Monday 29-07-2013

Today we decided to wake up at the luxuriously late hour of 8:45. Alice, Daniel, and I had a delicious breakfast in our B and B’s kitchen area. Alice prepared hard boiled eggs for us, and I was also able to have cornflakes, yoghurt and fruit.

After breakfast, we packed all our stuff, and walked down to the Company Gardens, which is an open garden/green space in the middle of Cape Town. We got there via Long Street, a place where Alice and I are very excited to do some shopping on Thursday morning before our flights out of South Africa.

We arrived at the Gardens and they were lovely. We walked through them “horizontally”, stopping briefly to take some photos, and then arrived at the National Gallery.

The gallery had a wide range of art pieces – from different time periods, materials and artists. One of the coolest things I saw was this (somewhat strange) documentary about a transvestite literally wearing a chandelier. This person walked around Newtown (one of the slums of Joburg) and the documentary showed the different impacts that the chandelier person had on the people of Newtown over the course of a day. Towards the end of the film, the chandelier lights up, and one of the people living in the slums said, “It was like Jesus was walking towards me.” Even though it was a very strange documentary, it had a great takeaway message.

Another one of my other favourite pieces was a statue of a horse with a female rider. However, the female part of the statue had a gorgeous, full-length blue dress on, and since horse was rearing, her dress was flowing behind her.

After we left the museum, we wandered around the gardens for a bit longer. They were beautiful and I was pleasantly surprised to see how in bloom they were, even though it’s winter here! I was particularly fond of this huge yellow flower, but felt bad picking one off of the vine it was growing on. After a little bit of investigating, though, I found one on the ground and carried it around for quite a bit.

We then wandered onto Long Street again, and had lunch at this delicious restaurant called Royale. I had an amazing burger (with caramelised onions) and a small side salad. To top things off, the restaurant had a delicious malva pudding, which reminded me of our Sunday Scrabble nights with Mr. Taylor (especially since they served said pudding with ice cream!)

After lunch, we hopped onto the blue bus and made our way to the Kirstenbosch national gardens. I love gardens, but this one was particularly impressive not only because of its sheer magnitude, but also because of the gorgeous mountains creating a lovely backdrop behind the gardens (and the great views of Cape Town in the distance).

We walked around for quite a bit, meandering along the different paths and over streams and grassy lawns. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon, although we were a little rushed coming back to make it in time for the 3:40 bus. We managed to make it on, though, and spent the next hour and a half seeing new parts of Cape Town (including Hout bay, where there were children swimming!)

We then got off the bus close to 22 on Rose, and headed home. After showering, we headed to dinner. We had planned on going to a Cape Malay place, but literally could not find it. Instead, we found ourselves on Long Street again, and decided to try a tapas place that had come highly recommended from our Cape Town study abroad friends.

Fork (seriously, that was the name of the restaurant) was absolutely spectacular. We split kudu, beef, butternut, tuna, and kingklip tapas (to name just a few!) At the end of the meal, we decided we’d try the steamed broccoli and all three of us loved it! When the waiter came back asking if we wanted another round of tapas, I kindly said, “No, thank you, but we would like another serving of broccoli!” After a quick weird look, he brought some out for us!

We then headed home, used the internet (which is both a blessing and a curse, we are slowly realising) and headed off to bed!

TGT: 1) all three meals today were actually spectacular 2) walking through the Kirstenbosch gardens 3) getting driven through different parts of Cape Town on the blue bus

Until next time,
~JK

Sunday 28-07-2013

We were up at the oh-so-lovely hour of 4:40 this morning (not even sure if I can call it morning!) Anyways, Alice and I got dressed and then I had two mini yoghurts and part of my scone for breakfast. I packed last-minute items (i.e. my retainers) and soon we were off, since the ever-trusty KB was waiting for us at 5!

The trip to the airport was oddly quiet (which makes sense, since not many people are on the roads of Gabs at 5 in the morning on a Sunday). When we got to the airport, I was finally able to give KB the USA lanyard I had been saving for him, and he seemed to genuinely enjoy it! We said our final goodbyes, and then we were off to the airport.

When we arrived, there were literally no airport staff members present. We saw that “airport offices” opened at 6am, and sure enough, people in uniform started showing up around 5:50. Everything ended up being fine, though, since we got through the line very quickly. Perhaps most importantly, my bag was about 4kg over the weight limit, but they still let me on without having to pay a baggage fee!

