Friday, July 30, 2010

Sponsor and Driving

When you join a ‘Mission Community’ you are welcomed by a Work Sponsor and Social Sponsor. The work sponsor is usually from your own agency and there are a bunch here… and just to name a few. CDC (Centers for Disease Control), Peace Corps, APHIS (Plant and Animal Services), Agricultural Affairs, and well the whole Alphabet Soup of agency acronyms you can imagine. I can’t even keep up… and I get a dull blank look when someone tells me where they work… in letters and promptly forget.

Lea and Jan, Piecemakers
The work sponsor is out of our control, of course. But I took matters into my own hands quite by accident, before we even left the states. We were of course copied on the Mission newsletter, and I noticed a group of quilters/crafters met regularly. So I emailed the contact person and began correspondence. Her name was Jan and her husband is a Colonel in the military. They have lived all over Africa, (and other places abroad as well).

Jan has been instrumental in maintaining my sanity here. She calls every few days and we make an appointment to go out and about at least one day a week. Between that and the Quilting Bee (Piecemakers) she started; that meets on Fridays, I have 2 day of interaction.

Yesterday I picked Jan up in “my” car, (she said she would be willing to ride with me as I gained more experience driving on the right). So I did the driving yesterday. It was a very good day!!! I picked her up at her house at 9, I was early… in case I got lost… and from there she took me to the market that will try and order in some American foods. They keep a shelf stocked with some Old El Paso Mexican foods, some Campbell’s soups and some cereals. I know there are more foods, but we weren’t shopping so I don’t remember others. I think I will go back and see if I can get a case of Cranberry Juice. That would be 6 gallons. I have only been here a month and I miss it already! I find the fruit juice here too sweet. Most are combined with a grape or apple juice, even the orange juice is a blend. I miss the fresh tart tangy taste of unsweetened Cranberry Juice!

After that we went over to a small hardware store and a small nursery for plants. I have large yard that has minimal landscaping, so need to add some plants. We then drove out of the city limits to a much larger nursery that has a gift shop and a café on the premises. Very nice and decent plants for sure.

We then came back into town and went to the Brooklyn Mall. A very nice mall with some nice shops. It is an upscale mall with some of the better stores to shop in. Before we left I came home with a grater!!! And some groceries, I have mentioned in the past that most of the Malls, indoor with escalators and elevators have grocery stores in them too.

Jan and I also needed to visit the nurseries, because Jan will be going home soon, back to the states, and she has offered me all of her potted plants (both indoors and out) so I will have a huge jump on plant-scaping the house. I do miss plants and maybe they will help to take some of the noise sting out of a concrete and tile house that echoes every sound.

So when I had a chance to return Jans hospitality, I jumped on it. She has a dog, that needed to see a Veterinarian that is sort of out there in the country and you feel like you are in the wrong place going there. I have already had the pleasure of visiting for some dog food for Axel. His Canine Dermatologist Dr McKay in Chicagoland had already established contact for us. So when Jan had to take her dog Ozzie in today I offered to go along and be her navigator. So we dropped Ozzie off and on the way back stopped at a new mall and killed a couple of hours window shopping and stopping for a cappuccino break.

Jan has been indispensible as a sponsor. She is willing to share all her knowledge and tricks for making the transitions totally painless, and she said my driving wasn’t bad either!!! All in all a nice way to spend the morning for everyone, except Ozzie.

More Later- Beth

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Few More Things...

There have been so many things that have been happening since we arrived. Most of it seems inconsequential… or part of everyday life… and then I think, I wouldn’t do this or see this in Chicago or any other city in the states for that matter. Of course getting into the house was the primary issue, and now that we are here, there are some interesting things. Like the telephone. We still don’t one, but we have the wires. They came on Thursday last week and pulled them from the road into our little compound and then into the house. We are now waiting on telecom to come and splice and create connections to plug the phone in. Once we get that we can have ADSL Internet; maybe not at the same speeds as we were used to in the states, it will be better than the 3G/Edge Network we get on the Aircard.

