Sara in South Africa

A Semester in Grahamstown

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Snap back to reality, Oh there goes gravity

After finishing my exams, I packed up my room and said goodbye to the lovely town of Grahamstown, which had been my home for the past four and a half months. I loaded up into the tiny rental car with my friends Bec (the Australian) and Anna (another American) and set off towards Port Elizabeth. The ironic part was that “You’ll Be in my Heart” by Phil Collins was playing as we drove away. It was the saddest and hardest goodbye that I had to make during the final week in SA, but every moment of my time there was worth the trip and experience a thousand times over.

After a two hour drive to Port Elizabeth, we arrived at our hostel, checked-in and relaxed over some drinks. As we were deciding where to go out to eat we were invited by some other people staying at the hostel to join them for the braai that they were having. So we joined them out back by the pool, chatted, drank and enjoyed some tasty chicken kabobs. After awhile the others decided to go out and we called it a night, since Anna and I had to wake up quite early to catch the bus up the Wild Coast. 

The next morning, I said farewell to Bec, whom was the first exchanger that I grew to knew since we both shared the same shuttle to Grahamstown on that first day and were neighbors in our dorm. It was bittersweet and simple and shortly after that Anna and I boarded the bus towards Coffee Bay. After twelve hours of traveling and the bus losing our bag, we finally arrived at our hostel in Coffee Bay. We were quite tired and arrived just in time for dinner. So we sat by the fire, enjoyed our meal and called it an early night.

The next day we decided to do the hike to the “Hole in the Wall”, which is about a six hour round trip hike. We packed some lunch, got some directions and set off towards the hole. In the first few minutes of the hike we had two of the village dogs adopt us and they accompanied us throughout the rest of the hike. We had some local people offer to be our guides, but at one point we lost the path, so we gladly accepted the guidance of one of the locals. After three hours of hiking, we finally arrived at the hole in the wall. It was slightly underwhelming, but I did get to see cows on a beach, which was a first and too cute! After enjoying a quick lunch, we started the journey back to our hostel, but instead of hiking we opted to try hitch-hiking back since we were quite tired from the hike there. Our guide led us to the main road and pointed us in the direction towards where the cars usually picked people up then we said thank you and parted ways. Once we got to the taxi pick-up we met up with another group of hikers who were also heading back. After walking down the road a ways, we were finally picked up by a pair of cars. Once back at the hostel, Anna and I cleaned up and took some much needed naps until dinner was ready. Before dinner was served some of the local kids performed for the people staying at the hostel. They perform every Saturday night before dinner and it was quite an interesting show filled with singing and dancing. After dinner there were some high strung games of Jenga followed by hours of conversation with the Netherlands guys that we met hiking.

The next day we packed up our things and loaded the bus towards our next destination, Durban. After seven hours on the bus, a lovely drive through the Transkei, where we saw Nelson Mandela’s house, we arrived at our hostel in Durban. It was late and we were tired, so we called it an early night.

On our first day in Durban, we were blessed with with lovely weather, so we headed to the beach. After a few hours of playing in the waves and relaxing in the sun, Anna and I decided to have some lunch where I downed a jug of sweet tea and an interesting chicken sandwich. Lunch was followed by a relaxing siesta (aka a nap), which was then followed by dinner. We ate in the Ushaka water park food court at a Chinese restaurant, which was much appreciated and craved after months of dining hall food.

A day in the sun left me burnt all over, so the next day was slightly wasted. I spent the first part of the day lathering up in aloe and the rest of the day walking through the streets of Durban to find the Victoria Street Market, which is one of the places that everyone recommends people to go. Although by the time I got there I was not as impressed with the market as I was with the places around it. I ended up walking through a Muslim graveyard across the street, which was being restored. It was interesting to see all the different cultures combined in this one area and after awhile I headed back to the hostel, met up with Anna and we went out to dinner for some famous bunny chow. Bunny chow consists of a loaf of bread with the center cut out and filled in with curry. It was done this way in order to feed the poor without the hassle of using up utensils.

