Monday, July 21, 2008
One week and then some
MOLWENI!!! welcome in Xhosa! So now i've officially spent a week here in stellenbosch but it feels like we've been here a month. My expectations and my biases have been broken. my patience has been tested and my priorities have changed. I dont know where to start. Pictures don't do this place justice and my words are not nearly enough.
I live in house with nine other people! woo. My house mates include two Germans, two Namibians, four americans, and one Ethiopian.So in the house itself we have a lot going on. The weather has been crazy this week too. we're in the winter months and we've had freezing cold rain and heat heat heat all in the expanse of two days. We're about half an hour to 45 minutes from Cape Town so we get the benefits of mountains, valley and beach. The rand (national currency) is seven to the dollar so things are reasonably inexpensive. I've almost been hit by a car a couple of times now....i think the 16th time around i finally learned what direction to look.
The people here come from every sort of back ground... we have the Afrikaners (whites) the Coloreds (mixed/other race) and the Blacks. Here in South Africa you fall in one of the three categories whether you like it or not. It's been a little overwhelming/difficult adjusting to the racial categories heres. Granted i do get treated a little different because i'm foreign or whatever that means but It's hard consistently being the one of a few black people in restaurant that is predominately white. or walking around with friends/classmates of other races, etc. Everything is broken down by race here. It's hard to see a lot of wealth right next to a lot of poverty and to see the racial barrier in it. The weird thing (or weird to me) is that i've find that the people leaving in the broken townships on the outskirts of town are just as happy as the wine farmers in their houses. I've never been this uncomfortable in my skin and i've been in plenty of situations already where i find myself asking what is that sets me apart, why is life different for me.....its making me realize that i dont understand alot and right now i dont know if i can with anger, bewilderment and shame dictating any thoughts i have of reasoning.... everything i know or think i know has been flipped upside down.
So things i've learned so far:
-you have to be open to everything
-its ok to be upset
-its ok to not be upset
-change doesn't happen over night
-you have to let go of your pride sometimes
-its ok not to know
and its still going. and somehow in all of this i am learning. I'm here and I'm experiencing all of this, this is EXACTLY where i am supposed to be.
thank you for praying for me, for thinking of me. i'm thinking of all of you.
peace. love. grace.