Whirlwind of Experiences, Conversations and Cultures

I’m sure it’s obvious from our blog by now that, because of the nature of our experience here, as long-term visitors (but still visitors), we constantly are in a whirlwind of learning – every conversation is an opportunity to learn, a different perspective to understand, everyday a new experience to learn from and (for the most part) enjoy. We know that time is speeding by and that we are incredibly blessed to be able to have this whirlwind opportunity – and we are milking it.

Last weekend was a terrific example. Friday night we joined friends (who grew up here) at a local beach for a weekly “surf ski” (skinny racing kayak type things) competition. The whole scene was incredibly casual – while the competitors paddled and sweated furiously as they powered through multiple circuitous laps around the harbor, we adults who were not paddling and sweating instead were enjoying cold beer and burgers – each of which cost about $1.50, while the kids played gleefully in the water in front of us. We did break to applaud the skiers as they crossed the finish line. Apparently there were both national champions (those tended to be the fit ones in speedos) and normal Joes (not in speedos) participating. Overall there was a very friendly, community, beachy vibe.

Saturday morning dawned and Chris and I took advantage of the beautiful weather to do a quick hike up and around our local reservoir.  Huge benefit beyond the exercise:  the amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean over Hout Bay – just 15 minutes from our house.  That afternoon was the biggest community event of the year at Charlotte and Luke’s school – International Day. It was a celebration of culture, featuring food, music, costumes and performances from the many countries represented through the American School’s student body. It was a remarkable day, during which we met even more interesting folks – including a whole group from Holland uniformly wearing, in patriotic fashion, bright orange. The experience re-affirmed that AISCT is a wonderful, global community of which we are lucky to be a part.

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Unbelievably beautiful view of from our Saturday morning bike

 

 

performance by AISCT marimba band

Sunday we joined other friends for brunch at a yacht club* at another beach, also within 20 minutes of us. (*note yacht club in this instance bears absolutely no resemblance to the Thurston Howe/Lovey vibe of similarly named establishments in Nantucket or Osterville!) It was phenomenal to feel the sun on our faces as we discussed – as always – the state of the nation, the future facing its children, the quality of life, the challenges, the beauty, the sports, etc. etc. To cap the weekend off, Sunday evening we joined other good friends for an outdoor picnic and the lovely sounds of the Cape Philharmonic Symphony in the botanical gardens of Kirstenbosch, at the foot of Table Mountain one of the most stunning concert venues in the world.

 

Whew!! We were all happy and exhausted after those experiences, but Monday morning we all went back to our individual roles: kids to school, science projects, math problems and after school sports;  Chris helping teachers think about student-centered learning and students consider cross-cultural issues;  and I jetted off to the Lego / Unicef concert in Pretoria. More on that later!!!

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