We don’t have TV yet either, and I think I might have mentioned that in another post. I thought TV, Internet and Telephone were all delivered by the same company. Wrong. We can have TV, we just need the TV. It wouldn’t be so important if we had Internet that was faster or a signal that was split-able. We have 2 TV’s coming in the Sea Shipment, but by the time it gets here… besides that DH really wants a Flat Panel, so I don’t know what we will do with the 36” 200 pound CRT (tube) TV when it gets here… But maybe we’ll think of something.

I have started a list of things to write about… some of it is just stuff, but I have 2 other headings “Things that look the Same but Aren’t” and “Things I Really Miss”, I’m sure I will think of other categories later… but so far I only have the 3. Under the heading of ‘Things I Miss’ is a sponge. I know we have gone away from natural sponges for everyday cleaning, that is not the sponge I am missing. The type of sponge I miss are the ones for cleaning or wiping things up. You know the O’Celo brand, that come a package of 6 in those bright colors, lime green, purple, raspberry… about 3 inches by 4 inches and about 1/2 inch thick and not to terribly expensive. Here the kitchen sponges are that fake foam sponge with a green scrubber on one side. I hate this kind. They tear and rip at the slightest rough spot, the green scrubbie part lets stuff cling to it so it never really looks or gets clean, and spreads more water around than it soaks up. You can find them at the Dollar Store too. So today I was emptying the last suitcase. It was a carry on and had all the technology related gadgets in it. I wish I had unpacked it sooner!!! I found a new sponge and a ‘Magic Eraser’ I threw in just in case!!! I hope the Air Shipment has some surprises like that in it too!

The same weekend we moved into the house, we had signed up for an Embassy sponsored tour of Pretoria. It was about 6 hours and included a stop for lunch. We really wanted to back out, but we didn’t want it canceled for the other 2 that had signed up. Anyway, we were shown some of the historical highlights, government buildings, and major areas of commerce. All in all a good grounding geographically for me, so I can learn my way around the city.

I wish I could share pictures. But I will wait until we have a better Internet connection and then I will overload it with pictures!

Before I go, I wanted to say thank you to everyone that is following, reading and commenting!!! And welcome to Pam, Linda, Wanda and pajtr. Check out Pam and Lindas blogs… they are both about cooking!!!

That’s all for now, more later.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Quilt-y Post

We have been here 3 weeks now and I suppose I should include a post about quilting. Actually I have lots of stuff about quilting… to tell, but I am going to start back in Chicagoland…

My "Bee" Quilt
I want to share with you the Bee I belonged to Near Chicago. I joined the Bee sometime in the summer of 2008 and have met with these ladies on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month. We became very good friends, as our bee name suggests -Piece n Pals. There were 9 or so members, occasionally we were above that… We have Susan L, Susan B, Peg G, Pegg H, Sandy, Lynda, Ute and Janel and myself.

When I first joined we would meet at one and stitch and chat until about 3, during the visit the hostess would serve refreshments… then we started to meet at noon and the hostess would serve lunch. Oh and what a treat the lunches were!!! And again we would stitch, and share and chat until 3. Often when one of us wanted to go shop hopping there was at least one or more members willing to go along for the ride if not to shop as well and sometimes it was the whole group.

Sometime around the first of the year it was proposed that we all swap a block and ‘Stars’ was the theme. I knew I was in for a change, and opted to not participate… but I was eager to see what everyone was doing and since I wasn’t participating, I was able to peek in the boxes.

My last meeting with the bee was on June 16th. We met at Sandys home, where she served a fabulous lunch and then we moved out to the deck for some of the wonderful summer sunshine, (I understand it was the one of last moderate days). Before Sandy let us go outside, they had me sit in a chair and presented me with a gift bag… It was large and I bet most of you can guess what was in it!!! Yep a QUILT!! Not just any old quilt, it was a BEAUTIFUL Red, White and Blue Stars quilt! And it is absolutely beautiful. I do not have it here with me yet, it is on its way. I can hardly wait for it to get here. I think I have decided to use it on one of the sofas (of course I have to see what they do for curtains in the living room) with my quilt from the Nebraska Guild or Red and White fabrics… to commemorate my years living in Nebraska!, otherwise I think I will hang it up in the upstairs landing.

