Thursday, October 31, 2013

Kruger National Park | Mpumalanga | South Africa

This post is dedicated to all of the animal butts we saw on safari in Kruger National Park because, we saw a lot of them. In short, there were not many animals out to play, although we definitely got our fill of elephants. Those that were out, were quite far away and I was woefully unprepared as far as camera equipment goes (lesson learned). So, here's to the butts, tails and tailfeathers of Kruger National Park!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Panorama Route | Mpumalanga | South Africa

In what has thus far been my greatest traveling feat, I recently rented a car and drove aproximately 1570km (975mi) across the beautiful country of South Africa in just a week! I suppose I did not have many expectations going into my trip; I was simply looking forward to driving a car, on an empty road without fear of disappearing into a pothole (thanks Jakarta). What I got out of this trip was so much more. But for now, I'll start with the first portion of my trip.

I began my journey in Johannesburg. From there, there are two ways to get to Kruger National Park (where I was supposed to meet up with my safari): the fast way and the pretty way. Being that roadtripping was the main purpose for my adventure, I opted for the much longer, but worthy, Panorama Route; if you're here looking for this route on a map, scroll down to the bottom! More than once during my two day drive, I felt like I was in a car commercial, whipping around mountain curves surrounded by beautiful scenery, without another car in sight. Here are a few of the highlights:

I woke up a bit suprised on my second morning, to be surrounded in a thick layer of fog; I could see no more than 10 feet in front of my car. Unfortunately, that meant that upon arriving at my first destination, God's Window, I could not see a thing. Things cleared up as the day went on but I spent the majority of the day feeling like I was in a horror movie, waiting for something terrifying to appear out of the murky abyss!

If you're like me and couldn't find a map of the Panorama Route, here's a rough idea. It is, however, clearly marked on the road, no matter which point along the way you stumble onto it! Coming from Johannesburg, take the N4. Before you get to Nelspruit, head north on R539, towards Sabie. This turns into R37 then R532. Continue heading north. If you split towards Graskop, you will see signs directing you towards the scenic lookout called God's Window (which is off of r534). To finish the drive, merge back onto R532, which will take you past Bourke's Luck Potholes and the Three Rondawels. If you have the time, I would highly recommend meandering this way!

Monday, October 7, 2013

School | Swimming

Being in kindergarten, we got slated for swimming early in the schedule this year! Not wanting to find it necessary to rely on my CPR training, I swam with the kids each day. I am glad to report that we were incident free!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

School | The Giant Jam Sandwich

We've been learning about communities and how they work together to accomplish common goals. In conjunction with this study, we read a super cute book called The Giant Jam Sandwich, in which a town is infested with millions of wasps and the community must work together to make a giant sandwich that the wasps will get caught in.

As an extension, we worked on our procedural text type by writing down (drawing) the steps to make a jam sandwich. Our study culminated with using our recipies to make our own jam sandwiches!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Jakarta Timur | Indonesia

IES helps run a kindergarten for the children that live in the Nagrak-Cilincing area. We got to spend the day entertaining them and exploring their home. The children were of course, precious, no different than my students here in Lippo or those in my neighborhood in Salatiga, aside from the circumstances into which they were born. Here are some of their endearing faces: