"Yyyyyoh!" (an exclamation similar in use to the America "Whew!" ...I think) is one of the many new expressions that I have learned during these last two weeks of trying my very hardest to immerse myself in the wonderful South African culture. This "rainbow nation" has been influenced by so many different cultures that the language is equally as colorful. Some other funny South African words: mealies=corn, bloody, bakkie=pick up truck, robot=traffic light (Brenton is baffled as to why I think this is funny), braai= barbecue/grill, bru (pronounced brew)=bro, and many others! I find myself trying to hold in giggles (which we all know can be dangerous for me) whenever pretty much anyone speaks, especially when Brenton gets mad about something--the accent is just so funny!
Well, I had a weekend packed full of AMAZING South African experiences starting with my first braai (see, you're learning already!) on Friday evening. The occasion for this lovely gathering was that Gert, the accounting guy, is leaving us to take another job back in his hometown. Well, all I have to say is that South Africans clearly know how to party. Brenton and I left the office around 2 in order to get a little gift for Gert and go to the "bottle store" (I figured that one out without looking it up on Wikipedia). We got to the boss man's house around 3:30 and the drinks were flowing by 4 (drinking age is 18 here, yeahhhhh)! I am so thankful that I got this opportunity to hang out with the people I work with outside of the office. I learned a LOT about everyone's style of working and that they all strongly believe that they can have a big fight about something at work, but they are very good about leaving it all at the office and enjoy going out and having a drink together after. I can work with that!
We even had a little discussion on race issues during which I learned that what I may have perceived as racism from some of the employees early on may not have been as bad as thought. It turns out that this person treats everyone equally bad in the office--I think it's really just a big power trip. Eiishh!
Overall I had a WONDERFUL time at the braai and I even tried some Boerewors, which anyone who knows about my issues with eating meat is a BIG deal!
I still can't believe it.
During the braai we decided that we would go to the local Lion Park on Sunday so that I could see some of Africa's "big five" animals and prove to my friends that I am, indeed, in Africa! It was SO AMAZING! Seriously. I got to get out of the car and pet an elephant that one of the employees herded on to the road for us!
Then we drove through the lion enclosure where there were about 8 huge, gorgeous lions having a lazy afternoon basking in the sun. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life--I love animals!!
THEN we piled back into the bakkie and drove to Durban where we spent a few hours at the tourist-y hot spot, uShaka . I got to stand in the Indian Ocean and saw more KFCs than I usually do in Cincinnati! Our trip to Durban was relatively short, but I will be visiting there again with the group of Global Teens that visit from the US next month.
Too lazy to rotate this, but you get the idea :)
It was an all around awesome weekend and I'm very excited to feel like I have finally found my niche here. Updates on the Street kids program to come!
Shout outs to Jon King, Jen King, Aunt Pat, Uncle Jack, Paige, Katie Flynn, MRatt, and Scott Boden for the emails! I really do love them and they've been very helpful. And, as always, thanks to Hans and Rena for gchatting with me all the time and Mom and Dad for skyping me, it makes Africa seem much closer to home!