Tuesday, April 26, 2011

On holiday!

An African Harrier-hawk (Polyboroides typus)
Isn’t he gorgeous?
Photo courteous of www.treknature.com

So, did I mention?--I’m on holiday.

One of the things I love about the South African school year is that there are a LOT of holidays. There are so many national holidays in the last two weeks of April, that we basically have two weeks off from school.

It all started with Good Friday, April 22. No school!

Then, on Monday, April 25, we had a national holiday and no school: Family Day. I tried to find out the meaning of Family Day but could only find that South Africa changed its name from Easter Monday to Family Day in 1995. So, the Easter weekend has always been a long holiday in South Africa, and now, only the name has changed. It seems that several Canadian provinces, Australia, and a few states in the USA also honor Family Day.

Then, tomorrow, April 27, is Freedom Day, and also a national holiday and no school. This day is honored because 4/27/1994 was the day of the first democratic election held in South Africa after the fall of apartheid. Also, on 4/27/1997, the new South African constitution took effect. So, there is indeed, a reason or two to celebrate Freedom Day in South Africa.

And THEN, on Sunday, May 1, South Africa honors Workers Day. However, Monday, May 2 is a national holiday in honor of Workers Day, so there will be no school. I’ve read that the USA doesn’t honor Worker’s Day because of its communist origins, in that the Trade and Labor Unions of South Africa have always had a strong presence and important political influences in South Africa’s history. (Although, the USA does honor its workers and provide a holiday on Labor Day.)

My Easter dinner: curried rice and lentils with pan-roasted vegetables.  No ham!

So basically, we have a 12 day holiday at the end of April. Many of my fellow Peace Corps friends are traveling now, because this is the last opportunity for volunteers in my group to travel before we come home.
Why didn’t I travel? Well, there are lots of reasons why I didn’t travel, but to boil it all down, it is because I didn’t want to.
I’m at home taking a “stay-cation.” For long holidays, all of the college kids and many of the college staff leave to spend their holidays with their families. So, everyone is GONE! Long holidays are the only time on campus when it is quiet. I happen to enjoy solitude and quiet, so I’m drinking these days up like a sponge.

I had hoped to use this time to initiate a serious job search so that I’ll have employment on my return home in September. However, when I tried to see about jobs on-line, I felt immediate and intense anxiety. So, I don’t want to be anxious on my holiday and have decided to rest and enjoy myself instead.

The weather here in my part of South Africa has been perfect: the nights are cool and comfortable and the days sunny and breezy. I’ve been taking long walks twice a day, morning and afternoon and am enjoying myself. I’m exploring my community a bit, meeting and talking to people, and exploring the thornveld. (The desert’s version of a “forest.”)

The African sky is breathtaking with its huge, white-puffy clouds blowing over and then the later afternoon appearance of the black-bottomed thunder clouds. I will miss the desert sky of South Africa! It truly has been a 24-hour/7-day a week entertainment source for all of my time in Africa.

Fella, my neighbor’s dog keeps me company, and, as with all dogs all over the world, I suppose, LOVES to go walking. He gets all wiggly and bouncy when he sees me changing clothes for a walk. We have a great time and are doing lots of exploring.

I enjoy having this time to better watch the South African birds and study up on plants and trees. I’m saddened to think about how busy I get with school in session that I rarely take time to enjoy South Africa’s natural world. I guess as with my life in the States, I tend to put all my time and energy into my work. (I was hoping to break that nasty habit!!)

So, I’m on holiday! But you guys have some big holidays in a row too: Easter, Derby, Mother’s Day... Hope you’re enjoying it too!


Ok, here you’ll know I have too much time on my hands.
But this was my African sky, with a rainbow, and if you use your imagination,
and look to the lower-middle of the photo, you can see clouds that look like the shape of the African continent!

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