Is it even Tuesday?!?!

A classic Shannon story:

Last Tuesday I ended up skipping my South African history class simply because I couldn’t remember what time it was at. (It’s just a boring lecture don’t really need to be there anyway) This week I decided to be a good student so I double checked the time of the class: Tuesday at 14:00 (2pm).

I get to class 5 min early (see, good student), walk in sit down and take out my history book and pen. I look around and see some faces I’m not used to but it’s a big class so I didn’t think anything of it.

My usual young red head female professor isn’t there yet but I assume she’s outside smoking a cigarette before class like I’ve seen her doing before. Then in walks a man close to 60 years old who pulls up a power point on Black Politics….

I’m in the wrong class. I didn’t want to be rude and just walk out of class in the middle of a lecture, so I stuck it out and waited for it to end (luckily it was only an hour long class that got out early!)

I have no idea how I could have possibly messed this up. Especially since it is our 6th week of classes AND I double checked the time of class before I left. I was even questioning if it was even Tuesday and had to check that multiple times. 

The painfully boring, and monotone Black Politics class has ended and I am just as confused as I was when it started. I guess South African History on Tuesday’s and I just aren’t meant to be? We’ll see what happens next week!


A Quick Adjustment

The last two weeks have felt like I have been living in a dream that I never want to wake up from. I realized that last week, my friends and I have exited the “honeymoon phase” of studying abroad, and we are now becoming comfortable with our day-to-day lives. Life in South Africa is not too extremely different than life at home, but there have been a few little things that I have had to adjust to:

  • Looking right then left when crossing the street
  • Learning 24 hour time schedules
  • That an iced coffee isn’t a coffee with ice in it, it’s more of a coffee milkshake
  • The code to get into my flat (and my friends’ flat)
  • Calling an apartment a flat
  • My rock hard mattress
  • Walking everywhere (even in the pouring rain)
  • Understanding South African accents (they sound a bit Australian/Indian/Dutch)
  • The conversion rate of South African Rands to US Dollars ($1 = R15!)
  • Cooking for myself
  • Not having data on my phone and always searching for free WiFi
  • That people smoke cigarettes inside (ew)
  • The fact that segregation is still a subtle and lingering issue from apartheid that ended over 20 years ago
  • Lack of bagels (miss you already Gunther Tooties)
  • Cold rainy winter in July
  • And something I’m not sure I’ll ever adjust to, the breathtaking mountains surrounding our campus.

At first I was surprised at how quickly I have been able to adjust to this new culture, but then I realized that you have to adjust quickly, otherwise you will always be lost and confused! The faster you adjust, the faster you can feel happy and comfortable in your new home. It’s almost like it was a survival instinct.

I also think I have learned more in my last 2 weeks than I have in my last 3 years at High Point. I can literally feel my brain growing, changing, and thinking in new ways. In my classes we discuss issues about race, gender, language, what it means to be a human, history, and apartheid. It feels like a door has been opened in my mind and I have discovered a new part of myself I have never met before. How sweet of South Africa to introduce me to myself!

My soul has never been happier. I am always looking forward to what I am going to see, learn, eat, and do next. If I had to describe this feeling in one word, it would be “bliss”.

This weekend, I will be going on an excursion with my program, AIFS, to the Cederberg Mountains. We will be hiking, wine tasting, visiting San cave paintings, and relaxing in nature! It is a unique opportunity that not many tourists get the chance to do so I am sure it will be special and exciting. Be on the look out for a blog about this wonderful adventure next week!

Wow I’m in love…

I’ve been in Stellenbosch, South Africa for only 5 days but it has been so easy to fall in love with this beautiful place! I’ve made amazing friends, found cute little restaurants, figured out my way around town and campus, had a couple nights out at the bars, and participated in lots and lots of orientation sessions. 

Since we arrived at night, it was hard to really know what was around us…the first thing I noticed in the morning when I woke up was the incredible view out of my apartment window! It was literally breathtaking! 

(It’s even bigger in person!) and this mountain isn’t the only one, our campus is surrounded by them! This one is called Stellenbosch Mountain and I can’t wait to (attempt) to hike it. 

The food has been one of my favorite parts of Stellie, we’ve discovered lots of cute little restaurants and had delicious wine that’s made in the wineries in town. Get ready for lots of food pics…

I’m realizing this blog might become more about food than about traveling…but I’m a Conway, what did you expect? 

On Saturday, all 400 international students are going on a tour of Cape Town  which I am so excited for! (Blog post definitely to come) 

Stellenbosch has stolen my heart after less than a week and I am longing for the adventures that lie ahead…