Sunday, January 27, 2008

juice factory? juice factory!

first of all, i would just like to point out that this is the view from my window circa 6:30 a.m. on day one in cape town.

unsuccessfully tried to open bank accounts (which still hasn't happened) and then ended up at cavendish mall in claremont where we aimlessly stood and walked around and then got one: i woke up mad early, which explains why that picture is from 6:30 a.m. and cleaned and unpacked until we had house meetings and orientation stuff. we went to shoprite to get stuff for our apartments and then later that night went to a braai (afrikaans for barbecue, byob and byof, so consequently i had a bottle of wine for dinner, oops?) for this girl alex's 21st birthday, followed by a disastrously long walk to observatory, which is a neighborhood with a ton of bars and restaurants that is IMPOSSIBLE to get to in general and especially when drunk and ESPECIALLY when no one who's there knows how they got there. anyways, we went to armchair and saw a local cape town band play accompanied by too many tequila shots and then eventually took a cab home, only to discover that two of us (me included) were locked out of our apartments due to various reasons, i.e. my roommate deadbolted our door because she thought i was already home. so that was pretty sweet, and in my drunkenness i forgot that deadbolts are designed to prevent someone from reaching in and undoing them, so naturally i spent about ten minutes attempting that before deciding to find somewhere else to crash.

day two: woke up at like 8, walked home, had about two seconds to shower and get ready before walking to the uct campus for more orientation stuff re: class registration, internet, traveling, blah blah blah. wasn't hungover but was EXHAUSTED, luckily the HIV/AIDS discussion was cancelled so i didn't have to contend with that on top of no sleep and no food. finished orientation, went on a tour of uct (lower campus, middle campus, upper campus, confusing as shit, i have no idea where i'm going) and then went to another braai (apparently they love them here) before shoprite round two. picture = the uct campus.

one of the interstudy people (agith or jeff, i forget) got us all on the guest list for this crazy club on the 31st floor of the ABSA (big bank in south africa) building so we took cabs there, but christine, sophie, fran, evan, bart, matt, my new roommate brittany and i decided to bail and went to an awesome kurdish restaurant/hookah bar on long street called mesopotamia where we ended up staying for like three hours. then we went to a bar called stones with a balcony and a bunch of pool tables and hung out for a little before going home, where i proceeded to CRASH and sleep more deeply than i think ever before in my life.

pictures: the indian ocean (left) and houses on the foothills in kalk bay (right).

sophie called me at 10 the next morning and woke me up to go to the beach. we attempted to go to go to the bank again and failed miserably, then got on the train to muizenberg. jumped off of our moving train at the muizenberg stop before they stopped it and yelled at us with megaphones, then got to the beach where it was hella windy. we ended up walking like two miles along the beach/railroad tracks until we got to st. james beach in table mountain national park in kalk bay which is absolutely beautiful. we're going to clifton 4 today, apparently one of the best beaches in cape town and since i'm half dressed and my beach towel blew away off of our balcony (side note: cape town is HELLA WINDY all the time) i have to go. p.s. i am so sunburned. stupid.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

don't get it twisted.

after what feels like about a million days/hours/whatever, i am in. south. africa. cape town, to be specific. and i am jetlagged. this website probably eats up about all of the wireless internet credits i bought, so i'm going to try and be concise. in south africa/cape town, some company has a monopoly on wireless and you also have to pay for credits, and depending on how many megabytes the site uses up (webmail/gmail don't use too many, but gone are my days of facebook stalking and reading jezebel) that's how many credits get deducted from your account.

