Wednesday, October 29, 2008

lunch at the desk

I must thank my fantastic hubby Will for my yummy lunch today - a sandwich with turkey and a really yummy tomato, an apple, and even Caramel Quakes (okay, that thanks goes to mom for sending the quakes, but still - Will put them in my lunch bag). Yay Will!

I've been really busy at work and at home lately so I apologize for the lack of updates. In great news, I can report that my sister-in-law Stephanie and our friend Christy have joined us in South Africa after spending three months in Tanzania at a baby hospital (see their story here). It is so nice to have family and friends here! We've really enjoyed their company.

Friday night we had a cookout to introduce Steph and Christy to our friends here. Ostrich burgers, guacamole, baked fries (in a cast iron skillet - works like a charm!), and other yummyness abounded. We enjoyed watching Steph's video of her rafting the "whitey mighty Nile" in Uganda - she rafted class 4 and 5 rapids! Crazy! But its an amazing video and the commentary is hi-larious.

Sunday we visited a new church, which I am really excited about. Hooray for Sunday evening services! Its a presbyterian church, but its def. not PCUSA. Regardless, we really liked the music, the message, and the people at the church. They were very welcoming and it felt like we made instant friends. They even gave us the names of other churches to try out, just to get a good fill of what the church community is like in this town. I am looking forward to returning soon.

Last night we had girls night! 8 of us met up at Cappucino's for dinner and then went to see Mamma Mia!, which I LOVED. Although I gotta admit, Pierce Brosnan is not the best singer ever... I couldn't really watch him without laughing. But all in all, GREAT movie.

Saturday we've found a place to watch UGA vs. Florida - WOOHOO!

Next week I go to Cape Town for work, which I am really excited about. I am meeting with lots of partners there so it will be fantastic to finally meet them! I will be gone for a week and on through the weekend and am really looking forward to seeing the town as everyone loves Cape Town!

Thanksgiving update: We've had some preliminary discussions pertaining to our Thanksgiving day wishlist. I got my November Real Simple yesterday and am so intrigued by this, I just bought pumpkin spice and pumpkin through net grocer (although I wonder - is the gelatin necessary?). I'm not sure if we'll be able to find a turkey or not, but let's hope!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Even though I uploaded these to the last post, somehow they didn't make it! Anyway, here are the pics* from the whole point to Will's birthday fishing trip!

Rainbow trout!


Bass again.

Beautiful fishing hole in the mountains!

*please note that while it was kind of you to think that the author of this post was too busy with the camera to catch a fish like her hubs, it turns out all she was good at catching on this very windy day was algae and weeds. Ew. But to make myself feel better, here's proof I can catch a big fish, on a fly rod no less! (okay, so I caught a whitefish when we were fishing for trout, but still... it counts to me!)

picture mania

Pictures taken from our recent stay at Dawson's Trout Lodge in Mpumalanga. We were the only guests there on Monday and were joined by two others late on Tuesday. We truly had the entire place to ourselves!

View from our room of the mountains and jacarandas


View from the pool area of mountain range at sunset

Trying out "sunset" mode on my camera

Will said to take this shot...

Our bathroom (well, the tub anyway - there is also a huge shower)

Will loves poured cement sinks (that's our welcome drink on the counter)

Furry dead things cover the floors at every turn

Bedroom (with furry thing on the other side of the bed). Our room was really huge - I don't know why I didn't take more pics. It had a walk-in closet, mini-fridge, a window you could sit in and look out into your backyard, and as noted, a massive bathroom. VERY NICE, but it should be noted, while there was a fireplace, there was no A/C (but there was a fan, thank goodness!).

Outside our room (check out those jacarandas!)

Zebra in the distance...

Dawson's has two giraffes: Tom & Jerry

Yay giraffes!

Mr. Will fishes.

I think this is one of the first pics of me in Africa. Here I am with the Defender. Nice.

Waterbuck (these are ladies which is why they have no horns). Apparently they smell really bad and the other animals don't like to be around them. They also have a bullseye on their rear. Sad, huh?

