Gratitude: Day 13 and 14

Day 13: As summer heats up here, I am thankful for my hammock more and more everyday. When I first came to SA, I pondered about whether I should bring my Mexican hammock or not. It’s heavy and somewhat big, and I didn’t know if I would have a place to hang it. So I reluctantly left it at home, and regretted it as soon as I saw my exposed beams at site and felt the heat of an African summer.Fast forward a year, to my visit home last June. One of the first things I did was to dig through packed up stuff until I found my hammock, and it was priority number one on my packing list. I quickly hung it up in my room upon returning to site, and have used it a lot since then. It’s sooooo cool and relaxing, and when I have visitors, I sleep in it and let them have my bed (unless they REALLY want to sleep in it). When Tumi visited, I don’t think she got out of it for hours on end! 😉 I’ve spent so much time in it in the past week, since it’s gotten hot, and it’s been amazing.

Day 14: Even though it’s something almost every PCV in SA has, I am grateful to be at a site with electricity. I know some people romanticize the PC image of a night spent reading by candlelight, but this is the 21st century, and electricity is pretty standard for PCVs worldwide. That being said, I have spent some nights reading by candlelight. My electricity is far from stable, and high winds, rain, or nothing at all can knock it out for an undetermined amount of time. Regardless, I am very grateful to have electricity. I am glad I don’t have to stoke a fire to warm up water in the morning, or rely on paraffin to cook food. I’m glad I can turn my light on to battle bugs and other such critters, rather than fear the unknown in the dim candlelight. And I’m glad I usually don’t have to worry about knocking over my candle and setting my room on fire.

But I really do get a kick out of having a Laura-Ingalls-Wilder-esque candleholder, one with a handle to carry around with me. Oh Peace Corps!
-Jen

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Beach Laziness

The beautiful Indian Ocean

The beautiful Indian Ocean

After Oudtshoorn we headed south and east, with the Indian Ocean as our destination. Mossel Bay was the next shop on our vacation, and we stayed at the Santos Express. It is a backpackers that is in an old train parked on the beach. Great location! We stayed in the dorm, which had 16 beds and sadly was a little gross. The private rooms looked nicer, which were old sleeper cars that had real beds installed in them. I was super excited to stay here, but it was a letdown. 😦

As soon as we got to Mossel Bay, we hopped into our swimsuits and made it down to the beach. The water was chilly, but very nice and incredibly clear.

The next day we spent shopping around in the downtown area. Mossel Bay is a harbor town with a pretty touristy area, but it’s not super touristy. We also checked out the Bartolomeu Dias Museum, which focused on the Southern African sea explorers and their impact on the area. In the museum complex is the old Post Tree, which had a postal drop that is still used. I mailed a few things from the oldest post office in Africa, and those postcards will get a special postmark…cool! 🙂 I wish I had more stamps though.

We returned to the backpackers and spent the rest of the day being beach bums. Oh how lovely vacation is! We found out that burying someone in sand is an American thing, and got too many crazy looks when Katie and I got buried. I also made a friend with a little African girl who was super interested in my sand castle building. She came to “help”…and my sand castle was destroyed. At least she was a cutie!

I enjoyed a few peaceful morning beach walks, and found some shells for the kids in my host family. It was really nice to relax for a few days!

-Jen

Mailing a postcard to my sister at the oldest post office in Africa!

Mailing a postcard to my sister at the oldest post office in Africa!

Me wandering on the beach

Me wandering on the beach

The cute girl who “helped” me with my sand castle.

My shadow along the awesome Indian Ocean beach

My shadow along the awesome Indian Ocean beach