Day 20

Woof, I slept well last night. That wine tour really did me dirty. This morning, for the first time in about two weeks (thanks, Safari), I was able to sleep in! After a slow wake-up (something you take for granted until you don’t have it… ever), I went with Tess, Morgan (not Morganne), Sarah, Sophia, and Georgia (all Connectors from various places) to brunch at Tashas to celebrate Sophia’s birthday! Tashas is on the V&A Waterfront and has a delicious Spanish-inspired brunch menu. Their old school omelet was yum and their fruit platter was stunning: guava, banana, mango, kiwi, dragon fruit, etc.

After a hearty breakfast, Tess and I went to see Ocean’s 8 and, man, that was a badass movie filled with a lot of badass actresses. Big fan. If you’re into crime/heist/action movies or just love to watch some famous women tear it up, I’d definitely recommend it. Sandra Bullock is an absolute queen.

On our way out of the V&A mall, we ventured into their Steve Madden store to check out their winter styles. Surprisingly, not unlike literally everything else here, the shoes were SO inexpensive! Some were on sale for R 399 which translates to $29.75 and I don’t think a single pair cost over $150 USD! I don’t really understand the world economy except I did benefit from it, scoring some cute shoes for cheap.

For dinner tonight, I met up with Nanki, Roxy, and Lauren, three girls from UVA all working on a public health projection Khayelitsha. My cousin actually worked on this same project two years ago, so hearing what they were up to after she’s gone was really cool! They’re basically conducting interviews and helping with support groups/an eventual community center in Town Two, a neighborhood of Khayelitsha. We went to Asoka, one of my favorites, for their delicious tapas and live music on Sunday nights. All three of them were so interested in everything I’m doing and me in their projects. We ended up staying for three hour talking all about experiences in Khayelitsha and how our fields overlapped. It was also nice to be surrounded by UVA students for the first time in a while because we could use the same lingo, talk about school life and studies, have a lot of the same friends, etc.

Anyways, after a lovely day filled with incredible food, it’s time for Grey’s Anatomy and some sleep. Goodnight to all and the Xhosa word of the day is “town”: dolophu.

Day 18

Not sure what’s been up with the birthing population this week, but today was another slow and rainy day. We started doing our usual paperwork but soon enough, the nurses found themselves with nothing to do and wanted to help us. The usual system was a bit thrown off but we worked quickly, chatting with the nurses Toto and Maseko in-between babies.

When we took our tea break around 10:30 (as per usual every day), I grabbed my typical snack of hummus with carrots, cucumbers, and celery. Today, however, the nurses/sisters/administrative ladies were particularly interested in what I was eating. First, they asked if it was liver then proceeded to ask what the heck “hummus” was. I ate about half of my portion in the tea room then brought the rest back to the maternity ladies for them to try. They always eat such exotic food that I thought they’d love the hummus but they weren’t pleased. One woman said she was “okay” with it but the rest were not fans. I pled my case about hummus being the nectar (paste?) of the gods but oh well.

After our half-day (a new Friday tradition), Nikki, Maci, and I headed back to the CBD and to Truth for lunch. Their porridge, eggs, bacon, avocado toast, etc. was out of this world as per usual. We headed back to our apartments to change/hit the gym/watch Netflix/chill out for the rest of the night.

Morganne and I ordered some incredible Chinese food (thx you Monks) and snuggled up to watch “Sing”, one of the most iconic animated films of 2016, save Finding Dory. After an emotional but triumphant rollercoaster, here we are, another day into my South African adventure ready to sign off. Xhosa word of the day is “pregnant” to mourn the drought of new babies: ukhulelwe.

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.

Day 8

This morning, we woke up at 6:30, as per usual, and headed to the clinic, only to be met with an extremely slow day. One mother was “on deck” but looked like she’d need more time before really going into labor and only about fifteen babies were waiting in the post-natal ward. After working through them at lighting speed (paperwork train back in action), we were left with relatively nothing to do. The Connect interns working in physical therapy didn’t have any appointments for the rest of the day so they were also sitting around and waiting until our shuttle at 3:30. The only problem was all of us had finished our duties at the clinic around 11 and waiting 4.5 hrs was not going to be easy. Instead, we bid a sweet goodbye to the nursing staff and split an Uber back to the city center. Our Uber driver, Martin, was one of the most interesting men I’ve met in South Africa with revolutionary ideas on Cape Town politics, especially when it came to Parliament’s treatment of the townships. Thanks, Martin for a great ride and 5 stars to you!!

Left with a beautiful day (75 and sunny) and a free afternoon, I decided to hike Lion’s Head, one of the three mountains that surrounds the CBD (central business district) of Cape Town, the other two being Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain. To push it even further, I decided that it’d be a great idea to also hike from my building to the base of Lion’s head: 2.5 miles straight uphill. This was a fantastic idea until about 1.5 miles in when the sidewalk abruptly ended and I was forced to Uber the rest of the way. The first half of the hike was beautiful, forming a corkscrew around the mountain and giving 360 views of the city and surrounding areas (Camps Bay, Sea Point, Atlantic Ocean, etc.). However, as the climb got steeper and steeper, it suddenly turned into r o c k c l i m b i n g sans guides/fences/literally any form of safety (sorry mom and dad). If it tells you anything, a mother with a toddler asked me on my way down if she’d be okay doing the rest of the hike with him on her back and I laughed. See picture below for example.

lions-head-micehelle3.jpg

However, with one healthy ankle and a whole lotta Taylor Swift, I made it to the top for some absolutely stunning views. All of those pictures are in the photo gallery. The hike down was much easier and as a finale, I was met with a concession cart with only sparkling water. The perfect thirst quencher for a long day (said sarcastically) !

After a nice, long shower, I went with Morganne, Tess, (another) Morgan, and Sarah (both from Michigan State) to the Waterfront to have dinner and see the new movie, Tully. The movie was fantastic and I highly recommend it. An interesting modern take on motherhood (even though the birth they depicted was completely unrealistic, coming from a labor intern). Back at home, I’m ready to pass out as soon as this post is finished. Xhosa word of the day is “mountain”: intaba. Sala kukuhle!