Sunday, February 28 – Friday, March 5
Man, has time been flying. Schoolwork has picked up exponentially as our spring break creeps nearer. On top of that, Interstudy had planned an overnight excursion at the Aquila Game Reserve for the weekend AND my family comes the following weekend… AHHH hectic.
Sunday, February 28
The last day of the month appropriately became a ‘get stuff done day.’ After spending most the early afternoon at Cocoa Wah Wah, I made my way through town to get any last minute errands completed before the week began.
I did manage to go out to Pig and Swivel to try and catch the Olympic Gold Medal game between the US and Canada for hockey, but cricket was on… Ugh. No one really cares about the winter Olympics here considering it is summer and I am not sure too many South African athletes compete in ‘winter activities.’ Nonetheless, we bar hopped to Café Sofia down the street to catch re-caps on the local sports network from the games. GO USA!
Monday, March 1
Class, class, class. I am receiving my first grades back from the semester and so far all well. The grading system is pretty drastically different then the US. Whereas the US marks down from 100, the South African educational institutions mark up from 0; therefore scoring a 51-60 is within the C range, 60-70 in the B range, and 70+ is in the A range. I need to seriously keep my head in the game as I plan to take an entire week off when Lee and my mom arrive. Conveniently, two of my three tuts were cancelled for the week they are here, so technically I only have one 45-minute period I “should” attend (we shall see about that one).
Tuesday, March 2
In my gender and politics course, we began screening the film “Dakan,” essentially the West African version of Broke Back Mountain. To be honest, I was completely caught off guard by the reaction to the class when several African students actually got up to leave because they were so uncomfortable and nervous laughter and booing filled the room when the two male characters kissed. Despite gay marriage being legal in South Africa, homosexuality is extremely taboo and not as present in African pop culture as it is within the U.S. To many Africans, homosexuality is considered a “Western” act and that it was brought to the subcontinent during colonial rule. I guess going to a “liberal university” in Africa is a lot different then going to one in the States. I am not too sure what “liberal” even means here… I will have to get back to you for that one.
My afternoon was filled with more English tutoring with SHAWCO. The kids are really growing on me, but a lot of my colleagues are beginning to get frustrated by the lack of supplies and, consequently, concentration on behalf of the students. I am trying to take each new lesson for what it is and just try to capitalize on learning not necessarily being done through booklets and spelling bee’s, but also through conversation and cultural exchanges. I was wearing a cameo necklace and one of my boy students asked me if the lady on my necklace was my queen. I almost peed myself from laughter. At least I can always count on a laugh from my students.
After SHAWCO, I am pretty much wiped. However, I made my way to Café Sofia with Kara (tutors with me), Lindsey (roommate), and Tiffany (neighbor) for some sangria and tapas. After a few hours tutoring, Café Sofia may become the go-to spot.
Wednesday, March 3
School has pretty consumed my life. I had three papers due this week and a crazy, busy weekend scheduled, so I made my way to the UCT library for some serious scholarly time. There is only one main library on campus and it is huge. I found a great nook for the semester in the farthest corner of the library. Hopefully, my seclusion will help me concentrate!
Thursday, March 4
My gender and politics tutorial was a discussion over Dakan. It was so weird for me to openly hear people discuss their homophobia. It was sad to hear a lot of their comments.
I found myself in the library again, as I had to finish up a paper for my online course through the University of Minnesota. I had to compare two aspects of South African culture and American culture. I wrote about the role of politics and political leaders within the media. President Zuma would have no chance of being elected as a leader in the U.S.; and quite frankly, Obama would have a slim chance in South Africa.
We had our ‘Spring Break’ preparation meeting in the afternoon to go over our 10-day trip through Botswana and Zambia. My mom is bringing my mummy sleeping bag, so all I really need to do is get a malaria pills and apparently I don’t need a prescription (interesting, eh). I will be in Victoria Falls for my 21st birthday. What an awesome way to celebrate the big 2-1!
We headed downtown to the ABSA building, the tallest in Cape Town, to the 31st floor where the bar/lounge Hemisphere is located. It is a bit of a swanky place, but we were able to get in fo’ free because one of my friends knew the bouncer. SCORE! No cover! The night was extremely fun, especially because they had pillow seats lining the glass windows over looking the city and waterfront. Needless to say, I plan to return.
Friday, March 5
To no surprise I woke with a bit of a hangover. But I managed to attend all my classes and make my way to Interstudy for Pastry and Coffee Friday.
In the afternoon, an Interstudy student from the University of Stellenbosch arrived at our flat to spend the night before joining us on our overnight excursion. Lindsey, Lina, Tiffany and myself took her to Cocoa Wah Wah for a true experience as a UCT student. Apparently on Fridays, half price pasta is served past 7pm! I was asleep early because our bus for the excursion was leaving at 7am sharp… Which really means nothing, because time runs on a different clock in Africa.
Look forward for my next post, I SAW LIONS!