Victory!

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Last night I turned in early yet again because all I could think about was how exhausted I was and revising something that I’m writing. Determined to top four and a half hours of sleep, I popped a whole sleeping pill in my mouth, grimaced because it started dissolving before I had swallowed it, and plopped into my bed.
When I awoke, my first thought was, “fuck, it’s 4:30 and I’m awake.” My alarm went off five seconds later.
Realizing that I actually had gotten a full night’s sleep for the first time in a week gave me an added surge in my energy. The window didn’t feel too chilly, so I could wear a tank top, I hadn’t lost any sleep, and I was about to drink some tea and enjoy my breakfast. You know how I love my breakfast. I wouldn’t even need a cup of that wretched coffee!
Since I wasn’t a zombie, class went better than usual. I aced my Daisy Miller quiz, and even though I fully expected it since I’ve read the story before, I still felt a brightness as I looked at the 20 with the smiley face in the 0 scribbled on the top of my page.
Evelyn said she would go to the lake with me tomorrow. I haven’t done much with any locals aside from talking to creepy older men in bars and impressing our housekeeper and Joyce, so I really want to go. We can talk about things I actually care about: food; literature; places; our families. And why shouldn’t I befriend a local?  We have common interests, and I haven’t really been able to bond extensively with many people here. Well, girls at least. It’s so much easier for me to talk to guys here. They like food, and good food at that, and they don’t give a fuck about counting calories. I should probably hang out with more guys.
After my class ended, I walked around the city for a while. Aside from a store where I could buy tweezers and a gelato stand, I had no destination in particular, and that was really nice. I haven’t managed to find a portable keg like the one I saw somebody wearing the other day, but I did see a Mozart shot glass, and that amused the hell out of me. I want to say I walked past a few useful places too – a bike shop, a Thai restaurant, places that sell sunglasses. Even going out was okay, because the dollar drinks for today actually tasted good and I befriended some guys who really like food. Maybe I’ll go eat with them one day or something, because they are the only other people I’ve encountered who are as excited as I am about a Thai restaurant being here. And I ate a grilled cheese sandwich.
All that’s really been on my brain is editing and producing. I really want this story I’m working on to be good. I mean, it is good, but I really want to make it the best it can be. I’ve been rereading it relentlessly – learning about Hemingway’s revising techniques is getting to my head.  At the same time, I’m really excited because I’ve never thought about writing so much. Sometimes all I want to do here is separate myself from everybody else and expand my ideas, edit my story, and churn out some reflections to post on here. Sorry if this post didn’t really have a point. I’m just in a great mood. I’m finally starting to feel like an active writer.
If I go to the lake with Evelyn tomorrow I’ll put some pictures up. I don’t really feel like the pictures I’ve taken so far are very blog-worthy.
And for now? A shower, a little The Sun Also Rises, and ideally, some more writing and editing.

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Stellenbosch

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This is Stellenbosch. It’s beautiful, right?

After leaving Phinda, the four of us (me, my sister, my dad, and our friend Schalk, who lives in Stellenbosch and therefore showed us around) drove back to the Durban Airport. Our flight to Johannesburg actually got delayed for five hours because there was a crack in the plane’s windshield. It was okay, though, because we found another flight (shout-out to OneTime Air) and British Airways gave us a refund (shout-out to British Airways too, because that was really nice.) So that only left us an hour behind schedule.
And what did we do on our first night there? Oh yeah. We ate, and then we got drunk at a bar called The Mystic Boer. Well, they got drunk. I kind of took one shot of something that tasted atrocious (oh yeah, it was Patron!), looked around the room and saw lots of guys, and it made me miss mine. I am obstinately loyal, and all I really wanted to do was go back the hotel because it had heated bathroom floors and the bed… oh my god.
I slept beautifully, especially because I didn’t have to wake up at 5:00 the next day. And then I got to have coffee and French toast and fruit and yogurt (Bulgarian yogurt is the best yogurt ever, by the way) and I was so happy.

Then we went out to this place that um, has a bunch of cheetahs… I forget what it was called. All I know is that I got to pet a cheetah and his name was Joseph and I foolishly took a Doxycycline pill without a Tum so I felt really sick. Also I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures in the cage.

We thought the cheetahs there were drugged because they were so… calm. They weren’t, though. Cheetahs keep their activity to a minimum when they don’t have to do anything that involved running because running at high speeds takes up so much energy for them. Except I don’t really know how they’d get much running done in a fenced-in area.
Cheetahs also have a wonderful sense of humor, I’ve discovered.

And yes, I have to represent my country.

Stellenbosch (and greater Stellenbosch) is famous for wine and Stellenbosch University. I’ll start with the wine.
From my observations, Stellenbosch is South African wine country. And the wine is pretty good, which is saying a lot, because I can’t really drink alcohol without making a funny face and feeling shivers run down my back.
Personally, I think the cheese was better. South Africa is renowned for cheese as well. Heaven!

A giant wine bottle obviously means that my sister needs a new profile picture.

