Life Updates + Family Visits!

Since this blog’s inception, May 2017 was the first month I didn’t publish a single blog post. Some (many) months I came close, but I always managed to get something up in the nick of time. Well, life eventually got in the way.

I was in the states from 12 April till 22 May visiting friends and family and roaming from Miami, to Naples, Chicago, St. Louis, Fulton, Atlanta, back to Miami and Naples, Tampa, Orlando, White Plains, NYC, London (I know, not really in the states) and finally back to SA.

When I got back to Pretoria on the 24th, I suffered from the worst jet-lag of my entire life. To be fair, I didn’t have anything motivating me to get out of bed (since my new job didn’t start until 29 May), and because Alex was studying for finals he didn’t feel the need to wake me up when I took day-long naps. Basically, I was out the entire weekend. Before I knew it, May had passed and I hadn’t posted a single blog.

Let me catch you up on the last month of my life here in SA.

I started my volunteer position as a Teacher’s Assistant at a creche in Sunnyside, Pretoria. The creche caters to 17 kids too young to attend the local primary school. We also teach a few older kids who missed the registration date for primary school. I introduced Souns to the creche (as you know, I’m obsessed) and even arranged a Souns training and free kit for the main teacher! Besides starting Souns, I’ve spent most of the last month observing and helping but I hope to teach a hygiene lesson and start some more health programs (similar to what I did in my village).

For those curious about my living situation, I moved in with my boyfriend, Alex. We live in a four-bedroom house in Waterkloof Ridge with three other roommates (Alex and I scored the master bedroom!). Our roommates are all 20-something Zimbabweans; we actually met them through a mutual friend and have known them since September. It’s a great set-up and definitely more posh than my Peace Corps digs 😉 Honestly, I kinda feel like I’m back in college haha.

Alex is finishing up his degree at the University of Pretoria and since my gig is only 1km from the university, we carpool most days. However, I do have a bike that I’m going to use when it gets warmer (and I get braver).

I feel like I’ve established a good routine over the last month. In addition to volunteering, I have a Spanish tutor that I meet with once a week for two hours and I am about to start two online classes: Statistics and Macroeconomics (yipee). Alex and I are also going to Zambia for three weeks during the school break to visit his family!

As for how long I’ll be in South Africa… I’m currently on a 15-month Volunteer Visa, but who knows what the future holds.

About a week after I got back to SA my god sister, Ja’Kaylen, came to visit! It was great seeing her and showing her around South Africa (and despite living in SA for 2.5 years, I love anytime I can be a tourist).

Here’s a quick recap of her trip:

Tuesday, 30 May
Ja’Kaylen arrived at night, and besides dinner with my roomies, we didn’t do much.

Wednesday, 31 May
We went to the Apartheid Museum and learned about South Africa’s amazing and diverse, yet gruesome and torturous history. The museum is incredible and takes about three hours to go through thoroughly. I highly recommend reading Trevor Noah’s book, Born a Crime, to learn more about SA’s history as told through stories of Trevor’s incredible upbringing. This book is especially great if you want a more light-hearted approach than most history books. If you want the full, nitty-gritty, check out The Covenant by James A. Michener.

I love this photo. It shows how a black nanny cares for and even loves a white child who may one day grow up to hate her because of the color of her skin.

Thursday, 1 June
We went to Freedom Park; a large outdoor area that honor’s South Africa’s history, as well as those who died to make South Africa what it is today. Plus, great views of Pretoria! In the afternoon we went to the Voortrekker Monument to learn about the Voortrekker people: the Dutch who colonized South Africa and then were forced North by the British (after many struggles, talks, and ultimately, the Boer Wars).

A rock from every province!
Voortrekker Monument

Friday, 2 June
Ja’Kaylen came to work with me!

Saturday and Sunday, 3 & 4 June
Ja’Kaylen and I went to Matshipe to visit the family I lived with my first three months in South Africa. Ja’Kaylen got to experience village life, outdoor toilets, and bucket bathing! I’m sure she has some interesting things to say about the experience; especially how everyone assumed that she spoke the local language (simply because she is black) and not everyone believed that she’s American.

Ja’Kaylen and my host family!

Monday, 5 June
Safari Day! We took a guided tour through Pilanesberg National Park and saw tons of animals. Unfortunately no giraffes, but more zebras than I can count! Also, you would never think rhinos are endangered after visiting this park. In the afternoon we visited Sun City, which is near the park. I don’t really know how to describe Sun City, but we got to try virtual reality and go through a maze that ended at a bar… so… yeah.

Tuesday, 6 June
I loved this day! We went to Cradle of Humankind and saw some of the oldest semi-human remains in the world! I say “semi-human” because the bones discovered were an entirely different sub-species of human called Homo naledi (we are Homo sapiens, FYI). We even got to tour the Rising Star cave system where they made the discovery! Fun fact: the team that excavated the Homo naledi bones was all female! Heck yea! I HIGHLY recommend you watch this quick video about the discovery (if not the full documentary, starting with part 1).

Bones from Homo naledi!
The size of the cave scientist had to climb down to excavate the bones!

P.S. Everyone in the world can trace their ancestry back to Africa. Humanity began in Africa. So all you racists a**holes can f*** off.

Wednesday, 7 June
MMAMETLHAKE! Ja’Kaylen got to see where I lived for two years! She also met all my kids and we even took Ginger (my dog) to the vet haha.

Thursday, 8 June
Ja’Kaylen’s last day in South Africa 🙁 We went to my work in the morning and then packed and went to the airport for her flight home.

I have so many blogs planned and I hope to get on some sort of schedule. Bare with me while I figure it out!

Thanks for reading 🙂



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