Sunday, January 20, 2008

a million little thoughts...

It is now 11:30pm on Sunday the 20th. Tomorrow is my first day working at the school and I have to be up at 6:30 for a 7:15 pickup. Good times.

Wanted to take a minute to write though and get a bit caught up on the events of the past few days before things get super hectic tomorrow and they may have gotten lost forever in the excitement of what is to come.

Early early Friday morning we departed Addo en route back to cape town. The first 5 hours or so passed relatively quickly, due in large part to the awe-inspiring scenery that surrounded us, and of course the charming company.

Losing all radio stations aside from one that was broadcasting some billy graham evangelical bidness (vomit), we contented ourselves with name games and country trivia. Stopping only to leave our cards, we reached Cape d’Agulhas around mid afternoon, and were certainly glad that we did. The official Southern-most point in Africa, it is where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. Under a bright blue sky and a rocky beach, the two meld together seamlessly. When we reached the stone marking the spot, we were the only ones there. For that moment in time, we truly felt as though we were not only at the end of the world, but that we were there by ourselves. Sublime.

Got back into CT rather late and crashed out hard. All in all, we spent 13 hours in the car on Friday. Aggressive! But most enjoyable. Love auntie anne. Love love.

Saturday was our day to hit up some wineries, so off we went towards Franschhoek, which is the most renowned (and closest), wine region in the area. First stop was the L’Ormarin vineyard. As we were being driven into the wine tasting area, one would swear that you were stepping into 17th century France. It was absolutely breathtaking. White stone buildings, and lush green vines everywhere you looked. Massive mountains in the background, and of course the sun shining brightly in a clear blue sky. The wine tasting was delicious, and the other three people on our tour were a Swedish couple and his grandfather. They were quite friendly and at the end we exchanged numbers and made plans to meet up. Fun for new friends!

As the sommelier was explaining the different wines to us, she also gave us some background on the vineyard and owner. Apparently, this winery is one of many side ventures for the owner, and because of his hectic schedule he is only able to be there a couple weeks out of the year. To imagine that sort of wealth is beyond me. Oh and just as an fyi, his wife’s favorite hobby is raising thoroughbreds. Favorite hobby.

While we had planned to visit a bunch, our first tour took over an hour, leaving us only time for one other. Graham Beck was the second stop, and was keen to visit as we have this wine at home. This experience was nowhere near as neat as the first one. We sat in a large restaurant-like setting, and you order the wine off a menu, along with numerous other patrons. Had neither the personal nor old world feel of the other. But I still drank my five samples and three of auntie anne’s, obv.

Saturday night took Auntie Anne out for a birthday dinner at an Indian restaurant called Bukhara in the city. MOST delicious.

Today we headed to a craft market in town, and upon our arrival came to find that we had already visited this market last week. As it wasn’t too windy at that point, we decided to take the requisite trip up Table Mountain instead.

The summit to which tourists are allowed to travel located some 1000+ feet above sea level, one is cable car-ed to the top. The views are indeed quite spectacular, but as Auntie Anne and I both hold a special place in our hearts for Rio and the view from Corcovado, we think that we are jaded. After about ½ hour, the winds changed and the fog started rolling in. quite a sight to witness from up close, these massive rolling clouds of fog – billowing across the mountain top and spilling over the side like the rolling steam of a witches brew. Coupled with the fog (which is FREEZING, btw), were the fierce winds of late afternoon and it was time to head back down.

A quick grocery stop by the waterfront marketplace which we later came to find out has been recently purchased by Dubai businessmen, explaining the look, feel and format of the area mentioned in an earlier entry.

So that takes us to now.

Almost midnight the day before I am to start the next chapter – and most real – chapter in this journey.

And how am I feeling?

About tomorrow – nervous, excited, anxious, eager…

Its strange not knowing anything of what to expect. Of what it will be like to stand out so much. Of being one among over 1100 students and teachers. What will it feel like? How will I be received? Will the students take to me? Will they see me as an outsider? How will the staff treat me? As a coworker? As an ally? As a threat? So many questions..

Even little things…like making my lunch. First having to figure out what to take since I cannot assume there will be things like a microwave or fridge. And then thinking about where I will leave my lunch when im there. According to Catherine, if I leave it somewhere, I mustn’t assume that it will be there when I get back. She has said that at her work she gets food taken out of the fridge all the time. Such is the nature of working with people and in a place where there is poverty and hunger. I laughed ironically and said that even when I worked for the government of Ontario things would get taken, but yes, a consideration like that is important. Not leaving things around. Always knowing where your wallet and cell phone are. Keeping things locked. And close. Day to day behaviors that are second nature to people who are more familiar with the city and customary behavior, but yet so foreign to someone like myself. But I will learn…I am still learning…

Okay. Time for bed. Tomorrow is a big day. Big big. Perhaps the biggest of my life?

Oh my.

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