On the last day in Durban, Anna and I took a trip to the stadium where they held the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It was such a cool place. We took the express tour around the stadium, which included walking on the field and seeing one of the changing rooms. After we saw the stadium, we switched hostels to where the other exchange students were staying and hung out with them on our last night. Wout, one of the Netherlands exchange students, had bought some grocery items and made a delicious dinner for us. Our group sat around the table and talked for hours, played some pool, and enjoyed each others company while we still could. Then some of us said our goodbyes for now and went to bed.

The next day Anna and I loaded into the bus for a wonderful trip back to Port Elizabeth. I’m being sarcastic when I say wonderful, just in case you were wondering. The whole entire trip was behind schedule, so Anna and I spent a lovely seventeen hours on the bus from 7AM until we finally arrived at the hostel in Port Elizabeth at 12:30AM. I had not booked a room in the hostel because I had not been planning on staying there that evening, so I sneakily slept on the couch in the living room. The next day, I hung out with a few of the other exchange students who were also in Port Elizabeth in order to catch their flights home the next day. We walked along the beach and did some final shopping at some of the street vendor’s tables, had a tasty lunch and gathered some supplies to make a homey dinner at the hostel. We laughed and talked over some glasses of wine and scrumptious pasta made by Deike, the German exchange student. Soon enough it was time to get some sleep and we all tucked in for the night (I even booked a bed, so that I didn’t have to sleep on the couch again!).

Morning came and we all made the final packing arrangements. We enjoyed a lovely breakfast of french toast made again by Deike. After breakfast, we gathered our bags, said farewells and loaded into the taxi to head to the Port Elizabeth airport. I checked in and not to my surprise my bag was overweight, so the lady made me unpack my bag, which led to the eventual chucking of my towel in order to get it down to an acceptable weight. Once that ordeal was over, I waited for my friends to check in where I was approached by a seven year old boy, whom happened to have the same brown dog pillow pet that I did and wanted to point that out, which was slightly embarrassing since my friend saw it happen and started to laugh at me. Once we were all checked in, we went through security and sat at the gate where we were later joined by two of the other exchange students who were flying out that day. Finally, we all boarded our planes and headed to Johannesburg. I had a six hour layover there, so I met up with Ilyssa, one of the American exchange students, and we searched the terminal for a place to eat. After that, we settled down in some chairs and chatted while we waited for the three other exchange students to go through security and join us in the terminal. While waiting in the terminal, I happened to recognize one of the people who was perusing the shops and found out that it was one of the three guys from the Netherlands that I had met in Coffee Bay. We stopped and chatted for a bit about what we had been up to in the week since we’d last seen each other, which was a welcome surprise that reminded me of how small the world can be some times. After he left, it was soon time to start saying more final farewells to my friends since their boarding times were approaching. Some hugs were had, some tears were shed and overall it was a tad bittersweet. One by one, Teresa (the Italian), Celine (the French), and Deike (the German) all left the waiting area and boarded their flights towards home. Ilyssa and I were the only ones left, since Chloe (another American exchange student) had yet to appear in the terminal. Soon we walked towards her gate and we exchanged goodbyes, but they weren’t for good since we both go to college in the Boston area and are very likely to see each other again soon. I left her in line and headed towards my own gate, where I waited for awhile to board my eleven hour flight from Joburg to London. After a short layover in London, I boarded the plane for another seven hour flight to Boston. On this flight, I happened to be wearing my Wheaton sweatshirt, which one of the stewardesses recognized and asked me how I liked it since she had a legacy of family members that had attended, again pointing out to me how small the world can be. Once I arrived in Boston, I quickly went through customs, gathered my duffel bag and caught the silver line to South Station, where I caught the bus home with a few minutes to spare. After another four hours on the bus, which flew by, I arrived at the bus station, where my parents were anxiously awaiting my arrival. The bus ride was followed by another hour and a half in the car, which totaled my traveling to a whopping thirty-three hours until I was finally home in Maine. A day and a half of traveling really tuckers a person out especially if they only sleep for a total of four hours throughout the trip, so I passed out pretty early.

