Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Email Update from South Africa

Sanibona everyone!

Thank you to everyone who has written me back - I’m still working on replying to some individual emails (some of you are really good at replying - you reply every time!), so keep an eye out! I received a letter in the mail from my cousin Julie, which was my first official mail here, so she wins the prize for that! What is the prize you ask? Only Julie will know! …but there are second and third place prizes, too, so get writing :-P

Since I wrote last week, we’ve finished surveying the students in the high schools and started entering our data (it’s not that exciting, so I won’t go into detail!). We also started to take isiZulu lessons from one of the teachers at one of the schools we surveyed. She teaches isiZulu there, and has been helpful. It’s always an adventure going to KwaMashu with the koombi taxis or the municipal busses? so we’ve been having some good times in that regard! We’ve also had some fun with some new friends and have started filling our wine rack with empty South African wine bottles :-) There’s a lot of really great wine out here! I’m trying to learn as much as I can about it while I’m here and it’s cheap.

This past weekend, Adrienne and I went to the township of Umlazi, just south of Durban, and spent the day with one of the teachers from the second school, Thokozani, for her birthday party. We had a really great time! I have new pictures that I’ll be sending out shortly. We tried some new food, most notably ujeqe (steamed bread), umgxabhiso (boiled tripe soup? tripe is cow intestines), and uchakalaka (similar to stir fried vegetables and VERY spicy). The soup was really great, and it only took me a second to get over the fact that it was intestines - it was chewier than other parts of the cow I’m more accustomed to. Thokozani invited a lot of friends over for her party, so there were many people there. We also had a barbecue, so after the soup and bread, we had barbecued meat, pap, something like cole slaw, and the uchakalaka. We only used a spoon for the soup, and no utensils for the rest. I must admit that I’m pretty clumsy eating with my right hand with no fork, but I didn’t leave hungry! After we ate, we sat around talking for a little while, then we listened to a lot of different South African music artists and danced. A lot of people from near Thokozani’s house came over to join in, and it was a really fun time. There were tons of cute little kids running all over the place, too. Thokozani’s house has a nice view of much of Umlazi, so it was pretty to watch the sun set and see how the view changed almost every minute.

On Friday, we had two friends over to hang out, and we ended up getting hungry and walking down the street to an Indian restaurant. The food was excellent, and our waitress was hitting on one of the guys we were with, Menzi (which was very funny to watch). After we ate, we didn’t know what to do, so someone suggested we go get some wine and sit around at home listening to music and see if Adrienne and I could learn more isiZulu. Well, nothing was open at that time, so we had to walk down to a bar on our street and buy wine from them. When we were in there, we noticed that there was a pool table and that the music was actually people singing karaoke! We decided to stay there for a little while and play pool, and, while waiting, sing karaoke. Adrienne and I sang a song together (it was a rap song, Eminem’s The Way I Am), and later, Adrienne and Keith sang Roses by Outkast. It was really funny, since both songs we sang were rappish/hip-hop songs and we were the youngest people in there by at least 15 years. Everyone else was singing such classics as Walking in Memphis, Piano Man, and Living on a Prayer. I think we took them by surprise! We really had a lot of fun, though, and we’re definitely going back - though I think we’ll sing some Madonna or something next time to fit in a little better :-)

We went to the market yesterday and bought some fresh vegetables, fruit, and spices to make some really great food. It’s funny to me that we get so excited about cooking, but we’re really having a lot of fun with it! We’re going to try to make some homemade soup and maybe some special marinade for chicken this week. If you have any recipes that you’d like to share, please do! Adrienne and I love cooking new things :-) We’re also trying to figure out what we can cook for our friends that we can say is something we eat in the US? any suggestions there? We haven’t really seen much turkey, so Thanksgiving dinner is out.

Another thing that I’m excited about is that World Cup qualifying is going on right now, and South Africa is leading it’s group in the African section. They just won their game against Cape Verde, and they play Ghana soon. I think one of their next two games is in Durban, so I might get to see them in a game!! It’s really nice to be able to follow international soccer so easy from here, because the World Cup is next summer (in Germany!). Most teams I care most about (the US, Perú, Germany, and South Africa) will probably be in the tournament next summer. Germany is hosting, so they for sure get a spot, and I think that the US and South Africa will also qualify. Unfortunately, I’ve been told not to hope too much for Perú, who hosted the American Cup (Copa América) last summer when Gonzalo and I went to visit his family. I still wear their jersey with hope, though!

Well, you’re probably wondering when I’m going to stop this enormous email, so I’ll do that right now. I hope you’ve had a good week and that I hear from you soon. I like to know what you’re doing, where you are, what your future holds (will you be going to the World Cup in Germany!?).

Ngiyakuthanda! (=I love you)

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