Our plane, miraculously, took off on time, and got us to Cape Town around 10:15. As soon as I stepped off the plane, I could tell that we were in a much moister climate, and it was beauteous! We found the cab that our B and B owner had arranged for us, and made it to the B and B in about 30 minutes.

We then got settled in, and omg is this place amazing. First of all, it is compact and cute, much like Life on 3rd. However, the best part is that breakfast is “serve yourself” and that means that there is always fruit, bread, butter, eggs (that you can boil) cornflakes and other goodies out in the open WHENEVER YOU WANT THEM.

Next, we met with Bruce, the incredibly helpful owner of 22 on Rose, who gave us a bunch of suggestions for things to do and places to eat. He suggested that we have lunch at Simply Asia, and it was a spectacular place for many reasons.
First of all, I had a delicious Pad Thai dish. In addition, our food was served to us after about only ten minutes of waiting (which, especially when compared to Bull and Bush, is lightning fast!) To top it all off, there were amazing 80s music videos playing on the TV in the restaurant, including classics like “Girls just wanna have fun.”

After lunch, we found the Red bus stop. After about five minutes, a bus came, and we paid and hopped on. We went up to the top deck, and were able to find a nice seat under the covering (which was nice since it was drizzling on and off).

We first “hopped off” at the Castle of Good Hope. After paying a cheap entrance fee, we were able to freely explore the fort/castle. It was beautiful, and reminded me of George’s Island in Boston harbour. We were able to explore along the top and ground levels, and even were able to see part of the museum, as well.

After the castle of Good Hope, we hopped back onto the red bus and just looked at different parts of Cape Town for a bit. The bus was actually perfect – since we were exhausted, all we had to do was sit, and we could just see a bunch of different parts of Cape Town. One of the coolest places we went to was the top of Signal Hill, which gave us spectacular views over Cape Town and the Atlantic ocean.

At my urging, we hopped off near the Camps Bay beach. It was so nice to breathe in ocean air for the first time in (what feels like) forever. I also touched the ocean, and realised that in a few hours, my family might be touching the exact same ocean (albeit a couple thousand miles away!) Alice, Daniel and I walked along the shore for quite a bit, and we were even able to walk a bit on a rocky jetty. There were HUGE clumps of seaweed all over the beach, which fascinated me, but were apparently much more common in California, since Daniel and Alice weren’t too phased by them.

After a bit of walking along the beach and meandering into a (too expensive) ice cream shop, we hopped back onto the red bus. The bus wove around the Atlantic seacoast and it was simply gorgeous. Cape Town has this (brilliant) policy where waterfront properties cannot block cars’ views of the ocean. As a result, many apartment buildings start at the level of the road, but then go down towards the level of the ocean.

And these houses are beautiful. I could already tell from where the sun was in the sky that they were going to get amazing sunset views, and they were modern, crisp and clean.

The bus finally dropped us off where we picked it up and we walked back to 22 on Rose to take a quick shower before dinner. The place that Bruce recommended to us was literally a one minute walk away from our B and B – a restaurant called Marco’s Place.

Dinner was good, not spectacular. I had a South African chicken dish, but the chicken was very tough. It did come with chips, though, and those were much easier to eat!

We then walked home, used the (amazingly fast!) internet for a bit, and then went to bed.

TGT: 1) walking on the beach 2) delicious lunch 3) fruit/snacks available 24/7 at the B and B

Until next time,
~JK

Saturday 27-07-2013

Alice and I woke up at 8:10 because there was no way we were missing our last MaP breakfast. Unfortunately, since last Saturday’s breakfast was so spectacular, we had our expectations set a wee bit too high. Breakfast was still really good though – rice Krispy cereal and Wheaties and toast. Halfway through breakfast, Natasha (one of the MaP scholars) came to school to give us gifts, which was really sweet of her. She started saying goodbye, but then I convinced her that she should stop by school again later (after all the MaP scholars were done with a workshop they had to attend) to say actual goodbyes.

After breakfast, we went back to the room to chill for a little bit. We were both pretty exhausted from last night, so I just hung out in my bed for a bit, playing cards and updating my blog. I also did quite a bit of laundry, but instead of using regular soap, I was able to borrow some of Alice’s washing powder, which both smelled delicious and was probably a lot better for my clothing! I also moved the drying rack outside into the sunshine so that the clothes could dry before we took off on Sunday morning.