I’ll have to admit that it’s been a bit weird being back. At some points, it feels like I never left and that nothing has changed, but I know that I have as well as my home has. Most of me longs to be back in South Africa, but more about that later.

Until then, aweh aweh aweh!

Filed under travel south africa rhodes home

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YORO (You Only Rhodes Once)

This past year YOLO became a popular term used by the younger generation to define the brash and crazy actions that we did to enjoy our lives. Here at Rhodes that term has been adapted to YORO and I find it quite the fitting description to my time here in South Africa. More than anything I wish that I could stay longer because there is so much that I have yet to do here, but I guess it’s really true that “You Only Rhodes Once”. There haven’t been too many dull moments here. It’s been a truly incredible and life changing experience. I am so glad that I decided to come here instead of going to the typical European or Australian Universities that most go to for Study Abroad. There is so much more to be learned here, which will change the way you look at the world. The people are so relaxed and friendly. The country is beautiful. Plus it has an astounding history. I only wish that America could develop more of the chilled vibe that South Africa has.

I’ve met some great friends. I can’t imagine my time here being what it was without our little rat pack group of international students. I’m going to miss them so much and I’m going to miss this place incredibly. I couldn’t really describe my experience to anyone and I’m not yet fully aware of what changes it has had on me yet, but I know that they’re for the better.

My last exam is on Tuesday and I’ll be heading off to Coffee Bay/Durban with some friends on Thursday. After a week of soaking up the sun, it’ll be time to head back to the States, which will be pretty hard. Until then I will be savoring every moment I have left here.


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Time Flies

Friday ended Term 4 here at Rhodes and now the preparations for exams have begun. Unlike America where we have a highly stressful week of exams, here at Rhodes the whole month of November consists of exams. I only have three exams, but this is the first time that I’ll have to write timed essays since maybe Freshman year of college, so I’m a little worried about that, but once that’s done I’ll go off traveling to Coffee Bay and Durban.

The thought of leaving here makes me so incredibly sad sometimes. I’ve had such a wonderful experience here and I want to thank all of those who have been a part of it during the ups and the downs. The exchange group that I came with have been some of the most amazing people I’ve met as well as the people I’ve met at Rhodes.

Last night at the bar, while I was waiting for my friends, I was approached by some guys, who after finding out that I was American wanted to talk to me all about America and how I was finding things here in South Africa. The irony of it all is when they started drunkenly singing “Time to Say Goodbye”. I don’t want to say goodbye at all, I mean there are things that I miss about home, but I wish there was someway to combine the two places because in some ways Rhodes and South Africa have become my home now.

Well, I guess you could say that this is all a little preemptive, but I can’t help think of it. Here’s to enjoying the rest of my time here. Gotta soak it all up while I still can!

Aweh x

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Sorry for the lack of posting lately, nothing very exciting has gone on. Just been going to class and hanging around Grahamstown. The other night we had a citywide blackout, which was pretty cool. The sky was so clear and you could see so many stars.

Tomorrow marks three months here in South Africa. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been here for that long. It’s also sad to think that I’ll be leaving this beautiful place in a month and a half although in some ways I’ll be ready to come back, there are just some comforts that cannot be replaced.

Anyway later tonight the rest of the exchange group and I will go to a formal dance and then hit the town. It’ll be fun to dress up and see everyone in their best. The funny thing about Grahamstown that I’ve noticed is that compared to the states, the people here don’t really dress up that much to go out. It’s a bit odd, but can be very nice on those nights where I don’t feel like putting that much effort into my outfit.

Well that’s about it. If anything exciting happens, I’ll let you know. Hope all is well back home.


Filed under travel south africa

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Lion Park

This is going to be a short post.

