Monday, January 24, 2011

39 hours and counting...

Or, to be more exact, exactly 31 hours and 42 minutes until I am Detroit Metro Airport bound, so therefore about...

31 hours and 12 minutes until I have to be finished packing.

That's definitely enough time.
So now I don't feel as bad for spending the last hour and a half playing Bejeweled instead of figuring out what to pack in my carry-on bag.

Not the carry-on that is my backpack, which I have already decided will be chock-full of trashy magazines that I secretly obviously love, all of the important documents that I spent months putting together just so I'm not turned right back around at immigration, candy- most likely Twizzlers- which, while will only increase the nervous jitters flying ensues, is a necessity. And at least three very diverse books:

Book 1: A deep and insightful literary treasure I've had on my shelf for years and will finally have a lovely 32 hours of traveling to read.
Book 2: A well-worn favorite from my book shelf, something like The Monsters of Templeton or any of Jen Lancaster's memoirs.
Book 3: This unabashed best-seller will be showing off on a shelf in a small shop in the airport. It will tempt me with its shiny cover and promise of light easy-reading until I buy it. I'll then pretend that I'm obviously going to read Book 1 on the flight and this is just a fun back-up for when I finish the literary treasure. (Yeah right)

When it comes to 32 hours of travel time, 28 of that being on an airplane, literary treasures rarely win.

I'm sure I'll have other odds and ends in my backpack that I stuffed in at the last minute, overruling an earlier goal to "pack light". No, my backpack will be no problem.

The real issue is my carry-on bag.

While I'll obviously stuff it full of things my 50 pound suitcase had to reject, what else will I bring? Clothes, shoes, toiletries. They're easy because they're essential. But what about my non-essentials? What's important there?

Is it more books?
Random tidbits from my room in Ann Arbor that bring back fond memories?
Or should I bring possible decorations, like scarves or bolts of cloth to hang on the walls?
I might have watched HGTV a time or two over the last 3 weeks.
Or maybe I should brave the possibility of killing my appliances and let my hair dryer and straightener tag-along?

I think it's more than obvious that I'm over-thinking this. I have no idea what to bring because I have no idea what to expect.
So I expect everything.
Therefore, I'm more stressed about what decorative accessories and touching memorabilia to bring to Cape Town than I am about the fact that I'm going to be spending the next 5 months 8,374 miles from my home.

Although after these last three weeks at home, I'm ready to go.
It's not that I don't love my family and little Alpena.
But 3 weeks of no friends in Alpena which therefore meant three weeks of solely hanging out with bothering my parents means that all three of us are ready for a change.

However, unlike my mother who has gone through and prepared for every worst case scenario, best case scenario, and scenario in general, I haven't exactly done my homework on Cape Town.

True, I have my student handbook, which details what will happen the first week I'm there (Sneak Preview: 8 am orientation yuck, tour of the Cape Coast fun, African drumming lesson way fun, and visiting the penguins on Boulder Beach squeal!)

Be jealous of the gorgeous blue skies

True, I watched Invictus.
Although I'm no closer to understanding rugby.

True, I have read one of my two guidebooks so far, and have learned (hopefully not out-dated) South African slang, such as:
Robot=Traffic Light
Eish!= No way!
Babbelas= hangover
And my personal favorite to say:
Ja-well-no-fine= Fine, yes, but not really

However it's also true that:
1). While chatting with a best friend who's spending the semester in London, she informed me that she "was just reading about the racial categories" of Cape Town and that "it was developed by the Dutch East India Company (which explains the dutchness)."
Sidenote: I already knew that. Thank you Guide Book #1

2). While chatting with another best friend, she informed me that the animals on the rand represent the 5 Big Game animals in South Africa: the lion, the leopard, the elephant, the buffalo, and the rhinoceros.
Sidenote: I was the one who had to convince her it was
a buffalo

and not

a wildebeest.

Considering the fact that two of my best friends, who have much more interesting and important things to do than Wikipedia the city and country I'll be spending the next 5 months in, know more about said city and country than me is a problem.

Needless to say, after this blog post is finished, I'll be visiting Wikipedia and my second guide book so that I'll know at least the same amount of information as my over-achieving friends.

And so on that note, I think I've procrastinated enough. Funny, even when I'm not in school and have absolutely no work to do, I'm still a faithful and loyal procrastinator. So I'll get to the point. This blog will be chronicling my 5 months spent in Cape Town, South Africa. I am ridiculously excited to not only skip Michigan winter
Oh how I shall miss this...

but that I'll also get to spend 5 months in AFRICA! So stay tuned and I'll try to update a lot. Once I'm there, I'll no longer have to get pictures of this gorgeous city off of Google, and will be able to show you Cape Town from my viewpoint.

But for now, back to Wikipedia, avoiding packing, and most likely no sleep for the next 30 hours and 16 minutes.

(Which is good-bye in Afrikaans, one of the 11 official languages of South Africa. Wikipedia is already paying off!)


  1. Yayayayaayayay! I like that 'ja-well-no-fine,' it really seems like a phrase made for you.
    I'm so excited for your adventures (and your organized activities...never thought I'd say this, but thank god for those!)
    Love you and safe travels!!! Can't wait to hear more! =]

  2. Hurray! I agree with Corinne. 'Ja-well-no-fine' was invented for you.

    And for the record: I think I've taken enough bio classes to be qualified to say that a buffalo is just a fat wildebeest. Only difference.

    But anyway, be safe! Look for people in neon shirts OR with a sign! Don't lose your passport! Say hi to the penguins for you! Learn how to play rugby and cricket! Be good! Have fun! Stop making me use so many exclamation points! I'm so friggin' excited for you!

    Love you!

    P.S. Don't forget to bring your hunk of lace to cover your cleavage!

  3. You stole my first post title! And my bejeweled shout-out! Hahaha but that's okay, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...right?

    Anyway, I am SOOO excited for you! Please write all the time so I can stalk you properly. You're going to have an amazing time and I am already really pumped to hear about the penguins!


  4. 1). LOVE YOU ALL! (I was really entertained and happy that all of your comments ended with Love You!)
    2). Organized activities are the bomb!!!!
    3). Alison - buffalos did not kill Mufasa. Just ask Corinne.
    4). I promise to take tons of pictures of the penguins since they're PENGUINS! (I'm just a little excited about the penguins)

    I miss you all!!!