Tuesday, March 31, 2009

6 Months

Well I can’t believe we have been here 6 months…the time has flown by. Which I guess is good, that means we like it and are enjoying our time instead of counting down the days to go home! Things here have become normal and we love it. When it comes down to it my life really isn’t that much different here than in the US… chasing kids, being the taxi driver back and forth to school and other activities, hanging out with friends. It is just the environment. But you quickly realize that no matter where you are, people are the same, moms are the same and care about the same things.

Well we are just about to finish up the first term of this school year and April 3. The second term will start back up on April 15th. Aiden is still taking golf lessons. They both are taking swimming lessons and music. Now next term they want to get into gymnastics. I am taking tennis lessons which are a lot of fun. The boys have made some great friends and so have we. Scott works alot but is enjoying his evening and weekends with the boys and friends. This weekend he is going to play some golf for the first time! We are headed into fall now and the evenings are getting chilly. During the day it is still warm and sunny.

During the school break we are going to do some fun things around here as well as head to St. Francis Bay for a few days just before Easter. That should be fun! We are planning lots of other weekend excursions and longer trips for when we have visitors coming.... we would love to have anyone come visit! I already feel like I am running out of time to see things before we head home. I know when we lived in Georgia there were lots of places that were on my list to see and we just never made it .. here I won't really have the opportunity to come back some other time so I am packing it in.

Since I was writing this post I thought I would go into some of the everyday life things and try to give you an idea of what it is like here.

The language here is different… they speak English but with an accent, sort of a British/Australian mix I would say. Very nice actually. The boys haven’t picked it up quite yet but they use the terms from here. Most people also speak Afrikaans, I am often spoken to in afrikaans and answer in English to continue the conversation in English. It is amazing what you can really understand without knowing the language. So they have a lot of slang words that are afrikaans that are used in their speech as well as just different uses of words. What is interesting is that the use of words and their meanings….Here are some examples:

We would say “I am going to get the kids from school” they say “I am fetching the kids from school”.. They use fetch a lot.
Also if you are angry you are “cross with someone”
Here if you are being asked to wait a minute.. someone will say they will be with you “just now” and here now does not mean right away!
After saying thank you we would respond your welcome here the response is Pleasure.
There are so many more examples as I think of them I will send them along!

The main differences are size of stores and selection. Great example our cereal aisle is a full aisle with 100 types of cereal , here it only takes up about 1/3 – ½ of an aisle and there are only 20 types. I still have found everything that I need. Of course brands are different and somethings seem to taste a little different. In a way the food is much healthier here…most of the produce is organic, same with meat. Not a lot of prepackaged food like we have at home.. not tons of preservatives, etc in food. They import quite a bit from the US so we get quite a few things here that I didn’t expect. There are some things that are strange.. like the flavor of chips. Some examples of chip flavors: tomato, beef, lamb, and chutney. One thing you have to get use to is not being able to get things on your list .. for example if the fruit or veg you want is not in season you will not find it! I am use to being able to get whatever I want whenever so that has been a small adjustment. They also really like sauces on their food.. so there are tons of sauces. One we like is the sweet chilli sauce… it is good on lots of things. When you order a steak at a restaurant they always ask what kind of sauce you want… anything from a steak sauce like A1 to cheese sauce, peri peri sauce, etc. The burgers here are not the same either… they always again have a sauce on them. The beef here tastes funny to me (probably because it doesn’t have all the chemicals in it) Ostrich meat is readily available here so we tend to eat that instead.. it tastes just like beef and is much leaner. There are lots of butchery’s here that are great. You can get all kinds of game meat, which are really quite good. I have had to find some substitutions for some items in my recipes but there is always a substitute! Drinks.. they have soda, etc.. but there are a lot of carbonated drinks, water you have to ask for still water if you want just a bottled water, they have carbonated apple juice and grape juice, their lemonade is also carbonated. The missing things are the convenience items you can find.. premade items,(pie crusts, cookie dough, etc), mixes (cake, muffin, brownie) they have some but not the selection and the brownies are different more dense and cakey. Nothing that we can’t adjust to!

Here there are lots of people looking for jobs…. There will be many guys standing along the side of the main roads just waiting for someone to pull over and need some work done so they have a job for the day. Lots of jobs are manual labor … landscaping, painting, construction, etc. So companies that do that type of work might need a few extra hands one day and stop and pick up a few. And some are picked up by homeowners wanting a gardener or maybe some work done to their home. We employ a maid which is very common here. She works for us 3 days a week for 8 hours a day. She cleans the house and does the laundry. She is very sweet and I think does a great job. We pay around $10 a day and that is more than most. Actually at her last job she was paid less and she worked full time for the family. So I am helping to support her family. She is better off than most.. she is married and her husband has been employed by his employer (a survey company) for many years. There are lots of maids that are single raising multiple children or grandchildren and they are the sole income of the family.

Well that pretty much covers some of daily life here… let me know if you want information on something specific.

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