I forget how energised and inspired I usually feel at this time of the year following the much-needed family time at home in the Eastern Cape during those one-and-a-half month-long December holidays. This year was very different for me. I had a 2-week long ‘winter break’ where I spent the first week trying to recuperate in bed from exhaustion in frigid Nashville. I spent the second week touring around New York – thankfully during a visit from my partner, who brought a feeling of South African comfort that I desperately needed after five months abroad. Much of my New York adventures were on foot, and so while the experience was incredible, I was exhausted when I arrived back in Nashville. Not the same relaxing family time that I would normally have had over December back home.
One of the hallmarks of being a Fulbright visiting student researcher is the opportunity to engage in invaluable cultural exchange experiences; I am grateful to do that during this time nine months that I am spending in the USA. When I’m not travelling through the USA, and instead have to knuckle down and get some work done, an average day entails a strict morning routine, block times for research throughout the day, and relaxed evenings. This vlog depicts an honest glimpse into a day in my life as a Fulbright researcher living in the USA, my apartment, my morning routine, and the stressful but exciting deadline leading up to my first international article submission.
The schedule on January 5th evolved slightly from its typical; let me explain.
I usually set my alarm for 05:45 in summer and 06:00 in winter and follow a strict routine until around 08:30. I always put my phone on the furthest table away from my bed because it forces me to get out of bed to switch the alarm off. I have a 10–15-minute quiet time first thing in the morning. As a former track and field athlete, I love doing a 30-minute or more home workout while listening to the radio. It’s a great way to energise, inform and prepare me for the day. I then drink my vitamins, shower, and make a straightforward breakfast of oats and coffee, which I eat while listening to a podcast episode. My current go-to is the Goop podcast. Once ready, I head to the library to start my work which is usually divided into set blocks of time. That makes my day significantly more productive.
The first slump of the day is at 12:30, so I usually go back home to eat and take a 40-minute nap. At 14:00, I wake up, drink a final cup of coffee for the day, and proceed to get through more work till 17:00. I prefer doing this work from my apartment, mostly out of habit, but also to maintain my workflow in cases where I have to continue working till later than expected.
At 17:00 I usually attend an extramural activity like choir, or a walk at the centennial park. When I’m in South Africa, these extramural activities also include pottery classes. Once I get back, I prepare a light dinner and binge on some YouTube videos, which over the last week has included the ‘day in my life’ vlogs of my fellow SAYAS bloggers. I begin winding down at 21:00 by gratitude journaling and filling out my planner for the following day, and once that is done, I head to bed.
Amongst all this structure, I have had to update my routine to make my transition to the States easier. I anticipate reshuffling and adjusting it once again upon my return to South Africa.