I then went on a really nice, slow run all around the campus six times. It was bittersweet, passing everything for one last time. I was stopped about halfway through my run and had a brief chat with Tina. Also, because it was around noon, it was incredibly hot outside, but I guess it’ll make adjusting to summer in New York that much easier!

When my run was done, I ate a yoghurt and then showered. I also washed ALL my running clothes, and hung them out to dry in the sun. That was actually why I wanted to run so early in the day – so that my clothes could get both washed and dried before leaving tomorrow morning. I then headed to lunch, which was actually a really good chicken and a tiny piece of pound cake. I was so hungry from my run that I also ended up eating a chickpea and carrot salad, which was pretty good.

After lunch, I headed back to the room and started packing. Grace soon called me into her room, though, and it turns out a friend from Kenya was visiting her. Her friend was super sweet (she gave me a hug the first time I met her!) and had brought a delicious cake because it was Grace’s birthday yesterday. Grace generously let me have a piece, and I chatted with them for a bit.

However, I did have quite a bit more packing to do, so after a while I excused myself and continued packing. Now, because a lot of our laundry is done for us at MaP (and by “done” I mean washed and ironed!) packing was surprisingly easy – I just plopped a lot of well-ironed clothes into my suitcase! The backpack was a bit trickier, but I was able to make it work. Also, I don’t think I was wearing my (mom’s) fleece when I came to Bots, so that extra space definitely helped!

By then it was around 2:30, and the MaP scholars were finishing up with their stress management workshop. They then met us in the breezeway at MaP and we had a lovely time chatting and laughing with them. Unfortunately, Ingrid was one of the first ones to go, and it was really sad saying goodbye to her. I told her that this wasn’t goodbye, because hopefully she’ll be coming to Cambridge at some point in the year to see Harvard. As she was pulling out of the parking lot, I ran to the other end of the driveway and (obnoxiously) waved to her!

One by one, the MaP scholars started leaving, until we were left with just a few of them and some of the upper 6 girls. After a lot of laughing and story-sharing, I had to excuse myself to finish up packing, since I was going to meet with Daniel and Laverick at 5.

After almost everything was packed, I headed over to the football pitch to meet up with Daniel. We walked to Laverick’s house, and were greeted by his wife (since he apparently was in the shower!) I gave her my Harvard Committee on African Studies shirt as a little gift and she seemed to absolutely love it, which made my day!

Soon enough, Laverick came down, and Daniel and I enjoyed another 40 minutes in their company. When Mrs. Laverick heard that we were having sausage rice for dinner, she invited us to have some soup she had made, which was absolutely delicious. She also heated up some pretzels which were magnificent, especially with butter!

After that, we said goodbye to Mrs. Laverick, and Laverick took us to his office, to give me some photos from the MAPTA tea. Yes, there are a few creeper-shots of me eating, but there are also some really nice pictures of our last maths class.

We ended up chatting with Laverick past 7pm. He then walked us part of the way back to the girl’s annex, and there we said our final goodbyes. It was hard to tell if it was lighting or emotion, but it looked as though there was a hint of tears in his eyes as he said goodbye to us!

After that, Daniel and I went to the girl’s annex to plan what to do about dinner. I remembered that there was often PB, jelly and bread in the GBH, so I went over there and made some PB and J sandwiches. This was also the perfect opportunity to use up my last ramen, as well! There was also some of our cake still left over in the staff room, so I was able to sneak a bit of that, too. Solid final dinner.

Around 8, Daniel, Jennifer, Alice and I headed over to the English room to watch “The Proposal” together. It was great to be able to relax and watch a chill movie with them. We spent a lot of the time laughing – both at the movie and at a bunch of insides jokes, and I couldn’t have asked for a better last night!

When the movie was over, Alice and I went around the GBH, saying goodbye to many of the boarders. It was really sad, but we told them to find us on Facebook and to definitely stay in touch! I just so happened to run into Tina on the stairs, and she gave me a lanyard she had made (that I had commented on when I was helping her with Kumon on Thursday) and I already have it on my backpack!

We finally made our way back to the annex, and there we said goodbye to Hadley, Isabel and Goitse. Once they left, we said goodbye to Jennifer and Grace and then headed to bed (by now it was about 11, which was late but it was well worth it to say one last round of goodbyes!)

