Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sure, I'll cut your hair...

Africa Journal - January 31, 2011

Another successful day in Kokstad today. I’m still not a big fan of the city but it’s growing on me…and the more time I spend in Tabankulu, the more I appreciate Kokstad.

Most importantly – we have tickets back to America in March! Ironically, they are the same tickets we originally had from Cape Town to Geneva, so it will be interesting to see who else from the original team ends up on our flight, since Sam is already back in Switzerland and Maite is staying in J-Bay to do a DTS. It’s amazing that in a month we’ll be home and not being able to travel at the end doesn’t bother me at all, I am just ready to be back in America again.

This morning, on the way to Kokstad, we saw a group of women standing on the side of the road with orange highway cones on their heads. Sunday, I cut David’s hair with a pair of safety scissors. South Africa is up in grief because Nelson Mandela was in the hospital. All of Egypt is on strike. I miss the normalcy of life in America. I have a compulsive need to “nest.”

We’re watching WWE Raw. TIA.

Monday, January 30, 2012

So Long, January

This was a lazy weekend for us - I didn't work at all, so we actually got to spend some time together around the house hanging out on Saturday, and went to church, the gym and dinner on Sunday. We also got to try our hands at a few new recipes and do some much-needed relaxing.

Somehow, this must be exactly how I spent my time exactly a year ago, becuase my journal jumps from Jan. 26 to Jan. 31. Perfect! I guess the end of January is just consistently a time when I burn out :)

Jan. 31, 2011
Today is/was D-Day for going back to Godeka. We spent yesterday getting everything here cleaned and packed up and celebrated our last day with a bottle of wine and 2 Steve Martin movies. I woke up early this morning with every intention of taking 1 last bath before running to the store for apples/pears and was mentally gearing myself up for the dreaded bakkie ride.

BUT as I laid in bed and thought about how we were going to try to figure out our airline ticket information over the phone from a place with no electricity, I began to get a little worried. We have had enough problems with the phone here in Tabankulu and we found out from Turkish Airlines yesterday that any changes to the reservation have to be done through the travel agent who booked them…which means we need to get in touch with someone from Burtigny.

So we are staying and going back into Kokstad tomorrow to use the internet and try to get all of this sorted out so we can get back to America one of these days.

I’m kind of glad for another day with electricity and running water, but I don’t feel like I am having the impact here that we do in Godeka and I miss the kids and our garden so I’m ready to go back up – especially now that everything is packed. Another day in Kokstad will be good though – David can get a Heavenly Bar and we can try to make this trip as productive as the one on Friday, when we got David’s Polio vaccine (done and faxed to his dad), a bunch of groceries at Pick N’ Pay, Doxycycline, a newsletter mailed and ate a half a pint of ice cream and a quarter of a (huge) watermelon.
On a random note, yesterday when we were walking down the street, someone told us “thank you for being here.” We don’t do anything here except buy groceries and sit at the library but it’s a good reminder that we live in a fishbowl and people here are judging us as much as we are judging them. TIA.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Swing and a Miss

Today's last-year post is especially funny to me, since I have really missed Africa for the past few days. Isn't it funny how the grass is always greener on the other side....of the world?

Jan. 26, 2011:
Today has really been the first day that I’ve been homesick since we left in September. I miss the familiarity of everything about America – I miss knowing where to find everything I need and the convenience of having things of decent quality and a variety. Maybe I just miss the developed world but the more David and I have talked about the places we want to go and things we want to do when we get back, the more I just want to be home. I’m tired of living out of a suitcase and not having anything permanent, but the reality is that we may not have that for awhile. I know for sure that I’m sick of Tabankulu though. I’m tired of third-world dogs and the third-world stench and tjust the feeling of total hopelessness here as people sit around selling the same bruised bananas and rotten cabbages.

I had a productive morning and did laundry, which really makes me miss development. I can live without a dishwasher but doing laundry by hand is literally a pain in the neck. The sun actually came out today, so everything dried but it’s stiff and I miss tumble dryers. I also sucked it up and took a bath last night, but I think it was pretty pointless – even though it has rained for 4 days, I couldn’t get any water. Really?

Today someone was blaring “O Holy Night” outside, and we saw a man selling sticks. TIA.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Year Ago...

As we settle back into life in America, it is hard to believe that we've been back since March. And even harder to believe that only a year ago, we were trekking around South Africa. The difference in living styles is literally a world apart and I am shocked by how quickly we were able to jump back into the routine of normal, American life.

One of the best decisions we made while traveling last year was to keep journals. We tried to keep our blog updated when we had internet access, but it was spotty (at best) in Souoth Africa and having real, pen-and-paper journals proved to be a great way to record all the ridiculousness of life there, as well as random thoughts and feelings. I've been flipping through our journals lately, and really enjoyed comparing the current date with whatever we were doing exactly a year ago. How far we've come!

So, I thought it'd be fun to share with the rest of the cyber-world. Here is my journal entry from January 25, 2011.

This whole trip has become even more ridiculous. I thought we were leaving our crazy current situation (living in a thatched-roof hut with a loony Canadian grandma in an African village without electricity/plumbing or running water) for a little bit of normalcy. But, as I sit in an armchair with a TV tray (complete with doily) and watch “Street Lawyer” on a really fuzzy TV while listening to roosters crow, mosquitoes buzz and random American rap music blare from trucks outside, I realize that “normal” doesn’t really exist anymore.

We haven’t seen the sun since we got here on Friday – literally. It has rained and rained and rained and we’ve been stuck in this crazy house acting like old people. Cabin fever got the best of us a few times so yesterday we ventured out to the library in search of free internet. Fail. Today, we scoped out all the shops and were not surprised to find out that they all carry the exact same things. Various crème-filled cookies, canned meat, pilchards in chili sauce, corn snacks, soya mince, Robertsons’ spices, Aromat, pap, samp, flour, Jungle Oats, candles/matches, various strange-flavored candies, room temperature yogurt, milk-based “fruit” drinks, and the same fruits/veggies: cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, pears, cabbage, apples, plumbs and butternut squash. And sometimes beets.

Even though there’s not a lot going on here, it is good to get away. Ironically, I still haven’t done any laundry and I’ve only bathed once, so I’m wearing all my stinky clothes from Godeka until it stops raining or I get myself into the tub. I think that fact that I’ve been shuffling around in Yvonne’s slippers and David is wearing her pants for the 2nd day in a row really sums up our time here. TIA.

Monday, January 2, 2012

I'm Bringin' Bloggin' Back....

It's 2012, and that means I've abandoned this blog for...well, far too long. It's a new year though, and I am hoping that we'll have lots of exciting things going on this year to share with our friends and family. Here's to wishful thinking, right?

Merry Christmas, and welcome to 2012!