I completely and utterly lied about having made the JET decision. I think I thought I was telling the truth, or I was at the least trying to convince myself that I had made the final decision, but no… not even a little. It’s going to be fascinating to read this in a year and know what happened. Ultimately, whatever happens will have been the right thing. I hope. I hope my life philosophies aren’t radically altered this year in depressing ways.

So something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time —

Stellenbosch things.

Here’s a quick list – I’ll do it up better later.


Cal’Caccio (pizzapizzapizzapizza – the classy kind)
Java Cafe (wireless internet, good food – variety)
Bohemia (pizza and chips for LIFE)
Beads (pasta)
Julians (cute cafe – great desserts – good food)
Chinese place in Eikhart mall (super cheap, really tasty buffet on Friday nights)
Place I don’t remember the name of at the gate of Concordia (if you’re on campus – more traditional south african food)
Lecca il gelato (spelling? world – er, south africa’s – best gelato)
Kauai (wraps, smoothies, fresh squeezed juice)
Cubana (chain – incredible steak, all around awesome food, fun drinks, do the flaming tequila shots, share hookah)

Bohemia (beginners bar – kind of emo/punk/indie rock)
Brazen Head (my bar, baby, my bar – watch futbol here – don’t come if you’re not cheering ManU)
The club at the top of the Eikhart mall… on the top floor – somewhat near the theater but outside – very fun
I wish i could remember the name of this awesome place we went to that had great drinks and tvs but also this great ambiance… plush like… nto couches or bean bags but like love bag things – whatever they’re called. Fun.
Everywhere on Long Street in Cape Town
the gay bars strip in Cape Town
Fandango – stellenbosch (live bands – great jazz, fun fruity cocktails)

To Do:

Hike Stellenbosch mountain
hike other mountains
keep hiking
botanical gardens in stellenbosch
kloofing in cape town
wine tasting/wine tours in stellenbosch
wine route – through the west cape
cape point/cape of good hope (penguin colony!)
old town stellenbosch – beautiful houses/architecture
museum on campus
beaches in cape town – any of them (they’re cold!)
abseiling in cape town (table mountain)
hike/climb table mountain
money willing – Kruger National Park (best use of money perhaps ever)
Cango Caves (outside of Cape Town – western cape)
The Waterfront in Cape Town (super touristy but pretty)

+8 million other things.

and no matter what you do in stellenbosch or cape town or the western cape or south africa in general – drink hunters dry and savannah dry and a ton of wine.


“Let’s dialogue about important issues, guys!”

I pulled out a notebook on the train, the train that we’ve been warned time and again to not travel on, the train that is “sketchy” and “impoverished” and where, as white Americans, we’d stick out sorely. They warned us against it because they fed us an unspoken message of, “when you’re white it’s better to just live in the protected bubble of being seen as middle to upper class; it’s better to stay away from that which you don’t know.” We took the train because it was cheap, less than a dollar from Stellenbosch to Cape Town. We took the train because sometimes being uncomfortable is the best way to learn about a culture, learn to survive on your own, learn to be an individual that doesn’t allow society or stereotypes or cultural conflict to dictate your identity. We took the train and identified as students studying here, wanting to spend the weekend in Cape Town. People looked at us curiously, not menacingly. We were smart– didn’t wear flashy jewelry and take out iPods. We sat fairly quietly, and when we talked we talked about general things, not of the conveniences of our culture back home, the luxuries we have on campus. And I found myself overwhelmed at this adventure, this crazy venture into a part of the culture here that I haven’t been privileged enough to see yet. And I wanted to write it, to think it, to remember it. So the nerd in me took out my notebook and looked down the row of seats where the group of more than a dozen of us sat, and filled with excitement I said,

Let’s dialogue about important issues, guys!” (I could still hear the groans of my 7th grade peers going… oh god… what is she getting us into THIS time…)

And I started writing, wrote the first line and passed it down.

And this… is the transcript of what came out on our first train experience in South Africa.

Date: 23 February 2008

1: I wonder if we could make the train into a dance party – everyone hittin’ the (platform) floor…

2: Notice how you wrote your date? Transforming into an Afrikaaner?