Yesterday, I went to Seaview Lion Park with a fellow American exchange student. I’ve been waiting to go here since before I came to South Africa, so it was an awesome day for me. We left bright and early, Sunday morning to make the two hour trip to Seaview, which is close to Port Elizabeth. Once we got to the park, we drove to the main area, but not after I was finally able to see some giraffes that they have roaming around the park. Then we looked around and we were fortunate to get there at the exact time they were feeding the baby caracals. Needless to say I ah’d endlessly as I saw this happen. We continued the day by looking around a bit, before getting to the main excitement, which was the lion cubs. We purchased our tickets and went into the cage. I was able to pet four lion cubs, two regular and two white lions. Afterwards, we had a short lunch before going to interact with the four tiger cubs. I know when I say cub, you think of a small animal that I could hold in my arms, but these guys were not any where near that size. So unfortunately, I was not able to hold them, but I quite enjoyed petting them. After the tigers, we looked around some more, saw servals, meercats, hyenas, nile crocodiles, jaguars, panthers, and a bush pig. After all the day’s excitement, I returned to Grahamstown an even happier lady.

Cheers! Check out the photos to see how the day went :)

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So I’ve been slacking at posting pictures this whole entire trip, but I’ve found a way for you to view some of my albums.

Just click on the following links :)

Trip to Seaview Lion Park

September Vacation Trip to Cape Town and Storm’s River

Port Elizabeth Day Trip

Hogsback Hike

Addo Elephant Park Trip

General Rhodes Pictures


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September Vacation

This past week was incredible, in fact I can say that it was the best week of my life so far.

On the evening of Thursday September 7th, four of my friends and I loaded onto a Greyhound bus and headed for Cape Town to start our vacation. After a fourteen hour bus ride, filled with uncomfortable sleeping positions and late-night reading, we arrived in Cape Town. We took a cab to our friend’s hotel room, so we could meet up with her sister, we took some much needed showers and then a few of us set off to go check in to our hostel, drop off our stuff and start exploring the city. We stayed at a cozy, eclectic place called Penthouse on Long (Street). Once we dropped off our bags, we set off in search of a place and ended up at this place called Alexander Bar. The decor was vintage, with old telephones with the number wheels that you could use to call other tables and even the bar. We had the best, freshly baked bread in addition to a cheese platter that we all devoured. I had a delicious beef and noodle salad that was in a soy and ginger sauce, which was only the beginning of some of the best meals I’ve had in SA. After lunch, we looked in a few shops and went to an African dance show, which was quite fun to watch. We left the show and set off exploring Long Street, which is the party street essentially because it’s where all the pubs, restaurants and shops are, to find a place to eat. A few blocks later, we ended up at a restaurant called Pickwicks, which we had incidentally been searching for earlier with no avail, where we enjoyed a nice pasta dinner and the best milkshakes in town. Once dinner ended, two of our group called it a night, whereas the others and I set off to find a place to have a nice drink. We ended up at a place called Mama Africa, which was really fun, but we didn’t stay long because we were so tired from traveling.

The next day, we woke up early to go on our first day trip, which was shark diving. I was very apprehensive about doing this at first, but my worries vanished as the day went along. We went on a two hour bus trip to get to Hermanus, where the shark diving took place. The company that we went with was called Great White Ecoventures and I highly recommend any future shark divers to use them. They were very easy going and I learned a great deal about the sharks that we saw on the trip. Now about the actual shark diving. After a quick breakfast served by our guides, we loaded onto the boat and took a fifteen minute boat ride to the part of the bay where we would be diving. To my greatest surprise, and probably to the others on the boat, we were quite close to the shore. The crew on the boat, started prepping the cage as our guide told us about the sharks and the surrounding area, and then we all started putting on our wet suits as well as other gear we needed to dive. Once we put on our wet suits the first five divers entered the cage, and much to my surprise I was one of them along with three of my friends and an English man named Jack. With my goggles securely attached, I entered the cold water and nervously awaited the command to hold my breath and plunge into the water to catch a glimpse of the sharks. By the end of my time in the cage, I couldn’t get enough of the sharks and was so excited that I went in two more times. Once everyone had been in to see the sharks, we headed back to shore, where we had a nice lunch provided by Great White Ecoventures and watched a short video of our trip, while our guide told us how many sharks we saw that day as well as how to tell the difference between a male and female and a little history about the process of shark diving. After we finished, we loaded onto the bus and our guide took us to see some whales. We perched on top of some rocks overlooking the bay, where we saw some Southern Right Whales hanging out very close to the shore. Once we were done, we returned to Cape Town, where we dropped off our things and went out to eat at a place called Zula. This restaurant was composed of a few bars and a club in addition to the small room where we enjoyed our meal in the cozy candlelight. I ate the most delicious basil pesto chicken pasta, which I quickly devoured, accompanied by a chai tea and later a very rich chocolate cake. All of us were very tired from the days activities, so we went our separate ways and had an early night.

