Becca Cohen’s Blog

Fear is temporary, regret is forever

Today is the first day of class (sort of), but we’ve been told that some of the professors don’t show up and none of the South African students do. I suppose that’s a good thing, considering I have no notebooks or any idea where any of my classes meet (or what time).

I’ve created a top ten list to try to highlight the recent happenings:

10. Elsa and the Awesome Awesomes concert. My housemate Sven has a band and bought drums and a sound system. Our house was lucky enough to attend the band’s first performance, where he used chopsticks as drumsticks. The quirkiness and absurdity that ensued is evidence of our house’s uniqueness.

9. Engen Santos v. Orlando Pirates soccer game. We were warned not to let the excitement of the game distract us from taking in our surroundings, observing the crowd and understanding the bigger purpose of bringing white Americans to a South African soccer game. The game might as well have been any sporting event in the US, except we were the only white people in the crowd. We bought noise-makers and joined in on the ruckus, but the 25 rand ($2.50) tickets along with racial makeup of the crowd illustrate how the game is evidence of a racial and economic divide that remains so prevalent in this country. In a few weeks we’ll have the opportunity to attend and compare a rugby game.

8.Third class train ride home from the beach. Again, we were told the train ride was for the “experience.” A four-rand ticket ($.40) bought us a sardine-packed train ride with a broken door, people pushing and trampling their way to the front and many inquisitive stares from the locals. One woman remarked how “terrified” we all looked, and laughed hysterically at us. When it was time to get off, the locals made a barricade and pushed us out of the car. Somehow most of us made it out.

7. Picnic in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. We spent the morning preparing food and drinks and the afternoon relaxing in the beautiful gardens listening to live music. Since we didn’t buy tickets into the concert section of the gardens, we hiked down into the concert, hopping the fence, and making it in time for the encore.

6. Sea kayaking in Mossel Bay. Three friends and I drove down the Garden Route, along the southern coast of South Africa this week. Since it was too hot to ride ostriches (no joke) we kayaked in the Indian Ocean.

5. Sharing a dormitory in an old converted train on the beach with a middle-aged Dutch man. At first he was our only roommate, but when we returned later that night from our ocean-side moonlit dinner we found the stuffy train car filled with other American students.

4. Feeding and playing with elephants in the Knysna Elephant Sanctuary. The ellies were covered in mud, making us equally as dirty. The sanctuary demonstrates one of the tragedies of the past century, as the elephants are in too much danger to be left alone in the wild. It made me sad to see them enclosed and trained and knowing that this is a safer option for them.

3. Zipline canopy tour of the Tzitzikama forest.

2. DIY Safari. Wednesday night we stayed in a cabin on a remote farm in Knysna and Jen, the owner recommended a trip to Jubilee Creek. We took a wrong turn and ended up on a long, windy dirt road. We decided the road must lead to somewhere, and were determined to find its end. While we didn’t find any of the six original Knysna elephants that live in the forest, we did stumble upon wild cows, sheep, dogs, monkeys and baboons (all while driving on the left— and contrary to popular belief, I do have my license and did drive!).

1. Jumping off of a 216 meter high bridge. South Africa is home to the world’s highest bungy jump, and even though I had no desire to hang upside down in midair, I would never forgive myself for passing up the opportunity. While I found the freefall terrifying and somewhat suffocating, hanging amidst the coastal mountains proved to be exhilarating and liberating.



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  1. * Mom says:

    What amazing experiences you are having. I can’t wait to see all the pictures that go along with these adventures.

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  2. * Rachel says:


    I just sat down to give your blog my full attention and I am beyond impressed with all of your adventures!! I’m so happy that Capetown is everything you were looking for in a study abroad experience! It is no surprise that you are getting the most out of it and making the most of every opportunity. (Just one of the many reasons why I love you.) That picture of you bungee jumping is insane!! You house sounds like a true hidden gem and I can’t wait to see pictures of that secret deck and area outside where you all hang out!

    I can’t wait to read more about all of your exciting adventures!! Expect an email soon with my life updates and lets try to find time to skype!

    Miss you!!


    p.s. im obsessed with the title of this post.. so yolo.

    Posted 9 years, 3 months ago

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