Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cape Town - Day Six

We spent today at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. What a magnificent setting for a garden.  Lush green gardens surrounded by towering mountain peaks.  Just gorgeous.  I enjoyed the plants, Dave enjoyed the walk in clean air, the boys enjoyed the animals: birds, butterflies, frogs and a leopard tortoise completing our Little Five (Rhino  Beetle, Elephant Shrew, Ant lion, Buffalo Weaver, and Leopard Tortoise).  It was a good way to round out a wonderful week of vacation.

Today is our last day here in Cape Town.  If I have my way we will be back again someday.  It is currently my number one dream post, who wouldn't want to live here?!!?  Since it's our last day the kids are watching a movie while Dave and I try to stuff everything we brought,  plus all the stuff we bought in our suitcases, so I am not going to take the time to try uploading pictures tonight.  I will try to post some pictures tomorrow when we are back at home in Malawi, assuming the internet is actually working.

What a wonderful place for a vacation.  If you are FS who will have to transit Jo'burg on you way to post or back the the states you should really consider cost constructing a week in Cape Town as part of the deal.  It is SO completely worth it.  The cottage where we stayed (The Tarragon) is fantastic! I will have more up about it sometime next week, or you can contact us for more information.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cape Town - Day Five

Today started with really cool cars, the kind most of us only dream about.  Franschoek Motor Museum exhibits 80 cars at a time, although that have many more in their collection, everything from the earliest model T's to Formula 1 race cars. As an added bonus the museum is in the stunning grounds of a vineyard. Gorgeous.

Then we stumbled across Butterfly World which had butterflies, lots of gorgeous butterflies, but also monkeys, birds, and reptiles.  One of the birds stole the button off the top of Colin's hat but gave it back when David held out his hand and sternly ordered the bird to "Give it back!"  I wish the kids listened as well as that bird.

Next came Cool Runnings dry land luge where all the boys felt the need for speed. Ok so maybe the parents did too.

We ended the day with dinner at a beach side restaurant. The wind was really blowing so we were glad to be able to eat indoors out of the wind.  The boys were hoping to play on the beach afterward but trying to walk on the beach was like getting sandblasted so the walk didn't last long.

Cape Town - Day Four

Today we were supposed to go diving with the  sharks.  I say "supposed to" because mother nature didn't cooperate.  We woke up to a rainy sky and quickly received a call canceling the trip due to high sea states.  The boys were upset and some tears were shed, but frankly I was a bit relieved. I have a history with sea sickness, and somethings time just doesn't ease the memory.  As cool as it would be to swim with the sharks, I'm sure me barfing or dry heaving the entire trip would put a damper on things.

Instead we headed out to Imhoff Farm.  It didn't exactly match the pictures we has seen online.  Dave and I were a bit let down.  The boys were happy with the reptile exhibit; Colin was thrilled with the kudu and ostrich biltong (jerky) he bought in one of the shops; and lunch was really good too, so I guess it was worth the trip.

Everywhere we have driven outside of town we have seen sign after sign warning about baboons.  The funny thing is we haven't seen a single baboon.  We've seen lots of "caution baboon" signs, a few baboon rangers (says so on their jackets!) and some baboon poop (as identified by Colin), but no baboons.  I'm afraid of baboons, but at the same time I always enjoy seeing them, from a safe distance, or from inside my car.  Maybe we will spot some tomorrow instead of just more baboon signs.

We stopped at Long Beach to watch the surfers.  It was the first time the boys or I have seen surfers in real life before.  I would love to learn to do that, it looked like so much fun.  Although maybe I would want to surf someplace with warmer water.  Grayson bored of the surfing quickly and found a friend to play with while the rest of us were checking out the action on the waves.

In the afternoon we headed out to the beach.  Boulders Beach.  The thing that sets Boulders Beach apart is penguins.  We stopped there earlier this week on the way out to The Cape of Good Hope to get a quick look at the penguins, but the boys wanted a chance to swim there.  Good decision, it is a sheltered beach with calm waters. There are boulders to climb on, sand to dig in and every once in a while a penguin swims up to see what you are doing. It made for a great afternoon.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cape Town - Day Three

Today we woke up to rain.  So instead of heading to the beach we headed into Cope Town down to Two Oceans Aquarium.  So did everybody else in town.  It was seriously crowded but we had lots of fun anyway.

By the time we left the aquarium the weather had cleared, so we grabbed some lunch then headed up on the ferris wheel to get a look around.  I don't like heights so it took me a while to actually open my eyes, but I'm glad I did.  It was a great view.  There were some parasailers out by table mountain, don't think I'll be doing that anytime soon, but it was cool to watch.  And while we were up there we were able to spot our next destination and figure out how to get there.

