Saturday, August 6, 2011

Goodbye South Africa, I'll Miss You (but I won't miss waking up in the middle of the night dreading my imminent murder)

Day 72:  Institute: only worth going to when you go to McDonalds after and ask for super-sized chips (fries), and the manager has to come and swipe a special card, authorizing her permission to super-size us.

Day 73:  Did my interviews and stuff for my project.  Basically my findings are thus: being a man means asking girls out.  Thank you for your insight 12-year-olds.

Day 74:  Hogsback anyone?  Also known as "Little England?"  Also known as "the place where I want to spend the rest of my life?"

Day 75:  Don't worry, but Jackie and I impressed a room full of drunken old strangers with our swing dancing skills.  BYU would be so proud.

Day 76:  So, basically it snowed all over the Eastern Cape.  I know right?!? (and for those of you who don't know, the Eastern Cape is the province where I live in South Africa) (and South Africa is a country, not just a region, for that matter).

Day 77:  Jenna missed her chance for meeting her one true love: South Africa's farmer of the year (who is looking for a wife who doesn't mind living in the middle of nowhere surrounded by sheep and horses.)

Day 78: Tuesdays are boring.  Nothing happens on Tuesdays.  Except for buckets and buckets of rain blessing Africa. 

Day 79:  Institute is awesome when you go and hang out in McDonalds for 2 hrs.  (after class is over, of course)

Day 80:  I'm pretty sure this is the day I finished almost all of my homework.

Day 81:  I saw zebras in the wild.  And giraffes.  And rhinos and antelope.  And lions (inside special fences).  Take that, zoo!  I don't need you, I can see cool animals all by myself.

Day 82:  Family Dinner's are great.  Especially when I don't cook anything.

Day 83:  Jenna's last full day in South Africa.  How do I react?  By getting lost in Southernwood and deleting almost all of my Durban pictures on accident.

Day 84:  Auntie P.: A woman so magnificent that I am perpetually hugging her.

Day 85:  Institute: that special place where I get in trouble for talking and passing notes like I am still in 7th grade.  And did you know you're not supposed to take pictures while in McDonalds? What is with that?  Do they not want the free advertising?  Do they have enough customers or something? (answer: no.  Capitalists never have enough customers.)  I don't understand.

Day 86:  My last practice with the rugby team.  I was accorded the special honor of riding on the scrum machine and being a part of the huddle.

Day 87:  Made Hyrum work for his money.  And by 'work' I mean that we tried our best to embarrass him.  Don't know if it actually worked.

Day 88:  My last full day in South Africa.  Basically I spend the day fighting back buckets of tears and taking pictures of the rottweiler next door.

Day 89:  This is the day I leave on a jet plane, not knowing when I'll be back again.  But I will be back.  Just you wait.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I saw Harry Potter before you did. And I almost met Nelson Mandela. Not to brag or anything.

Day 48:  All I know about this day is that I went to church.  Sorry.

Day 49:  I guess this was a Monday?

Day 50:  Blog apparently not a priority?

Day 51:  Mama Yoyo.  Zamani.  So good.  Love her.  Love that place.  More please?  (This is basically the way I form sentences in isiXhosa and in Afrikaans.)

Day 52:  Planning the trip to Durban consuming my life.  Sit on the internet for hours trying to find housing.

Day 53:  Someone tries to cheat me on housing for Durban.  I wasn’t born yesterday, friends.  I was actually born 21 years and 21 days ago, to be exact.  Nice try.

Day 54:  Ate all the perishable foods I owned. 

Day 55:  So are we going to Durban tomorrow?  No?  Oh, good.  Because we didn’t have a place to stay. 

Day 56:  Happy Birthday America.  May the irony of “every heart beats true ‘neath the red, white, and blue, where there’s never a boast or brag,” never be lost on you.

Day 57:  Sometimes, when you wake up when it is dark outside and your yard is completely flooded, all you can do is listen to that song from Winnie the Pooh about the rain rain rain coming down down down and pray that someone will find the message you put in that bottle.  Oh, and both of the major malls in East London flooded.  It was awesome (unless you were the insurance company that had to pay out for all the damage).

