So, I’ve decided to start a new series where I tell stories from my life. It shall be aptly named Storytime. Shocker, I know. Hope you like it!
So I did this thing in my 10th grade year. It’s called exchange. Basically, if you’re unfamiliar with the idea, I spent 3 months living somewhere else. While on exchange, I actually ran a blog, and that was kinda my intro to the world.
It was a pretty crazy experience. I lived in South Africa. Imagine that for culture shock-small town Ontario to South Africa. The way my exchange worked was that it was run through the school, so I went to boarding school while I was there. Yet another adventure! And an all girl’s ultra christian school at that!
In all honesty, and I want to say this at the beginning because I’m not sure what this post will come off as, and I haven’t written about this before. Exchange was hard. It was honestly one of the most difficult things I’ve done. I’m awkward, and weird, and an atheist, and all those things certainly didn’t help. But I am so thankful for my exchange. I had amazing families, and met amazing people. I grew as a person. It taught me, more than anything, that though experiences may not always be fun, they are still worthwhile.
This isn’t going to be a post where I go through every detail of my exchange- It was 2 years ago. But it was a major piece of my life, and I had some pretty cool experiences and pretty awesome stories. This is going to be a single story from a single afternoon.
I attended a boarding school in a small town. The campus was beautiful, and the girls were nice, but it was weird because the amount we could leave campus was really limited-only about twice a week, and only for an hour or so. As someone who has decent free reign of their hometown, this was a rude awakening. But this isn’t the focus of my story.
Every afternoon we had tea with out house. It was actually a pretty fun tradition-hard to learn the ropes at first, but when I did, very enjoyable. We drank tea and ate toasties(toasted sandwiches) and chatted for about half an hour. Sometimes there were little cakes or cookies, and it was a gathering opportunity for the house.
Two weeks after arriving, I remember sitting around a small table with the other girls when I heard I scream and saw a few girls running off the porch(where the food was) and back into the house.
“The Monkeys are here.” one of the little 8th graders announced. Groans came from the girls surrounding me, and most started to file back to their rooms, giving up on tea and generally annoyed about the monkeys.
My friend from home and I, on the other hand, were fascinated. We’d heard of the monkeys-they were why we weren’t allowed to take fruit from the dining hall. Pressed up against the glass, we spotted them.
You see, when you first see them, you think “oh my god it’s a monkey!” which quickly turns into “Oh my god it’s a monkey!” When it hisses at you. Monkeys in Hilton are rarely small creatures-about the same size as a child. So when they bare their fangs and hiss at you, you. get. out. There are no questions. There are no debates. YOU GET OUT.
……..the girls in my house neglected to tell me this. So grabbing my camera, I go onto the porch. At this point, there’s probably 10 feet between me and this trio of fuzzy monsters. I take some pictures, and they’re content with the food they’ve stolen, sitting on the wall that surrounds the garden.
And then I hear a shrill scream.
The way the porch is designed, it’s half covered, with the roof partially jutting out over the porch. I was standing under the the roof’s edge, trying to take a picture. What I didn’t realize: Monkeys like roofs. Dangling directly above me, fangs out and eyes wild, is a monkey the size of a 10 year old. Hissing. At me.
As you can imagine, I screamed and dove for the door. When I got off the porch and locked every door and window I could, the monkey calmed down and just pillaged the snacks left on the table.
So that was my first experience with the animals in South Africa; let me know if you want to hear more-I’ve got stories about monkeys, a kudu, a klepto mongoose, some cheetahs, a lion cub, and a couple more.