Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Love You, Uncle James

I want to dedicate this post to my Uncle James. He was a wise man, a strong man, a caring man. Being diagnosed with a rare cancer, I feared that he would pass while I was away but it was something I had to accept. Uncle James always says "You gotta  do what you gotta do". It was so good seeing him before I left. We laughed, shared stories, he gave me very important wisdom on life in all aspects. Death is always a hard thing to deal with but one thing about it is that it's a door to a new life. Uncle James was at peace, the Lord brought him closer and it was time to bring him home. I'm happy to know that he won't have to deal with anymore pain, he should know we are all ok. His Son, my Best friend, Ced has accepted the thrones and is being the strongest a man can ever be during this time. I pray that God gives him all the strength he needs. And I pray that his wife Aunt Cynt knows that its ok to grieve but please smile again. It has been an honor to be apart of Your Life and apart of Your family,

I Love You Uncle James

 We will see you in the morning (A preacher ended my grandmother's eulogy with this phrase and it has always stayed with me)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Class, Cricket Matches, and Surfing

In recent days of my adventure in Cape Town I've been confused, annoyed, happy, and satisfied. I'll start off by saying the University of Cape Town has some of the most nonchalant people working in their registration offices. Coming into the start of classes last week I was excited to take four classes that held my interest like never before. But to my surprise the admin had decided to change the times of the classes so that 3 out of my four classes we schedule for the SAME time. I was absolutely frustrated. With this occurrence I had to spend the next 3 days going here and going there, hearing I can't help you go here, the advisor for international students went on vacation so I had no help on campus. Thank God for my advisor back at UNCG, she helped me sort everything out. Nonetheless I spent the whole first week of classes cleaning up a mess that I didn't make. As my dad says this is my education and I have to deal with the hassles until its all completed.

Moving On, last Friday I went to my first ever cricket match. Now ladies and gentlemen, I'm just going to say Cricket is the most mind-numbing sport I ever seen. I'd rather watch Olympic Curling or Underwater basket weaving lol. Sure it's kind of similar to baseball but I promise it is completely different and for me to explain it right now would not do a world of good to your understanding. I did enjoy the experience but it'll probably be my last cricket match while I'm here next up I plan to go to a Rugby Game!!!

Lastly, I Spent all day on Saturday learning how to SURF!!! Now this is huge for me. Growing up in Wilmington, NC the beach life has always been apart of me. I could always swim, fish, boat, and many other water things but I never learned how to surf. Around noon on Saturday a few of my housemates and I joined the Surf Club for their free surfing event at Muizenberg Beach. We were fitted with wet suits (I got the coolest one -a HURLEY brand- which is the Nike of surfing) and given surf boards according to size. One of the keys to surfing is finding your balance and paddling as the wave approaches then hoping up, getting a good grip at the center of the board. Im sure that sounds hard and I probably could have explained it better but that process was definitely the easiest of them all. For the first 30min most of us struggled with the assumed easiest step- Paddling Out into the Ocean. I assumed that you simply just swim over top of the wave,,well that only got me slammed on my back and tossed towards the beach. The pros take the board and swim underneath the wave before it comes crashing down. As I graduated from the trial and error phase I concurred one of my many bucket list items. I rode about 7 or 8 strong waves and Honestly, I've never felt so in sync with the ocean. Truly tapped into my inner beach boy lol.

Through it all the week was a success. My classes are set, I'm checking off bucket list items, and growing stronger as a person everyday. This Wednesday marks my fourth week here, time has definitely flown by. Missing home but not home sick. Peace

Friday, February 11, 2011

South African Road Trip

Day 1-Tuesday Feb 8th

To get an early start, me and 4 of my housemates woke up  at 7am to begin an 8 hr drive eastward along the southern coast of South Africa. Our destination was Sedgefield which sat right beside Wilderness National Park. After battling to decide who would get the horrible seat of sitting in the middle of the backseat, we began our journey. The drive consisted of beautiful views of the South African coastline on the right and breathtaking scenery of the mountains to the left of us. It was a long ride but rather smooth do to the lack of traffic and the road conditions we're surprisingly good almost to the likeness of the highways back home. We settled in for the night at this hostel called AfroVibe lol (the logo had a pick over the O haha). The hostel sat right on a lagoon that lead directly into the Indian Ocean.  The dorm style rooms were pretty clean and we received great hospitality.  I'd definitely recommend it to anyone.

