So I haven’t been writing much recently. That’s a lie, I haven’t been writing much from pleasure in the past couple of months. The blog was put aside, adventures placed on hold, and school work combined with birthdays were in full swing. Not to overwhelm, but here’s a briefing on my past month and a half since the IRONMAN….
Well right before the IRONMAN was our “spring break” and I headed off to Coffee Bay with a few of the girls which is this incredibly beautiful Xhosa village on the beach in the Transkei. We spent a weekend hiking, buying beads, attempting to use my limited knowledge of Xhosa language to converse with the locals, climbing through caves, eating steaks, bonding with the toasty king, and trying out our dance moves to some local drummers. We did two big hikes, Hole in the Wall and another one along the beach that ended up getting cut short because the waves would wash us away as we attempted to climb through caves.
The adventures just began, as we headed back to PE to meet up with the rest of our group and head to Cape Town for the week. Cape Town is easily the most popular city in South Africa, and rightfully so. It’s an incredible city with so much to do and see, it was a nice change of pace from our humble abode in PE. On the way we made one short detour… to jump off the world’s highest commercial bungee bridge. Standing at 216m high, we attempted the jump and most of us came back eager a thirsty for more.
Cape Town was a whole different side of South African culture. Sheltered from the immediate poverty that surrounded PE, we experience Table Mountain, Robben Island, the wine lands of Stellenbosch, straddling the two oceans of the Indian and Atlantic, and of course, ate our way through the city.
On the venture home, we made a pit stop in Outdshorn to hike in the Conga Caves, and attempt to ride Ostriches, the world’s oddest animal. We tasted exotic foods including Ostrich burgers, kudu steaks and springbok BBQ. It was a great trip lead by our favorite guide Michael, owner of travel company, Two-Way Travel.
On a completely different note, at the IRONMAN I was approached by a local photographer, Johann Buys, and asked to take pictures with him for fun. He showed me an incredible beach just behind campus, I had never seen before, and here are a few of the outcomes from the day.
I also turned 21! It was an incredible birthday, even being so far away from home, everyone still did such a great job to make my day truly special. I ended up with the post office knowing me by name as I had birthday cards rolling in from home for weeks, and my room filled with too many balloons, kitchen covered in streamers, and poker card signs covering my door. I’m truly blessed. I spend the day with Carson doing as many American things as possible including, shopping, McDonalds, massages, and venturing to the casino. That night a group of friend and I shared wood fired pizzas and red wine before heading out for celebrations!
Since then there have been a few smaller adventures, including the most recent, Animal Day! Carson, Sipho and I adventured out for the day to local game reserves, Addo Elephant Park and Kragga Kamma. We saw it all, minus the lions but got up close and personal with some zebras, elephants, giraffes, rhinos, warthogs, and cheetahs!
With school coming to a close, I have been spending my days reading my roommates ever growing library including A Thousand Splendid Suns (loved), Wild Child (eh), Little Bee (adored), and currently The Sea. I’m also trying to suck up as much sun as possible with long beach runs, as these African winter days are here, and I wake up to a blue, clear, sunny sky everyday and temperatures reaching almost 75….. It’s a rough life. I’m hoping to fit in a couple more trips in my three weeks left in Africa. I have two exams to prepare for next week but then it’s home free!
I cannot wait to return home to everyone, I have missed you all dearly! I’m sure I will miss this African experience but I feel like I’ve been gone long enough this time.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from all the birthday cards I got. This one was from my cousin (the third sister ;)) Ally:
“To know the way, we go the way, we do the way, the way we do, the things we do. It’s all been there in front of you, but if you try too hard to see it, you’ll only be confused. I am me, and you are you, as you can see. But when you do, the things that you can do, you will find the way, and the way will find you. “– Pooh.