Saturday, January 30, 2010

Good evening friends. I know it’s been a few days but this week was pretty uneventful for the most part. UCT conducted its orientation for both freshman and international students. We had already heard most of the information given to us during the interstudy orientation, so a lot of us (including myself) skipped the majority of the lectures. Friday we registered for classes, which is a huge pain in the ass at UCT. No one is allowed to take any more than four classes per semester and all of them have to be preapproved by both your home institution and UCT. Everybody has to wait in this massive line and then wait even longer in a line of chairs before sitting one-on-one with an academic advisor who basically signs some papers in order to approve your courses. But it doesn’t end there. After this long, tedious process we were directed to “data capture” where someone has to put the courses in a computer to officially enroll you. I’m not exactly sure why they couldn’t just do that in the first place, but then again “this is Africa” (TIA). Everybody here says TIA since everything in Africa is slow and a process. Nothing EVER starts on time, or even happens at all and nothing is EVER easy to accomplish. But getting frustrated never helped anyone around here so we just accept the facts—TIA.
After registration, we had to get our student IDs. The line was massive, curling around the hallway and through the glass doors. Ari and I waited for two hours before we were able to actually get them. Luckily, I brought a crossword puzzle so it helped to pass the time for us. By the time we made it to the front of the line, we realized that the reason it was taking so long was because they were only taking ONE picture at a time when hundreds of students were waiting in line (even though there were four cameras with four people behind them…can you say TIA?). When we finally had the IDs in our possession we ate lunch and waited for Tori, Sabrina and Katherine to get their cards, which took at least another hour. Then we took the Jammie shuttle (the UCT shuttle system) to Claremont, a town next to the one we live in, to shop at the mall. We all bought tickets for the J&B Met, a horse race that happens once a year and is a really big deal around here. This year the theme was “In Full Color” so we all had to get colorful dresses. The J&B is where all of the South African celebrities and socialites come to “see and be seen” so we wanted to at least look decent. We all found dresses—for pretty cheap too. Mine was only around thirteen dollars. So successfully, we left the mall and hit the sack early to prepare for today’s festivities.
Today we all woke up around 9:45 AM to get ready for the races. We did our makeup in an eccentric fashion and prepared mimosas to add a touch of class. It was weird to be drinking so early, but champagne is commonplace among the attendees to the J&B. We took tons of pictures—it felt like prom all over again—so I’ll tag them on FB once they are posted. After a few hours of standing around the front yard and socializing with the thirty or so people who were going to the races, we all hopped into cabs, or in mine and several others’ cases, our landlord’s van. He was kind enough to offer us a ride so we didn’t have to pay the cab fare—it was really nice.
There were so many signs and colorful flags leading into the venue. As we disembarked from the van, we walked past Jaguars and Porsches driven by people dressed like movie stars and walked by women in elaborate dresses adorned with feathers, sequins and the like. Many of the people went all out for this event—a number of them actually competing for “most elegant couple.” The event lasted until around 10 PM but we left around 4:30-5:00.
By the time we got home, everyone was ready for a nap, but as I was falling asleep, drunken singing coming from the back of my apartment interrupted me. When it didn’t stop, I gave up on the nap and headed downstairs to find a bunch of people gathered around Rob, who was playing guitar, singing made up songs to no tune in particular. It was pretty entertaining for a moment, but it wasn’t long before the group broke up, many of them heading to a club called Springbok for the J&B after party. Exhausted and sun burnt, I counted myself out for tonight, especially since we are all going on a Peninsular Tour from 8-5 tomorrow. I didn’t feel too left out since both my roommates decided to stay in tonight as well. I can’t believe people even had the energy to go out again! Anyway, I’m pretty excited for a good night’s rest so I’ll have to depart for now. As always, just keeping you all updated. Hope all is well!
Love, B

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