It has been exactly 10 days since I have gotten to South Africa, and it really has been CRAZY! To start off, “Molo” which is featured in the title of my blog means “hello” in Xhosa, one of the 11 official languages here.
The fact that I made it out of the 14.5 hour plane ride alive is quite the feat. I lucked out by getting a seat with empty ones around it, unfortunately though the other women nearby was being quite the diva and decided to take up all the free seats… I definitely didn’t want to get into a fight after taking my sleeping pills, so I just went with the flow. After a literal mad dash to make our layover flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town, all the IES students came out of the terminal to find Roland (one of our RAs) smiling and holding a sign welcoming us to Cape Town. While waiting for other students I met Sarah another IES student, who goes to my home school and who I had never met. It really is such a small world. On the drive home from the airport we were immediately bombarded with the extreme disparity everyone talks about between the rich and the poor that is evident in South Africa. This was apparent when we were on the highway and we came to a sprawling Township, spanning miles down the road, immediately followed by a vast, green, 18 hole golf course.
I am lucky enough to have to great apartment mates, Delise and Sarah. I’m still looking forward to learning a couple of cooking tips from Delise, because my cooking skills are kind of rusty…. or possibly non-existent.
I know I am growing to love Cape Town, but unfortunately in the past 10 days I have been here, somd crazy events have taken place. Literally the first full day I spent in Cape Town, consisted of us getting a neighborhood tour of our suburb, as well as visiting the University of Cape Town (UCT) campus, where I then proceeded to fall down a hill and completely cut my knee open. For a good couple of days, I would say that blood continued to to flow down my leg, so that was a goooood time. Good news is that my injury has begun to heal.
Later that day, roomie Delise and I went to the local grocery store and were so confused and overwhelmed that we just stood in front of different items for 10 minutes without knowing what to choose. At one point we were so indecisive of what butter brand to get, that we waited until a man walked up and grabbed one, and then we followed his example and picked up the exact same one. We burst out laughing when we realized it was not what we were looking for. In the end we opted instead for good ole healthy olive oil.
In a fun change of scenery, after IES orientation which took place around the town, IES set up a field trip to the Garden Route which is a long stretch of beautiful mountains and scenery along the South-Eastern coast of South Africa. All 42 of us boarded a giant coach bus and proceeded to drive 5 hours until we reached our destination. While driving down the Garden Route, we visited Cango Caves, where we shimmied, scooted, flopped and flailed our way through small enclosed chunks of rock, aka caves. I managed to conquer my fear of getting stuck in small spaces and I learned that a human really can fit through a 27 cm high hole, which on the adventure tour, is the only possible exit…
Later on we continued to pack each day with fun activities, including going to an ostrich farm, staying at my first ever hostel, getting to pet a real baby cheetah, getting berated by monkeys and canoeing/hiking our way to a secluded waterfall. The only downside was that I really underestimated how uncomfortable bus seats are for sleeping, and that wind really can flip over a canoe. Of course in the minutes time that I feared for my canoe buddy’s life, I totally didn’t realize that my sunglasses had been swept off my face. Soooo, if anyone ever finds a pair of Ray Bans in a lagoon, near George, South Africa, I would gladly send postage to retrieve them!
The last couple of days we have started our UCT international student orientation, where we learn anything and everything about how to be a TRUE UCT Tiger! I am so happy to finally have a mascot! GO IKEYS!
I’ll end this post with a quote by the wonderful Madiba that I saw hanging inside one of our hostels:
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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>