When we woke up the next morning, we found the sky to be gray and rainy, which changed our original of hiking Table Mountain to doing a wine tasting tour. We went with a company called Wineflies, who took us to four vineyards in Stellenbosh. The first vineyard we visited was called Fairview and although we were not able to see the fair view, we had a very good time there. In fact, it was my favorite place that we went to that day. The wine was excellent as was the homemade goat cheese and baked goods that they offered. After stuffing our faces with wine and cheese we set off to our second vineyard, but not after stopping on the side of the road to see some ostriches, zebras and antelopes. The second vineyard that we visited was called Muratie, which mean ruins. The place had an old farm feel to it and in fact the place where we tasted was covered in very old cobwebs, that we were told have been there since the beginning. Not sure if that’s true or not, but I liked the cozy atmosphere it provided. Muratie, we learned, was the vineyard that produced the first Pino Noir back in 1659. Next we headed to a restaurant, which was located on the third vineyard we visited. We all enjoyed a tasty lunch along with our wine and as soon as we were done we went to the final vineyard of the day. The last vineyard that we went to was called Blaauwklippen. We rushed to visit this one because they were hosting a local farmer’s market, where I purchased a quite tasty chocolate-caramel shortbread. After frolicking in some trees and visiting the makeshift museum filled with their old horse-drawn carriages, we had some tasty wines along with some brandy that the vineyard also makes. We loaded the bus and headed back to Cape Town. While we were getting ready for dinner we ran into two American guys, who had just come back from Madagascar where they had been stationed with the Peace Corp. They joined us for dinner at a local fast food place called Nandos and we continued to hang out throughout the rest of the evening. We were supposed to meet up with the two Australian doctors that we had met on our wine tasting tour, but they rain-checked, so we ended up going to a bar called Cafe Caprice in Camps Bay, the local beach. After a short walk on the beach, we headed back to Penthouse and called it a night.

On day four in Cape Town, we decided to take a tour of Cape Point. We were joined by our English friend, who was also staying at Penthouse. The first stop we made was in Hout Bay to see the seals. It was here that we loaded onto a boat accompanied by an abundance of Asian tourists, who provided a few laughs as they tumbled about the boat and took many funny, Titanic themed pictures at the stern of the boat. After the boat trip, we drove to Simon’s town to Boulders, where we were able to see the African penguins. There were even baby penguins that were molting and that I was quite tempted to take away with me because they were adorable. Once we were finished with the penguins, we were taken to the Cape of Good Hope National Park, where our guide dropped us off with some bikes while he went and set up our picnic lunch. We biked down the coast to the visitor’s center and eventually down to the Cape of Good Hope. We also hiked up to the Cape Point lighthouse and although it is no longer in use, it was amazing to look out and see the beautiful view. After a trip to the gift shop, we loaded onto the bus and headed back to Long Street for dinner. We ended up going to Mama Africa for dinner, where we enjoyed live music and the company of our Argentinian waiter Mitch. I had the most delicious mussels that were in a yellow curry sauce along with a Springbok steak and a glass of wine. For dessert, I had the yummiest chocolate brownie with ice cream as others had milkshakes from Pickwicks. Yet again we were exhausted from the days activities so we had another early night.