1: Just trying to assimilate to a culture – plus, we speak the slang (tief, ek sow yo snay!), so why not write the date? 🙂 …everyone is looking at us – as if they’re suspicious. Even when we’re quiet, not flashy, we stand out like a sore thumb – white, carrying bags as though noting to everyone that we have belongings to take with us, enough privilege to be able to worry about things like hygiene and our looks.

2: First off, wasn’t this supposed to be just one line?

1: Looking like you’re not freaked out is the best plan [written while motioning to one girl who is making terrified faces and squirming and generally calling attention to her nervous, uncomfortable self]

3: (girl that is uncomfortable) It’s all in my head. I am just freaked out. I’m a minority right now. Ah!

1: I think it feels good. We live in a world where even when white is a minority, it’s the elite group. It feels nice, for once, to be put out of that comfort zone. I hate living in the bubble of pre-determined “superiority.” It’s bull–

2: Maybe bull—, but it’s comfort. I like/prefer comfort. I do realize how we are viewed and what benefits we get as being white. What can I personally do to change that? As in any society no one can truly be equal. You can make small differences in your day to day life with the people you encounter. Beyond that I can’t do enough.

3: I like that. So… I’m excited for dinner. tonight will be a good night. I’m not so scared anymore.

4: Despite how much time we’ve spent here [in Stellenbosch], I still feel like a tourist, being white and all. I wish we could all be the same color (I know, it’s a little naive). Especially after visiting the township. Have you been yet?

5: Your head is making my head crazy.

6: Galen’s a strange one…

3: Our ride is coming to an end. Hooray. Thank the Lord. I could go for a nap now. I’m a bit sleepy. O man, us girls are getting crunk tonight!

7: Yes, for sure dawg.

3: The woman across from me — her hair looks like a sea urchin — from the Little Mermaid (don’t look up!)

2: Love the Little Mermaid!! Watched it a few weeks before I left. I was Ariel when I was little in the pool and the bathtub and the creek (total Dub-V right there!). …. hey I’m pretty sure we were supposed to be really talking about real issues.

1: eh. the transgression from race relations in south africa to getting ‘crunk’ to the little mermaid – i mean, i think we hit ALL the important issues in life!

and thus concludes the story of what happens when 13 students on a train try to talk about serious issues in a notebook.

or better – what happens when a nerd is on the loose on a fun weekend trip with a bunch of fellow college students 🙂

Published in: on February 26, 2008 at 12:30 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

comfortable? got popcorn? it’s looooong!

and then there were five!
All the girls! Clair is on the far left, I’m next to her, Cassidi is in the blue bending down, Briana is in pink standing, and Alana is on the far right!

Sorry peeps that it has been SO long!! Classes started and life is getting busy… things are getting into that much loved/hated routine. I’m taking 6 classes… so quite a lot… but I uh well, want to graduate at some point in my life haha I’m taking one of their graduate english courses and three of their other ones, a photography course, and a political science course. They’re going well so far… I’m a little frustrated because, honestly, I’m a little bored. It was a strange realization that I had one day in class that the American education system (at the university level) *may* just be better than many international ones. I say that i was surprised because, well, america isn’t exactly notorious for fantastic education. At least, well disciplined and globalized education.

SO i know most of you who read this know me pretty darn well, so I think you’ll all understand just how amazing life is for me at this exact moment in time when I tell you when I did tonight……

(are you guessing? in suspense?)

drum roll please

i went and did gymnastics!! hahaha seriously. it was amazing and the most intense workout of my entire life. i about passed out trying to ride my bike back. which, okay, isn’t good, but the point is that yeah they have a gymnastics team, but they’re much less…hardcore about it here than in the US, and so they open it up to anyone that wants to join, work out. There are coaches… it’s the real deal. the competition is the first week in july, and the three of us girls who were beginners all tested into competitive level 2/3. haha which is sad in gymnastics world but AWESOME in i’m-out-of-shape-and-haven’t-attempted-any-sort-of-gymnastics-in-years world! So we’ll see how it turns out. I’m excited to go back. Work out. Get in shape for all the hiking/mountain climbing that will be happening!