Day 58:  Despite the fact that I have a journal entry for this day, I can’t remember what I did.  But I think we can all bet that it wasn’t homework, and it probably had something to do with Chinese food and not going to institute because everyone there thought we were in Durban, and it seemed as good an excuse as any.

Day 59:  So cat burglaring is probably not a viable career option for me, as I couldn’t get through the bathroom window of the house where we were staying in Grahamstown.  Let’s all just be thankful that the neighbors didn’t catch me half in/half out of a house that didn’t belong to me.

The house actually belongs to the Thomases daughter Theresa, and she was gone, but she was letting us stay there, but the key was locked inside and we had to sneak in and get it.  And actually, as Kathy and Cornelius pay for the house, I guess we weren’t trespassing at all.  It’s technically their house.  However, I like pretending that we squatters.  Hence the fine print.

Day 60:  The National Arts Festival is awesome.  If you like to buy things, and be disappointed because all the tickets for Lady Smith Black Mambazo were sold out.

Day 61:  Has it ever occurred to you to be thankful that you don’t have to sleep with your jeans and sweaters and coat over your pajamas?  Well you should, because it sucks.  I never thought of East London as a warm place until I came back from Grahamstown and I didn’t have to sleep in my jeans and sweaters and coat.

Day 62:  Church?  Again?!  I’m beginning to see a pattern here.

Day 63:  We actually go to Durban this time.  We stop in Ixopo on the way.  Wish granted.

Day 64:  Let me just say this: I don’t think I could ever date and/or marry someone from South Africa.  I’m sorry.

Day 65:  Did we go to Moses Mabhida Stadium 8,000 times in the last two days?  Yes, we did.  You’d think it was the only thing to do in Durban.  Aside from going to see Harry Potter.  Two days before you suckers back in America. 

Day 66:  We almost met Nelson Mandela. 

Day 67:  I learned how to cook South African foods.  I will wow you with them when I get home.  Just you wait.

Day 68:  I read in the sun all day.  Just ask Thuveshni.

Day 69:  I slept for a long long time.

Day 70:  Don’t worry, but I accomplished a lot.  I may actually finish most of my course work.

Day 71:  Do you know what I find amazing?  That I didn’t have anything written in this blog for the past 23 days, and I still remembered what I did almost every day.  My memory is pretty kick-a.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Facts, Universally Acknowledged

Day 35:  Rugby? Nope. 

Day 36: 

Day 37:  I met three little girls at a rugby match.  When they found out I wasn’t married and I didn’t have a boyfriend, they were shocked.  They said I was very nice and pretty.  I told them to tell the boys that.  On another note, Institute is way more fun when you sit by Mechaeler Horner.  Mostly because when everyone else is delving into deep [possibly false] doctrine, you and Mechaeler are playing with her baby cousin. 

Day 38:  Went to King William’s Town to eat dinner with the missionaries and sleep, and wake up the next day to see the King sites.  The best part was that I was awoken in the middle of the night in a strange place with the wind howling and rain pounding by some man trying to turn on the light of my bedroom (which didn’t work).  Yup.  I got no sleep that night.  (But don’t worry, the man actually lived at that house, he was looking for a key to something and didn’t know that I was there.  Of course, why I had to find out about this in the morning and not immediately after being terrified, I don’t know.)

Day 39:  Did I get to meet the sister of one of South Africa’s most famous anti-apartheid leaders, Bantu Steve Biko?  Why, yes.  Yes I did.  Be jealous.

Day 40:  I went to the grocery store intending to buy food.  I came out with a large bunch of spinach and four boxes of biscuits (cookies).

Day 41:  Sandal tan is coming along nicely, for it being winter and all.

Day 42:  You know what is the best?  Getting invited to a birthday party when you have never met the birthday-haver or any of the guests except your roommate.  You know what is the worst?  Actually going to said birthday party.