After all that, we just went back to the town and walked around a little. I think Schalk drove us around the university too. Lots of white buildings.
We made a few friends, too – part of it might have been fate, but most of it was my dad’s lack of restraint when it comes to talking about himself around people he just met. But it turned out well. We ended up going to Cape Town that night with them to see our new friend’s son’s band 3rd World Spectator play a show at a restaurant. It was pretty fun. I got to try pizza with bananas on it, which is actually really good. I knew it would be, too. And the band was great. They can do a mean cover of “Where Is My Mind?” by The Pixies, and I really like their song “Ambulance.” And then I sat by a fire and fell asleep sitting upright, which was a great new accomplishment for me. Ha!
The next day we actually went to Cape Town again (because we had actually planned it far in advance instead of mere hours before), so that means I’m out of Stellenbosch pictures and tales. Actually I have one more. We ate Indian food with all the people we met, and it was a really good time. I do have a picture of that.

 Well, that’s all I’ve got from Stellenbosch. I need to go to bed – I’m kind of in trouble because of something my puppies chewed up. And I have tons of Austria things to do tomorrow, so I need to fall asleep within the next hour. The internet just loves to distract me.
Anyway, I’m out. Thanks for reading, and I’ll be back tomorrow!

Apostrophe to Man

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I have a question for all the men out there who believe acting like a complete scumbag will win the heart of a girl:
What is wrong with you?
Okay, maybe I should explain myself…

I went to a bar with a few of my friends last night. Never before have I felt threatened there – it’s a well-established bar in my hometown, my friends who live here frequent, and I even know people who work there. In all the times I’ve been there, nothing bad has ever happened. I’ve never seen anybody get into a fight. I’ve never seen anybody get kicked out. I’ve never been afraid of the place.
Well now I am, and it’s all because of one person. One man who refused to leave me alone even after I repeatedly told him I didn’t want to talk to him.
I don’t understand why men think behaving this way works. Maybe it’s because under enough pressure, somebody might crack and let this kind of guy get to her. I can understand that. I’m an easy target. I’m shy, I don’t talk much, and I’m insanely awkward. I’m not very strong or assertive, so I have a hard time defending myself in situations like these. I don’t know what would have happened had I been alone. I don’t think I’d ever go to a bar alone, though.
I was sitting there watching a few of my friends play darts when I somebody came up to me. I turned around, and he asked me something stupid and cheesy like, “so, which one of these guys surrounding you is your boyfriend?” I told him that none of them were, because I am a terrible liar. I also underestimated this guy. When he asked me why I didn’t have a boyfriend, I curtly told him I was seeing somebody. Then he said, “well I have a girlfriend, so that’s perfect.” Part of me thought he would turn around and walk away from my table. I was wrong.
I turned my head away from him, trying instead to focus on the game of darts. He asked me why I was too nervous to talk to him, and my friend Katie and I told him I didn’t want to talk to him.  He persisted, and then called Katie “motherly” for trying to protect me from him. He attempted small talk with us, and through this I learned that his name is Jeff and he’s studying psychology. He said he was trying to read us, that we were easy to read, something like that.  It wasn’t the most comforting comment. Then he told us we were mediocre, which must be how men get girls to desire them more. I am not very familiar with this technique. I wonder which fraternity Jeff is – or was, he seemed like he was in his later 20’s – in. Those boys must get all the ladies. I bet they’re date-rape experts. I wondered whether he had looked at my hands, which both sported X’s. Or maybe he didn’t care that I was only 19.
Then he guilt-tripped me into playing a game of darts with him. I decided that since Jeff was into psychology, I would show just how thrilled I was to meet him through my body language. I slumped my shoulders. I gave him no eye contact. I didn’t even try during the game of darts; I just threw the darts quickly and then trotted back behind the line to check my cell phone or whisper something in Katie’s ear.  I felt horrible the whole time. Why did Jeff think playing darts would loosen me up? Or was he just using the game as an excuse to look at me? Was he using the time to plan something? I mouthed “help me” to my guy friends who walked past us, but it didn’t work.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one giving Jeff a message.  Katie told Jeff off during one of my turns. I’m glad she did, because somebody really needed to. I was so excited after he won the game, because it meant I never had to talk to him again.
Oh wait, wrong again. Jeff did not relocate from our table, so we went to another area of the bar. Jeff’s presence made me feel disgusting, and I could feel an anxiety attack coming on. Within a minute, we decided that the only way to avoid Jeff for good would be to leave the bar. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so relieved to leave a bar either.
I almost want to feel sorry for Jeff, but I can’t because he wouldn’t leave me alone no matter how many times he was asked.  I’m really happy nothing happened to me, but I wonder how many times Jeff has pulled this before and will harass girls in the future. I wonder how many times it’s worked. I wonder if his girlfriend knows how much of a scumbag he is, or if this girlfriend is even real. If she is, I hope she leaves him soon.
Jeff made me feel bad for wanting to go out with my friends. I’m honestly afraid to go back to that bar now, because I don’t know what I’m going to do if he’s there. If I run into him again, I want to be around someone who intimidates him.  Jeff made me feel like I did something wrong.He made me not want to go out with my friends. He made me never want to dress up or put makeup on again. It’s stupid, but I wonder if he would have approached me if I had been wearing something different. I almost feel like Jeff wanted to punish me for wanting to feel pretty. Is that stupid?
I  hope that Jeff reads this so he can feel as horrible as he made me feel.