South Africa is stealing a breath here and there!

#Time stamp: 2032 hrs CAT

#On iTunes: Right By My Side- Nicki Minaj feat. Chris Brown (Album: Roman Reloaded)

 Kunjani! *Zulu* [KOON-JAH-NI]

Molo!  *Xhosa[MOH-LO]

Hallo! *Afrikaans* [HA-LOH]

Hello! *Anglais* [HEY-ROW]

It feels like I’ve been here for almost a month, but nein- we are just starting the third week today. I am content.

I am in deep shame over my prolonged blog-silence since I arrived in South Africa. Although, to my credit, I have tried starting numerous times, only to be distracted by delectable sweets and adventures that seemed too good to pass up (at the time). Like, you know, sleep?

I don’t even know WHERE to start telling my first travelogue!

I shall backtrack to 48 hours before I was supposed to take my flight scheduled for Friday, 23rd March, 2012. Oh…that date will forever remain etched in my memory.  That, my friends, is the I Lost My Passport anniversary date to be celebrated in mirth from 2013 onwards.

So what had happened was…I started packing for my three-month move to South Africa Tuesday that week. Clothes, books, random papers, clearing out drawers with stuff, and on Wednesday I realized that all drawers were empty but I hadn’t seen my little blue book. I leaped out of bed…not jumping (I’m not that fit, yet) and wildly looked around my room. Packed boxes waiting to be cello-taped and luggage a quick zip away from being ready. Maaaan, the “I-reject-stress-in-God’s-name” individual that I am said, nah, it must be somewhere.  I got the iTunes going and started going through my everything. By around 3 a.m., I could feel beads of sweat threatening to break on my forehead and armpits. YES- it was that bad. I had checked every where I could possibly think of. No passport.

I frowned, I scratched the scalp, I looked even in the kitchen drawers AS IF my passport had skipped its way there. I decided to sleep and wake up Thursday morning with a fresh brain ready to re-check. It wasn’t so. By 6am, I was in full panic mode Nicole-style. I must emphasize : this rarely happens. That feeling of stress, anxiety coupled with FEAR was a bit foreign to me. I don’t think I even felt this way during my UNEB exams. Spasms of diarrhea were threatening. This is how I know it had never happened!!! The fear was real. What would my mother say? How and when would I get to South Africa? Would I miss orientation? Can I get past international borders with a makeshift passport for students? I was lost, plan-less, alone and cold in this world. I never, ever, wish this feeling of desolateness on my No.1 enemy-to-be. No way! It was the absolute worst. My gad!

 First thing I did- I called my big sister, Amanda, and as soon as she brightly answered Hello! I erupted in tears while trying to explain what I was going through. To cut the longish story short, I got a replacement passport through team and was on my way to Oliver R. Tambo International Airport Johannesburg a day late. It was better than a passport a week later. Phew. Thanks be to the Lord, I tell ya.

For those that are unaware, here’s a little why-Im-in-SA: Medill, my journalism school, requires every undergrad pursuing the Journalism degree to do one quarter of residency away from campus. It can be within the USA or outside. Basically, putting all we’ve learned so far into practice. There are a few international programmes like South Africa, El Salvador, Brazil and Puerto Rico.  Myself, and 12 other cool kids applied for the SA program and got in! A few of us are in Johannesburg and some are in Cape Town- placed in various newsrooms all over the country. Both print, online and broadcast media houses.

Orientation Week was absolutely amayyyzinggggg!! Sometimes, it felt like a vacation. Here’s why:

1. Getting to know my fellow Medillians on a whole other level in a different country. Im so glad it’s with this bunch of people.

2. THE FOOOD. I tell you- Getting a gym membership was essential for world peace. My hips are already a trending topic, but I daresay they want to expand further.

3. The people!!!! So warm. Very hospitable. The people of Johannesburg are a fashionable bunch. Doesn’t matter where I am, the bus station or the posh mall, people dress well. Reminds me of NYC.

4. The weather is BANGING. I am grateful to be a away from that erratic Evanston weather. Sun, breeze and flying hair. It’s summer time, y’all!

5. Cape Town. This world-class city deserves a listing of it’s own. For me, it was two outstanding things: Camps Bay- the most beautiful land by the ocean I have been to…so far. So serene, I felt that God could take me with my arms raised after that optical nutrition of blue ocean aggressively beating against giant rocks, white sand…ahhh. Super times. I must, must, strive to bring my family here. At least once. At least. Then, we went to a township (predominantly Coloured-populated)called Bonteheuwel. We met some of the most inspiring beings I have ever come across. A lady had lost two of her children to gang violence but was still pushing for community building. Omar, one of the community workers from there was uber proud of his home, but still mindful of the work left to do. Anyway, you had to be there to experience it. I would post videos, but internet speed is a bit needy at the moment.

6. Talking to and meeting some of my oldest friends in the same time zone during the school year. 🙂

Next blog: Johannesburg Chronicles!

To be Continued! 


One thought on “South Africa is stealing a breath here and there!

  1. Wow!! Have a blaaast Ms. Journalist, you will sure love your stay in mzanzi!! check out Durban too and catch up on our form four history class by Ms. Laboke,Kwazulu Natal,Bloemfontein,Rhodes….and bring to life all your imaginations!
    ”The use of travelling is to regulate imagination by reality,and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are”
    All the best Nicole.
    Regards Cindah.

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