Day 2-Wednesday Feb 9th

Eagered to begin a day of Awesome adeventures we gathered our things together at 6am. My housemates were adement about taking a swim in the Indian Ocean before leaving but It was entirely too early for me, so I just went to the rooftop of the hostel and enjoyed the sounds of the ocean.

We were scheduled to be at Willderness national park at 8am to begin a day of Kloofing, Absailing, and Canoeing. Once arriving at the park we were greeted by our tour guide named Steve who was born and raised in the area hailing from the koosa tribe. Steve was pretty cool he was americanized but still very into his people, he spoke over 7 different languages and kept  us laughing pretty much the whole day. To start our adventures we began with Kloofing. Kloof is an afrikaans word for clift. Now the process of kloofing was that we go down a river in between the nearby mountains and jump off of certain clifts into deep pools of water. The jumps ranged from 3meters to 12meters. I have a mild fear of heights so I didnt jump off anything higher than 6meters which was still pretty high lol. Equipped with wet suits and life jackets we hiked 40 minutes through the jungle... literally. Steve said watch out for leopards and baboons, I said God please dont let me see either lol. Once we got to the river it was cold yet refreshing. We would go through bouts of swimming and climbing over rocks and of course the best part jumping off of the clifts!!.After 4hrs and 4km journey the kloofing came to an end and we prepared for the next event of the day...Absailling!!!

Now absailling was definitely the most trying event for me. The way it worked was that we hiked up another mountain and came to a canyon opening that held a beautiful waterfall. The idea was to be attached to a rope and climb down into the cayon where at one point you are hanging in mid air where you will then slide down the rope into a canoe. I must admit I was stupid nervous doing this. It wasnt until I was almost into the canoe that I this would make a great photo haha. But nonetheless I enjoyed it but I'll probably never do it again...well maybe lol. And of course lastly we canoed back to shore where we were picked up.

Satified that I had down some pretty amazing outdoor adventures we brought the day to close by checking into another hostel called the Amakaya Backpackers. Now this hostel completely blow me away. It was
pretty much a very nice house that had a nice fire pit area for gatherings and a bar with a billiards table upstairs. And the owners brought us in like we were family, I must say it was easy for me to make myself comfortable.

Last Day- Thursday Feb 10th

On the last day of our trip we had one last feat to accomplish...well at least my housemates did. That was bungy jump from the largest bungy jump in the world with a fall of 216meters. Running for 200meters seemed long to me I couldnt imagine falling for that long. The whole morning they were like come on Sam jump with us...just do it man it'll be fun. I told them I woudnt jump for them or anybody, not even if they paid for it. If all of your friends jumped off of a bridge.. would you? HECK NOOOOO lol. But it was definitely an experience to see them do it. I just couldnt comprehend falling for sooo long it was crazy.

All in all the trip was excellent. I was reluctant to go at first but I am definitely glad I made the trip. I've always believed that Memories are made by doing not saying and this trip is definitely going into my memory's museum. And to top it all off the way back to cape town..we heard President Zuma give his live State of the Nation Address on the radio. It was just a mind-blowing experience that I would have paid a million dollars for.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Today was another great day in Cape Town, we toured the entire city and surrounding areas. Witnessed penguins playing in the sand, climbed two mountains and saw the most popular location for explorers to rest in the early 1600's. But off all that I saw today one thing has me wanting to make a clear statement.

