All posts tagged: international travel

Language Barrier

Language is a funny thing. You can say a lot in a few words, you can say nothing in a 20-minute speech, and you can even shout without even opening your mouth–with just a glance or a gesture. They say that some things are universal, like a smile, but even that can belie one’s true feelings. Once again I’m writing about language, because I often find myself in these predicaments where there are miscommunications, and they’re not always because there are different languages being spoken. It’s one thing if I’m speaking English and someone else is speaking Mandarin and  neither the twain shall meet. I accept that we’re both going to be looking at each other in confusion and smiling in the interim. It’s when we’re actually speaking the same language and not understanding one another that gets to me. However, I always have to remind myself that not all English is the same. The Queen’s English is not the same as American English, is not the same as Australian English, and is not the …

Struggle for Freedom

Thursday and Friday of my week in Joburg/Pretoria were spent at museums. The first place we visited was Freedom Park in Pretoria. It was highly rated online but I wonder how many people actually visit, because it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere and you have to drive through some pretty dodgy areas to get there. Once we arrived we found a pretty incredible facility, which is saying something, as I’ve visited many museums and monuments. We did both the museum and the guided tour of the Garden of Remembrance, and since there really weren’t any visitors at the park that day so we got to take our time. The layout of the park and the symbolism behind its designs and monument was really beautiful. But the one aspect of the park that probably stood out the most was the Wall of Names. In the US we all know the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This wall was similar, listing the names of all those who fell over the course of South Africa’s participation in different wars as …

Meet the Parents; or My Unexpected Language Immersion Trip

This is my third time visiting South Africa and this time I wanted to see the other side of the country; see Johannesburg. We could’ve flown, but I like road trips, so we packed up the car and made the 15 hour drive. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help Efrem drive because I can’t drive a manual car and while I’ve asked him to teach me dozens of times, that request hasn’t been fulfilled. So he was on his own for that long drive. We planned 10 days between Joburg and Pretoria, where I could see where he spent much of his first years in SA, meet his friends, and meet his mom and sister. I was excited and nervous to meet people, but I think there were definitely some miscommunications, and for me, some unanticipated consequences of this meet and greet. As soon as we arrived we went to one of his friend’s houses for dinner. This began my nonstop consumption of injera and my first taste of what was to be a long Amharic filled …

Why I Love/Hate Travelling

I decided around graduation that I would do the irresponsible thing that twenty-somethings do, and travel instead of looking for a job. To be fair, I’m only gone for about a month, I’m visiting my boyfriend, and I’m in a country I’ve been to two other times now, as opposed to backpacking through Europe and staying in hostels. The latter I would probably do if I had more money saved up, but since I worked for free all semester at an internship instead of making chump change every two weeks doing surveys, this is where I am. I bought my plane ticket the night before graduation and left ten days later; first spur of the moment trip I’ve ever taken. I love travelling, I love going to new places, I love eating new foods and seeing beautiful sights. My dream is to find a job where I can be paid to do that–but I think you actually have to be a chef or willing to eat damn near anything and shout to have a food …

Caves & Waterfalls

We finally got to the vacation part of my trip in SA. I mean this whole time has been my vacation, but Efrem finally has his 10 days of time off. So now we’re in the middle of a road trip through the garden route. We took this trip before in the winter to Plettenberg Bay so that I could go bungee jump at Tsitsikamma, so now we’re seeing some other parts. Side note: the car ride was definitely more beautiful in the winter when everything was green and the flowers were in bloom–now all those rolling hills are a summer brown. Our first stop was in Oudtshoorn, which is famous for the Cango Caves and their bounty of ostriches. The caves were incredible. It was hot, humid and slippery inside but it was well worth it. We did the adventure tour which takes you through all sorts of uncomfortable and narrow tunnels. They actually warn you if you’re kind of on the “curvy” side that you really can’t do the adventure tour, because you’ll …