Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I Don't Know About You...

Febuary 15th.
Kwantu day! The elephants are here! We went to a place called Kwantu with Freewalkers to visit some ellies. IT WAS SO COOL! Not only did we get to ride them, and by ride I mean ride them around the bush just like they were horses, but we were able to feed them too! My entire hand was in the mouth of an elephant, how many people can say they’ve done that?! It was also really awesome to learn about the elephants too. My guide shared information with me as we casually rode around on an elephant (he even pulled out his phone to send a quick text at one point, but seriously, who texts on an elephant like it’s completely normal) and the ‘ring leader’ I guess you would call him told us even more information while we waiting for the other riders to come back once our ride was finished. I was blown away by how amazing these creatures were.

Next stop was a restaurant called Nanaga Farm Stall for lunch . They have the best bread I’ve ever tasted in my life (and if you know me well, you know that’s a lot of bread) and it was only 4 Rand… which means it was 40cents!!!!!). We ate our lunch out on a patio as chickens walked around freely. At one point, one jumped onto the empty table next to us and started eating the leftover chips from the last guest. As with all the other restaurants here, the food was phenomenal. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to enjoy food from a restaurant back home ever again because of the high standards this country has set for my taste buds. When we went to pay, I dropped a rand, and like lightening a chicken came out of nowhere to snatch it up. I guess they have a diet filled with variety.

After our lunch, we headed to a private game park called Schotia for our game drive. We were paired up with a really awesome German couple and our driver named Andrew for the night/afternoon. We started out like the little engine that could, when we couldn’t get up the first hill no matter how many times we tried. We found a different route, but continued to run into the same problem most of the afternoon/night. Despite our difficulty with that, it was an amazing drive! The scenery was so beautiful that I wouldn’t have minded sitting in one spot the entire afternoon. We saw animals like zebras, elephants, rhinos, hippos, crocodiles, and LIONS! They were so close I could have reached out and touched them, but my better judgment told me I better not do that. We also ate at this super cool outdoor/tiki-like/bonfire restaurant.

Random note of excitement: Last week I gave directions to two different groups of people like I was a local and this week I got mistaken for looking like someone who speaks Afrikaans in the passages! It’s official, some people think I look like a real local!!!!!Scatterbrained. Anxious. Sad. Embrace. Those are just a few of the millions of billions of words all jumbled up in my head right now that I can make any sense of. The thought of leaving so soon has me so scatterbrained. As excited as I am to go back to America, I am so sad to be leaving a country that in a such a short time has managed to steal my heart. I am so anxious about what my time in Florida will hold for me, and that I will never find a place that I love as much as I love being in this country. I’m trying my best to embrace all of my time here, and remind myself that not everyone gets this opportunity to see this amazing country, but it’s so hard not to think about all of the things I will miss once I leave here. I haven’t even left yet, and I am already trying to devise a way to come back and spend more time here. As amazing as some of the big adventures like bungy jumping have been here, I think it’s the small, routine things I’ll miss the most. Walking to the grocery store. Hanging out at Kaffine to enjoy some good food and free wifi. Watching the sunrise over the water every morning. Being able to walk less than five minutes to the beach. Waving hello and goodbye the adorable little girl who lives in the apartment across from us and the cute little boy who lives below us. The way people talk here, not just their accents, but the way everything sounds more proper. And I’ll especially miss my end of the end of the day routine: “Good afternoon boys and girls” “Good aftanoon Miss Brough and Miss Zeleznik. And have a SUPA DUPA AFTANOON!!!!!!” Those cute little accents melt my heart every time! 

I don’t know about you…..BUT I’M FEELING 22!!!! What a great day! I went for my usual morning run, and even though I couldn’t see the sun through the overcast morning, I just knew it was going to be a good day. I passed my roomies on my way in to get ready for school and they started off my day with some happy birthday singing. Then I got into my apartment and found a wonderful table of all my favorite treats from my girl Sarah, I couldn’t have been happier! I got to school and was surprised with my favorite chai tea latte from Caroline and the news that my teacher wasn’t coming in so I got the kids all to myself for the day! It was such a fun day hanging out with the kids. I just love every single one of them to pieces. I’m currently trying to figure out how to bring them all home with me, or stay here with them forever. Being apart from them just isn’t an option I want to consider. For dinner, I went to Angelos with my roomies and finally had some pasta, I’d been looking forward to it all week.

Thursday and Friday I was lucky enough to get to spend the day with Teacher Kelsey and her grade R kids (our preschool/kindergarten age) at Beachwood. From the second Kelsey introduced me, I knew I’d get along great with them when little Andrew immediately stood up to yell, “I love her,” and then sat back down to look me in the eyes and tell me he loved me again. Apparently love at first sight is a real thing! Thursday I just took the back seat and tried to learn their names and get down the routine, but Friday I was on my own with them. It was awesome to be able to see how a classroom at that age worked, and of course the kids were so cute!

Friday night was a lot of fun! We took a trip to Stanely Street in town. It was like a really trendy street you’d find somewhere in America. We wanted to experience as much of it as we could, so we got drinks and a bread platter at a wine bar, ate fajitas at place called Buenos, and then ate the best brownie in the world at another restaurant. It was such a lovely evening!

Saturday morning I woke up early and walked down to the beach to read for a little bit. The sun reflecting off the water was the prettiest I’ve ever seen it. Just when I think I’ve seen everything here, I see it in a new and different way, so breathtaking! Sarah and I went to Kaffine and ordered breakfast sandwiches to go to eat on the beach and then we got ready to go attempt to tan, but the wind was so crazy, we were getting attacked by the sand. Once all of us met back up, we got ready and headed out to see the Donkin Memorial in town and city hall. It was really incredible, but there wasn’t much to do, so we didn’t stay long before we headed to Bridge Street Brewery for dinner.

Monday it was SO nice to be back with my kiddos. I have never been so attached to a group of kids before and I missed them like crazy Thursday and Friday (even though I still ate lunch with one third of them). I’m starting to get the feeling they’re just as attached because Thursday Matteo demanded me to tell him where I was all day because he was so worried about me all day long. Today he told me that when I leave he’s going to “miss me until he dies,” and yes ladies and gentlemen that is a direct quote. All my aftercare kids ask everyday in the middle of homework when I’m leaving and tell me that I’m not allowed and I have to stay forever. They’re just perfect; there aren’t enough words in the world to describe how much I love each and every one of these kids. 

p.s. I still can't figure out this whole rotating pictures thing, so if anyone could help me that would be AWESOME! :) Cheers! 

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