Day 43:  Here is how you become best friends with the amaXhosa: Step 1) say, “Nditheta isiXhosa kancinci.”  Step 2) before they have a chance to speak say, “Hayi!  Ndiyaxoka!”  (Translation: I speak a little Xhosa. *Pause* No!  I’m telling lies!)  Then they say “Tshini!” and everybody high-fives.

Day 44:  It is a fact, universally acknowledged, that no matter where you are in the world, Chinese food is often the only food worth eating*.

*Except in China. 

Day 45:  Dear family, I’m glad we’re family.  Mostly because you gave me SNL Presidential Bash 2000 and the sense of humor to enjoy it.  Love, Heather

Day 46:  I might have had the number one fish and chips in the world (minus the chips—not number one).  Be jealous. 

Day 47:  Woke up in the middle of the night and realized I am halfway through my stay and I have done about 1/8th of my homework.  Spent the entire day doing homework.  

Monday, June 13, 2011

I Live in Perpetual Winter


Day 18: This was the coldest day of my life. I am not kidding. Not only was it freezing, but also the power went out, so I couldn’t do anything to get warm except wear all of my warmest clothes and snuggle under blankets. And as anyone who has been to East London knows, this is not very effective.

Day 19: Saw Beastly today. And it was just that. Beastly.

Day 20: Lunch with the Thomases and dinner with the Wainwrights, you say? Eat human food? Yes, please.

P.S. The Wainwrights are the greatest people in the world. We love them.

Day 21: The rugby kids are the cutest kids in the entire world. The end.

Day 22: Jackie arrives. Finally.

Day 23: Stop by the Curry Palace and run into Brother Maseti. Kindred spirits?

Day 24: I could do my Afrikaans homework…or I could go to the mall… Are you sure I’m in South Africa, because this sounds exactly like my daily dilemma back home.

Day 25: The library is on Gladstone. Let me repeat that in American, English, and South African accents. Oh, you still can’t remember even though I told you five times already? GLADSTONE!

Day 26: Why yes James McAvoy, I would love to marry you. And Magneto. Oh, and throw in Kevin Bacon speaking German, if it’s not too much trouble. And the entire male cast, for good measure.

Day 27: I spent a whole Sunday working on my Relief Society talents. And by that I mean sewing things and whatnot.

Day 28: Don’t worry, but I watched five hours of youth rugby, panicked because I thought I got left behind on the other side of the river after dark, and then hosted a taco party when I got home, with real American tacos.

Day 29: Dear rain and cold, thank you for allowing me to stay home all day. Love, Heather.

Day 30: Do I have to go eat dinner with a stranger because my roommate isn’t allowed to eat with him alone? Oh, what’s that you say? He’s paying? Sign me up!

Day 31: I made an apple pie from scratch (yes, even the crust), and it was delicious. And no one has died from food poisoning yet. I call that a resounding success.

Day 32: I’m 21 Imma do what I want. And that’s going to see X-Men again.

Day 33: Nothing like a sunny day, a clean bathroom, hanging up the wash, clean flannel sheets, clipped toenails, and Lord of the Rings to improve ones mood.

Day 34: Bishop said “dammit” during his fireside talk. The only person who thought this was odd was me. Does that mean that that’s not swearing here? Does that mean I can say “dammit” as much as I want to from now on? I think so…

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Guess who's back... back again...

Day 0: London—major letdown when I discovered that everyone there is a muggle.

Day 1: Yup. Pretty sure I just got home from an extended vacation to Utah.

Day 2: Institute: everyone thinks I have big shoes to fill, as I am the first facilitator since the legendary Macrae McDermott. I have news for you all: Macrae and I wear the same size shoes. Just sayin’…

Day 3: Heather: 1 Fridge Mold: 0.

Day 4: Dear Derek van Dam, I think your accent is an accurate projection of what my accent will be like in 3 months. I love to feel this close to you. Love, Heather

(also, this was the best example I could find. Trust me when I say that watching the weather is the best part of my day)

Day 5: Jenna arrives. Unfortunately Jenna, the highlight of my day was the rugby derby at Selborne College. Sorry.

