Hello everyone! Sorry that my first post took so long to get up here. It took awhile to get internet, and then I’ve been so busy that the only time I'm in my flat is for socializing or sleeping! I typed up my first post in a Word document last week, so here it is!
Tuesday January 24, 2012
“Guys, we're in AFRICA!!!” I’ve heard and said this about a million times today. It’s so crazy that after months of brochures, applications, planning, packing, and everything else, we’re really here. Stellenbosch is BEAUTIFUL, even more beautiful than I thought it would be. We got in around 1 AM this morning, so it was pitch black. When we walked out of our building today, we were in for a grand surprise. There are mountains EVERYWHERE. I thought the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains were gorgeous, which they are, but nothing compares to how incredible Stellenbosch’s mountains are. They pop up out of nowhere, surrounding the city with beauty. The campus itself is huge, which is going to be interesting to navigate, coming from such a tiny campus at home. Today we had a mini orientation for AIFS. Mainly it showed that AIFS is the best program ever. We get priority on so many things, like our student cards for instance. We also have amazing excursions, many which are paid for by AIFS. They’re paying for us to see Freshlyground in March! I had been listening to them a lot before I came. They’re the backup band in Waka Waka (which has been stuck in my head alllll day – this time for Afrika!) and they also have cute videos; check this one out!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XPl6Pb8K4I
We cooked dinner together as a flat for the first time today, adorable. My flatmates are Shana, Hallie, and Brooke. They’re all wonderful! None of us are exactly chefs, but we did a pretty great job! We made spaghetti and meatballs in a yummy (store-bought) sauce, with some veggies on the side. After we made dinner, we went out in Stellenbosch for the first time. Our student advisor, Janien, drove us to town so that we could learn the “green route.” The green route is patrolled 24/7, and is the safest way for us to walk around Stellenbosch. We fit 27 people in a 14 passenger van, in true South African fashion. Here they have mini bus taxis that don’t leave until they’re full, and usually they have many extra passengers. People also ride around in the beds of pickup trucks all the time. Most things about South African driving are completely different from America. For one thing, they’re on the opposite side of the road. And while the pace of life here is quite leisurely, their driving is INSANE. Stop signs are apparently optional, and we’ve all come pretty close to getting hit by cars. Sometimes they speed up when you’re crossing the street to get you to hurry, nice adrenaline rush there.
So we finally got downtown, and had a blast! Even on a Tuesday night there are tons of people out in Stellenbosch. It’s a great college town. We went to a place called Bohemia first, where we will probably be spending a lot of time. Then we went to dance at Mystic’s, which plays dubstep after midnight. We celebrated Raemy’s 21st birthday tonight too! It was awesome getting to know all the other Americans in my program. Everyone seems really cool and like the kind of people I would have hand-picked to go abroad with! It’s also great getting to talk to locals and other foreigners – everyone is SO NICE here that there is always someone new starting up a conversation. So far, I LOVE South Africa!!