Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Checking out the malls and restaurants in Fourways

During the weekend we've checked out some malls here in Fourways, that is close to Johannesburg or Joburg as they call it here. The malls and restaurants are amazingly modern, no problem finding the right stuff here that is for sure! And a lot of the restaurants have playgrounds, so the girls actually thought it was fun to go out and eat. Normally they rather eat at home, but here it is a kids paradise!!

We bought a car for me this weekend, we knew what we wanted, so it was quite easy to make a decision. Since the parking lots and parking garages are quite small here compared to the US, I didn't want a big SUV. And on top of that the car prices and gasoline is more expensive here, we decided to go for a smaller car. Well, the choice is a BMW 1, very cute car. I can't wait till I get it! The system is a bit different here than in the US, you can't take the car the same day you buy it. First the paperwork has to be done and about in a week or so you can pick it up.

Since Jasmine and Juliet still have summer vacation, we try to do some fun activities most of the days. Some days they are fine to just go and play at the club house here on the compound, and play at the playground with the other children who just finish their school day. But some days they want to do more. Well, luckily there are tons of arts and craft activities to do around here. Which we are doing, things like mosaic, painting, beading, decoupage, cardmaking, clay work, candle and soapmaking. They have these art and craft shops where you just drop in and make whatever craft you like for that day. So fun, and a good way to meet more people! But we haven't even discovered all things, like zoo's, museums and other things you can do with kids...so many choices, so little time...at least now. But we have months and years to come to discover!

It is winter here, but only in the mornings and evenings it is quite chilly. During the day it warms up till about 65-68 degrees, so not bad at all. And always sunny, we haven't had a day of rain since we arrived. Very dry air, which makes our skin and lips very dry.

We had to get used to the air here, since Joburg is on a high altitude on 1740 meter, it makes you easy tired, but we are getting used to it already a bit more. And of course the change of season, environment, traveling, changing our whole life style is exhausting. All the new impressions you do during a day, but we are amazed how well the girls adapt! They are just troopers in moving around!!

Ok, that's it for today, have a nice week y'all!

Friday, July 18, 2008

getting used to a house boy...

The house we are living in is not completely finished, well...just some details have to be fixed. Minor things, you would think! but it takes quite a crew here to fix things. Reminds us a lot about Thailand...For every little job, there is a new guy coming to the house. The phone line has to be installed in the rooms we want it, the faucets are backwards, so left is cold and right is hot! Too confusing for us, so we want it the other way around, like the rest of the world...and actually also in SA, just not in our house ;-)
And so there is a list of about 25 things that we would like to either have changed or improved, it takes a whole village and probably the rest of the month before that is happened. Sometimes people need to come back 2-3 times to fix one little thingy....at least we went through this while living in Thailand and we know now that we just have to be patient and it will happen...one day!

But in the meantime the owner of the house allocated a house boy for us. Since we don't have a domestic worker (as they call it here) yet, they thought we couldn't live without any help. So we have Betias a nice, little shy guy who helps us out with everything we need help with. He cleans the pool, rakes the yard, fixes little things (with no tools, except a kitchen knife) even does the dishes and sweeps the floor inside. For the rest of the day he just hangs outside and watches every move I make. So when I might need him he is there! Cute or annoying...with my experience of living in Thailand I don't find it as annoying anymore, actually quite handy such a guy around who does everything. But this is temporary, which is good, because I know myself it will turn annoying after a while, but for now I am happy with my house boy!

Yeah, living in South Africa is different than in the US. I will keep you posted on more ordinairy things around here. For now we have some art classes the girls are attending, and I have to drive them. Will be a challenge as well, since I haven't been driving on the left side myself for the last 5 years, so I hope this will turn out save and sound!

You will know by tomorrow ;-)
Love, mireille

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Back from our trip in Europe!

Hello all,
We're back from our trip to Europe, and back online again, so we can start blogging again. We had lot's of adventures, saw lot's of countries, drove lot's of miles and are now in South Africa.

So where do I start, at the beginning. The move went not so smooth as we hoped, the packers planned for 3 days with 3 people. We expected 3 days with 5-7 people, and it turned out they should have done that. So the last day ended instead of 5 pm at 12:30 am the next morning! A lot of grumpy men packing because they weren't too happy to work so many overtime, and the last items they didn't even pack and just put in the truck to pack later in the warehouse...I just hope these items ever arrive here in SA. We will see! I believe more than 500 boxed came out of that house on Bennetts Farm, can you imagine the chaos it will be when it arrives here in another 3 weeks??

The girls and us of course, but we had done these countries before, added Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Switserland to their list of visited countries. The first week we stayed in Holland with friends and family. Our friends Marisca and Martijn have a 2 year old boy Justin, who we only had seen as a baby, so it was fun to see them again. We had a wonderful time there, and they even organised a BBQ with the 'jaarclub' and we saw all our old friends with their families, it was great.
Our brother in law turned 50 so we celebrated that with his family, stayed for 2 days at their home and had lots of fun with our nieces Nienke and Sanne!

Then we drove 12 hours to the south of France to stay with Ginster our friend who we met in Thailand. She has a wonderful renovated farm house, close to the border of Spain in the Armagnac region, in Gers. They call it Tuscany from France, and indeed it looks a lot like it, hilly and beautiful scenery with the Pyrenees mountains in the back, so pretty!! We had such a wonderful and relaxing time, till the last evening....JJ got a high fever, we treated her with homeopathic medication, and normally it gets worse before it gets better, so suddenly she had such a high fever, she was hallucinating and had fever cramps in her legs. We really got all worried now, and Ginster called a doctor in town. But she lives in such a small town, we had to drive 20 minutes for the nearest doctor on duty. JJ was throwing up and not getting better, the fever didn't go down and we rushed through these little towns in the middle of the night. We were afraid she might have something serious, like meningitis because the cramps in her legs. But the doctor assured us it was either a virus or salmonella and she would be fine in a day or so. Which indeed was the case, but since we were traveling to Paris the next day we wanted to make sure. So he prescribed her some medication and we had to drive another 20 minutes to the nearest Pharmacy, this happened all late at night and the small towns in Gers were dipped in a deep sleep, just us driving through these small streets in between the fields and fields of corn and wine. A trip we won't forget for a while! Luckily with a good ending!
And the next day we went to Paris. An 8 hour drive and we had a stroll along the Eiffeltower, had some dinner and some wonderful dessert and watched the festive lights on the Eiffeltower, it was a special lighting for only 2 months, the tower was completely blue with white flickering lights, just magical and we could see it from our hotel room, since we booked right almost underneath the Eiffeltower. The next morning we went to see the Notre Dame, since the girls love the movie; the Hunchback of the Notre Dame and they always wanted to see where Quasimodo has his secret hiding space. They were a bit dissapointed that we didn't see Esmerelda and Quasimodo, but we promised we would go back another time and sure we will see them then ;-)
Our last week we spent again in Holland with other friends and family, it was fun to see them all again. The girls hadn't been to Holland for over a year, so everybody were surprised to see how tall they are getting.

It was a great trip, fun to see so many countries in such a small time, hearing all these different languages made the girls confused, and even now here in South Africa we hear many different accents and languages. It will take a while to understand at least where they are coming from.

Pictures I will add later, as soon as we figured out where the cable is to connect to the computer ;-)

I am glad I am back online, please send us an email and keep in touch!
love, Mireille


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