Showing posts from June, 2011

-25.592981 , 28.076119

Those are the coordinates you need to type into Google Maps to see the location of where our thriving petrol station and convenience store will be located.   The picture below shows what you should see when you zoom in to that area.   I’ve placed the green arrow at the approximate location of where the business will be.   I know that some of you reading this know many details about the business side of why we are here, and some of you don’t, so I (Darin) thought I’d bring everyone up to speed.   We will be 50% owners in a Viva brand gas station and convenience store that should start construction soon and should be operational in October or November of this year.   Our partner is a South African developer who owns all of the open land to the south and west of where our business will be.   Eventually, there will be around 3,000 houses, a shopping mall, a large grocery store, a school and possibly more built in this development.   Our gas station will be the first building to go up.   Yo

Monday night

It’s Monday night. The kids are curled up watching a movie that we borrowed from the DiCocco’s. It is almost 6 and tonight that means it is almost bedtime for two very tired children! There is a herd of blesbok on two sides of the fence. They are chasing each other around and making their “huffing” noise. It is fun to just stand and watch. Just your typical night out in the bush : ) Today being a Monday means that we’ve been here in South Africa for 2 weeks. The first couple days I was kind of just recovering from jet lag. The next couple days I enjoyed being out in the “wild” and just enjoyed getting reacquainted with the place we had stayed in 2008. Then, something changed. I was feeling anxious and unsettled. I started thinking “We need to find more permanent housing NOW. We need to decide what church we’ll be attending long term TODAY. We need to ditch the rental and find ourselves a car IMMEDIATELY. We need to make appointments to check out schools THIS VERY MOMENT.” That kind of

New friends

On Saturday, we finally met the DiCocco’s. I had first found out about Billy, Trace and their family through my friend Sarah, who had met them at Mars Hill church. Trace writes a blog, which I began stalking as soon as I knew we’d be moving to South Africa. Strangely enough, my other friend Sarah and I later figured out that the family I kept going on and on about used to be her neighbors! Such a small world. The DiCocco’s have been living near Johannesburg for several years doing ministry with a few different organizations. I loved reading through her blog, seeing the pictures, and imagining what our life might look like once we moved to South Africa. As our move got closer, I began to email Trace and she would answer all my crazy and not so crazy questions. It was so wonderful to have someone over HERE who used to live right near us and knew all about the transition process. Since we’ve been her, we’ve continued to email and we also made plans to meet up with them to check out a ho

It’s like living in Michigan…only different

We’ve been having a lot of “campfires” lately. We used to do this back in Michigan too. We’d start up a little fire, roast some hot dogs and marshmallows and the kids would be running all over the yard. It’s just a little different here. First off, we’ve been making “big people” food, like chicken and potatoes, which both of the kids have really taken too. Second, we now roast our marshmallows on forks because we don’t have any wire. Darin has no more hair left on one of his hands and one of my arms has a bare spot as well. The final difference is that our kids now stay right by the fire instead of running around because it is winter here and they are seeking warmth. (As a side note, did you know that a roasted marshmallow is capable of burning the inside of a person’s lip? Well, it is. Last night Tyson fell victim to a particularly hot marshmallow and the inside of his lip is now all white and icky looking. Poor kid. He’s been sitting with a pouty lip since last night, even in his s

Baby it's COLD outside!

Ok, we have officially become wimps. It is a bright, sunny day in South Africa and we are freezing our fingers off. Mine are actually all white and frozen looking right now, but that’s because I have poor circulation like my dear mother. Gotta love the white fingers!   Tyson and Jori are sitting right in front of the space heater right now playing around with the ever present iPods. It is 9:45 in the morning and our guests will be arriving in about an hour. I hope it warms up a bit by the time they get here! I am guessing it is probably warmer out in the sun than it is in our house, but it is also looking a little windy right now, so that kind of negates the sunshine. I am so thankful I went slipper shopping before we moved here. I found an awesome pair of leopard print slippers, which make me feel like I can sneak up on the wildlife passing by our house. I wear my slippers from the moment I wake up until I go to bed, taking them off only when we leave our property. There have actua

Who needs Parmesan Cheese?

We just had such a yummy dinner thanks to Denise V. and the Sunnyslope Cookbook! I have never made Spaghetti Carbonara before and it was so good. Two thumbs up from everyone but Jori, and even she ate the small amount we gave her. We did not have Parmesan cheese, but Gouda made a decent substitute. Having a little extra bacon probably helped up the deliciousness factor as well! ½ pound spaghetti noodles, 4 strips bacon, 1 T oil, ¼ cup onion chopped, 1 clove garlic minced, 2 eggs beaten, ¼ cup parmesan cheese grated, dash salt, dash pepper Boil pasta. Fry bacon and remove when crispy. Add olive oil to bacon grease and then add the onion and cook until clear. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Return bacon to pan and add noodles. Add oil if sticky. Add beaten eggs and cook until eggs are done. Add parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. We had cooked our bacon in the oven the day before, so we did not have bacon grease, but it was still delish! We just need to find a place to get m

