Friday, January 28, 2011

Pretoria: Week 1

Well, we made it!! We just recently got limited internet, so this post will be quite long to catch you up. Hopefully in the future they will be shorter.

South Africa is beautiful. After a 15 hour nonstop flight from Atlanta, we arrived on Wednesday, January 19th. A little word of warning if you ever come to visit us: ** DO NOT sit in the back of the plane. The 777 was so bumpy the entire ride. Almost made it unbearable.** Our sponsor family took us to dinner that night and they have been a great help in getting us settled.

We are currently in “temporary” housing until our permanent house is ready (should be 2 weeks from now). It is a great house. Much bigger than we need or want. But the yard is amazing. We have a pool that I have been taking advantage of and the yard is huge with beautiful trees and flowers.

This is as soon as you drive in the gate

The pool

The "garden"

The length of the backyard with the garden at the far end

This is just off the kitchen. The laundry room and maids quarters building is to the right, just out of the picture.

The front yard

And we have come full circle through the rest of the front yard

We have spent the first week trying to find cars, get internet and cell phones, learning how to drive on the left hand side of the road, etc. There are many little stories in there, but I won’t bore you. I will just say that cars are super expensive here and it is hard to find a used car that will be reliable. Some of the most expensive cars are the Toyotas, Fords, and VWs. Believe it or not, we are getting a Mercedes because that is affordable and will hopefully be reliable!

We were able to go to Church on Sunday and think we will really like our ward here. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. There are several Americans, but it is mainly South Africans, which presents a bit of a problem because it is sometimes hard to understand their accents or certain words they use that are different. But I love the accent and wish I could pick it up myself.

Rather than continue on about what has happened each day, I have put together a list of things we have learned or want to share with you about Pretoria. I know there are many more to learn and I am sure we will frequently be sharing them with you.

PRETORIA LIVING: 12 Things We Have Learned

1. After a few days of driving on the left hand side of the road, you get used to it. It is getting in the car on the right side that is the hard part!

2. The Afrikaner (white South Africans) children DO NOT wear shoes. Anywhere. The mall, school, walking down the street, etc. Blows my mind.

3. Things at the grocery store are a bit different: mince meat= ground beef, streaky bacon= what Americans call bacon, treacle sugar= brown sugar (but still isn’t the same)

4. Beggars, hawkers and mimes at every intersection.

5. There are no outlets in the bathrooms, so I have to do my hair in the bedroom.

6. Weather is most like San Diego.

7. When someone tells you, “Now”, “Just now” or “Now Now” it doesn’t mean what you would expect. If someone tells you they are coming over “just now”, that could mean tomorrow!

8. Don’t ever order Iron Brew as a drink. You would assume it is their version of Root Beer. Big mistake! It tastes exactly like cough syrup.

9. Eggs are sold in the store on the shelf, unrefrigerated.

10. Nothing is the same here. I bought a Twix the other day for something familiar. It had the same wrapper, looked exactly like what I am used to, but tasted nothing like a Twix. And the ice cream is pretty nasty. Which makes me very sad!

11. You tip the parking lot “helpers” because they “help” you back out of your parking space (like its your first time backing up)! But hopefully they also keep an eye on your car so nothing happens to it while you are shopping.

12. Everyone seems so nice and friendly. It is going to be hard to remember to keep your guard up because there are real dangers here, it just doesn’t seem so on the surface.

We really are loving it here and are excited to see so much more of the country. Hopefully tomorrow we will get to go to a Nature Reserve that is about 15 minutes away that has giraffe, zebra, and other animals.

But of course we miss all of you too. So come visit!!

PS- Lee felt the baby move for the first time this week!! He acted like it freaked him out, but secretly I think he thought it was really cool!