TGT: 1) amazing last chat with Mr. and Mrs. Laverick 2) hanging out with the MaP scholars and upper 6 girls 3) watching The Proposal/laughing with Jennifer, Alice and Daniel

Until next time,
~JK

Friday 26-07-2013

Today Alice and I woke up at 5:45 for our last MaP school day breakfast! Breakfast was rice Krispy cereal, toast with PB and an apple. We then headed off to the staff room to use the (still super slow) WiFi and then had our last staff meeting.
During first and second period, I was in the library, taking pictures with some of the students and saying some goodbyes. Daniel and I also had to edit the maths quiz that we’re giving our students fourth period.

Soon, it was time for break, but this was no normal break – because it’s the last Friday of the month, it was a MAPTA (Maru-a-Pula Teacher Association) tea. To make things even better, the tea doubled as a “say goodbye to the Harvard interns” event.

And what a sweet goodbye it was. There was a whole table of fruit, another with a huge cake saying “goodbye and thank you!” and another table with samosas and other goodies. I was (obviously) in seventh heaven. And then they brought out scones!
Laverick was walking around the staff room during the MAPTA tea and he seemed to be taking quite a few photos of me. I asked him why and he responded saying, “I’m trying to see how many photos I can get with you and food.” He’s clearly going to miss us (maybe).

After that, we printed out the maths quiz and I went back to the room to collect all our key point prizes. The USA lanyards were worth four key points, the Oreos were two key points each, and five pieces of candy was one key point.

Daniel and I then headed to maths. The kids had a lot of energy, but they were able to calm down (sorta) for the quiz. After that, we started giving away Key Points prizes. A lot of the kids got lanyards, and many got candy as well. For some reason, the Oreos weren’t a huge hit. We all took some pictures and then said our goodbye, and then they were off!

Daniel and I then sat outside using the Bean Bag internet – I was looking up the B and B where we’re staying in Cape Town and doing other Cape Town research. Then, Caroline Desai (the amazing “mother Theresa in heels”) walked by and I stopped her to say hello/goodbye.

She (thankfully) remembered who we were and we had a nice chat about all that she is doing. In typical Mrs. Desai fashion, she was doing a million and one different things today, and also told us that she will be in NYC in late August. Before we said goodbye, I was able to get a picture with her!

I then spent the last few blocks in the library, then it was time for lunch. Now before I talk about what an epic lunch it was, I must explain a certain MaP tradition.

When it is someone’s birthday here, all the boys start going “SHHHHHHHHHH” (and the caps were on purpose – the “shhh-ing” is very loud!) Once everyone is quiet, they start singing Happy Birthday in very deep voices. When finished, they bang on the tables and started chanting (what I believe is) “whose birthday? Your birthday! Birthday, birthday!” over and over. Once that’s done, they chant “speech, speech, speech” (yet the birthday person never ends up giving a speech!)

Anyway, we have sat through more than our fair share of these shenanigans, and finally we wanted to show them how it was done, but with a twist! We (Jennifer, Daniel, Grace, Bikey, Tlotlo, Jake, Jack and I) started shushing everyone, and once it was quiet, we all burst out singing 50 cent’s birthday song. It was epic, to say the least. Then the boys did their whole birthday song, (trying to one-up us, I guess) and we were all laughing.

After lunch, I had a little bit of downtime to rest, and then I had some last-minute tutoring with Fifi and Michael (yes, two of our kids stayed after school on a Friday to start revising for their term test that isn’t even this month!) The session went really well, and we covered a large variety of topics including percentage increase and depreciation over time, fraction/decimal conversions, and ratios and proportions.

I then went home and chilled for a bit, showered and got ready for dinner. KB took Jennifer, Alice, Grace and I to Cappello’s, a restaurant in the lovely Masa Center. The Masa Center is a very upscale mall (that actually reminded me quite a bit of the newer part of the Natick Collection). However, unlike anything in MA, the mall was largely open-air, which was a tad chilly on this winter night, but gorgeous nonetheless.

We ate inside, though, and I had a delicious hamburger and chips. Ingrid was having some fruity cocktail, and there were strawberries in said drink. Towards the end of the dinner, she started fishing out the strawberries, “saving the best for last.” I’ve never been prouder to call her my mentee!

After dinner, KB drove us once again to Boulevard in Phakalane. However, this time, since we arrived right before 10pm, we were able to get in for free. The music was a little better than last time, and I had a blast singing and dancing with both the interns and some of the MaP scholars and TAs.

