Getting over homesickness & Some touristy moments

Sawubona (hello or I see you in Zulu) Friends and Family,

Hope all is well in the US of A.

So it’s week 3 here in Durban, can you believe it?! I know I can’t, sometimes I feel like I just got here and sometimes like I’ve been here for 6 months. But anyway let’s talk about these 3 weeks shall we…

Ok, so for like a good week I was homesick. Now some may say, “Hey that’s cool, all part of the process” but while I was homesick I felt terrible. Knowing its part of the process is one thing but living and breathing it is a whole other matter. It was not until I talked to my family and friends that I remembered, “Hey kid, you are only here for a few months. It’s ok to be homesick but don’t forget to enjoy this time. Don’t chicken out…” And once I got that pep talk and remembered that the good Jesus is with me no matter where I go on His green earth (Psalms 23)…I was set! Now don’t get me wrong every now and again I still get home sick but now I just remember why I’m here and whose here with me and I can smile again, ready to face whatever the day brings…and man has it been bringing great things.

So two Saturdays ago, I went to my host dad or Baba son’s wedding. It was a “white” wedding or more of a Western traditional wedding, then later that night it transitioned to a more Zulu traditional wedding. (Sorry no pictures, I forgot my phone) The wedding was beautiful, however it was all in Zulu. So I got like .5% of what was going on but that’s ok friends, never fear. After the wedding I kind of decided that I think I want to actually learn Zulu, like for more than just an academic venture but to actually learn it to be able to speak with the good Zulu people here in the South of Africas – sooooo we will see how this all turns out by the end of the semester.

On a touristy note, Durban hosted the World Cup in 2010. The stadium is called Moses Mabhida and you can go to the top of the stadium on the SkyCar. Now anyone who knows me, knows me and heights DO NOT MIX EVER. But while in Durban, live it up so below are some pictures of me with the beautiful Durban skyline and beach front behind me…

Me on the top of Moses Mabhida Stadium
Me on the top of Moses Mabhida Stadium
The beautiful Durban coast/skyline
The beautiful Durban coast/skyline

Also the stadium is of course controversial depending on who you talk to in regards to the cost of the stadium, did it really help or harm the locals especially the Black people? But this conversation differs depending on whom you talk to if you get my drift….

Ok enough controversy for one post. On another touristy note, please see pictures of me at the beach and not just any beach the Indian Ocean beach…I’ve never seen the ocean so that was really cool.

First time in the ocean
First time in the ocean

Also, I went to Durban Day this Sunday, which is just a big concert with Durban artist and other South African artist. So of course, I knew no one there but I had a great time and got a green Crème Soda…please see the image below of my green tongue as proof.

Green tongue, don't care lol
Green tongue, don’t care lol

Now for all of those thinking…”Hey, this kid, is not in school. She’s just vacationing” Oh au contraire, mon fere…I have been trying to figure out what I will be doing for my Independent Study Research Project (ISP) in November. I am tossing around ideas about maybe doing something with Steve Biko and the Black Consciousness Movement. Or possibly an ISP about the Black student uprisings on university campuses here like Open Stellenbosch or the Wits 7. Some Black students here are really finding their voices and saying we are not going to the institutions, do better NOW! And you know I am in solidarity. I was also thinking of doing something with Winnie Mandela or other prominent Black women in the anti-apartheid movement because I feel like their voices are under-represented or misconstrued especially Winnie Mandela. But right now the top contender is something with Durban churches and looking into how they responded or didn’t respond to apartheid. And since I’m trying to do the seminary life after Hope College, the church project could be a really good thing. So all of this is up in the air right not friends but my mind is constantly churning. It’s not all beach fronts and concerts. 🙂

Ok, seriously missing everyone in the US of A. You all be well and keep me on your mind and hearts as you are ever on mine.

Hambani kahle (You all go well)

Homesickness

It´s incredible what you don’t notice when you are caught up in yourself. I have been feeling a little melancholy recently for two completely opposite reasons: because I am homesick, and because my time in Chile is approaching the end. On the one hand, I am happy to be going home soon; I miss the familiar people and routines. On the other hand, I am sad because studying in Chile has been a wonderful series of adventures, and because I will have to say good-bye to my family and friends here.

However, while I’ve been sad, spring arrived.  The weather is beautiful, flowers are blooming, and there are more ships in the harbor. It is shorts and t-shirt weather, which I love. The birds are singing, and everybody seems happier. Sometimes their happiness is contagious, and it can be a lot of fun hanging out with everyone. But sometimes, I enjoy being alone. It is what I do with that alone time makes all the difference.

I like people watching. I just go to a café and get some coffee and observe the busy people. It is fun to watch the crazy old men wander by, asking for change, or the grandmas with their grandchildren who are begging for an ice cream. I like watching the girlfriends drag their boyfriends to a movie or all the people casually smoking a cigarette before they have to go back to work.

I like observing the flowers. I love flowers, and so many of them just grow around here, wild and uncontrolled. There are daisies and petunias that grow by my house. Everybody seems to have roses. There are wild purple flowers and pretty red flowers. I like wearing flowers in my hair. It makes me feel confident and pretty.

The sea is very blue right now. It’s been remarkable to live this close to the ocean during my time here. I feel I could stare at its vastness forever. I like writing poetry and staring at the sea. I feel content.

When there is so much to do in a busy city like Valparaiso, sometime just stopping and spending some time alone is the best way to understand the people and the culture.