Day 26

  • For Nikki and Maci’s actual last day, we headed to the Old Biscuit Mill again
  • Stayed for breakfast and lunch… both delicious
  • Headed home to sleep off a little bit more of the nausea from the food poisoning
  • Was getting ready to go out and Morganne and Tess put me in a crop top for the first time ever… evidence in the gallery from their photoshoot of me
  • Headed to Asoka (definitively my favorite restaurant here) with Morganne, Tess, and Sarah
  • Went out to the Tin Roof in Claremont with a huge group of Connect-123 participants- lots of fun!

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 24

This morning, we arrived to a promising few women who looked like MAYBE they were about to push/give birth/complete the miracle of life etc. but unfortunately, we had a slow day L. Maci, Nikki, and I did paperwork with Madison (Skylar didn’t make it today) for most of the morning until we determined that, as per usual on Thursdays, the rest of the day would probably be pretty slow. Because Nikki and Maci are leaving this weekend, it wasn’t worth spending the rest of the afternoon at the clinic if they weren’t going to be doing much so we called it a day around noon. The Mercer interns don’t work on Fridays so they said their goodbyes to Madison and to some of the nurses who wouldn’t be working tomorrow. Our miniature photoshoot is documented in the photo gallery.

We returned home and hit up Truth (if you can’t tell already, I love this place) for brunch. After some eggs, bacon, and iced lattes, we headed back to my apartment to bake cupcakes/cookies for the maternity staff on Maci and Nikki’s last day. All went swimmingly, I headed to the gym, then returned with a moderately upset stomach.

It was moderate until it for sure wasn’t and I spent the rest of the night alternating sleeping and hurling as I battled some unfortunate food poisoning from Truth. Not sure how I’ll ever come to terms with this lovely coffee shop that betrayedme. So now it’s 2:05 AM, I’m texting my mother wishing she was here to take care of me and praying for some more sleep before I wake up again. Peace out, readers. Xhosa word of the day is “poison”: ityhefu.

Day 19

Boy, oh boy, today was a long one. As one of their sponsored events, Connect-123 took everybody in the program (all ~50 of us) on a wine tour. Only downside is the fact that wine country (Stellenbosch, in particular) is about an hour away so we were up and at ’em on the van at 9am– pretty early for a Saturday. If you add a morning workout on top of that, I had a wakeup time of 6:30. No *clap emoji* days *clap emoji* off *clap emoji*.

We started off the day with a trip to Fairview, one of the most popular wine-tasting destinations where they pair sips with different cheeses from cream cheese to gorgonzola to brie. I’m not even a cheese person but, holy heck, these were pretty good. A bonus feature of Fairview was that they had a pen of goats out front. Not sure how this related to their vineyard/brand/mission at all but I was a big fan. As I sang “The Lonely Goatherd” from “The Sound of Music” they came running my way, so I’d consider that a win.

The next stop was at Spice Route. Besides a spot for wine tasting, they had a variety of other interesting areas: beer tasting, chocolate tasting, restaurant, pizzeria, gin tasting, etc. I went with some Connectors to the chocolate tastings where they let you try cocoa beans and small nibs of different flavored chocolate bars which was very interesting. Unfortunately, I don’t like much besides some ~classic~ milk chocolate so I didn’t participate too much but according to my roommates, it was fantastic. We were treated to mushroom/chicken/beef burgers at Spice Route (incredible) and then went outside for a literal PHOTOSHOOT. Check out the photo gallery to see the plethora of pics that were taken.

Lastly, we headed to Morgenhof for the final tasting. Upon walking into this beautiful Italian countryside-esque vineyard, we saw their pen of P E A C O C K S. Half of me said this small of a pen was animal cruelty but the other said they’re too beautiful, it doesn’t matter! oops. We kept our tasting here pretty short because lots of participants were really ~feeling it~ if you catch my drift.

The 1.5 hrs home was rainy and pretty quiet as almost everybody took a snooze aside from a few students from London in the back who had a karaoke party. We returned home around 5 and took naps until coming to our senses around 8. Currently, Tess, Morganne, and I are cooking up some pasta and soup to warm up after a cold, cold day in the Stellenbosch mountains. Xhosa word of the day is “wine”: iwayini.

Day 11

Today we celebrated Youth Day at the clinic! All week, the sisters and nurses had been talking to Nikki and me about how we needed to wear school uniforms on Friday to celebrate “the 16th of June” (which was actually on Saturday anyway) !!! After some outside research clarifying what exactly that holiday celebrated, I stumbled onto some really interesting information about the tradition of Youth Day. On June 16th, 1976, thousands of black students in a Joberg township (Soweto) left school to protest against the Apartheid regime. They rallied against a new order that made Afrikaans compulsory in all black township schools across the country, prohibiting the use of local languages. The rallies were meant to be peaceful but once police started to break up the crowds, riots erupted and more than 500 students were killed. Though celebrated on the anniversary of a tragic event, Youth Day celebrations around the country are meant to  empower youth of all ethnicities and commemorate their anti-apartheid efforts.

While we didn’t have full school uniforms, we did locate some plaid in our suitcases and wore it under our scrubs to give some semblance of school skirts. All of the maternity employees came dressed to the nines this morning. They wore their old/borrowed uniforms from a variety of schools, dressed in blazers, ties, skirts, and pigtails. They laughed at our plaid concoction and asked if this was what our American uniforms looked like (scrubs included). Nikki and I spent the morning getting thirty-ish women in and out of the post-labor ward while the sisters and nurses ran around taking pictures, singing school songs, and enjoying their Friday. For the first time I felt like I was really helping out in the maternity unit, making the employees’ jobs just a little bit easier. Thankfully, they felt the same way, praising us when we emptied the room out around 11. Since our Friday shuttle wasn’t coming until 12:30, we had some free time to hang out with the dressed up maternity ladies before taking off for the weekend. They demanded some photoshoots, performed again for us, and showed us pictures of their young kids. My favorite was one woman’s 3-year-old daughter who applied a panty liner as “mask” and used her mother’s stethoscope to check on a family member who was under the weather. All of these wonderful photos with Njemna (our paperwork queen) and everybody else are in the gallery, as per usual. Below is the school chant they performed for us.

I spent the afternoon reading, napping, working out, and packing in preparation for our Safari this weekend. Around 6, I went to check out a store called “The Book Lounge” on the corner of Roeland and Buitenkant known for its homey nature and frequent book releases and was very impressed. I purchased “The Female Persuasion” by Meg Wolitzer (on my summer reading list!) and resisted many more potential reads until I finish the three books currently on my shelf. It comes in just behind Strand in New York City as my favorite bookstore. V cute picture of this place featured below.

The-lounge-area-1060x460

For dinner, I headed to The Fireman’s Arms, one of Cape Town’s oldest pubs, on Bree to catch the Spain-Portugal soccer game. I met up with Rex and some other UVA friends (all from iXperience), chowed on some fish and chips, and got a little bit too much into soccer for the first time in my life. #TeamSpain all the way. Now I’m back home, finishing my packing in preparation for the Garden Route Game Lodge this weekend! Xhosa word of the day is “fish”: intlanzi.