Label on the back of the quilt.
Each member made a star in red, white and blue using the star they were making in the swap. The setting was designed by Ute and Susan L, and the quilting was done by Sandy. On the back of the quilt is a label and each one signed the quilt next to the block they made! It is so unique, that I will find myself showing that off to everyone as well.

And just in case you can’t tell I love the quilt and THANK my wonderful friends for the beautiful thoughtful gift from their hearts and hands! I do feel truly blessed and fortunate to have met these ladies and was able to spend some really fun and interesting hours with them!

One item in the category of The Same but Different:

Is the Internet here in South Africa. I won’t be posting too many pictures… (and if I do, will be low quality), we are finding that uploading pictures takes up all our air time on the aircard… Here in South Africa, you buy your Internet by the Megabyte or Gigabyte… not by the month… and some of the services say when you are out you are out for the rest of the month. We are currently on an aircard (3G), which is very sloooow, because we don’t have telecom at the house yet. That means we don’t have telephone, TV or Internet. We are hoping to have that next week sometime. On Thursday they pulled the wires into the house… after they pulled them through the driveway. Now they just have to schedule the Telecom company to come out and splice the wires to hook the phone up… and give us a number, (apparently they are very similar to the US in the scheduling department, it’s a big maybe on exactly when). Then everything else can move forward.

More Later!!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Odds & Ends...

Yellow (immunization record) Card
In my last post I alluded to a Medical Orientation which we went to. At this meeting we are informed about the Medical Unit at the Embassy and the medical staff as well as the services available to us. The first visit to the office, my appointment on Monday, was to go over my immunizations. Since we had our Medical Clearances done by our private healthcare providers, immunizations were not done. NOT that we had to have any special ones to live here, but if we plan to travel…. There are several that are advised and one is mandatory. So we now have an immunization card, which must stay with the passport in the event we travel to a country that has one or more of the diseases we have been immunized against. So on Monday I began the process. In my right arm I had Hepatitis A & B and in my left arm Typhoid. Next Monday I will be getting more…. One of the immunizations, is for Yellow Fever, if you don’t have the inoculation and you travel to a country that Yellow Fever is still active in, you may not be able to return to South Africa (there are several other countries where it is the same). I also need to have a blood test to see if I have an antibody regarding medications for Malaria. There are 2 immunizations I don’t have to have- Tetanus and Rabies.

I have to say the Nurse, is very good with a needle. I did not feel the shots and the residual knots in my arms were not too bad, although I did feel them when I was putting our things back into some order after the movers finished…

Yesterday, I spent a good part of the morning getting started! I had more fellows showing up with the stuff that wasn’t delivered with the furniture… Garage garbage cans, lamps and lamp shades, etc. Then, a team to do the inventory (scanned with a bar code reader) and then the supervisor came by just to make sure all was well.

The Welcome Kit mop and broom
I needed some cleaning supplies… that I really didn’t know I needed until I saw the floors bare. I don’t think the floors were mopped… ever! The entire house has tile floors. So off to the store for some much needed floor care, bathroom cleaners, bleach, etc. Got back home and proceeded to sweep and mop the floor. It took all afternoon. They brought a vacuum with the new household goods, but after using it for about 5 minutes… I got the broom out. Not like a broom I am used to and I am so looking forward the Air Shipment, because my house broom is in it!!!, along with a brand new Libman house mop!! The mop head provided is a string mop, not so bad but it is huge. It is so large I cannot grab the whole thing in 2 hands. I have to wring it out in sections. So I started in the scullery and kitchen, moving into the living room and the rest of the downstairs, moving and arranging the furniture as I went. A HUGE job. Next - the upstairs floors!!!

I had dinner all but ready. I boiled a chicken for chicken soup on Sunday, so all I had to do was add the veggies and the chicken. It was ok. Didn’t taste like chicken soup at home. I am going to have to work on the flavor part. The kitchen is limited, not as limited as the hotel kitchen was; and I am trying not to buy what I have coming in the Air or Sea Shipments.

And lastly! I love the comments!!! I reply to those that have an email address in their profile, but some alas, don’t allow me to reply. So, please if you would like a reply, put your email address in your comment! Any way-

Trish: Left a comment about guest rooms. Yes!!! I have 2 and they are waiting for occupants!!! Africa is truly an unexplored vacation MECCA, but I recommend that you have at least 2 weeks, you will most likely spend your first day or two napping… to turn your body clock around. We are 6 hours ahead of NY time… and more the further west you go.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

and then everything CHANGED!

