Don’t mention the war

Let’s not talk about 2014.

Last I wrote, it was adventure station in the TK. I was finishing off my data collection in Mt Frere, knocking around in the mountains with Elvis and the hospitable locals, and ready to head back to the Mother Ship/City for some solid academic graft.

Since then, I have thought of a lot of things to write. Not many of them were funny.

Of the things I have written – not a lot had to do with the PhD.

In January 2010, there was a measles epidemic. Zithulele Hospital admitted the highest number of cases in the country. Store-rooms, matron’s offices were cleared out and patients packed in. Three of the professional staff came down with it and two were hospitalized. At the end of January, it was mostly over, and the team declared a second New Year on the 31st. When a year begins that badly, you should be allowed to start it over again.

By the same token, my 2014 ended last Sunday night, when I got on a plane out of Cape Town. On Monday morning, I got off in the Netherlands (having cried in most genres available on the in-flight entertainment), and installed myself in a suitably historic student town, where a friendly research center had offered me their library and a visa letter, for three months.

I’ve been here a week. I have a bike (ancient fixie with backpedal brakes), which I ride down cobbled streets to the market on the canals, for my weekly ration of boerenkaas. I’ve figured out the public transport system (not hard), and met some friendly Dutch people. I’ve installed myself in the loft of a 17th-century home, where I now sit, with sleet hitting the windows outside and a glass of red wine beside me. Leaving Cape Town at the start of summer, for a northern European winter, might seem a little odd, but it was completely necessary.

I haven’t figured out yet what this new blog will be like. I haven’t been able to fill out the profile information, because I keep expecting Chrome Autofill to add “Likes long walks on the beach and puppies”. I can’t decide right now if I’m laughing or…not.

Bear with me. It’s only been a week.


3 thoughts on “Don’t mention the war

  1. I spent a few months there as a kid – have family in Utrecht. Developed a correspondence for years with my “meester” (school teacher). I still get nostalgic at all the memories, so you are ouching off a few…


  2. Hi Kate, wishing you the best. Just a word of warning about your bike…. if you think its yours, lock it, otherwise accept that it will be taken by someone whose bike is behind a stack of 300 or so at he station. You are quite free to take the next one available in the stack, and that is not stealing, its just how it is…. we were told when I asked the question.


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