Thursday, January 30, 2014

Time Flies

I can’t believe I’ve been here for a day short of two weeks already! Time really does fly when you’re having fun. Adventure wise, we didn’t really do anything too crazy last weekend. I think we all just needed some time to relax and explore the town a little more after our first week of student teaching.

On Saturday morning, we called a cab to pick us up and drive us to the Green Acres mall. It was like any mall you would see in America, but it seemed a lot busier than the mall in Strongsville that I always go to. All the locals keep saying February is the most brutal month of the year for heat, and that this might be their hottest summer yet, so I needed to buy some skirts and shorts to wear to school. We spent the majority of the day at Green Acres. Although getting skirts was important, the best buy of the day was a real pillow!!! I have never been happier to see one in my entire life since the pillows they gave us in our apartments are as thick as a folded hand towel.  I slept like a baby that night. After returning to Summerstrand, we went to the Boardwalk for a bit to enjoy some free wifi (it’s a very valuable thing to us here).

Sunday morning we got up early and walked to the leasing office so some of my roommates could buy wifi. I knew I should buy some since I would run out soon (and sure enough I did that night) but I was out of Rand and they only accept cash for internet. After that, we spent the entire day wandering through the flea market. There were so many handcrafted wood pieces, paintings, and key chains. I would love to buy one of everything except
 1. Nothing fit in my suitcase on the flight here and
2. I only had enough rand to buy some ice cream.
That night we booked a cab to take us to the United Methodist Church service in Walmer which is about twenty or so minutes away. Most of the people were about high school age, but it was a great service and we plan on going back on Sunday nights.

After school on Monday, we headed to the Boardwalk to meet a local girl and some of her friends from NMMU for dinner at Spur. Monday night they run a burger special where you buy one meal and get one free, so I was all about that! And as always, the free wifi is a plus, especially for facetiming. On our walk back into our apartment building, we met some South African country boys who are staying in the complex next to ours for a few weeks for business. It was funny to hear how similar their country living was to our country living, even though it’s an entirely different country. They seemed really nice and invited us to barbeque with them and listen to Tim McGraw whenever they are outside. Not that I don’t feel safe here (but sometimes the teachers freak me out telling me horror stories of crime), but it makes me feel safe knowing they are going to be around for a few weeks if we ever run into any trouble (which I hope we don’t). It’s just very different that all the houses and building here have huge walls with barbed wire surrounding them and there are bars over all the doors and windows.

After school on Tuesday night I went to help out my high school roommates coach fitness club, and it was so much fun! I will definitely be going back. That night, Summerwood Primary held a picnic/pool party for the first grade families, so I decided to go check it out. Although I didn’t talk to any parents, it was nice to get to know the other first grade teachers better. One was even nice enough to drive us home since it was getting dark out.

As always, the kids were adorable this week. We were having a lesson on body parts and discussing the reason we had eyelashes when a raised his hand to say that they were only there to “make us pretty.” They say the cutest things. My favorite story for the week is that one morning a child’s mom stopped to talk to me before class and asked where I was from because her son had told her I was from Mexico! I’m sure Mexico is a lovely place, but it’s definitely not where I call home.
I learned some small but interesting differences between our culture and theirs:
1. THEY DON’T MAKE S’MORES WITH CHOCOLATE!!!! This is just disturbing.
2. They call all crackers biscuits (I have no idea what they call biscuits)
3. They sing the incy wincy spider instead of the itsy bitsy spider which just sounds adorable with their accents
4. They call ‘jell-o’ ‘jelly’ so they don’t quite understand American’s fascination with peanut butter and jelly
5. They call all ‘jelly’ ‘jam’


It’s Thursday, which means the weekend is only a day away! I’m so excited for tomorrow because we are going to a braai (a barbeque) at the high school with our roommates before we leave for Plett (Plettenburg Bay) for the weekend. I’ve heard it’s one of the most beautiful cities around and it’s also the city my mentor teacher is getting married in next year. I can’t wait to see what the weekend has in store! Talk to you all next week J

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