Birthday Weekend

Eleventh of September…my final day working at SANCCOB and my 22nd birthday! Waking up in the morning to a quiet house and no family to wish me happy birthday was very different. Well it just didn’t feel like my birthday at all. A big hug from Tamara helped though! It’s weird how much you wish for your family to be around you to celebrate your birthday. But I knew with good friends around me the day would be a great one.

There were a couple of other volunteers leaving on the day too. We were all thanked at the morning meeting with our SANCCOB vollie T-shirts and a warm happy birthday from everyone. With it being my last day I had a choice of which section to work in for the day, so I chose to work in Pen 3, the section of penguins who are near to being released back into the wild. It was a brilliant last day. Many laughs, photos, cake, brownies, hugs, goodbyes and of course penguin poo. Looking back over my time at SANCCOB I realise how much fun it really was, despite my moaning at the long days, all the cleaning and the penguin bites, I appreciated every moment and it is an incredible experience that I will carry with me forever. Thank you so much for this opportunity!

As my last day drew to an end and I said my goodbyes to the amazing staff and volunteers I was excited to get back to the house to celebrate my birthday with everyone at AVIVA. I was greeted by the lovely people staying with me which made my day, including a beautiful bunch of roses sent by my boyfriend. Such a surprise! Beautiful Norwegian Marte, whose birthday is tomorrow, was also celebrating tonight with me. We were both cooked a delicious green thai curry by Tamara, with some fruity vodka cocktails to get the night started. Unintentionally we threw a mini house party to warm the night up, and a few from SANCCOB joined. Dancing in the main lounge with good people and dressing up for the first time here, it felt great! I Skyped my family just before going out into the city which was lovely to see them but not the same as being around them for the day.

We all headed to the club, Tiger Tiger, which was weirdly placed in a mall out-of-the-way from the main strip of clubs on Long Street. But surprisingly it was a great night out. Cheap entry, cheap drinks, a packed out club, amazing friends and brilliant music made a perfect clubbing atmosphere. A birthday to remember whilst travelling around this beautiful country.

Friday – today was spent extremely hungover lying around the house all day. The evening Marte and I had planned to do a dinner party, although a couple of dutch girls kindly went out and bought all the food and cooked the whole house the meal. Chicken wrapped in bacon baked in a tomato and garlic sauce. It was so appreciated after a horrid hungover day.

Saturday – it was a strange day today. Good but strange. I woke up to a birthday surprise from Tamara to go have high tea at the Nelson Mandela Hotel in the city, but she was unaware of how popular the place was so our booking is postponed till next Sunday. Our plans changed to go to the food market, Biscuit Mill. Eleven of us girls caught the MyCiti bus to a place called Woodstock; as we were advised to get off here by our landlady. Big mistake. As soon as we released where we were we knew we weren’t safe. White girls, dressed up fancy wandering around looking obviously lost. Woodstock; a place known for gangs and the homeless, and where the main station for the train lays. Trains are something white people in South Africa just do not use, they’re known for being unsafe, especially as a tourist. The smell in Woodstock was horrendous, almost like rotting bodies. We quickly turned away and caught the next bus into the main city.

With such a big group of girls I felt claustrophobic and needed some quiet time so Tamara, Marte, Ana Sofia and I changed our plans again and headed to Camps Bay for some lunch and to enjoy the beautiful beach. We ate at a Greek restaurant, Mezzepolis, where I had a chicken and haloumi wrap and the most amazing grilled sardines. I find it weird how tourists, including myself, visit a country expecting to eat culturally different food, originating from that country, but you end up eating the complete opposite. Most of the restaurants that lay along Camps Bay was either Indian, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, and Greek. It makes me feel guilty at times that I am not indulging in the good food that Cape Town has to offer, but it is difficult when you are unsure on where to get the best food on a tight budget.

Today, Sunday, has been a lovely chilled day around the house. The weather is really starting to heat up in Cape Town now. Ana Sofia and I went for a run whilst our laundry was on. I’m sure you all didn’t need to know that but lately I have been struggling to run. With limited light in the evening once I am back from work I don’t particularly want to risk running in the dark. Going from home where I was constantly running on the forest with my mum to no running I have found really difficult; emotionally and physically. So todays run has made me feel like my normal self again, awake, refreshed and full of energy. Ready to start a new week this week where I will be joining my next volunteering programme TLC.

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