Where we had breakfast and pre-dinner drinks

The main entrance to Dawson's

I love this tree and the cute little bicycle

The pool - much too cold to swim!

Pre-dinner drinks and the basket of dried fruit, biltong, and nuts

Friday, October 17, 2008


I'm saving my pennies to go here, maybe next fall!

Trout lodge pics coming soon...

***Just for my future reference, MTBeds listed the deal as $275/night per person for the luxury beach villa and $325/night per person for the infinity beach villa until October 31. Now the deal is $425/person for the luxury beach villa and $475 for the infinity until December 2 (2/12/08). Interesting....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

...and we're off!

We're headed out on our first African road trip in the morning! Woohoo! We'll be driving 190 miles away to Dawson's Trout Lodge to celebrate Mr. Will's birthday. I am really excited - we'll be hiking to a waterfall, going on a game drive, and of course, fishing. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the country, taking the Defender out on open road, and just enjoying what will hopefully be a 2nd honeymoon with the hubs.

Random note: Yesterday I decided I wanted to get a pair of chocolate mary jane crocs to wear while I work in the yard. We found a pair at a sporting store and I tried them on and was ready to get them until I looked at the price tag...

$60! For CROCS?!? Aren't they, at the absolute most, $30/pair back home?

It is so weird what is expensive here and what isn't!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

photo mania!

So this is predominantly a photo entry of pics from our yard, per request of Momma Brock. Enjoy!

We *think* this is a fig tree. I am not sure why I can't get a non-blurry shot of it...

Birds of paradise. YAY!

Strange red furry tree plant we bought for the empty corner of the yard, paired with red thorny flowery thingy and other red flowers....

Yellow roses! YAY!

Our back patio with the Big Green Egg.

Our Land Rover Defender: Will's pride and joy (note the purple jacaranda tree behind the vehicle)

The picture above is of the newly added plants to our back yard as well as Victor's flower beds that he created around each plant with the rocks pulled from our pool area. I think he did a great job. And yes, that's Muddy in the background playing with his ball.

Strange red thorny plant that I really like!

This is a view of our bedroom balcony. I must admit, not the best pic.

One part of our herb garden, specifically our basil and mint and geraniums. They are growing like crazy here!

Tomatoes! One is supposed to be cherry tomatoes and the other regular tomatoes. We'll see.

Another view of the Defender

My Lantana that Victor helped me bring back to life after I mercilessly killed it. That's also a lavender plant on the right - we'll see if it takes.

My daisies, now slightly dead, but am hopeful will bring back to life and that they will spread...

Sanford says Hi.
Our office, where I'm sitting right now. Not the hugest room, but we like it.

Muddy says Hi.

Our guest room that is supposed to be our UGA room, once we get pics hung. Its different now that they brought two more twin beds so this bed has been turned into a king and the other twin is in Will's "man den." Please note that at present, we do not own any twin or king sheets and that we have company coming in less than two weeks. Ouch. We also don't know what on earth to do with the white desk in this picture, but will hopefully think up something soon as it is quite awkward here. Hmmm.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

random facts

Our internet is still out at home. Quote: "The new router will arrive today. If not today, then tomorrow." The router did not arrive today. sigh.

The Rand stands at R9 to the $1. That's the most its been since I've been here. When I first arrived in August, it stood at R7.5 to the $1. We bought the car at R8.2 = $1. Now R9 = $1. May I just say, WOW?

Since the Rand is so high, we ate at Ritrovo two nights in a row. Heck yes.

I am getting used to eating prawns with their heads on, but only if their bodies are already butterflied. Prawns are so big, it is kind of like eating a shrimp steak. I had prawns diablo last night at Ritrovo, which was served in a really spicy tomato sauce over parmesan risotto. YUM. To get an idea of what my meal looked like last night, go here.

I'm in love with this.

I just ate all my jalapeno cheddar GoldFish and there are no more now. Isn't it strange to live somewhere unfamiliar with GoldFish?