Last time we were at Boulevard, Jennifer asked the DJ to play Drake’s Started From the Bottom (aka our theme song) and he said he would, but never did. I would have none of that nonsense, so I asked someone for a pen, and, on the back of a receipt, wrote out, “please play Started from the Bottom by Drake. Thanks!” and handed it to the DJ.

And lo and behold, about 20 minutes later, our theme song came on and we all went crazy! It was actually the highlight of my night, singing and dancing with these amazing people.

Unfortunately, the night didn’t end on such a high note, because someone stole my phone right out of the back pocket of my jeans. However, since it was a) a $20 Nokia phone and b) our second to last day in Gabs, it wasn’t the end of the world, but it still is unnerving when something like that happens to you without you realising what’s occurring.

After texting KB from Jennifer’s phone, he took us back home again (see why I, quite seriously, call him a saint?) after a (mostly wonderful) last night out. Oh, and perhaps the best part is the sense of Karma that my phone stealer will get – I set my alarm ahead of time to go off at 8 and 8:10 for breakfast, so whoever stole my phone might be in for a rude awakening rather early on a Saturday morning!

TGT: 1) dinner and dancing with the interns and our MaP friends 2) amazing MAPTA tea 3) singing Happy Birthday to Grace in the dining hall

Until next time,
~JK

Thursday 25-07-201

Today Alice and I woke up at 5:50 to get to breakfast. However, right after I finished getting dressed, the fire alarm started going off. We dragged ourselves outside into the cold morning air, and waited around for a bit, wondering if there was actually a fire. I don’t think there actually was, so I headed off to breakfast, while Alice went back to get some more things from the annex.

Breakfast was scrambled eggs, toast, and cornflakes. After breakfast, we headed to the staff room, to try to use the (still incredibly slow) WiFi. After the staff meeting, Daniel and I quickly met up to record homework grades.

Soon we were off to maths (first period). Class went pretty well today, and hopefully we’ve fully prepared them for the quiz on sets tomorrow. We even gave away a couple more Key Points!

After that, I had a few free periods, and used the Bean Bag WiFi to update my blog and check email. During fifth period, we had our last meeting with the MaP scholars, which we basically made into a party. We had music and food that TG had brought for us, and it was really nice to hang out with all the scholars (and not have to talk about any standardized tests or college essays!) Also, since today is Thodi’s birthday, some of the scholars brought her a delicious chocolate cake that we were all able to eat!

During sixth period, Daniel, Grace, Jennifer and I sat outside Bean Bag again and were able to watch some videos. I showed them Beyoncé’s Countdown: Snuggie Edition and they (thankfully) found it as hilarious as I did!

By then it was time for lunch – braai chicken and rice, which was actually really good! Soon after lunch, Jennifer and I took a walk down to Gaborone Sun, which is a restaurant and casino. More importantly, though, it has a Barclay’s ATM, which (at least for Bank of America customers like myself) has free withdrawals.

The walk there and back was really nice and Jennifer and I talked about what we’re doing and looking forward to after MaP, but also how we don’t really want to leave. That’s been a running theme throughout this week – at the same time being so excited to be home in about a week, but not wanting to leave this wonderful place!

Once we came back to MaP, I decided to head to the bakery again. I’ve always been someone who saves change – perhaps because at my old bank in MA, there was a “change machine” where you would dump in your coins, and they’d deposit the money right into your bank account. While they don’t have machines like that for my use in Gabs, I have been saving my thebe coins, and it turns out that I had just a little more than four pula in thebes, so I decided the bakery would be the perfect place to spend it! I, once again, got the last scone in the bakery, and it was absolutely delicious!

I then napped for a bit and played some card games on my computer. After using Bean Bag’s WiFi again, Daniel and I met to make our maths quiz. Afterwards, I went on a nice, slow, long run five times around campus.

After a quick shower, it was time for dinner. But this wasn’t just any dinner – tonight was chicken burrito wraps aka the best dinner at MaP (seriously). I had three (I was starving after my run!) and each one seemed to be better than the previous one. Alice showed me, once again, how to wrap said burritos, and by the third time I (kinda) got the hang of it!

We then returned back to our room, with the intent of starting to pack. However, because tomorrow is (hopefully) a laundry day, we both agreed that we’d start packing tomorrow since by then we’ll have all our clothes back.

After that, I blogged for a bit and played some more card games on the computer. I then went over to the GBH for my last tutoring session! I first helped Tina with her Kumon (maths practice books) and then helped Katlego study for a test she has tomorrow (on sets, ironically enough!)