He knows what we need and what we want

Today we set out for town with two tasks in mind. First, we were hoping to stop by a few car dealerships to see what kind of car we might be able to afford, and second we were planning to stop by and check out a house that might be available for us to rent near where the petrol station will (eventually) be going up. We stopped at a Toyota dealership first. The kids and I stayed in the car with the computer and the iPods while Darin went to look around. He came back rather quickly and said the only car that was in our price range was not even on the lot, but was having some detail work done on it. Around that same time, our two passengers decided they were hungry and needed to be fed. So we headed to McDonalds (French Fries and fountain pop!) for a bite to eat. We were planning to continue our car search at some of the smaller car dealers along Zambesi Road, but Leon, Darin’s business partner, called and said he had time to meet with Darin right then and could we please come to Menlyn

Wildlife Bonanza!

Mark (Harding) just took us on a game drive and we saw SO many amazing creatures. I think we were only gone for 30 minutes and we saw giraffe, zebra, impala, blesbok, ostrich, duiker, kudu, rhino and more! It was amazing. Darin thinks we traveled 7-8 km and there are about 75 km of paths that we can go down. We are glad that the DiCocco’s, who are visiting on Saturday, have a vehicle with 4 wheel drive so we can go out with them and hopefully see as many animals as we saw tonight! Sadly, we can’t go out on our own as our little rental would probably fall apart after about 5 minutes of driving down the dirt paths. Jori said “We are having WAY more fun than people in Michigan. They can only see animals at the zoo!

The kids

Tyson and Jori are both doing great. They seem genuinely happy to be here, although I am pretty sure they still don’t realize that this is now home and we aren’t planning to return to Michigan any time soon. Yesterday Jori asked how many days we had been here and when Darin said “ten” she was shocked. Seriously, her face was so funny. She said “Ten! I thought it was only two!” They are doing a great job sharing a room, so much better than I ever hoped. They get to talk for a few minutes once the lights are out, then Darin goes back and says their time is up, and almost every night that is the end of it! I think it helps that it is cold and dark and neither of them want to get out of their beds for fear of spiders and other creepy crawlies! They are also just so tired from being outside for most of the day. The other part of the day they are usually playing the iPod. They are becoming quite proficient at “Angry Birds” thanks to Darin’s coaching. He says it teaches them things like tr

Midweek Review

We are halfway through the week and so far, so good. We have been trying out some different meals. Last night we had cauliflower “mac and cheese”. Our verdict : good, but not worth the effort or price that we had to pay for the ingredients here. For lunch we had overnight egg bake. The verdict: finally, a meal that Jori LOVES, yet Tyson, our kid who eats everything without complaining, hated it! Tonight we are going to try some potatoes from a recipe my friend Michelle sent, and then tomorrow I think we are having spaghetti carbonara from the Sunnyslope cookbook (Thanks Amy T.!) I still need to find parmesan cheese before we can make the carbonara, but I think we are heading back to the Kolonnade area tomorrow to look at vehicles, so we might stop in at Woolworths to check out the food selection there on the advice of my cyber friend, Trace, who we will actually be meeting on Saturday! Yes, we are having our first little South Africa get together with a family from West Michigan! Small


Pictures are up! Either follow this link and if doesn't work, click on Pictures and Videos and then click on the Picasa albums link in there. Enjoy!

It’s like living in Michigan…only different

I still have my morning cup of coffee, only now I must make it in a French press. I know many of you in Michigan (and elsewhere) may also make your coffee In a French press, but I miss my automatic coffee pot! I just can’t quite get the ratio of water to grounds down, so my coffee is either weak as water or so strong I need to keep adding sugar and milk. Speaking of sugar and milk, that is now all I have available to add to my coffee. I know they do have some powdered creamers, but I am fairly certain Italian Sweet Crème creamer has not yet made its way to South Africa, and if it did, it would probably cost upwards of $10, so I wouldn’t be buying it. Today is the second day I am doing laundry. We do have a washing machine in our kitchen, which is quite handy as it is right next to the front door. I must exit this door to carry my laundry out to the line to dry. Again, I know many of you already line dry your clothing (and prefer it!) but I still have clothes on the line that I hung

The Weekend

We are just finishing up our first weekend here in South Africa. For some reason, the weekends here are a bit tougher for me and I think for all of us. I seem to remember that it was the same when we were here in 2008. I think part of it is that Amos isn’t here to keep the kids occupied for a part of the day, which really makes a huge difference, and the other part is that when Sunday comes, we no longer have the support of our church, but instead are just visitors at another church where we don’t know anyone. Saturday wasn’t a bad day, I could just tell that I woke up a bit out of sorts and it was hard to keep the kids interested in anything. It was chillier than it had been the other days, so no one really wanted to sit out in the sun or play outside. Saturday was special because it was our sweet girl’s 5 th birthday. She loved opening her cards and was so happy to find temporary tattoos, princess stickers, gum and more! Jori wanted mac and cheese for lunch, so we pulled out one o


