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This time next week, we'll be on an airplane...

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How is it possible that we are starting our final week living here in Hammanskraal? I know this is true in my head and I see it is true when I look at the calendar, but it still does not feel real that after almost a decade of living in South Africa, we are about to become residents of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  I can still remember landing here with ALL of our luggage, the group of men who insisted on helping us transport said luggage to the car rental agency in the parking lot, and the extreme anxiety I felt when we didn't have any Rand to give a tip to anyone. I remember celebrating Tyson's 7th birthday and Jori's 5th birthday within a few days of landing, and now we will be celebrating their 17th and 15th birthdays just a month and a few days after returning to the US. Where has the time gone? We have been staying busy since I last wrote. We cleaned the garage and Darin's office is looking more manageable than it has in years. We've gone to a garden centre with a

Two More Weeks

How is it that when I wrote the last update on here we still had two months until our departure and now we have less than two weeks? I guess time flies whether you are having fun, or not.  We are having fun still. The kids went bowling and going out to eat with their "great friends group", we've been hiking with the Lamprecht crew, we've also had a braai at Butterfly, sleepovers for our kids and with Amo, a mini game drive with our dog, and sweet times with friends. However, fun would not be the primary descriptor I'd use for how these days are feeling. Exhausting, emotional, heavy and hard come to mind. Today is the 28th of April. On the 23rd we brought Nala to her new home. While we are thankful for the way God provided this home for her, we are also missing our dog and the joy she brought us. On the 25th we said goodbye to our church family at Eastside, where we've been attending for almost 10 years! Last night Tyson had his last sleepover with his best bud

if you are subscribed to our blog via email, this post is for you!!

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 Some time ago, our blog used to have a box where you could enter your email address and then you would receive new posts directly to your email.  I know it's hard to read, but inside the blue circle it says "Follow by Email" and then there is a space for your email address and a submit button to click on. This feature was provided by Feedburner, and as of July, this service is coming to an end and as far as I can tell, you will no longer receive our blog posts by email!  This means that if you WANT to see anything new on this blog (and honestly, I don't know if I'll end up blogging more or less than I do currently) you will need actually come and check if there are new posts, or subscribe to this blog and maybe do what it says in this article . I am not tech savvy enough to provide any other info than this.  As of right now I have posted new blog posts on my Facebook page, but I am pretty sure I will be going off of Facebook when we are back in the US. I know, w

Holding on to the here and now

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Today is March 20 and in two months, if all goes according to plan, we will be back in the US beginning a new chapter in our lives. We have a lot to look forward to; a new high school, a beautiful home, driver's training, a Christmas vacation that is already being planned, summer visits from grandparents and so much more. However, for now this is still our home, the place where we gather with friends, spend time together as a family, go on walks with our dog. This is where we live, and although plans for our next steps are coming together, we still have a lot of living to do right here where we are.  Monopoly, dominoes, Racko, and Clue are just a few of the games these two enjoy playing together. The mini billiards table we bought at a thrift shop is also a favorite, even if a few of the billiard balls are missing.   South African Monopoly Nala, aka Noodle, Lala, Jupie, NuNu, Noodlo Doodlo and a few other odd nicknames. We all love having this silly pooch around. Taking her on walk

A Wrap up of 2020: The Year That Was

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 I almost decided not to post a yearly wrap-up, but for the sake of posterity I am finally getting it done. 2020 started off in fine fashion. We filled our days with school, orthodontic appointments, field trips with friends, and visits with our sweet Amo girl. Tyson spent time with his friends several afternoons a week and Jori was volunteering at the veterinary clinic that our pup Nala goes to. She even helped out in a few surgeries! In the middle of January Darin left for a work trip that took him to Thailand and Laos for 3 1/2 weeks. Early in March, Darin's mom and 3 other ladies arrived from Edgerton and spent a week volunteering in the community and experiencing a bit of our daily life in South Africa. While they were here, the Corona Virus quickly went from something we had hardly thought about to something we couldn't seem to escape from. Darin's mom had planned to stay on with us for a few weeks after the other ladies had left, but after a flurry of phone calls and

Connection and Community

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When we had made the decision to uproot our lives in the US and move to South Africa, I was so hungry for information about what living in South Africa would look like. We had been to South Africa several times as a couple, Darin had come on work trips, and we had spent 10 weeks here with our children. We knew some people, had been into various shops, and had a familiarity with the sounds of English being spoken with a variety of accents. However, there is a big difference between leaving home to visit a place for a few weeks or months and entirely uprooting your life in one place to start over in another. What were the schools like, would I have access to familiar ingredients to cook with, what about healthcare?  I scoured the internet to find stories about living in South Africa and found a few women who were more than happy to answer my questions, however random and weird they were. There was Annie, an American living in Pretoria, whose entire blog I read in one day and when Darin c