This week has been pretty dedicated to class and “getting stuff done” in preparation for the upcoming weeks of school and life in general. Following this weekend, I have the next 5 consecutive weekends booked with exciting plans. Next weekend, March 6 & 7, my study abroad program has put together an overnight excursion to Aquila Game Reserve, home to the Big 5 and only 2 hours away from Cape Town. The following weekend, March 13 & 14, marks the beginning to the Hersh girl holiday reunion in Cape Town. I am just going to assume off the bat I will be doing a lot more Cape Town exploring then studying for their entire stay. My mom and sister leave March 20th, the same day I leave for a 10-day trek through Botswana and Zambia for a safari during my spring break! While in Botswana I will be heading to the Okavango Delta, the world's largest inland delta, Chobe National Park, and ending in Victoria Falls, nuzzled in-between Zambia and Zimbabwe. After being home for four days of class, we have received Good Friday and that consecutive Monday off for ‘Family Day’ for a four-day weekend (which I may or may not head on the ‘Garden Route’). Although this next month is literally jammed packed with incredible things to look forward to, this week/weekend has been dedicated to ‘getting my shit together’ and organizing my life so I can actually end this semester with some what respectable grades.
MONDAY, February 22: Unfortunately, the troubles with Alphie did not end the minute the car was returned to the rental company. We were charged an additional fee for the flat tires (FACT: spelled tyres here), and needless to say there were a few words exchanged between the management and ourselves. I know the tires were technically our responsibility, but there is no way that car should be rented as a ‘reliable’ car, it is well past its due date and should be retired for from road trips if it could not safely and efficiently get clients to and from their destination.
Class is becoming exceedingly interesting, especially Liberation of Southern Africa and Gender, Sexuality, and Politics. Although my professor for my liberation course is himself quite dull, he has continuously found incredible sources to speak on behalf of liberation movements with direct experience. We were graced by the presence of Dennis Goldberg, the only white member of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the ANC, created to be the ‘spear of the nation’ to fight during the 1960s armed struggle movement. His involvement with Umkhonto we Sizwe led to his arrest in 1963 and infamous life-imprisonment sentencing at the Rivonia Trial, the same trial that granted Mandela life-imprisonment. Mr. Goldberg was not only incredibly informative, but also a great orator. I guess one of the benefits of studying history and politics in a recently liberated country is that of having the ‘history’ speak on behalf of itself.
After a day of class, Lindsey (my New Yorker roommate) and her family took me to Observatory for dinner at an Indian-African fusion restaurant. Her family’s vacation in Cape Town was coming to an end and it was exciting to hear all the fun places they went and get ideas for when the Hersh women unite. Plus, the food was great. We ordered a ton of different dishes and pretty much passed our plates around so everyone could try something. I had a lot of fun just being near a family dynamic.
TUESDAY, February 23: Tuesdays are becoming my LONG day a.k.a. need a glass of wine by 5 day. After a full day of classes, I have a 2-hour break before heading to Kensington to tutor. Tutoring has been extremely interesting. The 7th graders I have been working with are extremely bright and ask the most ridiculous questions. They have defiantly been keeping me on my toes. I work with one of Lindsey’s friends, Kara, from Tufts. It is nice to have a familiar face to work (and reflect/complain/laugh) with on the bus ride home.
After returning from tutoring, I quickly had to get ready because it was my friend Georgia’s birthday and a bunch of us were going to head to Panchos for margaritas and burritos. Panchos is the go-to birthday place and I am more than pleased with that. Unfortunately when we arrived, we had 3 people too many for the seating reservation, so two others and myself decided to head to café I had gone to the day prior with Lindsey’s family. We ordered some tea, pita & humus, and samosas; which was a needed alternative to margaritas and burritos (I need to relax with the overindulgence). Following dinner, we headed home for some cocktails before heading to Tiger Tiger to celebrate Georgia’s 21st dancing the night away.
WEDNESDAY, February 24: Waking up was unexpectedly easier than I anticipated. I managed to edit my African history paper before heading up to campus for full day of classes. Wednesdays seem to fly by with all 4 courses back-to-back. I always come home in school mode and manage to have a productive day on our porch. I finished both my African history paper and Gender studies paper pretty early in the afternoon and was able to relax the evening away.
THURSDAY, February 25: After turning in our papers on the practice of clitorodectomy in Kenya, our Gender, Sexuality, and Politics tutorial began discussing colonialism and the myths surrounding black/white peril. The classroom dynamics of our class is quite fascinating; we have only 2 men (one white, one black) with the rest females of all different races and nationalities. Each person truly has a significantly different perspective on cultural practices and gender relations.
My history tutorial was dreadfully boring again. In contrast to my Liberation history class covering the 1940s until 1994, Africa: Making of a Continent covers pre-1800. Our discussion was focused on archeological findings and debates surrounding the migration of mankind throughout the continents. I enjoy modern history so much better. Ugh. Lindsey invited Kara (we tutor together) over for dinner. She cooked us a chicken roasted in tomatoes with cuscus and veggies. The girl can cook. We enjoyed a relaxing dinner and opted to stay in and relax rather than head down town for a night of festivities.
FRIDAY, February 26: Fridays are Interstudy treat days! My study abroad program has an office on campus, which they stock with donuts and pastries as an end of the week indulgence. Besides devouring a donut, I may have gulped 3 cups of coffee. I have been struggling to find plain coffee on campus, so it was a pleasant surprise to have freshly brewed java with my donut.
After class, Lindsey and I headed to Cocoa Wah Wah for lunch and free internet connection. I set a goal of ‘internship shopping,’ but spent most my afternoon looking at hotels and B&Bs to stay at when my women folk visit. I eventually need to lock in some sort of job or internship during the summer, but I will worry about that some other time. It is too beautiful outside to be inside on a computer.
After Cocoa Wah Wah, Lindsey and I headed to Woolworths and Pick n’ Pay to pick up ingredients for our dinner with our neighbors, Will and Justin. After they cooked us a fabulous chicken dinner last week, we were returning the favor with a shrimp scampi pasta, baked tomato topped with mozzarella and fresh basil, and a plum and nectarine crisp. Although we overestimated how long it would take to cook everything, our meal turned out pretty fabulous if you ask me. Will had gone to a wine tasting earlier that day and picked us up some dinner wine to compliment our seafood dinner. I think our dinner-dates are turning out, who can complain about life with great food on the table and excellent company sitting next to you.