Well hey...

So...I may have forgotten to update during my last month in South Africa. Oops. I'm sorry. Well, I've done a lot of things in the past month, too much to really summarize. Also, I haven't transferred most of the pictures from my laptop to my desktop. So I'll work on that, but most of the stories from my last month...well, you'll have to talk to me in person in order to hear them. :)

Although, I did...drive on the opposite side of the road...


Say goodbye to some of the best friends I've ever had. :(

But...I'm home now. And I realize...the Sarah that left for South Africa...

is not the same Sarah who came back.


Storms a-brewin'

One thing I've continuously heard about since getting to Johannesburg is, "Wait until you see the thunderstorms." Being from the Midwest, I've seen tons of thunderstorms in my life, and I wondered if there was something special about Jozi thunderstorms that we don't get in the Midwest. Well, I'd say they're pretty much the same, but perhaps a little more intense, and definitely more frequent. It storms so often here!

One thing, however, I was unprepared for: hail.

I couldn't believe how hard or how much it hailed. It was absolutely crazy! It looked like it had snowed by the time it had ended, as you can obviously see in the picture. I was flabbergasted. I told some International House friends that it reminded me of home. :)

You can't really tell, but I'm holding a piece of hail in my hand. :)

Anyway, now I'm trying to navigate South African travel websites, as my friend Jamie will arrive here in about nine days, and I should probably have everything we plan to do booked before she gets here. My friend who has a car is going to go to Kruger National Park with us, which should be a lot of fun, and then we hope to go to Cape Town...to see penguins! Among other things of course, but really, penguins! I'm really really REALLY hoping to get to see Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe (tallest waterfall in the world!), but we'll see how that pans out. Cross your fingers for me!

What's exciting is that one of the African girls on my program invited us all to her brother's wedding in Botwana, which is this weekend. So, tomorrow morning, we're all hopping on a bus to Gabarone (pronounce it like it has an "h" instead of a "g") and going to Botswana. So for Halloween this year, I'm going as an American wedding guest in Botswana who has no idea what's going on. I think that's a pretty cool way to spend Halloween. :)

Other than that, not too much going on here that's exciting. I'm in exams right now and it's tough, ja? I've finished three so far, and my final one is Monday morning...so I'm leaving Botswana a day earlier than everyone else so I can get back in time for my exam. Boo. Ag, shame.

I hope midterms went well for any of you college-readers, and I hope everything else is going well for everyone else! :)

PS, I arrive back in the States exactly one month from today. :/


Lions and tigers and...tigers, oh my!

It's getting super hot here. Oh, and I got to walk a tiger, then play with baby white Bengal tigers and baby white lions. All in a day's work, y'know?

Have a good weekend!


"How to Write About Africa"

My friend Brett passed along this article to me, and I thought it was absolutely brilliant. I especially liked...

"In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Don't get bogged down with precise descriptions. Africa is big: fifty-four countries, 900 million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book. The continent is full of deserts, jungles, highlands, savannahs and many other things, but your reader doesn't care about all that, so keep your descriptions romantic and evocative and unparticular."

And now, my quintessential picture of an African sunset.


You're the most colorful thing that I've seen

"You swim like you're on fire
Live like your last day
Drink like it's water
There's no tomorrow
And you think no one can hear you
Raise your hands to be called on
You know all the answers"
-Rocco DeLuca and the Burden, "Colorful"

After being awoken at 4 AM by drunken singers, I am quite tired, but I feel like I've been neglecting my blog duties, so here will be a short update.

What I did this past week:

-Went to Durban
::Went to uShaka Marine World (i.e. South Africa Sea World)
::Went to Vacca Matta club and lost a dance contest (but still had fun, and an American still won)
::Swam in the Indian Ocean
::Ate Indian food, burned mouth from said Indian food
::Hurt back on go-kart (as described in previous blog)

-Was on a lot of drugs for my back
::Also have a nasty scab (that will probably scar)-- sick.
::But it's feeling (mostly) better now.

::Transsexual woman who tried to enter Miss South Africa pageant, but officials wouldn't let her in because she was not "born a woman" (which drives me nuts, considering Miss Carrie "Opposite Marriage" Prejean was allowed to keep her crown for a while, but Lindiwe wasn't even allowed to participate? Uggh.)

-Went to Carnivore
::Had lamb, wildebeest, zebra, crocodile, blesbok, kudu, beef, pork, and pap. Delicious.
::Tagged the different kinds of meat in this photo on Facebook, cause I'm awesome like that.

-Went to see Public Enemies (starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale)
::Eh. Not that great, expected a bit more.

-Went to Johannesburg Pride
::Glad to see that there's pride all over the world. :)
::Also, got a pair of SA flag shutter shades. What what, you jealous.
::Participated in a pride parade on campus, and got really good at chanting "Hey ho, hey ho, homophobia's got to go!" repeatedly.

-Got two packages
::Thanks Mom and Grandma!
::Got pranked by my parents...thought they sent me my dead dog's ashes, but apparently they were just ashes from the grill. THANKS, DAD.

-Met some Peace Corps volunteers who are serving in Botswana
::Asked them a bunch of questions...definitely still considering PC after college.

I hope that was interesting enough for all of you. By the way, a lot of people have been asking if they can do or send anything to help me out...now that I have < 2 months here, I'm afraid if you send a package, it won't arrive before I leave (the SA post office is not as reliable as I would like it to be). However, there is one way you can help...I miss American music. Well, new music. The American music that gets played here is not exactly to my taste. So, if you find yourself wanting to do something nice for me, an iTunes gift card would be totally freakin' sweet. :) (Cause the cool thing is, you wouldn't even have to mail it to me, you could just scratch off the number and then email it to me.) But totally up to you, you're not under any obligation to do so, I will love you even if you don't. :) Just thought I'd throw that suggestion out there.

Anway. I am super tired, so I am going to bed now. Hope you're all doing well and staying warm, since it's getting cold in the States (whereas I got a tan today from the ever-warming Johannesburg sun). Miss and love you, of course!