Stellenbosch Update #2 (Mon Feb 11)

Lots of rain overnight (everyone says this is highly unusual weather, but are all grateful for the rain). Little black worms to decided to get out of the rain and find refuge inside my room. I’m glad I had something on my feet when I got up. They coil up into little sprials when you touch them (and it appears they dry up if they get stuck inside the room permanently). Still humid and drizzly in the morning, so clouds are hanging on the mountains. I ate a quick breakfast of yogurt, banana and granola. Apparently “Bulgarian style” yogurt means thin and runny.

Because the roads were still wet I decided to walk rather than take the bicycle. I met Christo at 8 am at the building where the Department of Ancient Studies is housed. It is called “the Titanic” because it is huge and white and ugly. All the other buildings are lovely Dutch architecture, but apparently someone in the 90s didn’t get the memo. We contacted the bank about my ATM card, but decided it would just be easier to go down to the branch later in the morning. Took my computer to the IT department. They were terrific (they hardly ever get to work on Macs). Ended up leaving the laptop so they could install some software so that I can access the network and get online. Christo had some errands to run so we drove out about 30 km and I was able to see some of the vineyard country. The estates look very beautiful and have lovely architecture. Perhaps we’ll get to visit some before I leave. We talked about my reading, my research, cognitive linguistics, relevance theory, translation theory, and South Afrikan politics. Saw some of the various areas where white, black and brown people live (quite an education). The errand ended up being a trip to a specialty braai equipment store (that would be a Gourmet Barbecue Grill). These people take braai seriously!! Take a look at the photo in the album tomorrow and you will see what I mean!

After our drive we retrieved my laptop and after some more difficulties the IT folks had it up and running on the network. At least in their office! We went out to eat lunch and then went back to the office to work. I will have a nice little place in the department to work while I am here. I met one of my readers (for my proposal, she won’t actually be reading the dissertation). She was very interested in the outcome of my research because she teaches Biblical Greek and shares some of the same concerns. I tried my get my laptop on the server but no luck. Called the nice IT guys and after a few minutes they switched things around in their computer and I was on. The server at the University does not seem as good as the internet connect at the Java café, so I will probably go there in the evening to do any uploading that I want to do.

I also tried to get my student card (ID) today. Eventually I stumbled into just the right place and had the most awful photo in history taken and printed in large format on my ID card. Oh joy.

Word of the day: stoot. Which means “push.” Helpful to know when you encounter a door. I hope to find a bookstore later today to get a phrase book and some postcards. Found two post offices. If you want to know where you are, don’t look up for a street sign (you won’t find one). You must look down, the names of the streets are (sometimes) painted on the curb. There are little canals, or gutters, along the sides of the streets. Because of all the rain they are now flowing with water and look quite quaint.

This afternoon the rain finally gave way to sunshine…and heat. The air was full of floral aroma. There are many flowering trees and bushes. Lots of fruit trees which I have no idea about. But some of the fruit is quite familiar: granny smith apples. Grown here.

On my way home I checked out the student center. It is like a three story mini-mall. The center is full of places to sit and eat and connect to the internet. The outsides of each floor are filled with bookstores, art shops, clothing shops, food shops, banks, and vendor carts. It feels like it is a pentagon shape, but I’ll have to look more closely next time.

All indoor places in South Africa are non-smoking, but many students smoke outside. I was surprised by how many smoke. Tomorrow I will sit in on some of Christo’s undergrad lectures. The Hebrew sections here are 2 years (4 semesters) and are done before entering the theological school. It would take 5 years (and three degrees) to get to the equivalent of our MDiv. That includes a year practicum.

With the departure of the rain the biting insects are making more of an appearance. Not too bad, but you know you must keep vigilant when there are three types of insect spray provided for you in your room and one of them is called “Peaceful Sleep” and is designed to repel for 8 hours.

I have UVa grades to post tonight and new grading to do. I’ll be glad that this next week is an easier assignment to manage administratively.

I hope to take photos tomorrow (I know, I know, I said that yesterday, but you all know what a cloud looks like).