So, I suppose I was a bit cavalier about my domination of jet lag yesterday. Last night I couldn’t get to sleep until 3:00 and woke up right at 8:00, so I think I’ve thoroughly confused my body. I’m hoping that tonight will be the equalizer.
Yesterday was my first full day here, and it did a lot to boost my morale and inspire confidence that this 4 months is totally doable. My first task was to brave going off campus to the closest big grocery store. This is due to the fact that the 7-11 in the union (almost like an American 7-11, but not really. Definitely no Slurpees.) sells only things like Heinz noodle packs as meals, and I’m at least attempting to not eat noodles in broth for four months. Fortunately, the much bigger and better stocked Pick ‘n Pay is only 3 blocks east of campus.
The store works pretty much like any grocery store, in a familiar layout. I went right at lunch time so it was SUPER busy, as they also operate a take-away at the front of the store. There are a couple of things that are slightly different. First of all, I have NEVER seen so much meat in my entire life, both at the butcher and the pre-wrapped refrigerated section. It took up the entire back wall of the grocery store. Also, only red meat. No pork, no poultry, no fish. But plenty of sausage. I was able to find frozen fish and chicken, which actually works better for me as a microwave is pretty much my sole means of cooking anything, and I lack sophisticated cutlery. Next, while fruit was abundant, fresh vegetables basically consisted of the leafy greens group. However, plenty of frozen vegetables were available, which again, I like better anywho. I could go into an entire essay on why frozen veggies are better for home cooking than fresh here, but I’ll spare you. Another thing is that people take biscuits, cookies and sweets very seriously here. I have never seen such a wide variety available to me, and had to exert incredible self-control not to fill my entire basket with candy.
Other finds made me very happy. These include the oatmeal brand Jungle Oats, which sounds awesome and taste delicious, as well as my snack pack of yogurt which includes a granadilla (passion fruit) flavor which is my FAVORITE. There is also a fruit salad flavor. I’m not exactly sure how that is going to turn out. We’ll see. The price tag is also pleasant, as the cost of living here is a fraction of NYC or DC. I’m sure I’ll miss that when I get back to the States.
Armed with my groceries I got back to my dorm, unloaded, and decided it was time to work out. My room has plenty of space to do my awesome 90’s style workout videos, so I got right down to it. Unfortunately I forgot about 2 things: 1) After exercising diligently for 6 months to prepare for a beach wedding, post-wedding I fell off the wagon and it had been about a month since I had really gotten a good workout in. 2) At 5,750 feet, Jo’burg is significantly high altitude. I was DYING. I felt like somebody had taken a stapler to my lungs. However, if I suffer through it, I’m going to be in AMAZING shape by the time I get back to sea level.
At the moment I am preparing to go out with my friend Keri who I met when she was an exchange student at GW from Wits. She’s lived here all her life, so I’m very excited to meet her friends and start to see a bit of the city. I will report back on that soon.