So, before I continue the HOUSE saga… I must say I am going to have to post more than one blog entry a day in order to keep up… (I think)… I wish I had pictures of the before....

So, what changed yesterday? EVERYTHING in the house. I had to make a run over to the Embassy for a medical consult, (everyone has to do this) and start some immunizations, (more about that another day). TheKitchen, and the new side x side refrigerator with ice & water through the door is such a HUGE improvement over the one they removed!

The Skullery- you can't see the washer that is next to the Dishwasher and the dryer is across from the dishwasher.

While I was gone, DH was checking with agency he works for about the furniture in our house (there are several agencies attached
to the Embassy and not all share the same furniture pool).
The furniture delivered belongs to the State Department and not the furniture we were supposed to get. So we make arrangements for me to home on Tuesday for the switch… so we are done at the Embassy and we get a call, the truck is waiting at the house… how soon we can be home. So we ditch the plans for lunch and headed for home. The living room, the lamps are going back as soon as there is something to replace them with. They are just not right!

Now all this is several hours after a fellow shows up here in the morning with a ladder that they forgot to leave on Friday (before we moved in), which I signed for. So, they tell me all the furniture is going back on the truck; the greenish tinged with gold upolstered sofas, the brown recliner, the dining room table and chairs, side board, china hutch, dressers, night tables, bed frames and mattresses… and the appliances, (not the built ins). So that means… finish drying the load in the dryer, strip the bed, unload the refrigerator, check all the drawers on all the furniture, lock the cat in the bathroom and Axel in the rear courtyard.

So then a swarm of men come in and carted every stick of furniture outside. And then they pick up all the area rugs. I can now see that the entire floor needs to be mopped, upstairs and down. But there isn’t any time for that because a truck is backing down the compound drive. It is full of the furniture we were supposed to get. So while the old furniture is being wrapped and loaded on to the first truck, furniture is being unloaded and unwrapped from the second truck. Talk about some chaos in the drive! So Now I have a whole new house. Needless to say I didn’t get anything else done yesterday!!! The lanai through the French-ish doors.

I have to say the furniture is better. The living room is now leather and wood, no upholstered stuff, great if the cat decides to venture downstairs. The dining room doesn’t have a china hutch, much better since I really don’t have anything to show off in a glass fronted hutch. The table seats 8, without a leaf, so I don’t need the extra chairs. Upstairs we have book cases, beds and night tables. Our room does have a new highboy dresser. The dining room table, chairs with a book case in the corner.

The warehouse manager said he would look for some rugs for us at the warehouse. The noise level has increased considerably, since we have tile throughout. Otherwise we will have to purchase a few. When I mentioned that to DH, and that a Persian would look great… he said that would be nice!!! I have always wanted one… I have some rugs coming in the Sea Shipment, but it was just released yesterday… so it is still 3-6 months out. Incidentally the Air Shipment was also released yesterday, so we have at least 3 weeks to see the stuff we really can’t live very long without… it’s been 2 plus weeks already, and 3 more or less to go. Although so far I have been busy enough to not really miss it and really happy that I didn’t have it all unpacked already and had to pack it all back up yesterday.

In most of the photos that show a window, you will notice sheets for curtains; I was told today that they should be replacing with real curtains next week! We said we could deal with that if it got us out of the hotel. You will also notice in the pictures that there are lots of bars on the windows and doors. One thing for certain, we are secure here. In addition to the security bars and doors, we have an alarm system with panic buttons at various points in the house and a portable one to carry. In addition to the house security, our home is in a compound with 3 other homes (empty still); at the entrance we have our own guard. You don’t get in unless you have a gate clicker or he announces you (by intercom). We have a guard 24 hours a day! The American Government takes security very seriously. This is the front porch, the door is open.

OK that’s all for today… More tomorrow or maybe the next day….


Monday, July 19, 2010

House and HOME

Woooo Hooooo!!!