We wandered around playing tourist, watching the street performers and acting goofy.  Grayson was even drafted by a troop of dancers and acrobats to do a bit of fire dancing.  We did a lot of window shopping and a little souvenir shopping.  Colin finally found something to spend his Christmas money on, he is now the proud owner of a furry hide.  It's antelope of some kind, I can't remember which one - springbuck maybe, but it doesn't really matter because he is happy with it.  In fact he is asleep in bed under it right now.  LOL!

The boys had been grabbing brochures at every tourist sight in town and the one place they all wanted to see was the Diamond Museum.  It was very small but fun. Dave learned that 1 carat is 0.2 grams. The boys got to dress up as old-time miners.  At the end of the tour we were led into the showroom of Shimansky because, as it turns out, the museum is a gimmick to get you into the showroom.  Not a problem.  I love sparklies, and pretty much everything in the showroom sparkled, a lot!  If you go earlier in the day you can actually watch the jewelers and diamond cutters at work creating more beautiful sparkly works of art, we arrived late in the day so the workers had already left but the boys still spent a lot of time staring at all the special tools and work benches.  Sadly I didn't get to by anything, not today anyway.  Oh well, there is always tomorrow and think I saw some Tanzanite with my name on it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cape Town - Day Two

For our second day of vacation in Cape Town we headed south, as far South as you can go and still be in Africa. The Cape of Good Hope was David's choice of South African activities.  We saw so much more than we expected.  There was the ostrich we sighted on the way there and the zebra we spotted on the way out of the park.  I had no idea this trip would turn into a safari, but with my boys I wasn't much surprised. I think jet lag has caught up with me as I am too tired to deal with posting pictures.  That will just have to wait until tomorrow. Good night, y'all!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

It Has It's Benefits

One thing everyone (and by everyone I mean all my girlfriends back in the 'hood) says when I am home in the states is, "I don't know how you do it, I could never do it."  By "it" they mean living overseas, moving every few years, and giving up things like pretty furniture, housing choices, and control over where we are going live next year.


Oh please!  Virtually everyone who said that to me could not only do this, they would do this with far more grace and far less complaining than me.  I think they just aren't willing to live with Drexel Horrible furniture.

But, just in case you, my  girlfriends back home, think this FS gig is all sacrifice and hard work interrupted by the occasional ball, let me tell you what I did today as you tried to get your kids up and back to school on this cold winter day.  I woke up late-ish to a sunny summer morning and had breakfast on the terrace looking up at the mountains.  After that we decided to go up Table Mountain, but the lines were ridiculous so instead we went to World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary which was great, well except for the monkey that peed on me and Colin (people wonder why I hate monkeys) the nasty thing snickered as it peed, I swear it did.  The birds though were amazing, especially the owls.

For lunch we went to Dunes right on the beach in Hout Bay, great view, good food too.

Then we went back to Table Mountain where the lines had totally vanished. Up the cable car we went and we spent the rest of the day there.  Amazing!

So there you have it.  Yes, the Foreign Service comes with some sacrifices and disadvantages, like ugly furniture and living a million miles away from family and friends, but it definitely has its advantages too.  Like vacations in places we would otherwise see only on the travel channel.  Tomorrow we are heading down to The Cape of Good Hope for a day of penguins, fun in the sun, and hopefully a few other surprises.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


I'm skipping the whole New Year's Resolution thing this year. This year I'm joining the one little word movement.  A bloggy friend introduced me to this idea. It sounds so much healthier than the annual ritual list of completely unattainable resolutions that I will never stick to. As far as I can tell all resolutions have ever done for me is make me feel bad about myself.  So why do I keep making resolutions year after year after year if it is just going to end up making me feel bad?  You got me.  When put this way it sounds a bit silly, doesn't it?

So one little word.  What would your word be?  It's hard to choose.  After a lot of thought, and possibly several beers, I settled on a word.  Change.  One syllable.  Such a simple word, but such a difficult concept.  I really, truly suck at change.  I fight against it every time.  I don't like change.  A bit ironic considering we move every couple of years for my husband's job.  Not just a move across town, across the state, or even across the country.  No, we move from country to country.  Talk about change.  New languages, new customs, new time zone.  And I fight again it every step of the way.

I want to learn to embrace change.  Big changes and small changes.  I want to be the person who welcomes the challenges of a new country, instead of being the person who skips the whole honeymoon period and heads straight into depression.  I want to hang on to those routines and traditions that work for us as a family, but I want to be brave enough to change those things that need changing.  (Is this where I am supposed to ask for the wisdom to tell the difference?) I want to look at a menu, and instead of ordering the same old thing I want to change it up and try something new.  I want to change my weight goals to true fitness goals that will change the way I feel, and the way I feel about myself.

One little word.