Day 25

Last night when I went to sleep (finally), I was praying to feel good as new when I woke up so that I could attend Maci and Nikki’s last day, but unfortunately that wasn’t in the cards. I woke up to give them the baked goods for the nurses and went back to bed. Thankfully, Tess also had the day off so we laid in our beds, each watching our respective Netflix shows until I could muster up the courage to grab some lunch… the first time I had eaten in 24 hours.

After some lunch and a little bit more Mad Men, I decided to get out of the house and go to my most calming spot: the knitting store. I needed some materials to make gifts for the Connect-123 coordinators, so I took a quick trip to Orion Wool and Crafts. The ride there definitely didn’t do any favors for my stomach, but I made it out alive.

For the remainder of the afternoon, Tess and I headed to the K Spa at the waterfront and got couples’ massages because why not? They were wonderful, cheap, and definitely not well-deserved (as we were lying in bed all day) but we enjoyed it anyway.

We continued our honeymoon-type day with dinner at a local tavern (Perseverance or Persies, started in 1836) while watching rugby for an authentic ~South African night~. On our walk home (only about 2 blocks), there was a torrential downpour, paving way for our photoshoot to enact Toto’s iconic line, “I bless the rains down in Africa”. Catch all the evidence of that in the photo gallery. We quickly retreated inside, dried off, and are now settled back into bed for a restful night. Xhosa word of the day is “rain”: imvula.

Day 23

I guess I never really finished up yesterday– Nikki, Maci, and I headed out to Camps Bay for some Tuesday night karaoke at Dizzy’s. We met up with Skylar and Elijah, two of the Mercer interns at the clinic and caught up on what we had missed while shark diving. The answer? Nothing much. We sang “Take Me Home, Country Roads” then Elijah absolutely murdered “Drop It Like It’s Hot”. What a wonderful night!

But TODAY, we finally broke the dry spell at the clinic! After about an hour of paperwork, Nikki, Maci, Skylar, Madison, and I all started shadowing Dr. Prinsloo, the neonatal specialist who comes in every Wednesday. While this was fun, watching her check out all of the preemie babies, we crowded her a little bit so I went to hang with Elijah in the labor ward. Lo and behold, 10 minutes after I arrived, two mothers began pushing (one who was much louder than the other).

One woman (the loud one) didn’t speak any English and barely any Xhosa so we really had a tough time communicating with her. She kept pushing when, in reality, she wasn’t ready push which could’ve been very damaging for the baby. Eventually, the sisters got her to calm down and just lay on her side until the baby was ready to come out.

However, the woman next doorway ready to push and that baby was ready to come out. After a few painful minutes and some coaching from Elijah and me (wow, this really makes me sound so much more qualified than I am?), she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl! We cut her cord, measured her, warmed her up in the incubator, then gave her back to the mother to begin breastfeeding. The only problem was this mother was a first-timer and, unfortunately, had inverted nipples, meaning that the sisters had to use a syringe to pull them out. During this whole process, I was lucky enough to be the designated “baby-holder” (my favorite job) and got to bond with this little bundle of joy. After handing her back to the mother, I decided that this was the perfect way to introduce my new baby hat concept. As a way of thanking the mother for letting students deliver her baby, I gave her a pink baby hat knitted by yours truly. This woman was so grateful and even let me take pictures of the baby with the hat on :’). Those are featured in the gallery.

The rest of the afternoon was relatively slow but that birth made this past 1.5 weeks of waiting all worth it. I returned home for a classic afternoon of going to the gym, calling home, etc. This time, though, I got to talk to my brother, Russell, who just returned from a 2-week wilderness adventure! As fun as SA is, I’m definitely missing my family. On my way home from the gym today, I finally decided to try Nando’s, a large chain restaurant in Europe and South Africa specializing in their roasted chicken. I got a leg/thigh with mild peri-peri sauce and thought it was pretty good! 8/10, convenient and tasty!

I spent the night hanging out with Tess, Morgan, and Sarah, listening to Big Bootie mixes and admiring the beautiful view out of their 13th floor window (we’re only on the 4th floor, facing another building). I’m on this new kick where I’m trying to go to bed earlier so I’m off to the snoozer at approx. 10:30… progress? Xhosa word of the day is “hat”: umnqwazi (there’s a click in this one! and I can do it!)

Day 17

Blame it on the tardy driver, the slow days in the clinic, or the rain, but today we took a day off. The morning began with a luxurious wakeup at 8:30 (smh internal alarm clock) and brunch at a nearby restaurant, The Raptor Room. They have one of the coolest atmospheres I’ve ever seen complete with ivy on the roof, Millennial Pink all around, a Dinosaur logo, and “Proud Mary” blaring during our breakfast.

After some poached eggs and spinach-corn fritters, Nikki and Maci headed back to the apartment and I headed to Truth (former #1 coffee shop in the world, in case you forgot) to write postcards, catch up on blog posts, and take a minute to myself. About three hours in, a clingy waiter chatted me up and asked me on a date to which I said “no thanks” and proceeded to escape the premises. Oops.

As some of you may know, I am a very avid knitter. Scarves, sweaters, hats, blankets I do it all. One of my favorite things to knit is infant hats. A few days ago, I saw a big bucket of knitted garments in the clinic and figured that I could spend my down time knitting for all of these babies! It’d be my gift to the mothers that let me deliver their little ones to give them one of my hats. I brought some yarn with me from the US of A but needed the right needles, so I headed out to a local knitting store. Orion Wool and Crafts had a great reputation online but inside it was even better. The man and woman who run the small shop were so sweet, walking me around and asking all about knitting in the states. I told them all about the drastic price difference between South African yarn (generally $5-15) and American yarn (from $8 to $60). Once again, I hit a great bargain on some needles (R 40 or $2.98) and headed back home.

My afternoon consisted of a trip to the gym, knitting, sudoku, and more knitting before going with Morganne to see the Incredibles 2. Predictably, it was incredible. Edna Mode, Elastigirl, and Jack-Jack deserve Oscars– if those exist in the animated world. And that brings today to a close! Xhosa word of the day is “boy/child”: bhuti.