We are in the house! Since Saturday. Granted it’s much like camping out as we only have the bare essentials… We are provided most of the furniture and eventually they will give us proper curtains. We said we would rather live with the makeshift curtains than spend any more time in a hotel and the animals at the kennel. Granted, they were well cared for, but it is evident that they missed us. DH even admitted to missing the dog… the cat not so much.

Back to the house… We have been provided with the ‘Welcome Kit’ which consists of essential kitchen wares… some plates, mugs, bowls, pitcher, pots/pans and utensils dish rack/drainer, a toaster, tea kettle, and a 12 cup drip coffee maker (can you say hallelujah?). The kit also contained a couple of towels, face cloths and hand towels, and the kitchen. We have sheets and blankets for the bed too. As we left the house in Chicago, there were a few towels… and rags that got stuffed into the luggage… so we have a few extras to toss around.

A tour of the house let’s begin with construction. Brick with a stucco/concrete finish, so all the walls are very thick, inside and out. Other than exterior doors and a bathroom door, there aren’t any doors on the first floor. We have 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. A ½ bath downstairs in the house and a full bath behind the garage outside (for the help) and 2 upstairs. I don’t care how dirty I was, I would much rather stay dirty than use the outside bathroom in the winter!!! The house gets cold enough with heat… there isn’t any heat out there, NONE of the bathrooms have electricity outlets in them and the light switches are on the outside. All the ceilings are 10 feet high with halogen lights inset… similar to can lighting and very bright.

Also downstairs is the kitchen and scullery (kitchen sink, dishwasher and laundry is located here). The kitchen has granite counters and very Scandinavian cabinets. We have a peninsula for two also granite. All the appliances are provided.

We have a proper living room, sands TV… it is coming in the SEA Shipment, (3 to 6 months away), so DH says he is going to get a flat panel from the Diplomatic Store (yes we have a store for just Diplomats), once we get our Diplomatic ID… well and cable and telecom… which will be in ???? days…. No ETA on that yet either. We have internet because we have an ‘air card’ that is slower than molasses in January! The furniture is a sofa and loveseat in greenish tinged gold… a recliner in rust brown, a TV credenza that will also house the VCR… etc. 2 square end tables, a coffee table and an area rug in basic beige. We have 2 end tables but only one lamp with a cord too short to use on either end table…

We have a full dining room, with a table and chairs for 8, with a leaf but if we put it in… we don’t have the extra chairs… a china cabinet and a side board. I may need the space, for the dishes that don’t fit in the kitchen. There is also a little space that we are contemplating setting up as a reading/conversation area.

Next is the enclosed lanai, with 2 sets of French-ish doors leading out to it from the living room and the dining room… a table and chair set that is almost too big for it and a built-in BBQ (Braai). From here you can go out into the yard. It is very large, if plain. I need to see if I can make any adjustments to it; with more plants and landscaping. Sprinklers are built in too.

Upstairs is a very large landing that houses a writing desk and a book shelf. There are 2 guest bedrooms with huge awesome built-in closets with hanging areas and drawers, a twin bed in each and a dresser… The master has a built in closet with a small vanity between, and then you go around the corner and there is another huge set of built-ins for our clothes. There is a bed, (which incidentally was already made up for us… and 2 side tables with lamps and another dresser! Both of the bathrooms have a shower and a separate tub and the master one is huge.

So doesn’t it all sound fabulous? I was going to post some pictures of the inside, the furniture and share a bit more with you… but today it all changed!!! More about that tomorrow! (and until we get a better Internet connection... there may not be too many more photos.)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Catching up, again

Why do I wait so long to post to the blog? I could do something daily or every few days… but then I think something better will be happening…  I had some pictures ... of specific events to share but I can't find them... but my new lens (broke the 70-300 in the move) arrived and I played with it yesterday, so I added them here... and there in this post.

Last Friday I met with the local Piecemakers group! 6 of the ladies came plus the hostess. What a fun group of ladies, and like all groups there are varied interests. All of them are attached to the US Embassy, (several of them work there as well). All of us worked on our own projects and ate delicious treats prepared by our hostess, Agnes. We meet every Friday at different homes. Since I am not really driving, Jan came all the way down here to pick me up and then brought me home. I must say Jan has been more than generous in getting me out of the hotel and the 4 walls!!! I got much of my Snap Sack block pieced and this week cut out the other that I brought... the rest (10) will have to wait for the Sea Shipment to arrive in 3-6 months.

