A while ago I ordered Kathleen Whitaker’s staple earring from Pretty Mommy. It came in the most adorable little bag. I used the bag constantly to store my jewels while traveling, or working out or showering at the gym. I sort of ran it into the ground so I made some DIY replacements.
I left South Africa for Minnesota for a couple weeks for work. Besides the weather and being away from P and my puppy it’s lovely to be able to see my family, college friends, and high school friends and their babies. I’m going to use one or two of Minnesota’s 15,000+ lakes to do my running around. I brought a long sleeve mositure wicking shirt and fleece just for this purpose but I hope the cold air doesn’t make my lungs burn and turn my lake running dreams into a nightmare. My South Africanized lungs will have some adjusting to do, but I hope they think the cold weather is a fair trade for the lower altitude.
Like expats everywhere we are lucky to get many visitors- our house is like a hotel with friends and family coming and going constantly, complete with busy seasons and once in a while double (or triple!) bookings. Sometimes it makes us sad to be far away but the adventures had with visitors more than makes up for it. I’ve been meaning to make a guest book to keep track of it all for years and I finally got around to it last week.
To make up for all the friends who came pre-book and didn’t get to write a note, we went back through P’s Google calendar and wrote a list of all the people who have visited us through the years. Going through the calendar was the best part of this project, we got to re-live memories like when we went to India for the holidays, met friends in London the next weekend, Minneapolis the weekend after that for a wedding, and then two weeks later a girl’s trip to Turkey. Living in Berlin was a wannabe jet setter’s dream. Also, I am a new evangelist for Google Calendars because without P’s use of it there is no easy way we would have been able to recall all of our past guests.
1 blank book (there are lots of blank scrapbooking type books but scrapbooking makes me barfy-faced, so I found this at my favorite stationer’s)
alphabet stamps, ink
wax seal, sealing wax, candle
guestbook pen (optional)
We had a lovely weekend in Durban full of Indian food, sea food, and photo oppors. I hustled to get some good shots for P’s article and I hope they will suffice. Since we live in land-locked Jozi, it was a special treat to be able to do my running along the ocean. They have a great wiiiide paved sidewalk next to the beach and it’s full of Durbanites working out. If I had an ocean to run next to on a daily basis I imagine I’d do a lot more of it. Life gets crazy over the next month for both P and me so it was nice to chillax together before it all blows up. This week I’ll be working on editing my photos for P’s article and chilling with the dog before we go on a hike for Easter (sadly, mini daxy puppies are not equipped for hardcore hikes).
This weekend I am headed to Durban with P to be the official photographer for an article he is writing. Woootl! We go away for the quick weekend a lot and so I’ve become pretty efficient at throwing together a bag. One thing that I can say about myself is that while I generally love the excess, I’m good at keeping my luggage to a minimum (I have gone on three week trips with only a rollie carry on).
My strategy, whether I’m going away for 2 days or 2 weeks, is to write up a list on my iPhone in the Notes app. I’m a pretty last minute person but if I have a big trip coming up then I can add things to my packing list as I think of them in the days leading up to it. This way, when I’m inevitably throwing things into a bag hours before my flight I don’t miss anything important.
What kind of expat would I be if I lived in South Africa and didn’t safari as much as possible? A sad one. And what is Land of Nams without a good dose of wildlife photography? Being close to wild animals never gets old. (Okay, it got a little old- since P is now officially a birder. He has a book and everything. A thiiick book.)
We went to Madikwe Game Reserve with my sister and Brian & Kari, lovely friends who were visiting us from Boston. We saw a pack of wild dogs on their morning hunt. Wild dogs are endangered species. And a first! I saw my first wild cheetahs. I don’t have a lot of apex predator firsts anymore and so that was wonderful. Also terrifying wonderful- being in the middle of a pride of 15 lions while they roared away. At night. Observe:
we headed up to Limpopo with our friends for the long weekend (monday was Heritage Day in here in South Africa), to a big house in the Waterberg. after a torturous drive up (friday after-work traffic before a long weekend is never an easy task), we had an idyllic weekend of lazing, swimming, cooking, eating, game playing and even celebrating my birthday a bit. of course there was also a little wine involved and lots of games. i got some sun on my face to get back in the swing of summer and it was nice to relax after almost a solid year of (very cherished) guests. i didn’t take my camera, but a few shots from my iphone were taken- my favorite is of our friend’s dog Ninja who lazily plopped down in the middle of our game of Viking Chess as if it was the most obvious spot in the world to take a rest. thanks to the homies for a great weekend!
Here are my photos from our safari. I didn’t get my hands on my dad’s huge L lens but good news: he’s letting me borrow it between January and June of next year (there are not many animals to photograph in Minnesota). It was a fun change to safari somewhere outside of South Africa and my favorite pictures are of the crocodiles which were so close, in the magic hour before sunset. Botswana is famous for its elephants, which are everywhere you turn. I’ve never seen so many elephants in my life! Luckily for my parents we got some quality time with lions too.
We had a lovely holiday with my parents through 3 countries and lots of animals. I took lots of shots that still need to be edited but here is what I got on my iphone. We safaried by air, land and sea (mokoro) through the Okavango Delta, Moremi and Chobe, and viewed Victoria Falls from Zambia and Zimbabwe. It was fun to add countries to our list and log even more safari time (you can never have too much safari) and get up close and personal with crocs, lions, elephants etc. We kept the mosquitos away (but not the spiders, I have a huge nasty bite) and kept cool to boot. There was lots of quality time and great memories.
Fuschia flowers are blooming on the trees in the backyard and the warm weather is back in South Africa. My parents are visiting us and we’re headed to Botswana to safari in the Okavango Delta, Moremi and Chobe. We’ll also ogle Victoria Falls from Zambia and Zimbabwe. I’m unplugging for a blissful week (perhaps an errant instagram or two of the wildlife will surface if we come across some wi-fi) and will see you soon. When I come back there will be more diy, Alexander McQueen, and muchos photos from our safari. My dad bought an L series 400mm Cannon lens for himself which I plan on co-opting/commandeering as much as possible. Have a lovely week!