Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Meet: Caroline!

This post is from my pal, Caroline, who is currently living in South Africa with her husband and cutie pie son.  She is a friend from my ECU days and I adore her blog.  

Hello friends new and old! Sweet Amanda invited me to guest post here for you today and I was more than delighted! I thought about telling you my life story but figured I’d lose you before I got out of diapers. I also thought about being quite sewious and thinking of impoytant things to say, but, I apologise, you just didn’t catch me on the right day for that. So instead, I’ve arranged a wee Top Ten for you, something I like to do occasionally, to share with you a bit about my life at the moment. 

I’m from North Carolina, but after living in Scotland for a few years and meeting my South African husband there (I promise, no life story!) we felt South Africa was the next step on the adventure of our lives, and we settled down here in a town called Gordon’s Bay, near Cape Town, in September of this year. The adventure has been a bit of a whirlwind so far, kind of like that last sentence, but I thought you might enjoy a few highlights of the explorations. Without further ado, here are...

Top Ten Things I Love About Living in South Africa So Far

10. Pick n Pay. While you American readers might think I’m referring to a shoe store...be ye not fooled! In this neck of the woods, Pick n Pay is a supermarket. It has lots of choices, pretty decent prices, and we get 25% back on the healthy food we buy because of our health insurance plan. Food is pretty important to me. I mean, I eat it pretty much every day, so this had to make the list.

9. The amazing stuff you can buy, right from the convenience of your car window! Wire and beads turned into amazing flowers... super hats... stylish sunglasses... car chargers for your mobile phone... Christmas ornament sized Disco balls... Beer bottles turned into really creative drinking glasses... It’s a plethora of haggling possibility! Where do these guys come up with this stuff? Don’t answer that question, it might be stolen.

8. The weather. I previously lived in Scotland. It is really really beautiful there, for sure. The weather, however, is tough to handle after four years. So I’m rather enjoying the sunshine and shortsleeves these days. (Remember, we’re in the southern hemisphere and it’s summer! Yeah!)

7. Learning Afrikaans. Ugh...what’s that? I’m so glad you asked! It’s a language derived from the form of Dutch brought to the Cape region of South Africa by settlers in the 17th century. I really like languages. In the area where we live, Afrikaans is the primary (default) language for a lot of people, but most speak English as well. However, some folks just speak Afrikaans, and others are just a lot more comfortable with it. So I’m enjoying making the effort, at the moment reading children’s books in Afrikaans, asking lots of questions, and laughing at the fact that our 15 month old will probably have a really good grasp of the language long before I will. This would be higher on the list if the funky sounds in this language came off my tongue a little easier.

6. Enjoying new brand names. Being in a foreign supermarket is one of my favourite things about visiting new countries...seriously. It’s like a whole new world of tasty possibilities you never knew existed. And sometimes the delightful brand names give you a good giggle. 

[insert Salticrax picture] Unfortunately this picture would not post, Caroline! :(  But, they look like saltine crackers.  What a name!!!

5. BRAAI. This is an Afrikaans word for when the goodness of meat meets the goodness of an open flame. You might call it barbecuing or grilling out. I call it tastiness personified. The South Africans sure are good at it. And it makes my husband happy.

4. The weather. Did I mention I used to live in Scotland? ;)

3. The sights, the smells and the sounds that come with getting it done the African way. This might mean you’re sitting at an old farmhouse-turned coffee shop in the middle of nowhere, and see a couple of girls laughing their way down the street, scaring people with a dead snake hanging from a stick. Ugh, what? You might see six gentleman in a township who’ve picked a shack up over their heads, and are quite literally “moving house.” I’ve seen some amazing art, like windmills and airplanes made out of recycled cans and placemats made out of empty potato chip bags. You might be challenged to think differently about ‘beautiful’ if you spend some time here. You might be challenged about what’s most important, or how much you have to be thankful for. You might be challenged to keep your food down. I suppose just about any challenge is a good one.

2. Being close to family. Why dis can’t be number one? A, because we’re still a wee distance from Mark’s parents in Bloemfontein (10+ hours driving) and even further from Mark’s sister, in Joburg. And B, because we’re closer to some family, but even further from my parents and brother and sister now, which is kinda hard!

1. Exploring this beautiful new place the Lord has planted us in. South Africa is absolutely breath-taking! It’s twice the size of Texas, full of lots of amazing mountain ranges and incredible coastlines, home to so much geographical and biodiversity...it is really like the world in one country. We’re excited about being a part of making a positive impact here. And so far, it’s good just to be here.

Thanks for letting me share, Amanda! Blessings to all of you, as your adventure continues!

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