Well I guess it’s finally winter here. I was thinking today that I must be a character in Game of Thrones, because I’ve put myself into a year of eternal winter (the Starks’ motto is “Winter is Coming”). I guess I didn’t think about that when I was planning this trip, but it’s true. I left Michigan just as winter was about to leave, come to Africa for a few weeks of paradise, then hey! It’s winter again! However, I think I’d take an African winter over a Michigan winter any day! The days are pretty mild – usually some rain and a cool wind. But when it rains here, it either mists or pours, sometimes with hail that makes it look as if it snowed. The wind cuts right through you, so much so that I broke down and bought a pair of rain pants I was so cold during the day’s work. I’m thinking about getting a new rain jacket as well because my so-called “rain jackets” from the North Face aren’t actually completely waterproof OR windproof as they were advertised to be. What a waste of money, I’m telling you.
|One of my favorite things: riding in the back of the bakkie down "gum tree lane"|
The nights are incredibly cold without any sort of heating in my cabin. My grandmother found it exceptionally funny when I explained to her what I wear every night to bed under not three or four, but eight blankets, so I figured I would repeat it to you. Two pairs of socks, leggings, sweatpants, under armour shirt, sweatshirt with hood up, hat and scarf. Yes, it’s excessive, I know. But it’s necessary.
A small part of me dies inside when I think about leaving here and returning to snow on the ground. My year of eternal winter. I’m gonna punch you in the face and skop jou kop af, Winter. Ok, end of slightly-depressed-but-really-rubbing-it-in-your-face-that-I’m-in-Africa-and-you’re-not rant.
|Yeah, that's right. This is where I live. TIA (This. Is. Africa.)|
This past week sank into a routine, but one thing different about it really stood out to me that I thought was exciting. You might not, but I’m a nerd about lions, so I’m going to tell you anyways. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 4 o’clock, the cats are fed. It’s actually the most popular time of day for people to come to the park, and rightly so because the lions and tigers are extremely active in the hours leading up to the feeding. Paul, the owner (“boss-man” as I like to call him), rides on his quad-bike with a wagon of dead chickens behind it while the staff follows closely to either throw the chickens to the lions over the ten foot tall fences or to monitor guests and make sure they don’t irritate the lions/get in the way of us. On Wednesday I approached Paul and I’m just going to reiterate the conversation because I found it so funny.
K: “Hey Paul, think I could throw a chicken sometime?”
Paul: “You don’t throw like a girl, do you?”
K: “Paul…do I look like I throw like a girl? I mean, come on, I have three brothers.”
Paul: “You won’t hit the electric fence?”
K: *Sassy eyebrow look*
Paul: “Ok, Friday then.”
Friday, Paul points to me and tells me to throw to Simba (female). I launch the first chicken perfectly over the fence, grab three more and put them all in a neat pile in front of Simba. I look over at Paul, who looks at me completely surprised, smiles and says, “Ok, you’re throwing to Ziyanda, too.” I carefully throw my chickens to Ziyanda (you have to be cautious not to accidentally hit her because she would try to go through the fence and kill you if you did) and manage not to hit her.
Paul: “Well, I admit it, you have quite the arm. But your aim is s**t!” He grins, throws six chickens for Ares (our blind lion) into a neat pile, salutes me and gets back on his quad-bike.
He had me throw again on Monday. I guess I wasn’t so bad after all.
Anyways, my friends, that’s all I’ve got this time. I have a lot going on the rest of the week, including an exciting girls’ night out on Friday, to look forward to. So next time will be more interesting I’m sure! Hope you’re all well and enjoying every moment of life as much as I am!