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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

Home

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  This is a quote I have come across many times in our years overseas. It has shown up in online retreats, books about Third Culture Kids, essays by expat writers, Instagram stories and Facebook posts. I have felt the sentiment behind these words to some extent during our visits back to the states in 2014, 2017, and 2019; the feeling growing stronger with each successive trip. However, with those journeys, we always had a returning, a coming home to what had become familiar, known and loved.  And now after nine years of fighting to make our home here, we are looking ahead to the next time we will fly across worlds, and this time, there will not be a ticket to return us to our hard won home; this place of cultures and languages that are not our own, red dirt and thorns, veldt grass and lemon trees, goats and cows roaming freely and donkeys pulling carts, our neighbors we see during the day and party sounds we hear each night.  Instead, sometime in May, we will head back to West Michigan

Blog-arona

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It is May 14, which brings us to 7 full weeks of lock-down here in South Africa. For the kids and myself, much of life is going on as usual. We were already home schooling and I am thanking God daily that this was not something thrust upon us during these crazy times as it took me pretty much all of last year to feel like #FeySchoolforHighschool was something we could actually do. We are missing our get-togethers with friends for coffee, field trips, and other fun, but it isn’t like we were going out daily or even weekly for these events, so while it is a change, it is manageable. Tyson is really missing his jaunts into the community and especially his friend Thato, who he saw at least twice a week. I am missing his jaunts into the community as they gave me 2-4 hours with only one kid in the house and that kid is content to sit in her room listening to music and watching an episode or two on Netflix, so I have lost my afternoon alone time. Mask making...it was fun for 2

Baking fun with Jonna

I thought I'd hop on here and share a few recipes that we've enjoyed over the last few weeks. First, my mother-in-law shared the recipe for Hip Hugger Bars, which are one of Darin's faves. Hip Hugger Bars Cream: 1/2 Cup oleo (I used baking margarine, Grandma Karen says to use butter) and 1 cup brown sugar Beat in: 1 egg, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 cups oatmeal Take out: 3/4 cup of the above mixture and spread/press the rest into a greased 9 x 13 pan In sauce pan: Put 1 cup chocolate chips, 1 TBSP butter (I used baking margarine), 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1/4 tsp salt and cook until chocolate melts. ADD 1 tsp vanilla Spread: chocolate mixture over oatmeal mixture THEN DROP the 3/4 cup mixture you set aside on top of chocolate by the spoonful Bake: 350 F/180 C until Golden Brown. This took us 45 minutes, but Grandma Karen said 20-25 minutes was her usual bake time. This next recipe is from the Wycliffe International

Wrapping up a decade...

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It is after 11:00 pm December 31, which means 2019 is almost finished, and I still haven't written our annual letter. I started a few times earlier this month, but at that time, the end of the year still seemed so far away. There were a lot of things that were different for our family this year, but for the most part, different ended up being good! Tyson and Jori began their home school adventure in January 2019 and wrapped up their last two courses the second week of December. Overall, the year went well, but it had its challenges. The curriculum we were using wasn't the best fit for us and that made for some added stress. However, we learned from these challenges and I am hopeful that the curriculum we chose for 2020 will be a big improvement. It was a big change having the kids around all the time. I am someone who needs my space and solitude and there were many times that I'd send the kids out with Darin to run errands just so I'd have some time alone. Stud

We're back!

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And just like that, our time in the US is finished and we are back home! Here is a quick recap of our time away: Darin flew out to Germany at the end of May and a few days later the kids and I headed to Oregon. We saw one nephew graduate from high school and another get married. We also got to help out behind the scenes with a graduation open house and rehearsal dinner, which were a lot more work than I had remembered! The kids went swimming with their papa, out for smoothies with their cousins and shopping with their aunties. They rode bike around the neighborhood and hung out at a local park. Family dinners were plentiful, with different groups of people around different tables almost every night. Next stop was Michigan, where the kids and I met up with Darin who had been from Germany to Honduras while we were with my family. It was SOOOOO good to see my main man again. If you know both Darin and me, you are aware that one of us can be kind of high strung while t