Monday, January 11, 2010

Goodbye to Africa

It is very hard for me to write this post. I am already in tears. Literally. I can't believe that our year is up and we are headed back home. Ben and I were talking about this year and how we've been married for 2.5 years and have spent almost half of our married life together here in Africa. It has been the best year of our lives. We have had so many amazing experiences and opportunities here and I know without a doubt that it is the place we were meant to live. We have grown so much, as a couple and individually. Our eyes have been opened. Our hearts have been filled with new friends, new places, and new cultures. It is very hard to say goodbye. We have been able to visit Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique, and many many places in South Africa (see labels on left side of blog). I think we definitely made the most of our time here.

Ben and I made this list a while ago, thinking about our time here and what we'll miss and not miss, and what we are looking forward to...

Things we’ll miss:
• Everyone in our Johannesburg 1st ward

• The weather
• Having maids 3x a week
• The beef. The steaks
• Some of the local yard decor (Yes those are plastic people. What you can't see are the fake Rhinos and Zebras):

• Volunteering at Princess Alice Adoption Home
• All the animals at our doorstep
• No traffic rules
• The cool old abandoned buildings:

• Speaking Zulu to people
• The 10-minute walk to Ben’s work
• Volunteering with our little baby lions
• Pick ‘n Pay, Checkers, Wimpy, the Dagwood, Café Europa, The Meat Co, St. Elmo’s and Virgin Active Gym
• The World Cup hype:

• Bernard, Pumla, Howa Buzo, Mbonisi, Melanie, Olivier, Marcia, Erin, Leonni, Nalini, Ipsa, Josh, Alan, Itai, Rafael, John, Princess… and many more
• Ben’s colleagues
• The South African lingo (which we will come home saying)
• How open and full of faith the African people are
• The weekly garbage runs:

• Ben’s weekly, and sometimes biweekly, soccer games
• A good tip is $0.50 cents
• Staying in the car for gas fill-ups
• The protective Tactical Units
• This temple:

• Orthodox Jews making their family walks every weekend
• Braais
• Our home, the Splice
• All the hatchbacks
• Peaking in at mansions at the gates
• The African sun
• Vodacom monopoly and this landmark building:

• Traveling Africa
• Pilanesberg, Cape Town, Mozambique, Krugers, and the Lion Park
• Chutney flavored Fritos
• Our walks/drives down the tree-lined streets:

• Living across the street from the mall
• Movies for $2.50 each
• The major downpours of rain
• The lightning that cracks so loud we scream and drop to the floor
• Driving by some of the local transport:

Things we won’t miss:
• Food going bad after one week
• Being away from family
• Stores closing at 5pm
• Cricket, rugby, and soccer being the only sports popular
• CRAZY taxis
• No inspection rules for cars, hence break downs everywhere
• The honking
• The absence of fast food
• The lack of variety in restaurants
• Being paranoid driving at night
• Keeping my purse in the glove box or under the seat at all times
• Locking the car doors the second we get it
• Beggars and people selling Hello Kitty planners and phone chargers at every intersections:

• The huge walls topped with barbed wire and electric fences on every house
• Paying for parking everywhere
• The smoking and swearing
• Paying for plastic bags at grocery stores
• The random police inspections on busy roads
• Radar cameras
• Our complex always filled with the smell of curry
• The neighbor’s smoking on the balcony that somehow it penetrates our walls and windows
• How fast the weather can change

We’re looking forward to:
• Being back in the USA. God Bless America.
• Eating at the following restaurants: Café Rio, Subway, Little Caesars, Applebees, Olive Garden, Taco Bell, In ‘N Out, Wendy’s, Arby’s, and Guru’s
• Doritos, Cottage Cheese and Wheat Thins, Tortilla Chips & Salsa, and tons and tons of our favorites sweets and junk food
• Snow
• Driving on the right side of the road
• Being able to turn right on a red light
• Customer Service
• Hot tubs
• Walmart
• Stores being open late
• Fast, reliable, developed internet

There are many more things we could add to the list, but we'll keep it at that. If you've seen Blood Diamond then you've heard the quote that Leonardo DeCaprio says about Africa that talks about how there's just something about AFRICA. It gets in your blood and steals your heart. It has definitely done that to us.

