Monday, October 29, 2007

The Sky is Falling

Friday happened to be a rather cold and wet day in Joburg. Cold probably doesn’t sound strange to you as it is fall for most of you and temps are dropping. Here we are headed into summer and temps have been in the 80’s so when we woke up to 50 degree weather it felt a bit winter like.

Friday afternoon the kids and I were cuddled up on the living room floor playing a game of Cadoo, I was just sharing that rainy days can be fun days and this was kind of nice. The only thing in my opinion that would make it better would be a heater. All our heaters were packed away; I mean why would one need them in the summer time?! So I gave a diplomatic suggestion to my husband who was working from home that one would be nice. He has learned after 13 years of being married to me that my diplomatic suggestion of, “we should get a heater out” actually means “he should get a heater out”. So he went to the flat to retrieve one. *Our flat is a self-contained one bedroom that is not attached to the house.

Not more than 30 seconds passed when Rich returned in a panic. “Michelle, I am gonna need some help here.” Marci our staff member was in the office and heard the tone in Rich’s voice and jumped up to investigate with me. As we walked into the flat a large portion of the roof was caved in and water was pouring and I mean pouring in. We frantically ran around trying to get the electrical appliances out while Rich was trying to figure out how to stop the gush. A thought occurred to me during the mayhem that although it was raining outside it wasn’t raining that hard and all the sudden the gush retreated to a trickle. It wasn’t the rain that caused the break after all, one of the hot water pipes burst.

So we spent the next hour attempting to sweep/mop up the water… I couldn’t help but laugh especially as my daughter artfully exclaimed, “but I thought God said He would never flood the earth again.” My husband did not find much humor in the circumstances, we have had so many things that have gone wrong with this house lately..he is finished (as they would say here). I felt the saying “when in rains it pours” was quite apropos. Just makes me believe that something good is just over the bend! And this is the one time when it is nice to be renting.

Anyway that is my Monday morning version of “the Sky is falling!” And as an added bonus here is a picture of Marci merrily sweeping away the unwanted H2O.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Family Friday

In light of our recent jaunt to the states to see fam, I thought I would introduce them all to you. (and it worked nicely with the double consonant title)

A quick note to some of my family members as I can already hear you saying, "I can't believe she posted that picture, I look terrible". I wanted to use pictures from the actual trip not Olan don't look terrible and even if you did none of my readers know you (most don't even know me) so you have nothing to worry about. (I am sure that pacified them.....hee)

My 3 kids and my bro's 4 kids. The littlest one pictured is Ella, our friend's daughter. David, Missie and Ella are not blood related however they are definitely family! The kids had a ball together!

Me and my big bro, Andy. He is a great guy, great brother and great vacation planner.

My mom (aka "Mil") and my crazy bunch.

My dad (aka Vern) and Skyler

And Rich's mom, Jackie and his sister Jen, joined us at the beach. So glad we got to see them!

Tori looks like a blond Jenny when Jen was young. She definitely will have her looks to fall back on eh?

Great Family....Good Times.....Glorious Memories!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Top 10 insignificant American facts

(aka “First Impressions in the US”)

Missie (see I did it again), this ones for you!

This topic would be taken from my observations while back in the States. They are very trite, mundane, and rather arbitrary observations that typically one would not give much thought. However after being away for 2 years, they are things I became keenly aware of just because they are so different than in my current country of residence.

Here goes….

#10 Ice…Americans like their ice. Every beverage glass is loaded often to the top with ice. Even when I would say, ‘easy on the ice’ it just meant my drink came with a ½ cup of ice opposed to the normal full. Drastically different than here and probably most places around the world. Here we have to ask to even get ice in our drink and even then it usually takes 3 requests to get more than 3 cubes. Oh and by the way, the cubes are a miniature version of those in the States, as are most things.

#9 Size…The typical global size small is LARGE and large is gargantuan in the good ole USA. I quickly realized that a small beverage was quite enough for me and the kids. Now the Big Gulp, enough to quench the thirst of our entire family and those dining around us.

#8 Refills…. Free (being the key word here) Refills..... never would happen here! I also realized a glaring difference when ordering coffee in a restaurant. In SA coffee typically is served with hot milk. Why because with the hot milk your beverage remains hot the entire drinking duration. In America, we don’t need hot milk because the waitress keeps the coffee hot the entire drinking duration….the cup is refilled sip after sip after sip. Actually it kind of drove me nuts as just when I would get my coffee how I liked it the waitress would refill the cup.

#7 Starbucks….what more needs to be said?!

(Did you realize my first 3 all dealt with beverages...I told you I drank a lot)

#6 Portions…..HUGE! At first this was a very welcomed sight but by the end of the trip I was ready for SA portions…or as American’s would term it a dieter’s portion. I guess I not only drank a lot I ate a lot.