We are thinking we may go to Hartbeespoort Dam this weekend to peek around, shop, and maybe visit the Elephant Sanctuary.

On Monday, Will and I will travel east to stay here for Will's birthday. Trout fishing, hiking, and other fun awaits for a nice holiday away. Me = can't wait!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


What is your favorite book?

I find that I have more free time than I used to have to read, which is so great. I've gotten some great suggestions from friends, but am looking for even more, including if there are any inexpensive ways to get books through the mail other than


Monday, October 6, 2008


Our internet is out at home for unexplained reasons, which means my contact with you folks has been nil for the past few days.

We chose to get our internet through a separate provider than our phone service, Telkom, who only offers plans up to 3GB/month. Since we have the Slingbox, we knew we'd need much more than 3GB to download TV shows so we also use SAOL to get 10GB/month.

What this really means is - everyone blames everyone else when there's a problem. Luckily, we've been able to identify that the problem is the ADSL line provided by Telkom, not the equipment provided by SAOL, but yeeesh, what an absolute nightmare.

So, in sum, the truth is that all the pretty pictures I've snapped for you folks will take that much longer to post here. Boo! It will be worth it to see the snap of the 1970s dining hutch at least.

Friday night we decided to go see the Blue Bulls play rugby. It was their last game of the season and unfortunately, the first time it has rained since we've been here, which meant we sat in a pub and watched the game as opposed to actually paying the money to stand in the rain to watch a sport we don't understand. I think a wise choice, don't you? By the way, I think this is quite interesting. It almost makes the Dallas cowgirls look like innocent school girls... there was seriously a strip tease before the game started in the center of the field. Maybe its Dallas Cowgirls meets Coyote Ugly meets Striptease?

Saturday I got my hair cut and am happy to report, it looks pretty good. I thought about getting my hair colored, but then got nervous and bailed out for fear of having skunk-like highlights reminiscent of the crazy hair here. So... another time.

We decided to stay in on Saturday night and make spaghetti. Dyad came over for dinner and claimed it was the best salad and spaghetti he's ever had and he still liked it after we told him it was ostrich spaghetti. Heck yes. It was so nice to cook in my Le Creuset pot too. Yay!

Sunday was even lazier as we stayed in all day, reading and watching movies. I can report that I had no idea how different the Bridget Jones books are from the movies, but moly! They are quite different. I think I can safely say that this is an exception to the "book is always better than the movie" rule as I truly like the Bridget Jones movies better, especially The Edge of Reason. Actually, Sex and the City is a truly horrible book and the TV series/movie fantastic-o.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fast food!

I miss Chick-fil-a. I knew I would, but I really really do. Sweet tea, chicken biscuits, chik'n minis, even the spicy cool wrap. Yum.

In South Africa, there are three American fast food chains:
(1) McDonald's
(2) KFC
(3) Subway

To date, I have eaten at all three, even though back home, I very rarely eat at any of them! But I must admit - it was nice to get a taste of home.

Subway was just okay - I was starving so I got the meatball sub, except it was super weird so I didn't even finish my sandwich. Subway is really far out of the way so I doubt I will go back any time soon. It just smelled funny in there. ew.

One of my coworkers brought me KFC one day when I had to work through lunch. He brought me the "streetwise combo" (I think its a funny name!) which was a chicken leg and wing and fries. I must admit - it was AWESOME. I rarely enjoy chicken on the bone, but they do something different to the KFC chicken here because it was heavenly. Will had to try it and he agreed - it really is spectacular here. I'm not how sure how often I'll ever eat here, but yum.

Will and I tried McDonald's this weekend. I like overseas McDonald's just to see how they are different. I must report they have "corn cups" which are literally little plastic cups filled with corn kernels. Weird. Check out the website above for the pic. They also have the "McFeast Deluxe" and the "Grilled Chicken Foldover" which looks crazy scary.

