Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Living Life in South Africa (Week 1)

Here is the recap of my first week in South Africa.
Sunday: we arrived, safe & sound, and after lots of travel time!  We added it all up and realized we spent 35 hours on planes and about 25 in airports.
Monday: We had a wonderful day touring the city.  We visited District 6 museum which is a tribute to a part of Cape Town.  During Apartheid, the government forced Blacks and Coloured out of their homes and into the townships outside the city.  All of District 6 was demolished and claimed as an 'all White' area.  It's an amazing museum dedicated to the people who lived in district 6.  
Here are some pictures from the city tour
A map of district 6 on the ground in the museum. It has amazing details from the district handwritten in by the families of those who were forced from their homes.
The balcony where Mandela gave his first address after being released from Robben Island in 1990.
 The view from the highest driving point in the city.
Tuesday we had class in the morning and as part of it, a panel of guests who lived through Apartheid, three of whom were from district 6. What an honor and privilege to hear their stories.
We also got to have lunch with them, which was such a treat!  The woman taking the photo also told us to squeeze together (clearly we didn't need to).
Wednesday was more class, including leadership and service learning topics.  In the afternoon, we took most of the 141 students on a hike up Table Mountain.
 During part of the hike up Table Mountain. It was beautiful and a bit treacherous.
 On top of the mountain!
Thursday was class and then the tour of an Amy Biehl foundation. Amy was an American who was brutally murdered over here in South Africa while she was trying to fight for rights for Blacks and Coloured. After her death her parents forgave her murders and even spoke on their behalf at their hearing (you should check out the whole story). Her parents then started a foundation to help underprivileged children in the townships. In addition, two of the men who killed Amy now work for the foundation.
Here are our students doing Tae-Bo with the children at the foundation.
Friday was a debrief and class as well as the first part of grading! Friday night the Global Lead staff and the academic staff all went out to dinner at a great Mexican food place. Laughs and good food were shared.
Saturday was filled with LOTS of grading, a brie, and then a Stormers rugby game

I had never been to a brie, it was kind like a BBQ, but with some sort of mystery meat ;)
Sunday was filled with more grading and Sunday dinner. It was a nice ending to the week. The first week had many many highlights including all the wonderful conversation I have been able to have with students. 
Oh and the view from our apartment; we are right on the beach & have witnessed magnificent sunsets!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


This trip is full of firsts (and will continue to be)!  First...the internet here can create a challenge in blogging.  However, my hope is to blog twice a week about my experiences.  Since it is late (and I am still finishing up some things for class tomorrow...yikes), I am going to keep this short.  Here are a few pictures thus far.  

After leaving Atlanta on Friday, spending 12 hours in Frankfurt airport on Saturday, Johannesburg on Sunday into Cape Town, it's been a whirlwind.  My traveling companions (Christina (who is also my roommate here) and Chase (who I'm partnered with for the trip)) had a lot of memory making opportunities on the trip.  I will share the longer story later.  For now here is a picture of us. 
Along with never leaving the North American continent (first first), I had never flown in a double decker plane.  I was intrigued (and it was super nice)!
While on our 12 hour layover in Frankfurt Germany, we treated ourselved to Haagen Dazs (sp?).  I mean, you can't be in Germany and not have Haagen Dazs icecream right?! ;)
But seriously, it was quite the adventure getting here, but we all made it.  And the long days and amazing adventures have begun.  Well, that's it for now.  I'm pooped and I have got to get to bed.

Ohhh, did I mention our hotel is right on the beach of the Atlantic ocean?!  Oh, it is.  I'll post a picture of the amazing sunsets sometime!  Breathtaking!

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Journey Begins

Well, I'm sitting in the airport just I thought I'd take a menu to blog while I still have access to my lovely iPhone! Getting through check in was rather difficult for my travel companions, but luckily I had checked and double checked my 48lb bag :) Anyway, about an hour before I left Athens it hit me...I'm going to another continent for 5 weeks! It hit as I was throwing out food that would go bad ;) But my house is cleaned, my bags are packed, an in an hour I'm going to be headed to distant lands. Nerves have been replaced with excitement and tiredness. I'm so thankful for this opportunity! I pray this is an opportunity to teach and learn, and experience all sorts of new things! Get excited! I am!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's May?!

April has come and gone. Wow. And in less than 24 hours I will be heading to the, on a plane to South Africa. Before I discuss that, let me express how wonderful my trip to Texas was...incredibly rejuvenating! I flew in on Thursday afternoon, saw a friend at the airport, went to TCU, hung out with Megan's friends that evening, drove down to Waco on Friday, saw a host of people, paraded visitors in at Common Grounds (CG), stayed the night with friends, saw Adam, Em, & the girls Saturday, more visits at CG, and then back to DFW where Megan and I hung out more and I saw another former student.  It-was-a-blast. 

And now...I'm frantically doing laundry, packing, and trying to cross off my insane to-do list.  I'm not complaining.  I am uber excited.  It's just that I have been going all week (with a program that happened tonight...err, is still happening and I had to sneak away to do laundry).

I am blessed.  I am excited.  I hope I don't forget something essential.

Probably will. :)