Monday, August 22, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
.......I've been trying to post pictures for a few days now but our internet (like usual) isn't cooperated. That is what we did and I hope to get the pictures up SOON!
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
I'm hoping to do a post soon about more observations in South Africa. One of my favorites is that in the kitchen and bathroom you can only get hot OR cold water. I am serious. There is a hot water faucet and a cold water faucet. To get "medium" water you have to just switch between the two!! I will post a picture soon. I didn't really think it was that weird until I looked and realized that the nozzles weren't running into the same faucet and how strange it looked.
Classes here seem weird. I don't know. They aren't exactly easy--just different. I know that some people are in some incredibly difficult classes but I haven't really experienced anything too tricky. I will note that there isn't a ton of critical thinking in the classes. At UNI it seems like there is a lot of reading, thinking, discussing and applying. Here it is more just about knowing. There is very little analysis and class discussions seemed very generalized without actually gaining a lot of knowledge. I realize that not all classes are like this but my experience has been this way. I also get asked a lot for my "American Opinion". I can assure everyone that I DO NOT speak for America. I'm not saying that in a negative way, I know people are curious. It is just often said more mockingly (from a particular professor) and that can be frustrating.
The American thing also brings me to a ton of other issues. I never realized what being American can mean when you are in a completely different part of the world.The rest of the world's opinion on America..is...well...not the best. And I get it. When I say "rest of the world" I mean that we are not only surrounded by South Africans but also international students from all over. Literally. I knew that America wasn't the most well loved country but I was surprised how much I personally am judged for being an American. In some situations, I find myself agreeing and in others I am defending the US. It is a weird thing to experience. I'm sure I will have more to share about that when I get home.
We had one of the craziest thunderstorms I've ever experienced last night. It was super loud and my head was right by the window. I was asleep but the storm woke me up. I thought the whole room was going to explode so I rolled as far away from the window as I could!! I'm sure that was a
Ok, well Shawn told me I had better start on this paper because he doesn't want to hear me complain as I finish it minutes before it is due. (On a side note that really did happen here. I submitted a paper at 11:45 when it was due at midnight. It was barely completed. One of the unfortunate times procrastination did NOT work in my favor. I'll let you know my grade when I get it back!)
We get back soon and I can't wait to see everyone. I am missing friends, family, Triscuits, and TLC like crazy!
Thursday, April 14, 2011
There is nothing like posting all at once so you have some good reading material instead of working. Feel free to thank me later…
Life in PE….
Time seems like it is FLYING by more and more. As of today we have officially been here ten weeks. That means 10 weeks from today we will be standing in Iowa again and that is crazy to me. Term 2 started for us on April 3rd so that means a whole new set of classes. I know that we only seem to post about our exciting adventures but we have been doing work over here as well. We both had 3 papers last term and as always Alyssa did really well. I must say the grading system is really weird here and it is hard to get a paperback saying 65% or 75% even though when it transfers back that turns into a B and an A. Not to brag about Alyssa or anything but even half way around the world she gets the highest grade on tests in class. As for me, it’s weird not taking Anatomy and science classes but they South African history classes we have been taking have been really interesting and we have learned a lot about the country and it’s brutal history.
This term Alyssa and I are both taking World History and a Black South African Jazz class. It’s interesting to learn about history from a different countries perspective and while history is still boring when it comes to names and dates the lecturer makes it intriguing (though Alyssa COMPLETELY disagrees). As for Black South African Jazz it is kind of a sore subject for me (Ask Alyssa)! We were supposed to be in a different music class, however, when we got there we found out that the class doesn’t exist anymore and the professor who we had that was suppose to teach it left the university 3 years ago. After a “fun” conversation with the international office and talking with the study abroad office back home we decided to go with the only music class open. It definitely isn’t my favorite class but I will admit after four classes I think it is going to be tolerable. However, that doesn’t stop me from complaining to Alyssa and making it seem as if somehow it was her fault we are in it! Haha. Those are the only two classes I have this term but Alyssa has a Youth Studies class as well. From what she tells me the professor isn’t the nicest lady and she tend to pick on Alyssa, Donna, and Maria the only 3 Americans in a class of well over 100. Overall, classes are going well. We are going to have a really busy/stressful first couple weeks of May with multiple tests and papers but other than that class is good.
As for everything else going on in our life we have kind of started to just settle in. The new factor is wearing off and we just have a routine like you would back home. We are more and more familiar with PE although I will never get used to the lack of transportation that I take for granted back home. Iron Man was here this last weekend and it was such an amazing thing to watch. They estimated 100,000 spectators were here and the atmosphere was incredible. I can’t ever imagine swimming 2.5 miles, biking 111 miles, and then running a full marathon. It was insane! There were runners from all over South Africa and the world. The winner came in at just over 8 hours and set a new course record. As for the females Chrissie Willington set a new Iron Man world record and she was a lot of fun to watch. Some of our friends went to a nature reserve this weekend but we stayed back with some others to save money and to watch the race.
Zanethemba has been a mix of emotions. We are having a lot of fun with the kids and we have really established a close relationship with them even in the short time we have been here. Last week was really hard because one of the boys Ntando left as he was placed with a foster mom. It was a really bittersweet moment as we were happy he found a home but were sad to see him go. All of the other kids were sad and crying as we gave him hugs on the side of the road and watched him drive away. It was really hard for the two older kids and Ntombyovo wouldn’t talk to anyone the whole time we were there. Alyssa and I were talking and we were sad after 8 weeks of being there. Ntando has been there since he was 2 and he is now 4 ½ and I don’t know how the house parents can handle that. Either way it was a hard day that I’m sure we will always remember but we do have pictures and I’m happy to know he is in a good home and gets to start school now. As for the other kids we continue to do a different activity with them every week. We have made cake, bubbles, chalk, crafts, and movies. We did an activity with “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” that the kids loved. We gave them the movie Alvin and the Chipmunks that Mom sent over and they have watched it 5 times in one week. They were quoting the movie yesterday and Elena the house mom said they are starting to pick up on English humor so that was funny. I have really taken to Henry and really wish he could just come home with us. We have lots of fun together and he always seems to do whatever I do. I always call him buddy and after teaching him what it meant he never stops calling me his buddy! As for Alyssa, the little boy Zen and Sino are in love with her. Zen is always attached to her and I have a feeling it will be hard to say goodbye in June.
As for the rest of our time we just continue to hang out at Annie’s with our friends and explore PE. We went out last night for our friend Becca’s birthday to this club called DnE. It was this awesome underground dance club with really cool music. We went there for her birthday but the cover charge at the door was to raise money for a South African guy named Bantu. He is going to come study in the US at our friends Mike and Phil’s university in North Carolina in the fall. We went to a church service a couple weeks ago on campus and that was a cool experience. I must say after going there and listening to a bunch of African’s sing hymns in Xhosa and dancing and singing American service may never seem quite as cool.
Alyssa has been making some really good meals lately and I have enjoyed trying all of them. Vegetable lasagna, chicken vegetable trams, pasta salad, and many more. I think I will keep her around!
That has been life the past few weeks. Nothing overly exciting but we are still having fun. Tomorrow we are going on the frontier trip where we stay with a family on a farm in the mountains. It’s lots of things I have already seen but it will still be fun to watch our other friends sheer a sheep and milk a goat. Plus we get to hike in the mountains of South Africa and food and wine are included. We have one more week of class before Easter Break!
Sorry for the lack of pictures. With our internet it would take an hour just to get one picture uploaded. They will be coming soon.