Sunday, 31 January 2010

Making our move!

We've started moving in!!!!!

I got the keys from the estate agent last week, and met the owner. He's really nice and very helpful so I feel good about dealing with him in future.

Once again it has been an experience in gratitude for good friends.
  • Our friend Inus has been storing the furniture my sister left behind when she moved to Singapore for over two months so we can use it when we get a house.
  • Our friends René and Regardt lent us their bakkie (pick-up truck) for the entire weekend (and at short notice), without which I have no idea how we would have moved our things, or how much it would have cost us.
  • Leigh lent us her car (AGAIN) so we could go to Centurion and get the bakkie, and took us there to return it.
A big thanks to all our friends, not just the ones I've remembered to thank, who've been helpful and made us feel at home and welcome in Johannesburg.

So we have the start of furnishings; we're in the process of unpacking and buying some stuff; unfortunately I don't have time for more details right now but it's going really well and we're even inches away from buying a car. More soon, I promise!!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Just hangin.

In between all the major happening, a girl's gotta just hang around and do stuff, you know? So as here's some of the random stuff I've been up to.

Avater 3D

Steve and I went to see Avatar a few weeks ago. I must say, I really enjoyed it. The 3D was extremely immersive - so much so that you have to occasionally remind yourself you're in a cinema watching something on a 2 dimensional screen otherwise you can become blase about it because it becomes so real it looks just like real world. I will admit I became quite nauseous at one point (akin to travel or motion sickness); I think as my brain became used to the experience it got better but I still felt a bit unsteady when we walked out. And looking anywhere but the centre of the screen is a BAD IDEA, let me tell you.

The universe was extremely well realised and consistent, which I always appreciate in anything remotely fantasy or sci-fi; you could get lost in the story they were trying to tell you rather than to focus on inconsistencies and future-tech-babble.

I enjoyed the story itself, too. It wasn't a new paradigm in story telling that did what no-one had done before, but I didn't go in looking for that either. It was a highly enjoyable and consistent sci-fi-esque story with some great visuals and characters I identified with and felt for. I also appreciated the lack of one-dimensional Holywood stereotypes. The hero was flawed, both physically and in his character. The heroin wasn't a Cinderella type that needed rescueing. The bad guy wasn't a charicature. I especially enjoyed Sigourny Weaver's character and performance.

All in all, an evening well spent being entertained and taken on a flight of fantasy for a while.

Pilanesburg Game Reserve

While we were still hiring the car, we decided to take it to the Pilanesberg for a day. As usual we had a lovely time and saw some amazing sights. Several rhino sightings; lots of elephants; some giraffe; a crocodile; a shy hippo (or it's ears and eyes, at least); plenty of impala, waterbuck, wildebeest and zebra. There were two especially enjoyable moments, though.

The first was when we had to stop dead in the road while a young elephant took it's time standing in a dip in the road that had a stream alongside it; drinking, playing with the water, spraying itself; all without a care in the world or a worry about us watching it.

The second happened as we were leaving. It was nearing dusk and we had actually already left the park and turned onto the main road when Steve noticed a group of cars stopped in the road that went not into the game park itself, but alongside it to the accommodation at Bukubang camp. We went to investigate and out of the long grass came trotting a pack of wild dogs. These are extremely rare and shy animals and seeing them just once in your life is truly amazing. They approached the road at a leisurely pace, and one by one came to investigate the car, sniffing all around it curiously. The whole pack eventually made it onto the road where we watched them excitedly until they were satisfied with their investigation and trotted off again. It was really amazing. I'll post pictures when the internet situation is resolved.

A day at the cricket

Steve's colleagues organised tickets to the final day of the final match of the England-SA test series. We all conveniently forgot that we had either lost or drawn all the previous matches, from the way we celebrated (and mocked Steve) after winning that day. It did mean it was quite a short day as we managed to bowl them all out before lunch time, but it was really enjoyable. We went for lunch with some of his colleagues and friends afterwards, during which the heavens opened - so it would have been a short cricketing day either way; luckily we won before it could rain out.