Just kidding Jenna. I love you.

Day 6: One of the young women spoke in Sacrament Meeting about modesty. Jenna and I immediately pulled the hems of our skirts down past our ankles in shame. And to top it off another speaker spoke about the evils of swearing. Oh @&*#. Damned for sure.

Day 7: Cell phone! Cell phone! Cell phone! My many thanks to Mechaelar Horner for her help in getting me a cell phone and for catching me up on all the gossip. Have I got a lot to tell you Macrae! Oh, and Jenna and I went to town and we were the only white people there.

Day 8: Jenna and I go on a mission to Hemingways Mall to find a converter. Not only did we find the converter, but we also found all the white people in East London.

Day 9: Dear Jenna,
Don’t be scared.
Kathy, Cornelius, Heather and South Africa

Day 10: Spent the day at home in bed. I don’t know why though.

Day 11: Have any of you heard of Mango Atcha? Well, let me warn you—it is the most foul thing I have ever put in my mouth. And I have eaten some pretty awful things in my time (the Wheel of Vomit cocktail of hotdogs, salsa, and sprite comes immediately to mind). Dear YSA’s: consider trust broken. Forever.

Day 12: I love to hang laundry. Also, it reminds me of The Fiddler on the Roof. I think there is a connection there.

Day 13: I’m fairly certain I yawned 5,000,000 times. Sometimes I would get a yawning jag that lasted a few minutes. I’m glad to see that last year wasn’t a fluke. I really am just tired ALL THE TIME. There is really nothing I can do about it. I am sorry I appear so bored with you, East London.

Day 14: I’m pretty sure I picked the project of the year. I get to sleep in and watch rugby all day. What more could you ask for?

Day 15: Ate a sandwich made on bread that contains seeds ‘n things. Either I am finally starting to eat right, or I enjoy being pretentious. I think it’s the latter.

Day 16: Had one of those days where you feel like you are destined to write The Next Great American Novel, but all you really accomplish is drinking four glasses of hot chocolate and managing not to fall asleep during institute.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

That's all folks

Day 55: Finally finished the literature review for RSS. It certainly took me far too long. The actual writing took me an hour or so. I could have done all that work in two days, but don’t worry. It took me a month.

Day 56: Retreat! Fall back to the keep! (just a LOTR reference, to start things off.) Went to Gonubie for our group retreat. We went to the beach. It was absolutely beautiful, and that is saying something, because I’ve been to many a beach in Fiji, which has the most beautiful beaches in the world, and this one in Gonubie held its own pretty well. Then we played M.A.S.H.P.T. (mansion, apartment, shack, house, pyramid, trailer park) with the boys. Don’t worry, Brett and I are getting married, and we will live in a pyramid in Provo. Brett will be a Buy More supervisor, and I will be a homemaker. Brett will die because of fire swallowing. Macrae will be marrying Robert Downey Jr. She contributes to society by being a construction guy, and her husband is a librarian. Together their income per annum is whatever they steal from beggars. Macrae and Robert Downey Jr. were blessed with a string of septuplets (connected hand to foot). Macrae meets her end by being stressed out by Brandon. When Brandon is not annoying Macrae to death, he is getting married to Jennifer Lopez, but then they get divorced, and Brandon then marries Cecil’s wife (as in the wife of Cecil Samuelson, the president of BYU). They honeymoon in the MTC—Provo. Everyday Brandon drives a parade to work, where he makes beaded belts, and he makes an annual income of 10,000 high fives and one long hug per year. Somehow this salary pays for his mansion in Mississippi. Rebecka’s future looks bright. First, she marries someone whose name I cannot publish on the internet, for his own protection and decorum (and if we will name Cecil’s wife, you know this has got to be good). The happy couple live on happiness in their mansion in the bayou, where they raise an average of 2.4 kids. Yours truly is happily married to Legolas, of the woodland realm, but then he dies, so I marry Homer Simpson instead. I work as an anti-feminist activist, and my husband is a mime. My super power is having ultimate spin the bottle control. My family has a pet dinosaur, and we live in Brett’s basement. I die in a blaze of glory.
So you see that we had a really productive retreat.

