Mozambique and Swaziland Easter Break Trip
I apologize for the delay in writing in my blog! It has been a crazy past few weeks…
Over the Holidays, a few girls from my house and I booked it to Mozambique and Swaziland for an African adventure. First we flew out to Johannesburg and then rented a huuuuge mini-van looking thing for all of us 7 girls. We drove from Jo-burg to Maputo, which is a very large, dirty city in Mozambique.
It was very interesting traveling with only girls though. We came across some corruption among the police and them knowing that since it is only 7 American, naive girls, they could take advantage of that situation.
There were many police checkpoints and they almost always pulled us over because they thought we were a minibus, but when we got closer, they saw white women. One time, Hanna was driving and the man pulled us over. He had her get out of the car to show her how fast she was going on a speedometer… this speedometer was not even accurate! The police man had to fiddle with the thing for ten minutes just to increase the speed to get us to pay him for not giving us a ticket. We ended up bribing the cops at least 4 times. Seriously, the policing system is really corrupt here in Southern Africa.
After Moputo we went to Tofo (pronounced Tofu). Let me tell you… this place is probably the most beautiful place I have ever seen… in my life!
I went for a walk out on the ocean at like 6 in the morning by myself. The view made me think of home a lot, but how much beauty can be in the new things you discover. It is good to be reminded of where you came from… but don’t be afraid to branch out and seek new inspirations and let them flourish and blossom into your life.
We stayed at a hostel called Fatima’s. This place is so great - it is like living in huts on the beach (literally walked around barefoot the whole time I was there). A cute little intimate bar as well, where us Americans celebrated the good times with Windhoek beers and banana shots of some kind with the crests of the ocean a two minute walk away :). And of course, my man Jimi in the background.
After Tofo, we headed down to Swaziland. Not as nice as Tofo, in my opinion, but still very cool. It almost looked like my hometown…
We went on a safari!! I know, how cliche and African tourist of me. But seriously! It was so much fun! We rode around a Swaziland game reserve in a jeep type thing that bounced all over the place when we hit a bump! We saw (and ate) impala, wildebeests, and nyala. We also saw a crocodile! So scary the way they move through the water…
It was interesting seeing the people on our trip, as well. On another morning, I went for a walk into town in Tofo. These people stared at me as I walked. I have never felt so intimidated by people before this trip. One girl, looked about 7 years old, flipped us off as we were driving down the highway in Mozambique crossing into Swaziland. My belief is that she flipped us off because she noticed we were white. We also passed a school. Probably an elementary school. These kids were young and as we drove by, they all stared, waved, sometimes yelled… it felt like we were some parade coming into their country and people were either very excited to see us or wanted us gone. I also noticed some tension between black girls that were my age in Mozambique as I was walking down to town. They didn’t even look me in the eye. Men, however, stared and sometimes whistled or would mumble something under their breath and would not hesitate to make it known to me that they were looking. It was interesting to note the different reactions between the men and the women my age.
I almost felt guilty for being white, for being American.
Remember your home. Where you came from. Again, don’t be afraid to let other, new things and experiences come into your heart, as well as letting the things you gained from your foundation flourish.
benny and the jets
Dance will always be loyal to me. No matter how good or how bad others think I am, dance will always make me feel a certain way, every time: connected with myself. It is times like these when even during class I start to cry because of how dance is affecting my life. I almost see dance as a person. Someone who will never, ever leave me, who will say the right things, but when it needs be, will give me criticism. I respect this person, and this person respects me. I am in love with this person. And this person, like no other being in the world, is in love with me.
After my exam today (they assess us on our progress every so often and it counts as 30 percent of our grade) I was so very very tired. Not just physically, but mentally as well. I am struggling getting through this week, and I think it may be because of… yes, I know… homesickness.
Not the kind where I want to go back home to my mommy and daddy because I can’t take being here anymore, but because I have such a connection with them that its hard not talking to my family like how I talk with my girlfriends every day. I am starting to get used to it though, so don’t go thinking I’m this big baby :p.
I was singing “Benny and the Jets” today when it came up on my ipod… My mom’s fave song, that’s why my post title is so random :D.
"Oh my God, yes!"
Is what I was thinking while I ate a salad that I made today :). I grilled up some lentils (I know that sounds weird, but trust me, this salad was so good) and added some lemon and different herbs. Put them on top of some lettuce/different greens and then shredded some white cheddar on top of that. I am going to be a way better cook than I was when I first got here!
Interestingly enough, I have been here two months and still have not had some authentic South African cuisine. I have had some Mexican cuisine here, but… Be thankful for the Mexican food in California, my friends, to say the least :).
I left early from my modern class this morning (which I hate doing because I feel flustered and like I haven’t gotten time to digest the class) because I have a section waaaaaayyy up on upper campus. Upper campus is so beautiful with ivy and old style buildings but I freaking hate it too because its so far away from where most of my classes are (lower campus). I get into my section kinda sweaty and rushed. I sit down, and a paper was handed to me. “Oh my God,” I was thinking. I wrote this paper the day it was due (I know!! I am so terrible). But I look at the mark and think “oh my God, yes!” I had gotten a good grade on it… LUCKILY :).
Let’s see how many more times I can think “oh my God, yes” today and make it a goal to be in this space of really soaking in everything, each moment. Being happy. Thankful. Enriched by what is around me.
some dancing and good food
Today was absolutely lovely. I usually dislike Mondays, given that I have to start working and actually getting up from my warm bed and all. But today I was amped to get up and move and go through my day. I danced for about 5 hours today, and each class I think I did pretty well! I have come to terms with my body, now that we are expected to wear ONLY tights and leotards so that the teachers can see our bodies and make corrections more easily. The required attire doesn’t seem so daunting anymore. At SB, I would be like “I HAVE TO WEAR WHAATTT??”
So now, I feel like more of a professional. I can’t wait to dance back at home with improved technique and a better vision of my dance goals.
Later on, after taking the Junior Cape Town City Ballet pointe class, I came home and made some curried cous cous with white cheddar stuffed inside bell peppers along with seasoned steamed vegetables. I am pretty impressed with myself with all the cooking I have been doing and hope to get better!
Earlier today for lunch I went to Kawai, a little health fast-food place down on Main Street (just about 5 minutes from my house) and got a Hawaiian wrap. SO good. But while I was enjoying the flavors of Hawaii in a wrap and sipping on my strawberry smoothie, I was doing some people watching and really studying my reasons for coming here. I was deep in thought about the fact that I am actually in South Africa. It still doesn’t seem real and it is a strange feeling knowing that I have already been here two months and only have two months more to go… Why can’t I grasp that my being in South Africa is real? I feel that I am focusing too hard on soaking up every minute of the time here and I’m forgetting to actually do the action of soaking up every minute of the time I am here.
So good night for now, as I ponder upon this question :)
…off to do some Sex, Love and Taboo in African Languages class studying.
This is how we get around….