Ok, we are all caught up now. I will not be doing these daily posts all the time, but know that a lot of you want to know how we are settling in and what is keeping us busy out here. Some of you might be more familiar with the people and places that we write about because you followed our blog in 2008. For those of you who want more information, there is a link to our old blog under the picture of the tree at the top of the blog. I believe it says “our old blog”. Click there and it will open up a link for you to click on, which will then take you to our old blog. You can search for any of the things we write about now. We were there from early September to the beginning of November. There are a lot of posts! To see pictures, click where it says “pictures and movies” (also under the tree) and there is a link to our Picasa albums. You can see lots of pictures of our time in South Africa. We hope to be able to upload current pictures soon, but right now we’re still kind of settling in and

Thursday: Tyson's birthday

On Thursday Tyson came into our room saying “I’m seven, I’m seven”. He was so excited! He wanted to open presents right away, so I sent him to his dresser where he found his first gift, a Star Wars t-shirt that Rachel and I picked up a few days before we came here. He was thrilled, but right away started asking for more presents. We had sent out an email (with a few reminders!) asking people to send birthday cards to the kids as they would both be celebrating their first birthdays in South Africa within a week of our arrival. We were amazed at how many cards we received and knew the kids would be thrilled as well.   There were so many cards   that I knew Tyson might get a little overwhelmed if he opened them all at once, so we spread the fun out. Soon after he came into our room, I gave him the first batch of cards, which included the cards that his class made for him the last week of school. It was so fun seeing his face as he read each message out loud to us. He’d make comments about

Tuesday and Wednesday

Tuesday and Wednesday we ran a lot of errands. We were at Kolonade mall setting up phones, at the bank attempting to set up an account and at Pick N Pay getting groceries. On Tuesday the grocery store was overwhelming, but when we went back Wednesday Darin and I were armed with a list and ready to get what we needed to make a week’s worth of meals. Other than suffering from severe sticker shock, we were quite successful! On both days we spent some time over at Tshepo Ya Bana playing with the kids and checking email. It is nice being around familiar people in a familiar place. On Wednesday we also drove to Rosslyn to see where the petrol station (our future business) will be built. We found out it is 50 minutes away from where we are currently staying, which kind of rules out our staying in this area. It is nice to start figuring out some of these things already now. On Tuesday I did not do any unpacking, but on Wednesday I dug in for a while. Unpacking is much better than packing, b

Getting Here

Tomorrow, Saturday the 18 th , marks one week since we left Michigan. On Friday night we went to Jon and Rachel’s for dinner (take out pizza AND a home cooked meal for me to enjoy). After dinner, Rachel put our kids to bed at her house while Darin and I ran back to the apartment to finish packing a few things. Then we went back and spent some time visiting with Jon and Rachel. Saturday morning dawned bright and early. I would have loved to stay in bed, but someone was supposed to come get our mattress at 9, so I got up. They never showed for the mattress, but Jon ended up coming to get it with his truck and he brought it to their house. The whole morning was full of packing and cleaning and throwing stuff away. Then around 11:30, we headed to Huismans to pick up our kids and say goodbye to theirs. I am so glad Tyson and Jori were able to spend one more night and morning with their friends Jenna, JJ and Reid. They love them SO much! We said our goodbyes (so not fun) and then it was time

Happy Birthday Tyson

It is Wednesday night, and about 45 minutes ago I kissed my sweet 6 year old for the last time. Tomorrow I’ll be waking up to kisses and hugs from a 7 year old!!! I can’t believe that our little Tyson Alan is going to be 7 years old. If I could, I’d add a picture of our sweet little boy as a baby, but I can’t because as I write this I do not have internet access. You can go see lots of pics of Tyson through the years in our Picasa albums (the link is at the top of our blog, just under the picture of the tree). He was a cutie then and he is a cutie now. Tyson Alan, we love you to the moon and back again. You are such a blessing to us. You have more information in your little head than many adults. You are always surprising us with the things that you know and understand. We are so excited to see what this next year, your first in South Africa, has in store for you. Happy 7 th birthday!!!!

Lots of little successes, and a few failures

Today was another busy day. We spent some time around the house this morning and I managed to get 4 suitcases totally unpacked! That is success #1. While I was unpacking, Darin was across the street working on some internet stuff. My dear husband managed to download a program where we can read and write our emails while off line, which is a huge deal for us as we do not have internet and may not have it for a while. Success #2 is yours Darin. Now you just need to figure out how I can blog off line and read from my lovely Google Reader while off line. I am suffering from blog deprivation right now! We headed to Pretoria North around lunch time. Shortly after arriving, we experienced our Failure #1 at the bank. In order to open a bank account, you must have proof of residence, which we will probably not be able to acquire while we are at this house. This leads to failure #2, no smart phone until we have 3 months of bank statements. Boo. Success #3 and #4 took place at Kolonade mall.