Day 60: We all went to see Eclipse. I am too tired to regale you all with how much I dislike that franchise. Suffice it to say that the saving grace of that movie is the soundtrack. Darn you MTV.

Day 61: Institute, once again. Let me tell you what happened: it was the same as every institute.

Day 62: Nothing memorable happening.

Day 63: Had an excellent interview. Went to Pia’s netball game. If you don’t know what netball is, let me explain: it’s like basketballs ridiculous younger cousin, except not in a derogatory way. And Pia played really well. Then we went to a ward activity about genealogy. You might be thinking, “wow, what a huge ball of boring.” This kind of thinking offends me, as I used to be a genealogy major. Anyway, it really was fun, and I don’t think I am the only one when I say that it was the best ward activity ever. Little Ben Krulle sat in a chair the center of the cultural hall (as it was his birthday) and then he had to pick someone from the ward to be his dad (except it couldn’t be his real dad). He picked Gerhard. Gerhard then had to pick a dad. He picked Jarom Wainwright. Jarom then picked a dad, and so on. Then Ben picked a mom. She then had to pick a dad who picked a dad and so on. Then Jarom had to pick a wife (except not his actual wife, the lovely Lauren). He chose little Jenny Krulle. When she was chosen the first thing she said was, “I can’t believe he picked a little kid to be his wife!” (Which was adorable, and not creepy.) Then she turned to Gerhard and said, “Hello, son!” (Which was also adorable.) Jenny then picked a dad who picked a dad and so on. Eventually Jenny’s ‘dad’ picked a wife, which was me. Which makes Jenny my daughter, and Jarom my grandson. Then Jarom’s real life wife turned out to be my mother. Eventually everyone had a mother and father. Then we had Ben turn around, and lo and behold, we made a complete pedigree chart. Which I think brings the idea of a ward family to a whole new level. Then Ben’s whole family sang “Happy Birthday” to him.

Day 64: YSA sports day. Like one would imagine, I spent the entire YSA activity playing with seven year olds.

Day 65: During Sacrament Meeting Ben Krulle and his little brother Daniel were doing handstands. Then Brother Krulle picked up Ben by his ankles, swung him around, and carried him out of the chapel. Daniel went running after them with tears in his eyes, sobbing, “I love you, Ben!”
Had dinner at the Wainwright’s. It was beautifully normal. We talked about The Osmonds, while Nathanael, who is eight, gave everyone shoulder massages.

Day 66: Macrae and I went to get Chinese, but the restaurant was closed, so instead we walked to Bunker’s Hill, for absolutely no reason. The day was not wasted though. I finally got Asian Bingo.

Day 67: Group meeting. Boring.

Day 68: Found out that Thuveshni (the artist formerly known as Divishny) actually spells her name Thuveshny. Who knew?

Day 69: Illness.

Day 70: Had an interview that went really well. Then we went to a dance with all the adults in the three East London wards. It was awesome, until they stopped playing oldies. Bishop turned on some pop music, which was when the ‘dirty dancing’ cam out (well, as dirty as you can get with the lights on). I find it amusing that everything was the perfect picture of appropriate, until the Bishop took over.

Day 71: I finally get to go to a rugby game. It turns out that all the learners in high school are required to go to rugby games, and they have to wear their uniforms. On Saturday. God bless America.

Day 75: Had dinner with Sister Leslie and the missionaries. While preparing the meal, Macrae and I sang “Henry the 8th” really loudly and really poorly. I think Elder Fozard (from England) was a little offended by our wonderful accents.

Day 77: Got Chinese. So happy.

Day 78: Saw Inception at Hemingways.

Day 79: Church. Finally got Daniel Krulle to be my friend. It only took three months.

