So starts another semester. I was not sure that finding internet could be much worse than in Beijing, but so far, South Africa is definitely in the running. That’s not a problem though, since this may be the most beautiful place I have ever been.
For the past few days I have felt slightly trapped, since I am not yet comfortable with the public transportation system, and UCT is a bit out in the suburb. We have been doing a lot of orientation stuff on campus, but thankfully yesterday they split us up into groups and took us into the center of the city.
Anywhere you go, you can see the beautiful Table Mountain, something we got the opportunity to go up to in the evening yesterday for sunset. There isn’t much anyone can say to describe that; it was simply amazing.
I cannot help but compare everything to Beijing, although there is little to no comparison to be made. When not in a huge mass of obvious Americans, we blend in here, which is a different experience as a foreigner thus far.
My first experience on the cab ride from the airport was interesting. I had an enthusiastic cab driver named Joey, who is now sincerely worried about me, thinking I’m some sort of crazy daredevil. Driving into Cape Town from the airport you immediately encounter a huge shantytown that seems to go on forever. This is a huge contrast to the gorgeous suburb I am residing in at the base of a mountain.
Today we find out more about our res and volunteer opportunities.
The updates might be frequent once I move into the dorms, but until then thinking of everyone back in DC and in Beijing, but more than enjoying 80+ degree weather every day.
Yes, I’m excited to get on that plane in the morning. However, I’m also incredibly nervous this go round. If anything, I’m more nervous than I was going to China. Why? It’s not going to be China.
This sounds ridiculous, but my only long term experience abroad was China, where there was virtually no restriction on anything I did, and being white was like being a celebrity (sounds conceited and racist, but sadly it’s true. It was unnerving most of the time).
I chose to go to South Africa after China because the two countries are radically different. I expect a much more academic semester, independent from my study abroad program. After talking to people who have been in the program, I’m just nervous as to the amount of culture-shock reverse culture-shock I am about to experience.
Hopefully a lot of the anxiety is in my head. We’ll see soon. So little time :)
Calling my bank to inform them I am going abroad:
“So is Africa the only country you are going to?”
Now for more packing.
Ok a slight exaggeration, but coming home to the middle of nowhere is always a bit of a struggle after home cooked food and some family/friend time. With some home friends already back in school (or in Kyrgyzstan or Hong Kong) boredom is reaching new highs, for example I’m actually watching my little brother play FIFA at the moment.
Anyway! I got my visa today for South Africa, cue huge sigh of relief. Now this thing is real, and my year abroad can actually happen. Two other kids from my high school are going to Cape Town in a separate program, which is exciting, and talking to one of them today got me even more excited for all the touristy type things I am going to get the opportunity to do (I’m really excited to go bungee jumping; the highest commercial jump in the world is in South Africa).
I need to keep reminding myself this is going to be nothing like China, which seems completely idiotic, but true. Being aware of surroundings will be much more necessary, and while China definitely had it’s own race-related cultural elements, they were much more behind closed doors than the extremes in South Africa. I am really interested in the reception as an American, since I was so used to a celebrity-like status last semester.
I need to start packing, I’ll be heading down to DC next week for a quick visit, and I am running out of time to get things done. I have the bad habit of procrastinating and winging it, which travelling is kind of helping me fix.
I’m going to try to keep this blog going the best I can.
Love to everyone.