First things first (the internet issue) My intention when we moved here was to be great at communicating, posting videos, pictures etc so that family and friends could see the kids and stay connected. Well said plan has not gone like I have hoped, the internet here or the system we are currently using is pay-as-you-use. Meaning you buy a USB stick load it with internet time (MB I think) and use. The issue we are having, which is why there are no videos, or limited skype calls is that those types of communication eat through our internet time so fast! And until we get into our house and (hopefully) get a landline our internet time is limited. Plus (David you would hate this little detail) internet usage here is capped and has peak and non-peak usage. So if you use it a lot then you will hit your cap and have to wait to use more, and if you use it during the day they slow it down. Ugh any way this is why we have been out of the loop a bit…we are desperately trying to get landline/uncapped/non-peak internet at our house in Dec. So please join us in praying! It all depends on our landlord and the city if they “feel” like giving it to us.
Ok on to more fun topics…..
Reagan is getting more settled and just last night exclaimed that she liked it in ZA! This is a huge praise because she has had the most trouble adjusting. She spent several days in my arms crying and begging to go home. So her newly found excitement is such a joy and relief to us! School for her has been in all honesty rough…really rough. She is in a pre-primary aka preschool basically redoing kinder. So she is bored. She has had some difficulties socially as she is the new girl and if you’re a girl you know how mean girls can be. Thankfully she has made a few really good friends and now enjoys going to school, she comes home happy and tells us all about what her and her friends did that day. YAY! After school she can be found in the yard playing with Maya the dog that lives on the property. Maya was such an answer to prayer because when she was lonely Maya made her happy. I am forever grateful for that silly dog. Reagan likes going to the food markets and seeing all the new things, and helping me find what to buy for dinner. Our team leaders have 3 kids, 2 of whom are girls around her age and they play well together. So she is doing better, finding her spot here in ZA and beginning to find joy in living here.
Garrett is also getting more settled, he has liked living here from day one. Our biggest hurdle for him has been sleep (which some of you know is a HUGE must for our old eldest boy) he has always slept with a noise machine, and the first time we plugged it in here the converter didn’t work and fried it. So Scott and I search literally EVERY store here and they just don’t carry anything like that. So plan B was to buy a fan that makes some noise and have that in his room. It works ok but he isn’t getting the rest he needs. Please join us in praying he can relearn to sleep without his noise machine. As far as school goes He is in grade 00, which is a pre-school class. He is doing well; he likes his teacher and enjoys playing with the other kids. He will go to grade R next year, at the same school. We are keeping him at the smaller school next year so he has less transition the regular primary school has over 1,000 kids for grades R-6. And we just don’t feel like he would thrive in that environment yet. Plus the grade R teacher he will have is great she teaches the kids how to be self-reliable in the school environment, something he will need for when he moves to the big school the following year. Over all he is doing good, he however hates Maya J lol Maya likes to jump and chase him to which he is not a fan, so he mostly just jumps on the properties trampoline or hangs around the yard.
Everett is doing great…I am so grateful that he wasn’t old enough to have transition issues because its just been heartbreaking for Scott and me having to watch the old 2 suffer. Ev has been everyone in the family’s bundle of joy! The older 2 just play so well with him and love on him. They teach him about the new things, having him be a baby has helped the older 2 explore and be happy as they help ev learn new things. These days Ev too can be found with Maya, he is SO in love with that dog. His first word besides mama and dada was Maya. He runs around the yard yelling I-ya I-ya until she comes running to him. Then they case each other around…its really cute. I really wanted to not like her but again she has been so great for our kids…except Garrett who has a low tolerance for her J Ev is doing better now that his bites are healing, the poor kid was covered in bites so badly I thought it was a rash and took him to the clinic. He has been our vessel for figuring out the healthcare here. He went to see the team Doc the other day; she is very sweet the only sort of odd thing is that she sees patients in her house. But she has a little exam room so it actually turned out fine. He also went to the hospital yesterday to get his TB vaccine. So we have done the rounds and now know how to navigate the system here…thanks Ev! His birthday is coming up in 10 days oh how I wish we could have a family party L. But we are having a little party for him at our team leaders house; they offered to have a combo party with their daughter who is turning 5. I am grateful for such an amazing team! Ev is running everywhere these days he loves that we currently live on such a big property! He also likes the office, he has made several friends out of our co-workers and they tote him around when I come in so I can get work done. How awesome is that? Overall he is doing great, so thankful he hasn’t had any major illness or issues since getting here.
Scott and I and random details…
Scott and I are doing well most days, I am not going to lie and say its bliss but overall we are coping and finding our way. The house rental/car purchase was probably the most stressful thing so far only because we had no idea what we were doing and they do things very different here. For starters everything and I do mean everything takes days to get done. For example we found the car, told owner we wanted to purchase car….and had to wait around for 3 days before she called and said, “lets do transaction today.” Registering the car was a very good introduction into the government system. Poor Scott has had to go 6 different places, get the car “road worthy” which means go get it looked at they tell you everything that is wrong with the car and you have 21 days to get it fixed. Our car had a few minor things, but getting it fixed was a huge hassle. It’s all finally done; the car is road worthy and registered. And almost insured once they install the tracker, oh yes you have to have a tracker installed in order to have car insurance. That gets done Friday and then all the car nonsense will be over!
Scott is busy with work all the ministry plans/budget for 2013 and job descriptions for his team are due this month. He is enjoying the work and is really looking forward to getting started next year out in the townships (slums). I have been busy trying to get settled; the school thing took awhile (and 2 years off my life!) Reagan will be going to a private international school next year with the hopes that both kids will get into the public school for 2013. But at least they both have a school to go to! I am very excited to move into our house, we have not had a place of our own for 5 months now, and while we loved spending time with everyone we are ready for our own place again. Our current residence aka the trailer is well…its umm…its ok. We live on a property with 6 other people and there really is no privacy so I am looking forward to some alone family time. Other than minor annoyances life here is becoming more normal, even driving on the left almost feels normal now…almost!
Things we have learned:
- People here are VERY social, I am social but this is an extreme that is even taxing for me.
- People pop in unannounced for visits, its polite to host these visits for as long as your visitor wants to stay (one “visit” lasted 4 hrs) I actually enjoy this cultural norm…most days. The only time it’s been hard is when one of the kids is having a rough day.
- Work is done in person, you can send an email but the other person will either not respond or they will come find you to talk about it in person (very relational)
- I/we need to learn to chill out! Because everything here moves slowly…very slowly.
- All stores and restaurants close at 7pm no one goes out at night here mainly for security reasons.
- Braai (BBQ) is taken very seriously and hamburgers and hot dogs are not allowed!
- Kids are treasured, its very child friendly. I love this aspect of our new home.
- Kids don’t wear shoes EVER…not even in the mall or in restaurants. Our kids go barefoot 90% of the time now.
There is so much more to share but this will have to do for now. We are making this place home, slowly each day we find ourselves more comfortable and less confused. God has really taken care of us and we see his provision in every single detail, to which we are forever grateful!
-The Thomas Clan