TGT: 1) favorite MaP dinner 2) MaP scholar party 3) watching entertaining Beyoncé videos (and subsequently listening to Beyoncé whilst making our maths quiz)

Until next time,
~JK

Wednesday 24-07-2013

Today Alice and I slept in all the way until 6:35! I then finished the last of our honey cheerios and had a yoghurt and apple for breakfast. After that, we headed to the staff room.

During the first few periods, I updated my blog and used the internet (whilst freezing) outside the Bean Bag café. During fourth period, we had a very informative meeting with TG about our time here and what we would change and what should stay the same for the next group of Harvard interns.

During fifth period, I did the bulk of the teaching for our maths class. I now realise that that was the last time I’d be teaching maths (since Daniel will be teaching on Thursday and we’re giving them a quiz/giving away key point prizes on Friday!) We were doing more sets work, and I think the class went pretty well.

After maths, I went to the library, where I met with Ingrid for a bit. Natasha (another one of the MaP scholars) and Michelle (a form 6 student who, many weeks ago, said she had an interest in psychology) joined us and we had a lovely chat. I told Michelle that I was leaving the psych pamphlet that I had given her weeks ago in the MaP library, and she seemed very excited. She also informed me that she took pictures of the pamphlet, because she wasn’t sure if she would ever see it again!

I then worked with Ingrid on her commonapp essay, which is coming along nicely. It really helps that they are allowed to use 650 words (whereas I only had 500!) She even liked a bunch of my edits/suggestions, which made me feel good, since I’m obviously no English expert!

After that, we all headed to lunch, which was OK today. They did, however, have a surprisingly large surplus of apples, and I was able to have three! Then Daniel and I started lesson planning.

In the middle of lesson planning, Bruce (the head of the sports department) needed to meet with Daniel, so I went off to the bakery to buy one of those delicious scones – I ate half of it on the way home, and saved half for dinner. I also made some ramen in the staff room.

After some more lesson planning, Daniel and I headed off to Frisbee in TG’s car. We were the only two interns who ended up going today, but we were so glad we did! We only had enough players to play 5 v. 5, but it was so lovely getting to spend time outdoors, especially with Kgale hill in the background as the sun was setting. I wore my cleats today (instead of sneakers) and ended up scoring four points!

We ended up heading back to MaP around 6:30, since we wanted to get back in time for Tutti e Soli, MaP’s music concert. The car ride home was actually incredibly fun. We had the windows down, and music blasting and, even though it was freezing, I stuck my head outside of the window and sung all the way home!

Once we got back to MaP, Daniel and I demonstrated our teamwork skills as we accomplished the following in (literally) less than 10 minutes:

We entered the girls annex, and I started eating the rest of my scone, while he went to the auditorium to get the key to Grace and Jennifer’s rooms. Daniel opened the rooms and grabbed the bread (from Jennifer’s room) and the PB and J (from Grace’s room). While I ate my yoghurt, I handed Daniel first four slices of bread that he spread PB on, followed by four slices of bread that he put jelly on. We then put said sandwiches together, and started eating super-quickly. We put the fixings back in the appropriate rooms, I grabbed an apple, and we were off to the auditorium!

We managed to get to the show right as it was starting (i.e. 7:01)! The show itself was literally out of this world.

Well, at first it was like any other high school concert I’ve been to – it started with an orchestra, and then out came a jazz band. Next was an all-female a Capella group, and the second song they sang (Don’t you worry child) was absolutely amazing! There were some solo acts in between the group acts, and then came the marimbas.

Now MaP is known “around the world” for its marimba band. I thought that only meant that the marimba band literally travels around the world (which is a true statement). No, no – it was so much more than that! This marimba band is actually spectacular. These kids were singing, dancing, and playing the marimbas all at the same time (a full workout!) First the form 3s played a song (including, Michael, one of our students, who was front and center!) Then the SPE marimba band played a couple of songs. Finally, the MaP Marimba Band played about 10 songs! They were absolutely amazing, and I couldn’t believe the speed and vigor with which they played.

After the concert, there were some snacks (yay) and soon thereafter, I went back to the annex to shower (Daniel and I looked wonderful in our post-Frisbee sweat, but it was worth it to be able to see the whole concert and to get to play Frisbee one last time in Bots!)

Nomfu stopped by the annex for a bit a little later, and after I finished grading some maths homework, I was off to bed after a wonderfully exhausting day!

