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Around the World With Dartmouth Lacrosse: Kelsey Johnson

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Hello everyone!

My name is Kelsey Johnson and I am from Hingham, Massachusetts. I am a Government major at Dartmouth.  For the past two months I have been living in Cape Town, South Africa with fellow  teammate, Kyra Hansson. We have a small apartment right in the center of the city with an incredible  view of Table Mountain. So far, I have absolutely loved living in the city and although I could explore Cape Town and its surrounding towns and beaches every day, I try to remember the real reason I am here-my internship. I work for Adidas in the trade-marketing department. The day-to-day work varies, but I have been able to work on some really cool projects while I've been here. In my second week in South Africa, I flew to Johannesburg with the marketing team to take part in an event where street lifestyle brands showcase their newest products and campaigns. It was a great experience and really interesting to see a completely different part of the country. Last week I helped prepare for an up-coming campaign featuring Haile Gebrselassie, a world renowned Ethiopian marathon runner. We had a photo shoot on the top of Signal Hill, a mountain situated next to Lion's Head and Table Mountain, and held a 5K race for winners of an in-store competition who got to run with the legend himself. I had the chance to speak with Haile about his training and marathon experiences and will never forget it!

A couple of weeks ago, Kyra and I were lucky enough to take time off of work and travel along the coast of South Africa on the Garden Route with teammate, Courtney Bennett. We lived out of our small rental car and various hostels for six days traveling from town to town along the coast. We met Courtney in Gangsbaai to shark-cage dive before we embarked on our trip. I was a little hesitant to do this at first, but as soon as I got in the cage and saw a great white shark right in front of me, I never wanted to get out. From Gangsbaai we back-tracked to Hermanus, a town situated in wine country. We visited a beautiful vineyard, La Vierge, and explored the markets and shops in the area. We next t raveled inland to Outdshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world. The day spent in Outdshoorn was incredible. Our first stop was Cango Ostrich Farm where we not only saw, but fed and rode ostriches and I have never laughed harder in my life. Despite their appearance, ostriches are really fast and I don't think any of us expected the wild ride we experienced. We also visited Cheetahland where we were able to interact with baby cheetahs and tigers. My favorite part of the day was when we rode elephants along a lake at a game reserve. They are such graceful, loving animals. Needless to say, after our day spent in Outdshoorn, I was quickly transformed into an animal lover.

On the fourth day of our trip we arrived in Plettenberg Bay where we visited two parks: Monkeyland and Birds of Eden. Monkeyland is the world's first free roaming multi-specie primate sanctuary where monkeys are taken to live in a free and natural habitat while learning how to be reintroduced to the wild. Similarly, Birds of Eden is a world-class free-flight bird sanctuary that houses over 3,500 birds. We spent hours in the parks, chasing after animals to get good pictures. Our next stop was Face Adrenalin in Tsitsikamma where all three of us bungee jumped off of the world's highest commercial bungee bridge. Looking back, I can't believe I actually went through with it, but am so glad I did. Overall the  trip was amazing and I feel so lucky that I had the opportunity to travel along the coast of such an amazing country with two of my best friends.

Since our Garden Route trip, life has been back to usual in Cape Town. This past weekend, we hiked Lion's Head with Nikki Dysenchuk of the men's lacrosse team, and attended an Ajax CT soccer game at Cape Town Stadium. It's going to be really hard to leave in less than a month, but I can't wait to get back up to Hanover and start the 2012 season!