Speaking of shipments... our Air Shipment has been delayed.... and hasn't even left the states yet. There was a foul up in protocol, so while we are here... We really aren't here and without the announcement nothing else happens!!! No ID, NO house... no nutt'in!!! Hopefully this has been corrected by today and things can start moving forward.

We ventured out to the mall last Saturday for some specific items- Here the 'SIM chips/cards' in the phones need to be registered to help with cell phone theft issues. We had an unregistered 'SIM chip' in the old Blackberry (my phone). So we registered it.... long lines. We were wrestling with cracking/jailbreaking the iPhones, but because we did the iPhone update to 4.0 before we left... the jailbreak isn't available (yet). AT&T won't unlock the phones and neither will Apple, so you have to use a work around. Seems to me, that we should be allowed to use a piece of equipment, wherever we are and with which ever company we choose!!! So we are going to switch me to a Blackberry and try to sell our uncracked and slightly used iPhones... anyone interested in purchasing a 3GS iPhone? Send me an email.
(Photo is a street in Pretoria, no wonder driving is difficult, look at all the road signs).

Sunday, we went out to little town, (Dullstoom), in the country our friends took us too in January. It's about 2 hours away. I drove on the highway and into the town. It does take a little time to become used to driving on the RIGHT. To totally complicate the issue, in our car the (in some this isn't a problem), the wiper and turn signal arms have been reversed; so often I have the wipers going before I indicate I want to make a turn... but I am getting better with that. You must also change which lane you enter when making a right or left turn.... which can be very confusing unless you are following a car... the easiest way!!!

Monday and Wednesday were meetings at the Embassy for newcomers. There is a ton of information being disseminated... and no place or way to keep it organized!!! but we will muddle through. I forget what the meeting on Monday was about... so it must not have ranked very high on my remember list... Yesterdays was a Medical Briefing... what we need to know about the Med Unit in the Embassy, shots needed and where, and hospital and doctors in private practice here. Then a Security meeting that we were able to skip, we did it last week, then a Community Meeting where we learned about some of the social items... and then the HR meeting... most of it did not pertain to us... and was quite lengthy. (photo is an Ibis, they use the beak to find bugs in the dirt...)

Coming up is the Friday Piecemakers and a Wine & Cheese gathering at another Embassy members home, then on Saturday an Orientation Tour- Where we will get a ride around Pretoria.... It will get us out of the hotel for the DAY!!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Quilt shop and the rest of the week

Monday of course was a holiday, for the US personnel and that included us. One of my DH’s co-workers invited us over for dinner. James said the cost of admission was a 6 pack of beer, so we took some Windhoek beer. It is brewed in Namibia, a country to the north and west of South Africa. The beer has a very light but deep flavor and tastes very good. James and Mar started us with appetizers, and dinner was Pulled Pork BBQ and Burgers plus dessert. It was a very good meal.

Tuesday, my DH went off to work. While he went to work the mouse was off to play. One of the quilters here offered to come by and take me out for some girl time. So at 9:30 I was ready and waiting near the lobby for Jan to arrive. We hopped into her car for a ride out to a local quilt shop!!! It was about 20 miles from the hotel in a village called Irene (I reee neee). As you can see, it has a thatched room and not very big!! Just 2 rooms and full of fabric and notions.

It was a very nice quilt shop with a nice selection of US fabrics, notions and books. There were some Australian things too. I did bring some little things to work on, but of course in my haste and confused packing… they got stowed in the ‘Air shipment’, so I picked up a small ruler, some needles, a leather thimble (my favorite kind for hand piecing), and a spool of thread. The ruler was from Australia by a company called Sew Easy. There were some other sizes at the shop. All together I spent about R127, about $16 US.

For dinner we dined at a place called Café 41. On the menu was Ostrich Medallions in an orange and port sauce, which DH ordered. I had the special of Impala in a honey mustard sauce. DH and I shared the meals, so could each have Impala and Ostrich. It was very good. I would have either one again! Someday I will remember to take a picture of my meal before I start to eat it. (We have been back and have determined that the specials are better than the regular menu.)

