Visitors from the US

After adventuring around South Africa, my friends Marc and Jen joined me for a few days at my site. We had a very imperialist Christmas, which was a little lonely because my host family was all out of town. But we still managed to see the best of my Township and the surrounding area.

Marc and Jen at my school:

I really sometimes forget what life here seems like from an outsiders perspective. The first few weeks here were absolutely bonkers, but now I’ve become well enough adjusted that things don’t phase me. But with visitors here, I got to watch the looks on their faces when they encountered things I deal with almost every day.

“Give me money 5 Rand please”

“Please come home with me and live with me”

And then there was the difficulty of explaining that Japanese and Chinese are 2 different things, eating with hands, passing the tavern, and the strange looks.

This was over the course of a 20 minute walk.

And while I don’t know for certain and I don’t think they will admit it, I think my visitors were a little taken aback by where I live. I’ve forgotten how strange it seemed to me when I first arrived, and it was kind of nice to be reminded of the fact that I’ve managed to adjust to a very different place. On the other hand, I’m also once again positive that I’m completely crazy.

On Christmas, we went on an epic adventure to try to find things that weren’t closed. The 24 hour McDonalds in Nelspruit decided it wasn’t 24 hours after all, Chimp Eden required reservations in advance, and the always open Mike’s Kitchen decided to close at 4PM. But by some miracle (a Christmas Miracle, perhaps?), the Nelspruit Botanical Garden was open.

We managed to score dinner at the casino. Yes, there is a casino in Nelspruit (inside the mall!), and it was mad crowded on Christmas. The mall was also flooding due to shoddy roof construction.

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It was nice to have visitors. Marc and Jen are safely home now and I hope they had an fun and interesting time.

I had a bonus visitor Christmas night. We met when I woke up in the middle of the night and felt something crawling on my face:

This is a Zebra Millipede, a kind of Giant Millipede. I measured it at about 11cm long. It isn’t really poisonous, but it can release irritants from its feet (thankfully it did not do this on my face). I had him in a container with holes for awhile, but I decided to free him rather than keep him as a pet.

2 Comments

Darius Kazemi says:

That last picture/anecdote is terrifying. TERRIFYING.

28 Jan 11 @ 12am

michaelwsherman says:

People keep these millipedes as pets. I thought about it.

When the incident happened, I freaked out. I spent like 45 minutes on the internet in the middle of the night identifying it. Believe me, I was super freaked out about it at first.

28 Jan 11 @ 6pm