It is hard to believe that at the beginning of 2013 our family was residing in Amarillo, Texas with no idea when or where we would go next. How life has changed!
A lot of our friends are travelling to and from to the United States right now for the holidays and it makes us painfully aware how far apart we all are. We were fortunate to have my mother-in-law and sister-in-law come over for two-and-a-half weeks and we didn’t have to spend Christmas on a new continent without family.
I am planning a post on all of the stuff that we did, including our fantastic safari. However, this posting will share a lot of the happenings prior to Christmas just so I can close out my year and hopefully be a little bit better about blogging 2014.
The school year here runs from January December instead of August June. We spent the first two weeks of December finishing up stuff for the kids at their respective schools.
Hayden finished grade 00 and is headed into grade 0 in January. His grade 00 teacher was really great and suggested a teacher that Hayden was already familiar with so he would feel comfortable. When he learned who his teacher is going to be, he became very excited and I was pleased with his reaction. 🙂
To finish up his year, he had soccer awards, gymnastics awards, and an optional choral program (which we ended up missing due to a massive hail storm).
Natalie was an angel in her schools nativity play. She will continue at the Montessori school in January as well.
We planted our garden and things are really starting to grow! We’ve got salad veggies, corn, beans, okra, and squash. Some of our plants are doing better than others, but we are hoping for a good harvest.
It was really difficult getting into the Christmas spirit for me this year. It is summer here. It is hot. I had to purchase a fake Christmas tree for the first time ever in my life! There isn’t even the standard shopping mall hustle and bustle. By the time the big day actually arrived, everything went off perfectly and the kids were so happy Christmas morning.
A really fun thing that we did was seeing Dave Matthews Band perform in Johannesburg. I had no idea he was from South Africa, but apparently he is and has never played a concert here before. It was exciting to be able to go! We also traveled in style, by way of a two-story purple party bus.
It has also been a very sad time in South Africa with the passing of Nelson Mandela. The country hosted ten days of mourning and allowed people to participate in different aspects of the process. The first big event occurred at FNB stadium. The weather was terrible that day. A slow persistent rain. The news reports made it seem like it would be impossible to actually attend the event, due to crowds, no access to parking, and security. We decided to host a viewing party and everyone brought lunch and we watched the event on television. We were sad to see all of the empty seats in the arena and realized we could have gone, but had a nice experience watching all of the leaders of the world come together and speak about the legacy of Nelson Mandela.
We knew that when his body came to Pretoria a few days later we could not skip the opportunity to try to go. A group of us went down to the Union Buildings and were able to participate in the viewing. We stood in line for about 2 hours to go. When we reached the front of the line, we had to put on jackets to cover our shoulders and be totally silent while we walked past him. I still can’t believe we were allowed to even go and view such an amazing man. I am so thankful to South Africa for allowing everyone an opportunity to participate. It was so surreal and I couldn’t help but feeling not important enough to even be there. The respect he commands, even in death, speaks volumes. Rest in peace Nelson Mandela.
Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!!!
Love from South Africa! xoxoxoxo