Calla Lily

Wednesday- was getting registered at the US Embassy. We will be issued our Diplomatic Cards, which are similar to the Drivers License in the states… Official Identification and the ID Card for entering the Embassy with less difficulty than with the passport, which must be scrutinized. It pretty much identifies us as personnel or attached to the Embassy. We also had to meet with the Security Officer for a ‘Safety Meeting’ where they discuss personal safety tips. Theft is high here, purse, cell phone, camera are really high targets.

We tried to meet with the shipping coordinator, but she is out today… and maybe tomorrow. But without her, the Air shipment or Sea shipment will not be arriving. DH did bring home the welcome packet and we went through it last night, reading and looking over some of the information. Some won’t be relevant until you have the

Poinsettia Tree
item discussed- such as a house. Word has it that the house will be accepted today by the housing officer, (it’s brand new) and then hopefully soon we will have possession. (We won’t get the house until the end of July). Of course the next step will be the furniture and arranging it, which is all provided.

Thursday I stayed in and did a weeks worth of laundry. Ok… the washers work pretty close to normal, but the dryer… can hardly be called a dryer… over an hour and the jeans were still pretty damp. So jeans are hanging over the back of every chair in the room. I also got to visit the pets again. Not sure it doesn’t do more harm than good… Axel gets very upset when we leave. I just might start only going out once a week. It will just about kill me, but Axel might not feel so anxious… about seeing me leave if he doesn’t see me vistiting.

It is winter here... and I have found these flowers blooming around the hotel... More about them another time... but you can see there is lots of color here in the winter!!!

As Always more later.

Monday, July 5, 2010

First Few Days

It seems a little odd that one year ago I was nearly in the same place. I came to the Pretoria area last 4th of July to visit some friends of my DH’s. We stayed at their house and saw some of the countryside, animals and city life here in Pretoria. Temperatures seem to be a bit warmer this year than last… Our 4th was very quiet and that is a good thing. Before we left our neighbors were celebrating at odd intervals with fireworks that they are not supposed to have or fire off in residential neighborhoods, but of course the rules/laws don’t apply to them. It is the one thing I WILL not miss living here.

We spent the morning changing rooms. Last night someone and their large party checked in at 1 a. Noisy would be putting it nicely and would be a quiet description of the noise. I don’t think they met a door they didn’t slam, understand the concept that there were other people in the world at the same time they were or even the notion that the rest of us didn’t care if they were here or not. So we didn’t get back to sleep until after 3:30 and slept straight through until 9:30. So we missed breakfast!

I asked the front desk to move us to a quiet room at the back away from other guests, which they very kindly did. All the rooms are good sized. They have an entry hall that is wide with a small table for 2 and tucked behind doors is a little kitchenette. Complete with a sink and drain board, counter and small electric appliances such as a toaster, electric kettle, dorm size refrigerator and microwave. They also include some dishes and utensils. We brought with us a French press to make coffee, otherwise it is instant coffee and we just don’t like the stuff.

The main room has a small desk area, a sitting area with a TV and of course a bed. The closet is an armoire. This bathroom is larger and has a better layout. We traded a shower/tub combo for a tub and separate shower. MUCH better. We have a sliding glass door and very small patio, but we face a wall so it is much more private as well.
Tomorrow we have been invited to a day after BBQ. It is someone my DH works with and I have not met them yet. I have had a call from a Piecemaker (a local quilt/needle group), Jan and she has graciously offered to show me about on Tuesday and pick me up for the Piecemakers meeting on Friday. My Wednesday will be getting my ID and a couple of briefings on “how to” when living in a foreign country.

On Saturday we went to see the dog and cat… and are they really tired of strangers. The cat gave me the evil eye and wouldn’t even get out of the cat bed, but then I gave him some love and scratches in his favorite spots and he was a ball of purr. He even ate, he had the kennel folks worried because he hadn’t eaten. Axel on the other hand ate an entire bowl of food and was happy to see us and then began a scent search of the exercise pen…. And that was that. He was very upset that we were leaving him there though. I hope the month goes by really fast and we can all be together again.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable 4th of July!!!