I have also had some of the most amazing photography opportunities here, ranging from wildlife and photo journalism to safari weddings in the bush. Here are some recent shoots:

We are so grateful to our Heavenly Father for blessing us with this awesome opportunity. We are just overwhelmed with so many feelings right now. We will forever remember our memories and time here in Africa. Thanks to all of our amazing friends here in South Africa. We love you and thank you for helping us make this our "home." We will miss you all and hope to see you again in the future, whether back here in Africa, or visiting us in the States. And to all our family and friends back home, thank you for supporting us and writing me to keep me sane and alive through the lonely times (being a consultant's wife). We can't wait to see you again and be close to home.
Sala Kahle Africa!


Jill Revell said...

That year did go fast...but you guys definitely made the most of it. I can't believe all of the adventures you guys were able to squeeze into one year.

Sarah said...

Quite the busy year for you guys! Glad you were able to do everything you wanted AND glad to have you come back to the US of A and be closer to us!

hilary said...

that was fun to read about your year in a nutshell and what your favorites about africa are/what you're looking forward to. i can't believe you've lived there for one year, that's crazy! good luck traveling home to the us of a! can't wait to see your posts of your next adventure. :)

Anonymous said...

Well, we are excited to have you guys back!!! Gonna be passing through Arizona at all? If not, we'll be in CA in June! Can't wait to see you.

Lindsay said...

I will really miss reading about all of your adventures in Africa! Especially the pictures! What an adventure you two had, I definately want to visit Africa, and some day when I do I will come to you guys for the ins and outs!

Chelsie said...

wow, i can't believe the year is already up! crazy. i'm going to miss all your adventures. your pictures were of there were always amazing, but i'm glad you're coming back closer to friends and family

Rachel said...

what a great experience! I have loved reading your weekly blogs about all your adventures and look at your amazing pictures (you are so talented!) hopefully new adventures will find you. have fun being home!

Sara said...

Beautiful pics!! We're all excited to have you guys back in the states!

Laurel said...

That did seem to go quick! I am sure it is sad to leave and I agree with you that you guys did get a lot of experiences in the year you were there. Travel back safely!

Unknown said...

It was nice to meet you last week at the Temple Camille! Sorry if I came across as a little strange! ;) May the Lord bless you in your journey back home. thank you for bringing the best of our country to light. T.I.A. If ever you find yourself down in East London, South Africa, please stop by for a visit.

Carly said...

i have loved reading about all of your african adventures! what an awesome way to spend your first little bit of married life.

Justin & Ashlee said...

I had to leave a comment. I have followed your blog for some time now. My sister is Natalee "Reeder" Bodily. I have loved following your experience. My husband and I had a similar experience, living in Grenada for a year and a half. I totally know what you have gone through, what you'll miss, and what you are so excited to get back to. You remind me of myself, very adventurous and looking for something new all the time. Good luck with your next journey and welcome back to the is so heavenly! (We can say that because we've lived without it :)

The Imperfect Pie said...

we will take you to all those restaurants and buy all of your favorite snacks. and we have snow right outside our door, developed internet, and our bathtub gets really hot water (David will blow bubbles for you)---you really should just move in with us. hm.

Carolee said...

I stumbled across your blog (which I love by the way) and was wondering if you could help me. You left a comment on SJH blog design about a year ago saying you get an error in your code that says:The new widget id “Text” is invalid for type: Text How do you fix that? Also, how did you make the little "snowflake" things floating around on your blog? Love it.

Megan said...

Sad for you guys to say goodbye to all these amazing experiences! But I'm sure there are so many people that can't wait for you to come home!!! Hope you have a safe journey you two!

The Hills... said...

What. an. experience! I admit, I'm a little sad that I won't get to read your cool posts and see your AMAZING pictures (you take the best pictures, seriously!). But it will be nice to have you back, safe and sound. Hopefully we can come visit you in San Fran!