Monthly Archives: June 2014

Our Journey Back to MN

Here’s a video compilation of our long trip back to Minnesota from Port Elizabeth.  We flew from PE to Johannesburg. From Johannesburg we flew into Dulles (Washington, DC).  Then we got a shuttle from Dulles to National Airport to avoid a 12-hour layover.  Then from National we flew into Minneapolis.

You Studied Abroad…but what about ROI?


First 24

Moments of culture-shock durning first day being back in the States:

1) Just hearing one language, my ears are bored
2) How loud the commercials and TV shows are. It seems like everything is on level 10 and stays there
3) I keep going to the wrong side of the vehicle
4) No one is walking, I’m used to seeing many people walking to work, school, the store, and even on the highways people are walking
5) Where are the combies??? Seriously, I miss these guys.
6) Going to the grocery store made my eyes vibrate. All of our packaging is SO bright!
7) Wastefulness is everywhere
8) Americans really are loud
9) Our vehicles are huge
10) I’m handling US money like foreign currency

Everything is awesome

This makes me think of my time here at NMMU in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The group of fellow SCSU students I was here with were awesome. The students I met and lived with were awesome. The new friends I made at university were awesome. This was a dream of mine to come here and everything was awesome!!!

My heavy heart


As I get ready to leave South Africa my time could quite easily be consumed with marking a list of lasts.  But then I would forget to marvel in the beauty that each new day brings. I keep thinking that this is a bittersweet moment. However, today I had a realization, my heart is not heavy from sadness. On the contrary, I leave South Africa with my soul opened, a wealth of new experiences, and friends. My heart is heavy with love.

Africa Invents


South Africa’s Mining Industry

South Africa's Mining Industry

Culture Shock

Reverse culture shock is something our program at St. Cloud State University talked about with us since we signed up for our semester in South Africa. I’m re-blogging this post because I think the author grapples with this difficult to express topic. I’m not sure how I’m going to handle the trip home. Last year when I landed at the Minneapolis airport I cried. But as the tears flowed I had hope of returning for this semester. Last year when I was here I didn’t have the thought of I won’t be back because I fully expected to be back in South Africa for my internship. Now, I have a vague wish and hope to return but I have no plan to make it happen. So, in 12 days when our plane takes off from the OR Tambo International Airport I’m going to allow myself the moment to let the tears flow (much like they are doing now just thinking about it).


Culture shock is a funny thing.

For me it looks less like the resentment of American commercialism and the slight panic that occasionally sets in when driving on the right side of the road.

For me, it’s more that I struggle to do my laundry. (Don’t worry – I HAVE done it by now, tearfully so I might add.) I can’t throw away the now empty toothpaste bottle I bought at the mall in Pietermaritzburg. I’m having trouble deciding if I want to talk about South Africa and at the same time I don’t know how to talk about anything else.

And don’t get me started on maps.

Over the last few years “wanderlust” has become quite the fad. Dorm rooms are decorated with maps, hallways are lined with travel inspired quotes, and every Pinterest account has at least one travel board. I myself set a map as my Facebook…

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Wintry weather batters SA with rain, snow

Yes, it’s winter here in South Africa! Even more surprising to most people reading this is that yes, it snows here in SA! It’s not going to snow in Port Elizabeth at least not yet. But snow is in for forecast for some of the higher elevations. As sick as I am of snow in Minnesota, I’d love to see it here.

South Africa’s Talent Gap


Ethnographic Emergency

Quick, call an anthropologist!


Journey of a PhD student

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