We got a 4 count of chicken nuggets to try (weird - not the same as back home), a big mac (for Will - I have still never tried one!), and a quarter pounder with cheese. The QPC was fantastic, but next time I must ask for it without ketchup as the ketchup here is terrible. Most importantly, the fries were heaven on earth. We won't eat like this very often, but its nice to know we can get a greasy taste of home when we feel like it.

It appears that they do have sausage biscuits for breakfast, albeit on an english muffin. It may be worth a try to see if its the same sausage from back home (I doubt it...). But ooh yum, it looks like they have breakfast hash browns.

Neither KFC nor McDonald's has biscuits, I am very sad to report. Boo.

Yesterday I had South African fast food. There are several to choose from, including Steers, Something Fishy (craziest name for a restaurant ever), and Wimpy. I haven't tried any of these. My co-worker brought me Nando's, which was pretty all right, especially for a hungry girl who worked through lunch. It was a grilled chicken sandwich with lettuce and tomato and fries. Thank goodness I keep packets of ketchup in my desk at work!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Two months to the day, we finally received 7,200 pounds of our stuff.

To give some background, prior to moving here, we divided our stuff into three piles: storage, the 7,200 lb. sea shipment, and the 450 lb. air shipment. We were there when the movers came and we watched them pack up the little house in Atlanta. I had carefully labeled every box either "air," "sea," or "store" and it wasn't until Monday that I realized numerous things that I had labeled "air" had actually come across the sea.

Anyway, when we first got here, all we had was the luggage we brought with us on the plane. Two weeks later, we got our 450 lb. shipment of randomness, which included, among other things, all of our suits and dress clothes (that we don't really need here), my magnet collection, a couple things from my office in Atlanta, and dog beds. Weird? Yes. This meant more time wearing only the clothes we brought with us.

Luckily, our shipment came early. It typically takes three months. Ours would have been here in 1.5 months, but the hurricanes slowed the ship, so we got them 2 months to the day.

Were we excited? Heck yes. But now we live in chaos!

It was apparent that our movers felt it necessary to pack things very randomly. For example, in one box, you may find socks, toiletries, dog biscuits, one cast iron skillet, some pens, and a blanket. Weird? Yes. This made it very frustrating to unpack as I felt like I was constantly runnings things up and down the stairs for what didn't belong. Luckily, Beth came over on Monday and was an absolute rock star in helping us get things sorted. Our housekeeper, Maria, also helped get everything sorted out so we finally have most items in the rooms they belong in so now its just a matter of each item finding its home.

We were also lucky in that we only have two things missing (I know other people who have entire crates missing, which are seriously the size of the office I am sitting in right now, if not bigger). We're missing our shop broom, which is no big deal, but we're also missing Will's collection of framed sports memorabilia (for lack of a better description). Two items are pretty much priceless. One is a poster from the 1980 Masters tournament which is in Japanese and framed beautifully. Prior to having it preserved, someone offered Will $750 for it. Before we left, Will paid an arm and a leg to have it preserved and framed so I don't even know what price tag to put on it. We are also missing a huge panaromic framed photo of Sanford Stadium, my favorite ink sketch called "The Freshman" which pictures a bulldog puppy sitting at the base of the Arch, and fear upon fears, Will's Sigma Chi fraternity signature thing (I know no way to describe it). Is he upset? YES. I'm hoping it wound up in storage or that its making its way here, because unless you're a UGA sports fan, I don't think anyone would want to make these items theirs... we will see. Keep your fingers crossed. We also think we're missing Will's medical kit we got from work, which would be a HUGE bummer, but I'm hoping I can ask one of my colleagues to pick one up and bring it with them from Atlanta when they visit in a few weeks.

Now we're going through the tough decisions on setting up our first true home together. Do we paint? Do we exchange out furniture? Can we please get rid of the 1970s china cabinet that is so hideous ugly (plus I have no china to display in them as its all in storage in Atlanta!)? What on earth do we do with the awesome 1970s wedding pics of our parents (my vote: display them on an end table with a picture from of us from our wedding)?