As I am writing this post I am 5 days away from having lived in Cape Town for almost an entire month! Time really flies here, and it feels like only yesterday that I arrived. I have been really lucky to have had a couple of weeks to explore Cape Town and South Africa before classes at University of Cape Town (UCT) start to limit my travel during the week.
I was able to do a lot of things last week starting with experiencing UCT’s RAG events. RAG events are put on by the “Remember and Give” club on campus, which is basically a club whose job it is to throw fun events and parties for students. Last Thursday the fun started with the “Fresher’s Braai” which is basically a bbq for all the first year students. In South African “braai’s” or barbeques are very popular. Since I don’t eat meat, UCT was still very accomodating and made sure that I had all the vegetarian “fake” meat that I could want and it was delicious! After eating we got to listen to great bands and djs that UCT radio brought in. After listening to one of the bands called “Grassy Spark”, I now have a new found interest in the genre called “ska” which was described by the audience as hyped-up reggae. Then on Friday night, a bunch of us went out to this restaurant that served Mexican food and was called none other than “Mexican.” This restaurant was delicious and I had a fun time because it was my first time going to the notorious party capital of Cape Town called Long Street. Long Street features shops, bars, clubs and restaurants that are immensely popular places to hang out on the weekend, and if you are a real party animal, during week nights as well. Saturday we continued the fun by going to “Big Bash” which was a giant outdoor party with dj’s and dancing that took place under Nelson Mandel Boulevard. It was an interesting venue and a fun time.
The days that followed included a Beach day in Muizenberg, where I learned to avoid sharks and sunburns, as well as going to O week on UCT’s campus where I was able to sign up for clubs and societies. I was feeling gutsy and decided to sign up to try out for the UCT choir, and today I was pleasantly surprised when I got an email saying that I got in! Next week I am going to be singing the South African national anthem at the UCT rugby game. Hopefully I can learn the song in time, because the song is in like 5 languages, only one of which, English, I speak.
Last Wednesday I got to go on my first legal wine tour and it was SUCH a fun time. Our guide named Reann, or ReRe, drove us around in this van while we tried wine from 5 different wineries in the Stellenbosch region. There were many laughs, and after tasting a million nasty wines, I found 2 that I actually liked enough to buy for a special occasion. Fortunately the wine here is really cheap, so good wine won’t cost you more than the equivalent of like 10 U.S dollars. Finally when Valentine’s day came around, I searched around the web for a great restaurant and then invited a bunch of IES girls to join me at a restaurant called “Bardelli’s.” Even though I haven’t been to any other Italian restaurants in Cape Town yet, I can already say that this place is the best. Great food, great waiters, and just the nicest venue and ambiance. Unfortunately starting Saturday, a heat wave hit for the weekend, causing me to get an irritating cold where I simultaneously had to blow my nose and sweat out the 100 degree weather. Yet I was still able to go to the District Six museum and Old Biscuit Mill. To learn more about District Six go to this link for all the info: http://www.districtsix.co.za/. Let me just say that it was a humbling experience to here someone who actually was relocated still speak with such joy and appreciation about family and loving everyone regardless of their skin color or religion. Then at Old Biscuit Mill, which is this great outdoor farmers market I found delicious bread and pesto, which has been my lunch for the past week! The great thing about Cape Town is that their is ALWAYS something to do. On Sunday I got to go to the botanical gardens at Kirstenbosch and see Freshly Ground, the band that played the Waka Waka world cup song with Shakira. It was a wonderful concert filled with wonderful music and only the nicest people.
Classes finally started this Monday and though they seem hard, I know that I will learn a lot. I have officially signed up for Political Philosophy (probably the hardest class), Gender, Sexuality and Politics: Debates in a contemporary African context, African Dance, and Community Health in South Africa. Yesterday I went to African Dance for the first time, and flailed around while trying to embrace the dance’s sway. Our instructor who is from South Africa, calls us “his little sweet marshmallows” because all 30 of us are little white American girls with no rhythm. I am going to stick with it though, because it is so fun and I know that I will eventually get better! That is all for now and I hope the blizzards in the states aren’t hitting too hard! If they are, anyone feel free to visit me and South Africa’s sunny, sunny weather!
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Alexa is a sophomore at Ithaca College studying both Public Health and Politics, while also hoping to dapple in her new found interest in gender studies. She grew up in Windsor, Connecticut, famous for being the first town in Connecticut. When Alexa doesn't have her nose in a book, she can be found singing, eating (especially anything pumpkin), being sarcastic or exploring the fantastic world that we are lucky enough to call home. Studying in Cape Town in a dream come true, and Alexa is ready and willing to soak up every last bit of adventure that comes her way!</span></p>