Around lunchtime we stopped at a community center in the township of Oceanview where a group of kids showcased their talents as we enjoyed local cuisine. The first act really through me for a loop it was an openly homosexual drag queen. What really surprised me was everyone's reaction...(no reaction at all). Now personally I have no problem with those of the alternate lifestyle do what makes you happy, on the other hand all my life I have been told that there are no gay Africans. They don't believe in the lifestyle, there's not even a word for it in their languages and in most cases it's punishable by death. Well obviously today all of that was least in the South African community. Now this instance wasn't my first time witnessing a form of the lifestyle since I've been here but it was definitely the defining moment. With all of that being said, I must say if you are of the alternate lifestyle and laws in the other countries of Africa cause you to fear visiting the continent, push those fears aside and visit South Africa. You can be yourself and not have to worry about facing any ridiculous consequences.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

And The Journey Begins!!!

First and Foremost it takes a patient man to travel 29hrs. From dealing with loud talking babies, bitter stewardesses, no TVs and Nasty food a person can go INSANE. Glory be to God he kept me safe (as always) and I managed to remain calm through all of the nuisances.

I arrived in Cape Town on Friday January 26th, completely in awe by the landscape and the weather. The greenery here possibly is the most beautiful shade of green I've ever seen. And the with the combination of the ocean and the mountains I don't know which is more breathtaking, viewing the mountain from the ocean or the ocean from the mountain. On another note, because Cape town is a city it holds one thing in common with all cities: The Ghetto. But i would consider these ghettos to be more of slums simply because of all the run down shacks they contain in such a small area. The area also smell of strong sewage. But somehow through all of this various people in these slums still managed to own BMW's and BENZ's. I guess when it comes down to it all Ghetto's are the SAME.

Moving forward, upon my arrival Orientation Leaders took me and a couple others to our temporary housing on the UCT campus. I must admit I didn't like the temp housing one bit. No Internet and no international calling made for a rough realization that I was stupid far from my home. But I refused to let this feeling overwhelm me so I eagerly involved myself in all of the planned activities in order to mingle and help myself get adjusted. The whole first day we toured the campus which is absolutely stunning, visited the mall which definitely has some American malls beat and hung out on Long Street (I call it the Cape Town Bourbon).

The people have also been great. We have a ton of students from Germany, Norway, and of the course THE USA!!!  Everyone seems to be getting along great and all of them pretty much have the same Open-minded mindset. There is one thing I have noticed though is which is actually a good thing for the sake of peace, No One ever brings up Politics or Religion. Oops and don't let me forget the students here at Cape Town. So far they have been great. Easy to talk to, they're helpful, and surprisingly mostly from Zimbabwe lol. Its funny cause I can relate some of the characteristics of these people to my friends back home. Which is pretty settling.

All in All, So much has occurred in the past 72hrs I tried to give everyone a little bit of insight to the life here. If anyone has any specific questions I'll be glad to answer them! This is post 2 and I plan to have many more.

P.S. I'm going to see penguins tomorrow lol

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Preparation for a 5 month stay

It's amazing how quickly time passes. Seems like yesterday I was dreaming about seeing the world, experiencing more than this small state of North Carolina. Now as a little over a week separates me from the trip of a lifetime I can barely digest the reality of it all. To a man with many years under his belt, 5 months is barely a blink of an eye but to a man who feels like he's going to be young forever and lives for today that time seems like a century. Its hard to imagine not being around all my friends at UNCG. How much will everyone change while I'm gone? What classic moments will I miss while I'm away? Being that this is the senior year for my class, I wonder how many of my friends will move away after graduation only to become marks in a great chapter of my life. With a little over a week left, I try to comprehend how can I best utilize my time with the ones I love. It's hard preparing to say so long to a family that adores me and a girl that has stolen my heart these past precious years. But in saying so long, It feels great to feel the support from everyone that has ever been in contact with me. Prayers from my family and friends, best wishes from those I work with and so much more. As the time approaches, I look forward to every moment I will have in the great city of Cape Town but most of all, I look forward to returning and sharing every detail with those I love.

Stay tuned for all my future posts, I plan to blog about every moment, every step of the way. Peace