On our last day in Cape Town we finally hiked up Table Mountain. We were joined by the two American guys that we had met and set off on the “easy” trail. Whoever said this hike was easy lied. I was dying as I climbed up the stone steps that steeply led the way up the mountain. By the time we got to the top three hours later, I had made so many resolutions to become more fit and stop eating junk food. At the top, we enjoyed the PB&J sandwiches that we made and looked out at Cape Town. We took the cable cars down and relaxed for a bit before going to the Waterfront for dinner. We ate at a place called Mitchel’s where we were joined by our Australian friends. We ate, drank and did karaoke. After a bit, we returned to Long Street where we ended our night at The Dubliner. We danced until the wee hours of the morning and since it was our last night in Cape Town, my friends had decided to stay up all night since we were catching a bus at 5:30AM. I, however, did not make it through the night and took a short snooze before we had to leave. We said our goodbyes to Cape Town and loaded onto a bus heading for Storms River.

Ten hours later, we arrived at Storms River. We were picked up by the boss of the hostel we booked and I took a short ride in the back of his truck. The hostel was called Dijembe, which is a West African drum, and it was a very cute, outdoorsy place. In front there was a fire pit, where we cuddled in the hammock and warmed up by at night. After checking in and meeting some of the people staying there, we walked into town and had dinner at a place called Rafters. I had chicken curry, but the highlight of my meal was the chocolate cake and ice cream that I had for dessert. We walked back in the pitch black, holding each others hands and admiring the night sky. We were told that Storms River was safer than the White House and in some ways that was very true everyone was very friendly and helpful. Once again we called it an early night.

The next day we went to the Tsitsikamma National Park and hiked to the suspension bridge. Everything was beautiful. We saw an assortment of animals, including to my enjoyment, some dolphins. After a long day hiking, we returned to Storms River village, bought some pasta and returned to Dijembe. We hung out with the locals at the hostel bar and met some characters. I DJ’d well into the night as the others slept, resting for their early activities the next day.

As the others went bungee jumping off the highest bridge in the world, I stayed and admired the views of Storms River on our last day there. After their bungee, we met up in town, where we ate at the local/only restaurant in town called Marilyn’s, which was basically a shrine to Marilyn Monroe and Elvis. We enjoyed a nice brunch, bought some snacks for the road and returned to Dijembe to say our farewells. Early in the evening we loaded in to Chopa’s truck/car, whom is the local shuttle driver, and made our way back to Grahamstown. Once there we left our bags in a friend’s digs and continued traveling on to Port Alfred to join the Boat Race festivities. Boat Race is a huge rowing event that all the universities in SA partake in. We got there late Friday evening and joined some of our friends at the local bar. Then we headed to the main party that took place next to the river. We had no idea where we were going to stay and were getting tired, when we met up with a friend who let us stay with her at her boyfriend’s house. We were so thankful to have a place to sleep, so we clambered into the back of our friend’s truck and braved the windy ride to their place. 

After waking up to Brett, the friend’s dog, licking my face, we enjoyed our tea/coffee, freshened up a bit and got ready for the days festivities. We took a short walk on the beach with Brett and then we loaded back into the truck and headed back to Port Alfred. Boat Races consisted of a LOT of tailgating. We watched some of the races and we partied all night long. I ended up sleeping on the side of the river for part of the night before ending up in one of my friend’s car. Then in the morning we hitched a ride back to Grahamstown and said goodbye to our wonderful vacation.

Unreal is how I feel most days about being in South Africa. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I’m so glad I decided to come here.

Until next time! xoxo

Filed under south africa travels boat race cape town storms river shark diving port alfred vacation

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I’m currently procrastinating the writing of an essay I’m doing for my Anthropology class on the evolution of language, but I felt guilty that I haven’t posted on here in awhile.

Classes are going well. Things are gearing up now since we’re closing in on the end of term three, which ends in two weeks. It’s still hard to believe that I’m in South Africa sometimes. What’s more hard to believe is that I’ve been living here for a little over a month.