TGT: 1) amazing last Frisbee game 2) absolutely spectacular MaP concert, including the marimbas! 3) delicious Butterfield’s scone

Until next time,
~JK

Tuesday 23-07-2013

Today we first got up at 5:15 because Alice had set the alarm for the wrong time, but she thankfully realised this early on, and we were both able to take mini naps until 5:45. Then I was off to breakfast duty, followed by a delicious breakfast of Wheaties-like cereal (with cold milk!) and fruit. At first, I thought there were just apples, but then the student in line in front of me dug out a pear from the bottom of the fruit bowl, and I did the same. After that, we headed to the Maitisong auditorium to prep for our goodbye assembly.

We, if I do say so myself, had an epic final assembly. We started off by calmly talking about our experiences at MaP. Then, Alice (as planned) said the final goodbyes, and started walking off stage, thinking we’d follow. Daniel grabbed the mic, and told the kids, “well, wait a minute. I mean, we started from the bottom….but now we’re here.” At that moment, the music started up (Drake’s Started from the Bottom) and we all took off our outer Harvard gear to reveal MaP gear underneath. We started singing and dancing and the kids were just eating it up! It was absolutely perfect, and we ended the song by swaying back and forth in a line with our arms around in each other. It was a great way to get to say goodbye to everyone (even though I won’t be leaving Gabs until bright and early Sunday morning).

After that, I had a few free periods that I spent in the library and outside Bean Bag café, making a PowerPoint of pictures of Harvard for our presentation in Mrs. Laverick’s class later today. Daniel and I then had a quick meeting in Mr. Laverick’s office, and discussed the problems from the book that we should use to teach the kids more about sets. When I told him that I had already bought Oreos and candy for the kids to trade in for key points on Friday, he responded with, “wow, I’m surprised you’ll be parting with that much food!”

Daniel and I then got on a combi for a five minute ride over to Northside primary school. When we got dropped off in the middle of the parking lot, we quickly found a security guard, who motioned for a random student to take us to Mrs. Laverick’s room. She greeted us warmly, and told us that she had invited another class of 9 and 10 year olds to sit in on our “presentation’ as well.

The presentation went really well – the kids were very attentive and engaged, and asked some really great questions. For some reason, they were very focused on sports and what sports teams we had (and they were very happy to learn that we had a club cricket team!) After the presentation and some more questions, we took pictures with the kids. Then, the other class left, and when it was just us and Mrs. Laverick’s class, the kids started asking us for our autographs! No joke, they literally wanted us to sign these pieces of paper they had ripped out of their notebooks! It was absolutely adorable (and made us feel rather special!)
After many hugs goodbye, we were off to call the combi driver.

Because we had a few minutes to kill, Daniel and I decided to look around the school for a bit. This is one nice school! There are shaded picnic tables, two mini football fields, an expansive playground, tennis courts and other lovely amenities (and this is all for a primary school!) We then took a short combi ride back home.

Soon it was time for lunch, and I was so glad that I got to lunch early because there was delicious chocolate cake (and the chicken, potatoes, and salad were actually very good, as well!)

After lunch, I went to the gym for a bit, and (since there was no one else in the gym to judge me) I spent quite a few minutes bouncing on the mini trampoline. Goodness, between the milk and PB and J’s and trampoline bouncing, I legitimately sound like a five year old!

Anyway, after showering and snacking, I got ready for college night (or college afternoon, as Judy reminded us, since it started at 4). We were pleasantly surprised that the AV centre was basically filled with students from MaP and Rainbow (a nearby school) wanting to hear about American colleges. The presentation itself went really well, and we all stayed after to answer more specific questions that people had.

After a quick WiFi check outside beanbag, I was off to dinner duty and dinner. Dinner was OK – spaghetti Bolognese (but with some very salty pasta!) When dinner was done, Daniel, Grace, Jennifer and I went back to beanbag and hung out with Nomfu for a bit.

I then went back home (since it was getting pretty cold outside!) and worked on some scholarship essays, and made a Spanish worksheet for Gape about how to use Conjuguemos. I then went to the boarding house, both to deliver the worksheet and also to start my last prep duty! A lot of the girls, as I was checking them in, said that they thoroughly enjoyed our assembly today!

TGT: 1) amazing farewell assembly (and with working technology, too!) 2) getting to speak (and subsequently sign autographs!) in Mrs. Laverick’s class today 3) delicious breakfast

Until next time,
~JK