Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Our flat is the one on the bottom left.

We’ve arrived! We now LIVE in Cape Town, South Africa. This is now our HOME! It’s been an exciting two weeks centred on 5 days laid up in bed with the ‘flu. That part wasn’t so fun. I guess our bodies just gave up the ghost after being on the go for so long. Our goal has been to just get here so that once we got here our immune system finally enforced a rest.

It’s been interesting finding the differences between Sydney and Cape Town. In so many ways it’s much like living back in Australia but it’s the little things that remind you that ‘we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto’.

  • You can buy milk in bags.
  • Electricity is prepaid
  • Actually a lot of things are prepaid - cell phones (not ‘mobiles’) are more widely used off contracts and even landline accounts are prepaid.
  • Receipts = till slips.
  • Tipping is normal.
  • Car guards: men (I’ve never seen women doing it) ‘guard’ your car and help you load your shopping. In exchange you give them a few rand.
  • Petrol stations are not self-service. You tip the petrol attendant.
  • Roundabouts = circles.
  • Traffic lights = robots.
  • Most traffic signs are in English and Afrikaans.
  • People say ‘shame’ as a verbal acknowledgement of commiseration.
  • People say ‘sho’ as a verbal exclamation of surprise or shock.
  • People say ‘Is it?’ as a verbal confirmation that you said something new or interesting.

That’s just a few of the strange things that happen around here that I’m sure will be so normal in a few months.

We really do hope to make this place our home. We’ve been so transient for a long time that we went nearly giddy at Mr Price Home (a cheapy version of Ikea) buying cushions that match our new couches. It was a bizarre experience to think about decorating our house in a ‘grown up’ and non student fashion. Let me reassure you, we’re still buying cheaply and will DIY a lot but it’s a different feeling than when we were in Sydney and everything was always temporary. Even those four years at Moore were seen as temporary.

George Whitefield College on the beachfront at Muizenberg, Cape Town.

People have been very friendly and welcoming both at George Whitefield College and in society in general. People here are very kind and sympathetic that we are new. (Although, generally, unless people are working in a tipping type industry, they haven’t been *that* friendly!).

Slowly. Slowly. We’re making our way. Constantly grateful that we are here and that we are supported through Christian brothers and sisters both here and in Australia.

Friday, June 3, 2011

New beginnings

We leave for South Africa tomorrow!! Right now we're just chilling out watching Stargate Atlantis, eating TimTams and doing last minute paperwork. It's been a crazy day cleaning and packing. It's amazing how little you can fit into 25kg checked luggage. We've donated the most insane amount of stuff that at some point we thought was necessary but now deemed worth nothing. 
Practicalities aside, I'm not sure I'm quite ready to go. We've had a intense week with two lots of family visiting. It was good to see them and say goodbye (again!) but I really do think that next time no family should visit in the last two weeks of our departure. It's just too stressful. I thought that we had planned things well to say goodbye to people in a timely manner (as we were taught at St Andrew's Hall down in Melbourne) but plans schmaans.
I don't think I'm ready to go because I'm getting a little apprehensive about living in South Africa and Zambia as well as the HUGE responsibilities that my jobs will entail. Who on earth am I to take on helping a people group translate the Bible when I fail so often to just read it myself? Who am I to help Bible college students to write essays when I hate, hate, hate, hate writing essays?
Cold feet? As an aside I never had cold feet the day before we got married. I actually had to convince my dad at the back of the church to walk me down the aisle because I really wanted to get married and he insisted that I could still go home at any point if I wanted to.
But I am ready to go. I've spent YEARS studying, I've had a brief go at it in March, people have prayed over us, we've prayed, we've had the 15 or so requisite interviews, doors have been opened and others shut. We're going.
My dad would have been mighty terrified about us going. I would have either called him tonight (at 6pm so he could miss the dodgy local news but preferably not at 6:30pm when he was watching the slightly better national news) or tomorrow morning (around 6am after he got back from buying the paper and before he went out fishing/shopping/visiting friends). He would have checked that I had my tickets, passport, was getting to the airport hideously early and had checked the weather for Cape Town.

My first international flight from Brisbane to the Philippines when I was 2 years old. 
I posted over on Twitter and Facebook a few things I'm going to miss about Australia and a few things I'm looking forward to about South Africa. I'll put them here as well:
Things I'm looking forward to about South Africa #1: Learning things about God from South Africans Christians that Australian Christians don't know.
Things I'm looking forward to about South Africa #2: Becoming a Muizenberg local. It'll take a while, but I'm determined.
Things I'll miss about Australia #1: Kookaburras going so crazy ape in the morning that they nearly fall out of trees with their belly laughs.
Things I'll miss about Australia #2: The following acceptable dialogue: 'How ya going'? 'Yeah'm good.' 'Dya want something ter eat?' 'Nah'm good.'
Important purchase in prep for move to Cape Town #1: Kath and Kim season 1.
Important purchase in prep for move to Cape Town #2: 17 packets of assorted TimTams.
We're now at the stage where to not go would be just awkward. Everything's packed. Our apartment in Cape Town is ready for us. Actually we've got people to pick us up at the airport as well as bring us a meal on Sunday night and take us out to church (if we're still awake). We got a phone call from Cape Town this afternoon welcoming us. I've got a list of cafes and restaurants I want to visit next week. We're going.
It's been an amazing journey to get us this far and for it and all its ups and downs we're very grateful to God. He's changed us along the way. We're more flexible, durable and multi-useful. Like any missionary worth their salt. We're ready for whatever will come our way.