Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Winding Down and Gearing Up

The semester is over a week from Friday. After that we have three weeks of exams beginning May 31. I cannot believe how quickly things have gone by. It’s crazy. I only have one more paper due (thank God) and then I’m done until exams. I only have two exams (thank God, again). I have a take home exam for my WAC seminar and then an art history exam on June 11.

Grace and I have planned a trip to Kruger National Park (supposedly the best in all of Africa) and Mozambique for a little over a week. We’re leaving May 24 and flying up to Johannesburg. From there we’re getting a ride to Nelspruit (outside of Kruger). We’re then spending one night camping in Kruger which should be incredible. We’re also visiting the Blyde River Canyon which looks a lot like the Grand Canyon. I can’t wait. It looks incredible up there. Then on the 28th we’re taking a Greyhound into Mozambique and staying in Maputo until the 31st. On the 31st we’re taking the bus back to Nelspruit, staying there for the night and flying back to PE on June 1st. I’m really excited for this trip. It should be amazing and certainly an adventure. We get to take our malaria pills which excites us for some reason. Also, we get to see our first country outside South Africa, which is an amazing opportunity. On top of that we will get to see our first lion! How stereotypically American (according to South Africans). What can I say? I want to see a lion in the wild!

I’ll then be in Grahamstown from June 1st to the 11th. I have my exam on the 11th then I pick Dave up from the airport on the 12th. We’re then spending two days in PE on the Indian Ocean, then another two days in Addo National Park (the closest national park to where I am). On the 16th we’ll come to Grahamstown to pick up Grace and the three of us are roadtripping to Cape Town again on the Garden Route. We’re stopping at a few of the places that we stopped at last time, but for the most part everything is new. We’re spending our first night in Jeffrey’s Bay because we loved the hostel last time and they cook great South African food. It’s jus t a great place with great people and a lot of fun. The next day we’ll go to Storms River to do the world’s highest bungee jump. I’m really excited for that. We’ll stay there for the night. The next day we’ll stop in Plettenberg Bay for lunch (I found this to be the most beautiful place I’ve been here). From there we’re going up to the Cango Caves which are supposed to be fantastic. They were recommended to me by a lot of people, so I wanted to see them before I headed home. After that we’re going to Cape Agulhas, the lowest point in Africa – where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet – to go whale watching, as it will be whale season. We’re then staying there for the night. The next day we head to Cape Town for four days. In Cape Town we’re going to do everything we didn’t do before – the Cape Peninsula, Robben Island, general exploring. We also have to pick up things we neglected to get before. I’m really glad we’re going back. My last trip to Cape Town didn’t end well, so I’m hoping this will make up for it. On the 24th we’re taking an overnight Greyhound back to Grahamstown. Then it’s time for Festival!

Those are my plans for the next month or so. I’m really excited for everything that’s coming up. It’s going to be a lot of fun and great experiences for everyone. I can’t believe that we’re already halfway through May. I’m going to be home before I know it, which is both bad and good. I can’t wait to be back at home. I miss a lot of things. But at the same time, this places feels a lot like home now and it will be hard to leave. I don’t want to say goodbye to the Eluxolweni Boys, and the Nyaluza kids and the women at the Raphael Centre. It’s going to kill me!

This experience has been life changing, but I don’t know if I’ll fully appreciate the magnitude until I go home. We’ll see. Until then, there’s still a country to explore, fun to be had, an exhibit to prepare and kids to teach.