Today officially marked the half way point between the day I left LAX until the day I get back to California! I honestly feel like I have been gone SUCH a long time, it feels like it has been years since the last time I have driven a car or went to a Chapman lecture. I’ve been trying to evaluate the highs and lows of the first half of my adventure, and I came to a very strange epiphany: my most memorable and stand out moments of my trip so far have all been activities that I would have otherwise done at home. For example, going to music festivals, waterskiing, going out to restaurants and clubs, beach day… nothing about these activities are uniquely South African. I really want to focus the second half of my semester abroad truly immersing myself in the local culture and take myself out of my comfort zone. I’m really excited to be going on the Garden Route safari with my mom in just one short week, which is most definitely something I would never be able to experience outside of South Africa.
– School has been tough. My class course load is extremely time consuming and very demanding, but I am managing my way through it. I had two tests for statistics and accounting last week, I got a B on my stats test and I feel pretty good about my accounting test, I just have to wait for the results now. I feel like I can kind of take a deep breath this week, I have no big tests of assignments due until after Spring Break (which begins this Friday! yay!)
– I wanted to highlight some really interesting cultural differences I have observed in my time being here.
1) Restaurant customer service is very different from the US. Substitutions and alterations to a dish on the original menu is not encouraged. Basically, if you ask for a salad with the dressing on the side and no tomatos, they will usually never listen and just throw it on their anyway. If you order coffee, you are going to get coffee with full cream milk and that is that. No skim milk, splenda, or soy milk, half and half, nothing! And if you ask for no milk, they will probably put it in there anyway. And just forget it if you are gluten free or have any dietary restriction. Sigh.
2) The language barrier is a constant struggle. English is only the 4th most popular language in South Africa, with the most popular being Xhosa, Afrikans, and Zulu. No one understands my accent and I can’t ever understand theirs. Makes for some awkward conversation.
3) Many South Africans don’t like America… at all. In fact, I’m pretty convinced that the rest of the world hates America too. I’ve asked a few South Africans why they don’t like America, and many say it is because our government and foreign policy. Others say it is because we are too proud, and ignorant to the rest of the world’s issues besides our own. I see their point.
– Anyways, I did do some really fun things the past two weekends! Last weekend, I attended a music festival called We Love Summer. It was a one day event that was held on a lake. It was such a great time and they had awesome food and clothing vendors. The DJ’s weren’t amazing, but it was still an awesome “joule” (the Afrikans word for ‘party’).
Today was actually one of my most favorite days I’ve had. My roommate, Raven and I went horseback riding on the Noordhoek Beach, about thirty minutes away from our house. We booked the horseback riding very last minute, and we ended up being the only people in our tour group. The tour guide lead us and the horses on the beach and we were free to ride the horses into the ocean and run along the sand. It was absolutely spectacular, the sand was so white and the beach was completely empty! We ended our day with an amazing meal at a restaurant called Monkey Villa, which had great ocean views.
My next blog post will be about Spring Break after my mom comes to visit 🙂 ! I couldn’t be more excited!
Unil next time,