And on the serious side…. (aka: random tidbits of thoughts i’ve had in classes and at other times that i’ve jotted in my journal that will now be here for your reading enjoyment – back to your feature presentation)

#1 – history, when it’s taught or brought up in classes, is from a european perspective. it’s such a cool difference, and i know that it will give me a much more well-rounded view of real history than just the “AMERICA IS BEST AND THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE” perspective we get throughout school.
#2 – HILARY WON ON SUPER TUESDAY!!!!! What what?!?! My dream ticket is Hilary/Barack… but i think they made a song about it called – “wishful thinking” (i actually think it’s called “the king of wishful thinking” – pretty woman. good song) (and i know you’re all rolling your eyes, can’t believing i’m cheering on hilary on my own blog, that liberal fool you’re thinking but hey -ITS MY BLOG hahahhaa and she’s amazing. AND she has OVARIES. it’s the best part!!)
#3 – Students in the graduate class i’m taking (it’s a film class) asked what “lynching is,” and in my journal I wrote: “I’m the outsider here, but we’re all unaware about different things. In america, a big criticism of the educational system is the lack of global education offered; it’s always american centered – but being here, seeing these everyday, intelligent students ask what venetian blinds and lynching are… i feel some comfort in knowing that no matter where we are in the world, we can’t know everything”
#4 – i have decided to start researching places/ideas for a Fullbright Scholarship application.

“is not general incivility the essence of love?”
-Jane Austen… from the jane austen book club — i went and saw it last weekend at the movie theater around here. i needed something american. it’s adorable. and SO feel good. check it out!

The files of “etc” (i know i know… i have officially read too much
I’m really just having a good time. Last semester was so hard, and I know a lot of you know everything that went down. And I know I’m still recovering, still trying to put together the pieces. Yesterday I got on facebook (um when am i NOT on there? haha) and Jacob had changed his profile picture to one of us where he cropped me out. uh. seriously. cropped. me. out. i dont know. it probably wasn’t intentional (HA!), i mean you do kind of have to put some effort into doing that, and you can still see my shadow of my face.. .anyway yes, i’m a little upset over it. but it reminded me that i’m not completely okay yet, and i should be okay with that.. .and i am. i’m really trying to embrace these six months as a tme where… i am away from everything. i’m in one of the most gorgeous places i’ve ever seen, can even imagine. i’m surrounded by mountain and ocean is so close. i’m at the perfect place at the perfect time in my life to just make time for me. so that’s what this semester is about — Me. I’m recovering. I’m not interested in dating (really not. like almsot weird not). Editor Guy and I still are something but nothing… we email and talk occasionally but who knows what will happen. And I’m happy with that. I’m content with not needing definite answers. Alana, Cassidi and I have gotten closer. We have a lot of fun together. We’ve started hanging out with two other girls – Briana and Clair – more and more. They both go to Clemson… so we reminisce about the good ‘ole south together haha it’s fun. they’re really great. we go out on teh weekends together… party too hard sometimes… but someone’s always sober to make sure, even walking, that we get there safely. We have some trips coming up that we’re excited about. We’re going this weekend on a wine tour – SO excited about that — going to four of the biggest vineyards in Stellenbosch… that’s on Saturday. Then on Sunday (get this!!) we’re going to Cape Point to see PENGUINS!!! African penguins. They’re adorable, albeit dirty, little things. I’ll definitely have pictures. No worries 🙂

Sometime soon Alana and I are going to go mountain hiking. We’ll probably start with the smallest ones around us (ha, they’re not small) and work our way up to the bigger ones. My roommate Jen climbed Stellenbosch Mountain (it’s HUGE) last weekend, and she said the view is just breathtaking. I’m really excited.

Hope you could all see everything on here. Let me know if anything didnt load right. sorry for switching sites, but I wasn’t able to load things correctly.

Miss and love you all!

Peace –

girl gone crazy!
Mom wanted a picture of me — and here it is! haha One of our crazy nights out.. .and we were dancing at a place that had this random pole. And you KNOW my crazy self got up on stage and was dancing and singing when my man Bon Jovi was on… singing “livin’ on a prayer!” that’s my song!

the girls!
Cassidi, Alana, and me 🙂 We so cute!

Cassidi and Me
Cassidi and me on the Cape Town tour. We were somewhere on Table Mountain. A view of Cape Town is behind us.

Published in: on February 12, 2008 at 8:44 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,