Q&A with Elsa Ruth

Thank you to the people who sent these questions for Elsa Ruth to answer:

What is your address?

  • Scott Pryor
  • School of Engineering, Pietermaritzburg
  • Private Bag XO 1
  • Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg
  • 3209, South Africa

What holidays in South Africa are different from the U.S.?

It seems like they have most of the same holidays that we have. But they also have Women’s Day and Heritage Day. I don’t think they have Thanksgiving like we do. Yesterday some Indian people celebrated Diwali and had fireworks.

Did you observe Halloween or at least tell your non-American friends about the day and traditions?

They don’t do anything for Halloween here. We didn’t do anything at school. Some of my friends knew about it though. Our family went to the house of some American friends. We did a treasure hunt and found lots of candy! We also carved melons because we couldn’t find any pumpkins. Here are some pictures.

Tessa giving us instructions for the hunt.


Sophia and I are thinking about a clue.


Isaac and Simon are singing a song to get their next clue.


I think I see the treasure bag!


Candy and toothbrushes!


Carving melons.




What surprises you most about South Africa?

That they have roads. I didn’t think they were going to have roads. I thought there were going to be only black people. It kind of surprised me that the school isn’t a building you go inside of. I didn’t think I was going to learn cursive in Grade 2. I didn’t think there would be so many words that would be different.

What do you miss most about North Dakota?

I miss my friends. I miss bagels, Cheerios, English muffins, and cottage cheese. I miss my grandparents and teachers. I miss the playset and climbing lilacs in our backyard. I miss the public swimming pools.

Which South African custom would you like to bring home with you when you return?

I like that we have two breaks during the school day – a morning break and a “big break” for lunch.

Apart from the color of your skin, in what way do you feel different from your new class or play mates, or don’t you at all?

I don’t really feel that different but we have different accents; most people love my accent.

I am wondering how the violin lessons are going and what new pieces you have learned from your new teacher?

My new teacher is Ms. Louise. I have learned the first piece in Suzuki Book 3, Gavotte by Martini. My new teacher likes doing exercises like Chromatic Caterpillar. Last weekend I was in a recital at Durban Girls’ College where we go for lessons.



What are the trees like there, are they crazy?

They are! Lots of trees are very twisty. Some are thorny. Some are pretty. Some are really, really tall.








Are there lots of spiders there?

Yes, very, very creepy ones. Some have long legs and are hairy.

What is your favorite part of your day? And is it fun to be at the same school as your brother? Do you see each other much during the day?

My favorite days are the two days we have swimming at school.  I like being at school with Simon- it was nice especially on the first day. Simon and I usually see each other during the day but we don’t always talk to each other.


7 thoughts on “Q&A with Elsa Ruth

  1. I just love reading your blogs……like right now I am supposed to be getting ready to go teach my el class and instead I had to stop and read the post first. Thanks for sharing so much! Neighbor Gail in Minneapolis


  2. I also love reading the blogs and also sharing with my friends who enjoying hearing of all those experiences. Joshie and I miss you all and enjoy when we have a chance to Skype.


  3. Hello to Elsa and Simon! I remember when you came to the Southwest Senior Center in Minneapolis and gave us a violin concert. Your grandma Nancy is our PT. The seniors all were very impressed at your musical skill, and we all have been thinking of you and hoping you are having a wonderful time this year. Best wishes for a lovely holiday season!
    Kathy Webster, program assistant
    Volunteers of America Southwest Senior Center
    3612 Bryant Avenue South
    Minneapolis, MN
    USA 55409


  4. Thanks Elsa for the great answers and for the pictures. Sounds like a wonderful experience. My children who are the age of your parents still fondly remember the time they lived in Singapore when they were tour age.


  5. Hello Elsa Ruth! What fun to read your answers to all these great questions! We really chuckled at your melon carving, what a creative idea!! And they looked great! We were just talking about Cheerios at breakfast this morning…we hope you find some in the store or in a package soon! Thanks for the amazing tree pictures and your positive attitude shining through your words Elsa Ruth! We miss you all!


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