Day 80: Washed dishes at Zamani. Then I took a nap, and Mama Yoyo said I was a like a little baby, because I sleep so much. To which I reply, “yes.” Then we cooked dinner for the Thomases. I was in charge of boiling potatoes. Probably because I can’t do anything else.

Predictions for the rest of my stay in East London

Day 82: Went to the Lion Park. I was eaten by a lion.

Day 83: Went to Aunty P’s. She fed us.

Day 84: Went on a tour of East London with the kids from Zamani. I was trampled to death by little kids.

Day 85: Went to Hogsback. Fell off a cliff while hiking.

Day 86: Last Sunday. Ate at Bobby and Zhona’s house. I still don’t know their last name.

Day 87: All of my flights are delayed. Also, I think I lost count of my days somewhere. Because this should be day 88.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Star date 2843

Day 42: Interviewed Lisa van Tonder today. This was my first interview of my research project. Don’t worry, it still counts as part of the first half of my stay here, I haven’t completely wasted my time.
Also, I recently discovered that I am a snob. I just think all boys/all girls schools are better than coed schools. And I have a tendency to judge people on the criteria of what type of school attended.

Day 43: Cornelius called me Heather Williams [emphasis his own], for the 490th time today. It’s okay. I still love it. He never says Rebecka’s full name (with emphasis on her surname), but I think it is because he can’t pronounce Rönndahl.

Day 44: Springbok game in East London. But do I get to go? No. Silly BYU, my lack of funds, and East London stadium being sold out. The world is working against me. Took a two hour bath to drown my sorrows, then I caught the second half of the game replay on T.V. Also, I am going to marry MornéSteyn, the flyhalf for the Super 14 team the Blou Bulls, as well as the Springboks. He has a rather unfortunate haircut, but I think I can get past that, because his name is Morné, and my middle name is Marné. Then we could be Morné and Marné, and that would be special.
Victory of the Day: I cleaned today. And I walked around with wet feet from my bath, and they didn’t even get all linty.
Defeat of the Day: The U.S. of A let me down. Freaking Ghana.

Day 45: Hump day! How did we celebrate, you ask? Why, we watched three movies! Zoolander, A Goofy Movie, and Chuch (which I guess isn’t really a movie, but as it was the last two episodes we have, I think it counts). Realization #1: A Goofy Movie brings out a lot of sad, sad emotions for me. Realization #2: I only have six weeks to read three books, write two papers, and finish my research project.

Day 46:Toy Story 3: Need I Say Anything More?

Day 47: Bad day. Wrote in journal. Ate cookies.

Day 49: Happy Birthday Jessica! See, I didn’t forget. Also, I went to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown to celebrate, and then I got you a present. So quit whining.
Other adventures in Grahamstown: saw Cornelius and Kathy’s son Jethro perform in Rubber (a deeply disturbing play, but was good nonetheless). Saw Big Boys Don’t Dance, which wasn’t as disturbing. Also it was funny. Realized just how much people drink in Grahamstown. Let’s just say they weren’t exaggerating when they say that Rhodes University consumes the most alcohol in the country.

Day 50: Was I sick? Yes, yes I was. Did I consequently stay home all day? Yes, yes I did. Did I miss Pia’s birthday party? Yes. Was I sad and lonely? Yes, yes I was.

Day 51: Chuch. Still sick. Fasting like a fool. Almost threw up during a baptism. Two things: 1) don’t fast when you are sick. It is just not a good idea. 2) always trust Norwegian fishermen.

Day 52: Unclogged the drain in the bathtub. Brandon came home and told us stories about making out with his best friends little sister. New rule: Brandon is not allowed to tell disturbing stories.

As a point of interest, here are some Xhosa names:

Thandokuhle—you love all goodness.
Zukhanye—You must shine
Lukhanyiso—Light bearer
Iwandiso—bring unto this fold/increase
Mandisa—bring harmony, peace, joy, love and all goodness
Bongojalo—keep on praising God
Alupheli—God’s love never fades
Unam—God’s with us
Khanyisile—He has made it shine
Sinovuyo—We are happy
Nobubele—a giving hand
Zoliswa—to humble