South Africa continues to be the experience of a lifetime. With that said, this was the first week in which I felt like I had an established routine, and that provided a wonderful sense of comfort and calm. I love all the surprises and new experiences South Africa has thrown at me (and believe me, there were plenty of great surprises this week), but it was nice to know where all my classes were and have a schedule I could stick to, even if that schedual involves me getting up at 7am for breakfast every morning.
Speaking of new experiences, I drove a rental car for the first time this week. I went in feeling confident that I could easily adjust to driving on the left, but after pulling out of the rental place onto the wrong side of the road, and then accidentally putting the car in fourth instead of second because you shift with your left hand here, I reconsidered this attitude. There were no cars on the road as I learned this lesson, and I quickly realized my mistake, but I still have to actively think about where I should be driving. It may have taken me a couple minutes to get used to the car, but by Sunday I was driving around like a boss. Directions here are also a challange, as the American attitude of "eh, we'll just GPS it on your phone" is decidedly ineffective. We eventually realized, however, that there really arent enough highways here to get seriously lost, and after asking a tiny little Volkswagen Polo to do a little off-roading, I managed to get the group to our distination. “Where did you drive?" you ask. “Addo National Park,” I answer. And what did I see there?
Whatever this thing is (Red Heartbeast?)
A very surprised Black-Headed Heron!
And more elephants!
Another exiting activity I've sniffed out down here is the Rhodes Basketball Society. This great group of gents meets a couple times a week for practice, with games every Saturday, and I have to say it's really fun to be playing organized ball again. My last experience with organized ball was, shall we say, a little campy (my Kearsarge kids know what's up), and it is genuinely nice to have fun playing ball again. The practices here are no joke; as I learned on Wednesday you better show up ready to run and scrap. Combine this with the fact that I have the upper body strength of the inflatable tube man outside of a car dealership and the stature of a lost game of hangman, and you have the equation for a pretty bruised, but also very happy Sam.
Truth be told, I really haven’t mentioned everything new and exciting that I encountered in the last two weeks, but there's honestly just too much going on for me to be able to effectively paint a full picture. I hope everyone back home is staying warm and happy!