The reason that I didn’t post last week was because I was too busy recovering from the events that occurred last weekend. Every year Rhodes competes in a series of sports competitions with three other universities in South Africa, which are Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Uni, Fort Hare, and Walter Sisulu Uni. The big thing is to wear overalls representing your school colors, so we all bought white overalls and painted them with purple paint. I felt a bit patriotic so I painted some stars and stripes on the legs of mine and left the rest to be signed by the people I met. The tradition after you get your overalls is that you’re never allowed to wash them. The dirtier the overalls are is a sense of pride among the students because it shows you’re a seasoned veteran when it comes to Inter-varsity. A lot of people would comment to me that “my overalls were too clean”. Over the weekend we watched our friends play field hockey, soccer, rugby and netball.

Although the main point of the weekend is the sporting events, there were also copious amounts of parties going on and Grahamstown was chock o’ block full with students. On Saturday night there was a party on the Great Field, where there were a bunch of vendors selling food (I had some of the best donuts I’ve ever eaten) and then there was the main stage where a variety of djs played music that we danced to until the wee hours of the night. By Sunday, I was bushed by the weekends activities.

This past week was quite average and I didn’t go on any trips this weekend, but we did celebrate one of the exchange students birthdays by going out for a delicious dinner at the local Italian restaurant, where I had some yummy pasta and the most interesting no bake cheesecake topped with chocolate dipped strawberries. I’ll have to try my hand at that recipe once I have a fully equipped kitchen.

Until next time!

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This Just In

I had quite an exciting week. Classes went smoothly. I had to do a presentation for my Anthropology class on the whole Evolution vs. Creation debate, which went well. I also studied the meaning in music during my Music, Health and the Brain class, which was interesting, but my favorite part is the practical class where we learn how to play the djembe drum. I’ve always been keen on learning how to drum, but I never knew of the health benefits of doing it, which we learn during that class. Basically, drumming helps relieve stress.

The more exciting parts of this week were the trips that I took! I was able to take two trips this week because Thursday was Women’s Day, which is a public holiday. So since we had no class the other exchange students and I decided to go for a hike in Hogsback, which is about an hour away. It was absolutely gorgeous. Initially we planned to take a three to four hour hike, but we did not follow the trail that had been marked out for us and ended up just taking a two hour hike. Boy was it an adventure! My initial thoughts were that we would be walking through wide open spaces, but we ended up hiking through the muddy forests and it was harder than any of us expected. Lots of steep slippery hills that required careful focus, so one didn’t fall. When we set out on the hike we planned to go to this really old tree, called big tree, which is one of the trails, but we ended up hiking up one of the waterfalls and having lunch at the top. The view was incredible. I could see miles and miles away. Once we finished our hike, we went back to the van, which led to our driver taking us to see this cute old chapel and the Edge. The edge is equivalent in some ways to the Grand Canyon. It was absolutely breathtaking, mostly cause I was scared I’d fall over into the abyss. I took lots of pictures and I’ll put them up soon.

The next trip we took was on Saturday to Port Elizabeth, which is a bit like Ocean City, MD. We rented two cars, which the eleven of us cozily crammed into, and made the hour and a half drive to the city. We didn’t really have an idea of where to go when we got there so we just roamed around until we arrived near the Boardwalk. Once we got out, I did some shopping at the vendors that were set up by the beach and bought a great deal of souvenirs. After that the group bought some lunch and we ate it on the beach. At the end of lunch, the wind picked up and the rain clouds set in, but it never really rained. The wind was the real issue because it was strong enough to blow me over. We didn’t let that stop us though. We walked down the pier, ate some ice cream and saw some dolphins! At the end of the day, half of the group stayed overnight and the other half returned to Grahamstown. Once we were back, we ran to dinner and later on went out to one of the local coffee shops for a relaxing cup of tea.

Well, that about covers it for this week. This upcoming weekend will be just as exciting because it’s Intervarsity weekend, which is when four of the other universities in SA come to compete in athletics. It’s held somewhere different every time and luckily it’s being held at Rhodes this year, so I can’t wait to cheer on the different teams and meet people from other schools!

Until next time! xoxo Sara