As for the rest of my time, it's nice to spend quiet evenings with Steve, especially now that he's home a bit earlier than used to be the case, and it's been especially nice when him, me and Leigh have eaten and chilled out together. Steve and I have been out a few times too, although not too often as we wait for expenses etc to settle down. During the day I walk either just around to try and be a bit more active, or to the small cluster of shops around the corner when we need something; I go swimming in Leigh's complex's pool; or I watch TV. I've especially been enjoying the Brothers and Sisters box set I borrowed from a friend. Life is hard! ;) Although, I'm going to have to start working on my CV soon.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Be vewy vewy quiet; I'm hunting houses!

So I think we found The House.

It's a three bedroom house with double garage, 2 bathrooms, good security, a nice garden, a khoi pond, a guest cottage and a pool 30mins from Steve's work (would be 10 without traffic). If you know Johannesburg, it's in Bordeaux in Sandton; very near to where Republic Road crosses Jan Smuts. It's so big and so lovely, I'm really thrilled!

Even though we don't have the 3 months' payslips and letters from previous lessor etc etc that they usually require the agent seems happy enough with what we can provide as well as with my credit check (thanks Dad for getting that credit card in my name when I was a student!!). We signed the lease agreement today but she will have to fax it to the owner in France to sign before it's official. We hope to be in there in February.

We are fortunate enough to have some furniture my sister left for us when she moved, and a good friend who is storing it for us, so we will have the essentials (i.e. somewhere to sleep and something to eat food off). The rest (that which we do not expect in the shipment of our UK stuff*) will have to be built up as time goes by and, more importantly, money is earned.

We had a quick look in Game (ha you just lost it ... so did I, damn) at appliances - sheesh they're expensive. The fridge I really really want is about R10 000. As I said; all in good time. We definitely won't be going out one Saturday on a home shopping spree and end up with a fully furnished house by the end of the weekend. As much as that is a really fun little fantasy of mine.

We gave the hire car back this morning so I don't have a choice other than to spend the next few days lounging around the house or pool and watching the DVDs my friend kindly lent me; woe is me :-D

More soon, if internet availability allows.

* don't even ask when that is likely to be.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Angels really are among us

So it's 8 days into the new year and we don't have a home, I don't have a job, our car is from a hire company, our belongings are still in storage in the UK, we don't have much cash and we don't have internet. I'm already pushing my luck with the amount of broadband I've used up of Steve's work mobile internet the company provides for him to dial in after hours.

And you know what? I can't remember the last time I was this happy or content.

Even while we were still in the UK, even when things there were hectic and stressful to get here, I had this inescapable feeling that I'm headed exactly where I need to be. And I knew that things like finding a place to rent would sort itself out (usually I would not be able to live my life with so many uncertainties).

Steve's colleague and friend, Leigh, offered us her spare room for as long as we need it and she's gone out of her way to make us feel like this is our home too. This has given us the freedom to look at properties until we find the right one, rather than feeling pressured into taking one just to get out from under her feet.

Leigh and I have also found much common ground as Christians and I believe we were brought into each other's lives at a time that we both would benefit greatly from mutual encouragement and prayer.

Her hospitality and generosity has made this period one of wonder and gratitude, rather than stress and desperation.

Steve seems to be doing well too, work is not as busy as it was in the dying throes of 2009 and he's actually even been sleeping well (this is a rarity for him). Don't misunderstand me, it is a big adjustment for him and he finds it hard at times - Christmas, for example, with so much family together made him feel the absence of his - but he seems to be settling in and there's a calmness about him which carries through into our relationship, which seems to be sailing along on smooth, clear waters after the storms and rapids of a stressful 2009.

I know I've been out of contact a lot but it's difficult right now, when I'm able I will make up for it and I do miss you, my friends.

So the bottom line is, we don't have a house yet although I'm looking at a number of places again today, but it's ok and we're doing very well.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Saturday, 2 January 2010

I'm too tired to blog right now...

...but I promise to write soon about Christmas at home, finding a house in Johannesburg and watching Avatar in 3D (spoiler: I liked it, but it made me car sick).

PS Happy new year!!