#5 Temperature….Even in 90 degree weather I utilized my sweatshirts because no matter how warm it is outside it is still FREEZING inside. Really how hard is it to find a comfortable temperature…I don’t understand?!

#4 House Rules….You take your shoes off when entering someone’s house in America. Here it isn’t an issue as most South African’s don’t wear shoes (really!). My poor kids were so confused as to when they had to take their shoes off, when they had to wear shoes and the why as to both.

#3 Cereal…..It takes 10 minutes to choose a cereal in America because there is an entire isle, both sides, devoted to cereal. Here choices are corn flakes, muesli, corn flakes, rice krispies, corn flakes, granola, corn flakes and that is about it. Oh, did I mention corn flakes? Needless to say, we enjoyed the American cereal isle!

#2 TV….No one watches TV shows during their actual showing time in the land of the free…everything is PVR’d. I am so unfamiliar with that concept and term that frankly I don’t even know if I spelled…or is it abbreviated it correctly.

#1 BUY ONE GET ONE FREE…..(There is that word again) Those 5 words completely invigorated and excited me. I was mesmerized as I looked through the Sunday newspaper ads and saw this phrase slathered throughout. Heck, I even wanted to go out and buy a chia pet for no other reason than I would get one free (well and maybe for the next blog contest prize). I know I am a marketer’s dream. The word free is not in the SA dictionary so perhaps you can understand my enthusiasm. Let me say it again….free….free (in a loud voice)….free (in a small voice)….free (in a Donald Duck voice)……free (with a South African accent)…..Oh it sounds so good!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Our blood runs Green

The Rainbow Nation (that would be SA for the history challenged) is boasting 2 of its colors. Those would be green and yellow; the colors that robe the mighty SA Rugby team.

Saturday the SA Springboks faced the defending World Cup Champions, England, in the World Cup Rugby final to take home the title!

Rich joined some SA fans at a watch party while I chose to spend a relaxing night of solace (after the kids went to bed of course) on my couch with the game muted and a good book in hand. Honestly, I am not a Rugby fan; I really don’t get the game. In fact as I watch grown men chase an odd shaped ball around the field, tackling each other while wearing no protective garments other than a mouth guard I can’t help but think, Lord, please don’t let my son choose this sporting event during his school sport's career.

I don’t understand the concept of tackling just as hard-core as in football wearing nothing other than shorts, a jersey minus any padding and mouth gear. I guess they figure if injuries amount to crippling or dementia at least they’ll still have nice teeth???

I will say, this country has a lot of National pride. The streets at 11:00 p.m. were packed with fans... cars were honking, flags were flying, drunks were doing things I can’t mention on my G-rated blog, all in rallying behind our nation and its victory.

I guess in an odd way this helps mend my wounds over this year’s Super bowl disaster. My Bears couldn’t pull through but with now being a South African resident I guess my blood does run green and therefore, I can proudly say, we are WORLD CHAMPIONS!!

Way to Go Springboks!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'm back

….to blogging and in South Africa! I realize my last entry was more than a month ago, the day of my departure to America…..oops! See if I lived in America I would never blog. Not that America doesn’t provide great blog fodder…how many times I uttered, this would make a great blog post, it was the busyness that won over.

We had a phenomenal time and were blessed beyond measure. I spent most of my time in Florida with my parents and my brother and his family. My bro has 4 kids so between the two of us we had 7 kids spanning the ages of 2-11. They had a blast and we drank a lot….just kidding!

We were given a week timeshare in Palm Beach, Florida. Yes, you heard me right…given a beach vacation. We were right on the beach at a great resort and enjoyed the big waves and awesome pools with my parents, Rich’s mom and sister, Jen and my bro’s family. There was 15 of us in total and we drank a lot…just kidding!

With having family in Florida the Disney scene has not eluded us so seeing Mickey was not a priority this trip however once again we were given tickets to the parks so how does one refuse? (thank you Missie and David) We screamed our heads off on Space Mountain, avoided 'It’s a Small World' at all cost and came to the realization my son has a thing for brunettes….he really enjoyed his photo op with Princess Belle.

In and around our fun trips we fell (deep) into gluttony as we ate…and ate…and ate a lot of great food! Wowza did we ever eat.

Best of all we had a lot of time with family…many memories to take back to Africa and for that I am most grateful!

Upcoming posts will feature “How kids prolong jet-lag”, “101 things one can do on a golf cart”, “Freaky hairdos”, “First impressions back in the USA” and much more especially if I continue to wake at midnight only to return to bed at 4 a.m.

It is good to be back!