Cookie and I went out for tea the other day. Cookie's picture looks very dramatic and lovely, and mine looks silly because though I am sticking my pinky out, I am not even holding the tea cup properly. Ah well. Tea is tea!
This is a picture of Jan Smuts. He was a very prominent person in SA history. Go look him up. He also has a bird on his head, which made Kailee and I giggle.
This is the National Art Museum. Kailee and I spent the afternoon there viewing this dude's work. It was all pretty awful. Kailee and I gasped at the painting shown below, and I illegaly took a covert photo of it. It belongs in Chattanooga's Hunter Museum of Art's section devoted to racist black commercial imagry. The painting isn't necessarily commercial, but man is it pretty awful.
A little boy kept trying to do a headstand (?) on the lawn in the Company Gardens. You may notice the reclinging figures around him. The lawns are known affectionally to me as the "Nappie-time Grounds." Everyone and his uncle either makes out on the lawns or falls asleep. Today it was fall-asleep day.
After the atrocious art museum visit, Kailee and I ate at Royale, which produced the best burger I've eaten in a very long time. We then shared a milkshake (which Kailee is pointing at) which was made of Smarties and Bananas. Smarties are not the tart candy that we eat in the US, but a sort of version of M&M's, but with a thicker candy coating. Shortly after this picture was taken, a man came up and asked for money. This is completely normal, and since Kailee and I had chosen to eat outside we were asking for interruptions from beggars. We shook our heads to the negative and waited for him to leave. Instead of walking away however, he reached out his free hand (his other hand held an unpeeled orange) and attempted to pick up the bit of banana I dribbled from my spoon onto the table seconds earlier. After about 10 slow and agonizing seconds of the banana repeatedly slipping out of his fingers back onto the table, he finally gripped it between his pointer and thumb well enough to pop it in his mouth and walk away. The moment was so awkward and painful to watch that Kaile and I were quite helpless afterward. It's one of those things where we were able to say "Only in Africa," but I can't help but feel sad that indeed this kind of thing happens every day. In fact, just weeks ago Kailee and I were eating pizza, inside this time, in Rondebosch and 5 different beggars came into the restaurant to ask for money. For a while in the beginning I would give money, once I even bought groceries for someone, but I was struck with a very strong feeling of realization soon after. I knew that I couldn't afford to keep giving rands out. I went through quite a period of confusion over what to do. In the end, after much prayer over the issue, I decided that first I was called to be here in South Africa, and as such I needed to use my resources to support myself. I still can't help but feel like it sounds selfish, but I know that now at this time in my life it was what God wanted for me.
Tamara and Chelsea in Langa playing da instruments.
Cookie and I being all percussion-y and such. This was in Langa, a township nearby. We met with Chala (sp?) and had a braii with him. Chala is in the center of the photo below. The drumming took place in the Arts Center in Langa.
I was pretty excited when I saw this in the Arts Center. While I was taking a photo of it, a man came up and asked why I was taking a picture. I explained to him that I had been studying some of his photos in one of my classes this semester. He was very impressed that I knew who Peter Magubane is. I felt a little puffed with pride when he intorduced me to his friends saying, "She knows who Peter Magubane is !" and asked me tons of questions regarding my birthplace and why I was here in South Africa.
The facade of the Arts Center.
Lobo and Cookie. Lobo stayed with Cookie's great aunt in '85 as an exchange student. Cookie was able to track him down and meet him in Langa. Isn't that beautiful? Lobo from Langa, South Africa comes to Minnesota, America and stays with a lady 26 years ago. 26 years later, the lady's great-neice comes from Minnesota, US to Langa, South Africa and visits Lobo! I thought it was great.
This is my friend Mugove and me poring over the June edition of SA Rugby magazine. The picture was too good to resist posting here!
Well, the time is nearly at hand. The minutes are ticking, the hours are rushing past, the days amount to the little bit of two weeks we have left before boarding the plane and beginning the slow but sure journey home. How do I feel about the close proximity of my departure to America? I feel bittersweet. I am ready to come home and begin work. I am looking forward to seeing my friends and family. I am excited to go fishing. I know I need to work and look for a job for the school year. I am happy to know that home means going back to Three Rivers Community church. All of these things make going home wonderful.
I am sad though because of the things that I will lose. The ever-present Table Mountain. The intense Cape Town wind of the summer and winter. The beautiful wire and bead creations sold in the craft markets and by the roadside. The almost surreal beauty of the University of Cape Town's campus. My house in Newlands with Jenny and Pooh Bear. Agonizing over crosswords and watching the evening news with Jenny. Our back garden. Listening to live bands at Zula and drinking Hunters Dry (there's apparently no Hunters Dry in the US). Having adventures with my friends here. Being able to travel just a short distance and seeing some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
Things I won't miss? Having to take a cab everywhere, the money really adds up. Having to make sure I'm home by 5 o'clock, because it gets dark and I want to arrive home alive. Having to walk most places with another person for safety's sake. The fact that the final exams at UCT count for 50% of your final grade. My odious Word Power tutor. Shakespeare. No internet at home. The fact that the house down the road from us got robbed 5 times. In 1 month. The screwed-up politics.
But all of these things I mentioned above contributed to my stay here, and for that I will be grateful for them. Even the screwy politics and cab fare. God had a plan for me being here. I worked hard studying and learning and living here, and that has made me realize so much about not just myself, but life, and living life. I doubt I will ever be the same girl who left Rome in January to come here. I was anxious, selfish, and broken-hearted. Not to say I'm none of those things now, but I have become aware of a lot of other things in life than charming but fatal boys and uncertain futures. Those things concern me no longer. In fact, the very nature of my uncertain future pushes me in live my life even harder. I know I can't determine what God wants me to do for my future, so I will do what I'm supposed to do- let Him play it out. As for the boy part, I wonder sometimes when I will end up in another relationship. I hope not too soon, because I still feel more like a child than ever. And I think it will take a good long while before someone will be able to put up with my two extremes of goofiness and contemplation. But that doesn't bother me. As long as I can work, play with kids, read, and travel a bit, I think I'll be doing just fine.