so after THE MOST ABSURD SATURDAY/SUNDAY LEAVING KENYON SEQUENCES OF EVENTS and then the smallest airplane i have ever been on and THEN a great night of eating whole foods hors d'oeuvres and watching the office and the amazing race with scarter followed by a morning of eating, buying dinosaur coloring books, and watching america's next top model sarah and her dad dropped me off at jfk around 2 p.m. so i could get my flight at 5:20 p.m. to dakar, senegal and then johannesburg and then finally cape town. we ended up sitting on the runway at jfk for an hour and a half while they loaded "cargo" (which was probably by 70 pound suitcase) and added extra fuel to accommodate for said suitcase/cargo. the flight to dakar seemed endless, but i watched into the wild, talked to the girl sitting next to me from my program, slept a little, and tried to avoid the whispered advances from the overly friendly 40 year old man sitting next to me. then in dakar (it was now 6 a.m.) we sat on the runway while more people boarded, i switched to safer territory aka an aisle seat in my same row. i slept the entire way from dakar to joburg, which explains why i'm up at 2:17 a.m. writing instead of sleeping even though orientation is at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

once we got to cape town, we got all of our stuff and then were put onto two busses to go to our apartments in rosebank, which is a neighborhood in cape town right off main rd. and near the university of cape town campus. i live in 4 helena ct. (which has eight apartments total, all with people in my program) with one girl named maddie. we each have our own single, and then we have a kitchen, a common room with a couch, tv, and inexplicably another bed and dresser/closet thing, and a bathroom with a bathtub but no shower. this should be interesting. there's a shower next door though where leah, charlie, and amy live and they said we could use theirs, so that should be fine. i was under the impression that i'd have a towel here (they said they provided linens, which apparently means bedding only, stupid oversight on my part), but i unfortunately don't, as exemplified by the fact that i just had to make a decision between drying my face after washing it with toilet paper or on the bathroom curtains. i have to buy my own food and cook in the apartment or go out to eat, and we have to clean ourselves and buy toilet paper and stuff. i have to be so independent, it's weird. i need to make a list of all the stuff i have to buy tomorrow, mainly shampoo, conditioner, a towel, a mirror for my room, PLUG ADAPTERS, and a better pillow because mine is the flattest thing in existence.

i was feeling really weird and disconcerted earlier, but i feel more calm now. this is just very strange, and despite having unpacked and moved into my apartment and met everyone from my program, it just has not sunk in that i live in an apartment compound enclosed by a gate, another gate, metal door, wooden door, padlock, and deadbolt and that i live in south africa now. we'll see how orientation goes tomorrow and the next few days, apparently they have freshman orientation for uct starting in february (classes start the 18th, ahhh, so much TIME) that international/abroad students get to go to. i'm going to try and upload pictures once i start taking them. askljdfh.

Friday, January 4, 2008

17 days.

so i'm leaving to go to cape town on the 21st, via new york city/greenwich, ct via gambier via chicago. i have some apprehensions about not leaving straight from home, but i'm pretty sure that that's just the type a emerging, since i won't have everything packed exactly the way i want it.

i've been thinking a lot about the bullshit surrounding new year's eve/new year's resolutions and how there's a lot of pressure to have the best night ever on new year's eve and then to miraculously commence being a better person or a healthier person on january 1st. the ironic thing is that because of the pressure to have an absurdly great night on new year's eve, i wouldn't hesitate to say that 90% of the population of the united states wakes up and enters whatever new year it is hungover and, if the three pillars of a good night (no throwing up, no hooking up, no crying) failed them, sad/confused and naked next to some dude that you probably didn't plan on doing. whoops about it.

anyways, alyssa and i were talking last night about how we want to be in a constant state of self-betterment, and i guess i hope that going to cape town for the semester will catapult me back into the state of mind and state of constant improvement that i was in at the beginning of freshman year. i feel like this is my last real new beginning, in that going abroad is the last time i have to hit refresh and go into something with a totally open mind and just exist without the burdens of the other new beginnings that are imminent on the horizon--graduation, real life/real job, etc. yikes. you could very easily make the argument that graduation and getting a real job and an apartment or house or whatever are bigger deals and more important to life and personal growth than going abroad, but cape town is the last thing i have that doesn't have a million complicated and seriously important strings attached. i hope it's as great as i kind of need it to be.

we'll see. i'll know in like two weeks, jeez. i find out where i'm living and get my visa and isic card on the 8th or 9th, so i guess this means i'm really going. huh.