredible bonus.
I am also going to be volunteering 4 hours a week. I will be working with 2 different organizations. On Fridays I will be volunteering with an organization that my program, CIEE, has a partnership with, in downtown
Daily occurrences at UCT that would not happen at AU:
-Pigeons fly into the student unions where students eat. And walk around. And are not shooed outside.
-Not all computer labs have printers, and when they do, the printers can take 30 minutes or more to turn on, if they are even working that day.
-The professor wears traditional African garb
-There is a lunch period that is the same for everyone where no one has class. It’s called meridian period, and it’s from (13-14h) everyday
-students walk around barefoot
Highlights of my adventures:
-Attending a concert at a park, Kirstenbosch, with new South African friends. One of the friends’ uncles is in the band. My friends and I who went were treated like true family: my friend’s grandma made us cupcakes, chicken, and fish cakes, and mom and dad were excited that their son had new American friends, although slightly concerned as last semester one of his friends failed a class from going out too much with their previous semester abroad American friends.
-Wandering the city alone, not getting lost, and being treated like I know what I’m doing by a mini-bus taxi driver.
-Discovering a delicious Mexican food restaurant within walking distance of my res! Next goal: sushi.
-Cooking (with no microwave) most of my meals in my cute little kitchen (lots of salad, which might not really be considered cooking, but also salmon, veggie burgers and potatoes, to name a few)
-Seeing a homeless man with an AU t-shirt
-A pot luck Shabbat dinner at one of the CIEE houses. About 20 people were there, most not Jewish, so everything Jewish was explained before we ate…the candles, wine etc. There was no challah available so the hosts used 2 loaves of regular bread and 2 loaves of cheese bread. After explaining the symbolism of the challah, we said the blessing, and broke open the cheese bread only to find large chunks of pork sausage inside. Needless to say, those loaves of bread were not used, but it was one of the funnier moments of the last few weeks.
-Going on my first weekend trip. We went to Stellenbosch, which is the South African equivalent of
South African lingo learned and other observations:
-Instead of saying “you’re welcome,” one says, “pleasure.”
-Instead of saying “Really?!” one says, “is it?” (ex: Boy 1: “These girls are American!” Boy 2: “Is it?”)
-When one says “what’s up?” to a South African, they look up. The correct term is “Howzit?”
-A text message is always a SMS. SMS’ are not just used among friends, but also used to call a cab or arrange a professional meeting.
-Techno music is called House music.
-Although Dave Matthews is South African, he is not popular here at all. Too bad.
-There is a large Muslim population here. Many restaurants have Halaal signs, and many of the mini-bus taxi drivers are Arab. Their busses have funny bumper stickers in them such as “If you’re late, I’m early.” (Quite representative of “African time” which makes “Jewish time” look prompt).
More to come soon….please keep me updated on your lives. I’ve been here almost a month, spent an absurd amount of money, met incredible people of all backgrounds and nationalities whose names I either can never pronounce correctly or remember because there are just too many of them, but I am having the time of my life. This is officially the coolest thing I have ever done, I still have not heard from many of you about your lives this past month or so, and I would love to! If you have skype you can call my cell phone or talk to me when I’m there, otherwise email or snail mail would be awesome. Can’t wait to hear from you all!