Writing a blog chronicling one’s life is hard. I never really thought about it before. It needs to be a blend of “this is what I did” in a new culture and “this is what we are learning/experiencing about living” in a new culture, all the while being of interest to friends and family who hopefully have a few moments to read it. This last week, our third here, was another whirlwind – both in terms of “what we did” as well as “what we are learning/feeling/thinking about” this new culture. The week ranged from experiencing dental care in South Africa (Luke – minor tooth ache; diagnosis: lay off the gum and sweets) to attending an early childhood meeting sponsored by the municipal government on the 1st 1000 days of life (felt very familiar) to successfully opening a bank account after multiple attempts (felt very unfamiliar), to being totally blown away with the awesome beauty of this place and the friendliness of the people, to absolutely loving all the outdoor adventures it presents; to struggling to make sense of the crime, the walls, the wires and the sense of vulnerability we are feeling; to trying to understand the underlying anger that lies at the heart of the violence that one hears about – anger caused by gross inequality resulting not just from the vestiges of apartheid but the senseless policies of the last presidential administration; to rejoicing over the fact that, after several weeks living out of a suitcases, we will be settled in our own absolutely stunning house tomorrow. Our backyard and pics from a recent local wine tasting here.
Over the past week we’ve settled more into daily living, and the realization that we are not in fact tourists but actually will be living here for a year. Totally crazy. The kids have settled into their classes and seem incredibly happy at the American International School of Cape Town. Everything is different – the school day, the sense of academic rigor (?), the composition of the school body (so cool), the number of languages spoken, the after-school sports. We are delighted so far. Luke’s undying passion for all things hockey have found a home in a most unexpected space – field hockey. He joined his after school team and seems to have found his niche. (funny – they don’t refer to it as “field,” just “hockey.” Charlotte, too, is exploring new and different things. There is no lax here…..but there is ample soccer. Not surprisingly, even as a beginner she’s quite good. She is really enjoying it and all the new friends she is making. We are eternally grateful and blown away by how easily both of them have transitioned to this new life we are leading.
Here’s Luke and his (field) hockey team:
Chris is also really enjoying his volunteer teaching work with high school kids, having taught his first official class this week. As in Arlington, he marvels at his students – their energy, dreams, curiosity, senses of humor – and is particularly tickled by their perceptions and questions about the US. Our president is a very common topic of conversation here. 🙂
Everywhere we go we are overwhelmed with how friendly people are. Everyone invites us to bike or run or drink wine or surf or come to their home for a playdate and a “braai.” It’s really remarkable – more people have given us their numbers to call them then we’ll ever be able to call. The closest comparison I can think of – without the evidence of abject poverty everywhere – might be Portland, Oregon: stunning scenery, tons of outdoor activities and fit and friendly people, vineyards, coffee, beer, food, etc. We are just beginning our experience here, but so far we absolutely love it.
Today’s adventure was a 1.5 hour hike up Table Mountain. Stunning, challenging, invigorating – the kids nailed it.
Where’s Waldo? Ooops, I mean Chris. See if you can find him!