South Africa #13: The Great Romances

So like the previous 12 weeks in South Africa, this week was full of totally unique experiences. This week was definitely the week of my great romances (3), so hold tight. For my last week, I requested to Amore' that we spend as much time with her friends as possible, so I could not only meet my dream girl's  (<3 <3 <3) friends but that I could leave South Africa with a better sense of '(Afrikaaner) South African culture'. Not only did I learn a few things, but this week definitely taught me how to be a great host.
Amore' and I watching a sunset together before the party

Amore' and I kicked off 'immersion week' by going to a co-worker's dinner party the day before the public holiday (re: copious drinking). The party exceeded all expectations - Barry and his wife were perfect hosts and we felt pretty much immediately comfortable in their home.

Oh, and I met 'someone' (hissing noises from Amore') at this party and became glued to each other's hips. If anyone is surprised at the fact I met my South African boyfriend the last week I'm here, we should sit down and talk about the ironies of Lo's love life. Anyways, my 'South African boyfriend' is actually German and working in Hermanus, like me, for 4 months. Just his 4 months started a few weeks and ago and mine terminate next week. Of course :P
I'm preserving German boy's identity so he doesn't get stalked ;) 

So for those of you living vicariously at home, my SA boyfriend and I talked till 4 AM that night outside my place under a star lit sky about backpacking, science, travel, what makes us happy, etc. The next day at 10 AM because, you know, we're in love, we go hiking together all day in the mountains around Hermanus and ending up walking on the beach together. We then made dinner together in my kitchen because, ahem, we're in love. My German boyfriend kept rubbing his cheeks and saying things like "Ah! My cheeks hurt from all this smiling" (because...we're in LOVE!).

It's too bad that we have this thing called 'work' getting in the way of our great last week romance (Aw shucks!). It's okay we met for tea on the porch the next night and ... forgot to get tea (because we were so enraptured in each other... ). Instead, we talked to absurdly late hours, basically when both of our English started breaking down.

The artist and the physicist - friendship made in heaven (I'm not drunk.) 
My Ballroom family <3 
 Before you know it, it was Friday and that means the last ballroom dance for Lo. Fortunately, it was a cruise theme, and we had a blast (re:outrageously drunk again). I'm going to miss my Hermanus Ballroom friends so much - I'm so glad Lani taught a day class as SANSA so I was able to find a home in Hermanus ballroom. German boyfriend and I met up again after dance class to talk and enjoy each other's company till extremely late hours of the night. Just when you were getting attached to German boyfriend...

Pieter grilling lion steaks
Amore' (Great Romance #2) sweeps me off my feet and takes me away for the weekend to meet her friends near Cape Town. The first stop was at Dani and Pieter's place in a suburb near Cape Town. Once again, Dani and Pieter were amazing hosts - welcoming us into their home mid-renovations and organizing a braai for Amore' and me.

Typical South African breakfast, no big deal. 
A braai is a barbeque (BBQ) or cook out that takes place over several hours (I would say minimum of at least 4 hours). You invite your friends, you watch some rugby, grill lots of meat, and hang out with friends. This is not unlike SuperBowl Sunday. I had a lovely time; it can be hard sometimes not understanding a single word of what is being said in a room, but then I just start watching body language and facial expressions instead. And I must say, everyone was so happy and relaxed the whole time.

After the braai, we all went to a langram club. Langram is a South African specific style of ballroom dance, so your first thought is probably of a bunch of old people. Well, that's totally wrong - it was all young college students and modern pop music with flashing lights all night. I had an amazing time randomly asking different guys to dance; it was a very welcoming environment. The students there were GOOD too.. I was totally put to shame. Like guys picked me up, cradled me,  and spun me around mid-dance (... what?!). I also liked how when someone started speaking to me in Afrikaans (re:every time), I would yell "I'm AMERICAN" and it would be a jaw drop followed by "WHY ARE YOU HERE?". Amazing!

I'm going to miss this girl 
After a breakfast of champions (wine-cake-grilled cheese - book), we went to an all day wine and cheese festival near Stellanbosch. Thank you for this Amore' - I can now say I've experienced nirvana in the form of wine and cheese. I learned how to 'taste' wine (!!!!) and after all this time in South Africa, I can actually differentiate between wines (how cultured!).

When we reached wine-quota-limit, Amore' and I said our tearful goodbyes to Pieter and Dani and headed to Amore's uni friend Gudrun and her husband's house in Sommerset West. Cue the entry of my third great romance: their 2 year old daughter Ffion.
We were besties in about ~ 20 minutes


At Gudrun and Jesse's, we had another braai, but this one was more relaxed and family oriented. Ffion and I played rocket ship for what seemed near forever, and we all sipped wine and laughed outside while the meat and vegetables grilled. After an amazing dinner (!!!), we all watched Frozen together. Ffion was pretty much a perfect child - giggling and giving us hugs the entire time... she had more energy than I had (is that possible?).

This may not have been the most epic of my adventures this summer in SA, but I loved getting to meeting Amore's friends and their families. Everyone was so welcoming and both of her sets of friends were perfect  hosts... I've really learned how to treat guests this weekend!

Check out who the pilot is #SouthAfricanSafetyStandards
The next morning (Monday, our second holiday, woo!), Gudrun and Jesse surprised me (you know, the random tag-along American Amore' brought around) by taking me flying in their single propeller plane, which is something I've never done before. It was the beautiful clear day and I swear the sound track to fifty shades of grey was playing in my head (glider scene! Not the other ones!!) as we flew over the coast. We then hung out for a while at the flight club (re: I played with Ffion for hours) and enjoyed the morning and afternoon.

And now.. I'm back in Hermanus. I leave Wednesday night, so I have two more days of work (pshaw, right?). I had an amazing week full of these great romances... Pieter would probably say that Rugby is my 4th great romance. It's been so wonderful being here, and the memories from this week are some of the ones that will stick with me the longest.  I know I'm a broken record, but I am SO lucky to have such wonderful friends. Amore' has been a huge part of my trip to South Africa and an amazing hostess to me for months...  thank you Amore'!!!

So now that I'm in host-karma debt, you all should come visit me in Michigan/at my new job out west this Fall :)
Another beautiful day in Hermanus


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