Hello from Kaapstad!

I know it’s been ages since I wrote here. A whole Capetonian winter has passed since my last post.  The winter turned out to be way colder than I expected when I was packing my belongings in Lancaster, UK to move here. Some of those cosy sweaters I gave to charity shops were missed dearly. Looking outside sometimes I felt like I was back in rainy England.

Once the novelty of being in a beautiful new place wore off, I realised I needed to work towards making this place my home. The last few months have been spent trying to get to know my new hometown more, trying to feel more like a local, trying to fit in more with the community, and also trying to find work.

It has been tough on the job front, as a high percentage of jobs expect you to be a citizen of SA, and so far I have only managed to get work as a Matric maths tutor (UK equivalent of A-level), which I have enjoyed. So many concepts which I forgot from my A-level days were revised and prepared to be explained to my students. Their exam results are revealed in January next year, fingers crossed for a good outcome!

I have also been volunteering at a centre here in Cape Town, which I will not name for legal reasons. I have been teaching English to a class of 20 or so students, who are all from disadvantaged backgrounds and most do not have a formal education experience. It has certainly been an eye opening few weeks. The aim of the classes is to get the students in a better position for employment and generally improve their chances in life. I’ve had to re-learn a lot of grammar and been frustrated with all the exceptions to the grammar rules that arise! The reason I wanted to do this was to help these people but also to gain more confidence in public speaking. Overall I have benefited immensely from the experience and hope the students feel the same. I will certainly miss many of my students once the classes are over. I have got to know their personalities over the course and most are lovely, interesting people. They have insisted I take a group selfie with them on their last day.

Through the volunteering I have also managed to start Afrikaans classes with another teacher at the centre, who is giving me the lessons for free, for which I am very grateful. She is an excellent teacher, and I am learning reasonably fast as they are one-on-one lessons. There is a high chance of us moving to Stellenbosch next year, and the Afrikaans lessons will be much appreciated then. Last time I was there almost nobody around me was speaking in English!

I am also part of a book club in the Central Library of Cape Town, which is organised by a lady who works at the library. I love reading and through it I get to meet like-minded people and have interesting discussions. How it works is, each month we choose a theme, and then we can individually choose a book of our choice on the theme. This has been great for me as I have books on nearly every topic in my book shelf which I wanted to finish reading for a long time, and this has given me the perfect opportunity to. This month’s theme is Biography/Autobiography of a political figure, and I’ve chosen The autobiography of Malcolm X.

Other than that, there hasn’t been much rain here this year, which has led to a water crisis situation in the city. Most of the rain here falls in the winter season, but we are back to summer time now. The drought situation means locals are being urged to save and reuse water where they can.

I realise that this post doesn’t have any photographs so far. Here are a few from a hike we did up the Lion’s Head mountain slope earlier in the year. As you can see the views are spectacular. I am still in awe at what a beautiful city I live in.

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