Monday, May 24, 2010

My Dads Visit

Sorry it has been so long since my last blog post i have had me at vineyard a crazy term. Due to the World Cup starting mid June the government has decided to take away i think for weeks out of the first school term so as you can imagine its been kind of crazy in the after school program because the teachers have been piling on homework. We've been quite busy at the Holy Cross School as well with having to finish assessments of each of the kids before the term ends.

One of the most exciting things of the past few months though was of course my dads visit. I'm so lucky that he was able to come visit me. It would have killed me if neither my mom nor dad ever had the chance to see this place and experience a little of what I've experienced every day for the better part of a year. The first few day or so we spent in Grahamstown, and the second day he was here i thought it would be cool to go to a game reserve and do the whole safari thing. When my dad arrived he rented a car which was so nice for me because i haven’t a large majority of stuff i would like to because of a lack of transport.elephants So the second day the day after he arrived we drove to Addo Elephant Park and spent the day driving through the park seeing everything from water buffalos to lion and from elephants to dung beetles(my dads favorite). I knew after that first full day before we even started are trip on the garden route to Cape town that my dad was going to go home with hundreds of pictures. lions

The following day my dad and i headed out towards Cape town on the N2, this section of the national highway is about 9 hours and is called the garden route for its indescribably beautiful scenery every 100 kilometers you feel as if you have travelled to another continent. We decided we would take are time taking a few days each day. 3 hours or so after we left Grahamstown we drove through Jeffrey's Bay and Cape St Francis. seal point After taking one look at the water and the waves there you would of thought my dad was going to pass out if he didn't get into the sea as soon as possible. So i took him to my favorite beach Seal Point, where the swell tends to be ridiculous, and certainly did not let us down that day.

After swimming and lunch we headed another two hours and stopped in Plettenberg Bay to stay the night. It is a beautiful town with a lot of Portuguese influence so of course we decided to go to a Portuguese restaurant that night for dinner. It might just be that i hadn’t had a really nice meal like that in about 10 months but there was something about that meal that stuck with me it was unbelievable.

The next morning we left Plett Bay and headed east towards Cape town. We drove through the amazing Tsitsikamma National Park home to the worlds highest bungee jump. we also drove through Mossel Bay, Knysna, and George.  Then when we were about 300 kilometers from Cape town we had to decide whether we wanted to spend the night in Cape Town or Stellenbosch.  We decided on Stellenbosch which is the famous wine country just northeast of Cape Town.  ernie els vineyard We stayed at the very nice Stellenbosch Hotel that night then the next day drove out to the vineyard and went to 4 very different vineyards which all were very good though. The first one we went to was actually Ernie Els’s personal vineyard. ernie el vineyardHe owns a few large vineyards in Stellenbosch like Guardian Peak but the one we went to was his name. That was my favorite and not just cause it was owned by one of my favorite golfers.

That Afternoon we drove through Cape Town Town towards The Cape of Good Hope. me an penguin

We stopped in Simons Town home to South Africa’s Massive Navy but more importantly the largest colony of penguins on a populated continent. This penguin had escaped from the sanctuary through the gutters and was just hanging out on the streets of Simons Town. penguin bite sign I was a little nervous to get any closer after seeing this sign, i really did not want to get bit by a penguin.

The next day we drove 5 minutes out to Cape Point it was one of my favorite things we did. It is the most amazing spot i I've ever been. These pisctures were taken on the southern most point of the African continent.

my dad and icape of good hope 




We spent the rest of that day in Cape Town but mostly in Camp Bay where we met up with my good friend and fellow Yascer Emily Beal who is living in Somerset West on the other side of Cape Town. It was a really nice getting to spend time with both my dad and Emily we had a really good time together.

We left the next day to head back to Grahamstown to spend the rest of the few days togetherXO . He got to come spend time at the school where i teach and i got to how him the work i am doing with training the kinds on the One Laptop per Child computer we received. I also got to take him to Amasango the School for street kids where i used to spend some of my time. The last day we went up to the Holy Cross School in the morning. holy cross studentsThey loved my dads camera and of course all needed to have there pictures taken.

The whole experience was really great for me. I've been telling my parents so much of what I've been doing it was really nice for my dad to be able to see it with his on eyes. It was also great because we were able to do so many things that i haven’t had the opportunity to do in my time here, and it was extra nice to be able to share those experiences with my dad.  Only a month left before i leave Grahamstown for home I'm ready to make the most out of it.

Still Walking,


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Christmas Break

Sorry about the long amount of time between posts, I’ve been incredibly busy. Christmas break was great! We started off Christmas break with a camping trip to a place called Assegai Trails. Brother Josias and I took all the teenage Sunday school kids and kids from the monastery. It was pretty interesting. We stayed up late around the camp fire they would sing and dance in Xhosa throwing in some Beyonce and Akon every once in a while.DSC00268 We spent the days hiking the trails around the site swimming and canoeing in the “pond” next to the site which was more of a giant puddle. i taught them some American games likes duck duck goose and red rover, both they got a kick out of. Then on the last day we met up with a bunch of the younger kids from the school and one of my digs mates Nstika who teaches at the Sunday school, and we all went to the sea for the day and had a braai. by the end of the four day needless to say i was badly sun burn and warn out.

I spent Christmas with the brothers at the Monastery. I spent the 3 days before Christmas with them then Christmas day and left on the 26th. It was really nice. The Christmas supper we had was amazing! DSC00303 A good friend of mind who had been spending Christmas break at my house and is also from the states spent Christmas with us at the monastery. The hospitality of the Brothers never seizes to amaze me.

The rest of the break i spent traveling. I spent a few weeks backpacking up and down the coast of the eastern cape between Coffee Bay and Jeffrey's Bay. It is an absolutely beautiful past of the country. One part of where i was is called the Wild Coast because there is no national highway that runs on the coast. There are many villages and I learned quite a bit about Xhosa tradition and culture. DSCN3617 I spent a lot of my time at the ocean surfing and swimming. Two days after I left East London where i had stayed for a few days with friends surfing and enjoying the small city. There was a 21 year who had been surfing and had barely survived a shark attack right off the coast of the city.  I spent New years in Kenton at a all day concert on the beach which was unbelievable there were 12 bands and the shows started at noon and went to midnight then a DJ went on till 4 in the morning, it was quite the experience. DSC00310 Two days before that I went to a thing called Oxbraai in Bathurst which is only 30 minutes from Grahamstown.  It was a giant braai or barbecue that they cooked 10 oxen over an open flame that went from noon on the 27th to noon the following day. It also sort of like a giant tail gate. DSC00313there were somewhere around 20,000 people there it was incredible. It was the most fun I’ve had since I’ve been here, I met people my age from all over Southern Africa.

I had to be back in Grahamstown for the opening of the new school on the 7th of January which was very exciting. We opened the school up with out a hitch, the kids have been having a blast and are learning so much. We go the playground built at the bottom of the hill from the school and they absolutely love it. The brothers have just finished the plans for the new school house that they are planning on building later this year. I'm just sad i wont be around to see it.



Still Walking,