I’ve decided to do monthly updates on life while we’re in Cape Town, aka the Mother City. Enjoy!
We explored Cape Town a lot. While we were looking for a place to live, we stayed in Salt River and Green Point. We also walked around Woodstock, the V&A Waterfront, Sea Point, Observatory, Gardens, and of course the CBD. So far, Sea Point is our favorite, and we’re actually discussing if we should live there next year!
Finding a place to live! Getting settled and finding a monitor and bike for A (and on the cheap, thanks to Gumtree)
My job. I won’t gush too much, but I arrived in Cape Town knowing I would be working at an organization which serves refugees, and that’s about it. I’m so thrilled that I was placed in the Social Work Department, supporting a brand new program for survivors of sexual and gender based violence. It’s still brand new + in the earliest stages, with little guidance from the funders. This means my manager and I are creating everything from scratch–the curriculum, the materials we provide, even the monitoring and evaluation.
My commute. I absolutely love having a regular commute on public transport. It’s really relaxing and I’ve been reading up a storm. I take a 10 minute bus and a 20 minute train to work, but between walking, waiting, and connections, I spend about an hour each way. I love it and wouldn’t shorten it if you paid me.
A’s office. Heck, I lust after his new office, and I don’t even get to work there. Although he’s not there during the day, it has a lot of fun perks like a rooftop deck and a free coffee bar and he goes in early once a week to indulge and enjoy. His schedule has been working out much better so far (6pm-3am) especially in comparison to his Australian schedule (2am-10am).
Cost of living. We’ve been absolutely loving how inexpensive things are. High quality clothes and shoes are about the same, electronics are universally more expensive, but FOOD. The food is so, so cheap. Produce is unbelievably fresh and less than a third of what we paid for in California or Australia. I ate a full pound of pre-cut mango for breakfast the other day. Cost? $4.
The bread. I seriously can’t love on the bread here enough. It’s universal too, from tiny independent bakeries tucked away, to big bakeries in touristy areas, to grocery store bakeries. The bread. Is. All. Amazing.
Internet. Oh my goodness we’ve never had this much trouble with internet, and we tend to always have an issue at some point or another. A combination of cell signal issues and our modem not working properly led to weeks of trouble-shooting and resetting and finally in us giving up and switching service providers and buying a new modem. Since then there haven’t been any issues, but boy was that an un-fun 2 weeks.
A’s commute. Being bike-less for a while there was bumming him out, especially with the requisite cab rides home. A day after finding his bike and one successful 3am ride home, he ran over some glass and got a flat. While walking the bike home, he was warned by someone that there were robbers up ahead, so he was able to return the bike to the office and grab a taxi.
Visas. Will probably post about this more in depth, but suffice it to say that I STRONGLY advise anyone coming to South Africa for longer than 90 days to secure their visa in their home country. We weren’t able to do this, and it’s been days of waiting in lines and a big ball of stress.
Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches, by Marvin Harris. An anthology of ethnographies, Harris attempts to find the real explanations behind what we consider “bizarre” cultural norms. I was nodding furiously along with his explanations of why Hindus don’t eat cows during drought/starvation and his explanation of phantom cargo.
Sperm Wars, by Robin Baker. I might not finish this one because I hear he gets a bit “out there” towards the end, but I’m loving learning about all the different types of sperm–most of them aren’t actually meant to fertilize the egg!
The Story of My Life, by Helen Keller. I picked this up years ago but I’m loving the completely different perspective Keller gives on her early childhood, at least compared to the film adaptations of her life that I’ve seen.
Gang Town, by Don Pinnock. An investigative journalist uses the past 30 years of data and studies to discuss Cape Town gangs, the youth that have little choice but to join, and why the divide between the two worlds remains as strong as ever. A saw this while I was searching for a local hiking book and couldn’t stop thinking about it. We actually went back to the store and bought it later because he kept talking about how interesting it sounded.
Coming Up for May 2016
We booked a 3 day weekend in Knysna along the Garden Route. Looking forward to beautiful hikes in the forest and overlooking the lagoon, a caving experience that may rival ATM in Belize, and seeing our first wild animals!
We’re also planning to get our Open Water Scuba certification this month–here’s hoping we can fit it into our schedule!