Thursday, August 26, 2010

Another Downer

When I came home from school today, I went to make myself a late lunch (steamed spinage and chocolate milk). Only two of my other housemates were home, and they left for class while I was just finishing up in the kitchen and on my way upstairs to my room. We think the robbers somehow came in as they were leaving. While I was upstairs in the shower, two or more men broke into our house and went into the two downstairs bedrooms that were unlocked. They got four laptops, four cameras (two DSLRs), a ton of rand, and a hair straightener. I can't believe how lucky I am that they didn't come upstairs/I didn't go downstairs. I keep thinking, what if? what if? The police said how lucky I am, that many people who were in identical situations did not fare so well. It really shook me up. I miss home.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Existential Crisis #9

As much as it pains me to admit it, my "Perfectly Wondrous and Utterly Amazing Life in Africa" is experiencing a small melancholic hiccup. I'm actually quite low. Midterms are here, and I have a perfectly dreadful amount of work to do (especially since the half-the-page-minimum-experimental-feminist essays I write in Santa Cruz won't fly here). Just so we're clear, I'm of the mind that there'll Always be that figurative midterm coming up, and I won't live my life waiting till I can enjoy it. But the problem is, it's not just normal stress that's got me down. For the first time in my existence, I'm on my own. There's nothing grounding me here.

"It is so easy to become lost and depressed when you have nothing to grab onto that relates to your whole life: your family, friends, places you know, things you usually do. It can really destroy your sense of who you are without all those things. What is left, who am I, really, without all those external things that I associate with myself?" - my Dad*

*I love my Dad

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Table Mountain Hike

Energized at the foot of the mountain.

The trail grows more rigorous.

Hunger and exhaustion set in.

Finally at the top, met by this immense plateau...

and there was a surprise lake up there,

with RED water!

But the view was the best part...

Top of Lion's Head

August Recap

How 'bout I start this thing for realzies? Essays, assignments and tests are really starting to pile up, which means that for the next few weeks I'm stuck sitting inside on my computer procrastinating... so I finally have the time and motive to blog. Let's see, where should I start? Well, at the moment, one of my housemates is using the mega-speakers we set up last night for our mini rager to blast Swan Lake. Which is awesome. When the music crescendoes, the bellyaching hungover (dispersed haphazardly throughout the house) unite in a grumbling cacophony of protests, and the house shakes.

The house itself (I should probably back up, huh?) is eight bedrooms and a large backyard glen of Montecito-esque glory. We're technically across the street from campus. (Although all this means is the guinea fowl-ridden park in front of our house is owned by UCT, not that I don't have to hike up a sweaty mountain every morning to Upper Campus) I live with 10 or 11 other people, all of which are extremely lovely. A few blocks down the street is the Main Road (exotic, right?) where I buy my staples: ice cream, croissants, green tea and oatmeal.

I'm taking four classes: Romance to Realism, Postmodernism, African Gender Studies and Beginning Afrikaans. The two literature classes are set up very different than what I'm accustomed to at Santa Cruz. The sections/seminars/tutorials are taught by professors who switch off giving the main lectures. The seminars are all taught on different subjects that branch out from the main topic of the lectures and you can choose which you want. I signed up for "The Victorian Fancy" and "The Empire Writes Back: Reconfiguring the English Canon", but there were also seminars on history, creative writing, poetry, and non-fiction to choose from.

All in all, my reading list for the semester is as follows:


Invisible Man

Wide Sargasso Sea

Midnight's Children

Foe (by the national hero, Coetzee, pronounced cote-cee-ah, thank you Afrikaans 101)

A Bend in the River

Robinson Crusoe


Jane Eyre

The Scarlet Letter

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Through the Looking-Glass

A Christmas Carol


The Time Machine

I really love the people here. It's an interesting blend of personal circumstances that causes someone to end up studying abroad in this program, and, while this does not mean we're all similar people, for the most part our manifold differences are overcome by our shared adventurous desires. Between a few favorite friends, a nebulous group of sober acquaintances and drunken buddies, and most of all my suffocatingly wondrous mob of housemates, I'm quite content here. Spring break is in two weeks, and while I can't afford one of the very safe, very expensive, all-inclusive package trips most people are going on, I'm thinking of doing a cheaper, sketchier version of the same thing. A few guy friends and I want to get to Victoria Falls, and we found a trip that cost a fourth of the price everyone else is paying. The only drawback, and really I consider this a pro, is that transportation and travel visas are not included. Which means we may or may not be bribing border patrol and sneaking into Namibia... um, yeah.

I really wish I had started blogging and journaling earlier, I've had some really fantastic experiences and stories this past month. There were hikes, a few road trips, a rugby match, parties, bars, wineries, interactions with the locals, and lots of other stuff, none of which I can say I navigated gracefully or without causing some unnecessary minor fiasco. My plan is to try to relay as many of these as I can remember, along with some new ones, in the very near future. Miss you all :)