Well that didn’t last long…

First day of school Wednesday, Thursday still going strong… then Friday. Abi had the aches: headache, throat ache, body aches, earache… she stayed in bed all day. It was a rough one, but we got our first sick day out of the way and are feeling better and back to school today!

Starting School

The girls and I needed a little more routine in our lives, what with all the changes and transitions of the last few months. So we started school today!

It’s been 3 and a half months since we rushed to finish the last school year before we packed up our house in Malawi, so we were super-excited to crack out the books and get the brains going again.

Most of our books are still on the container, sitting in Malawi, waiting to be called to Joburg as soon as our landlord gives us the go-ahead to move into our new house. However, we bought some of our new school books in the States in June, and some of our school work is digital, so we started with what we have. We are a little heavy on science and language arts right now (no objections from anyone in the Floreen house!) but we will make up for that when we get the rest of our books in a couple weeks.

Exploring

One of my favorite things about moving is exploring and trying to figure out new places. Where is our new favorite grocery store? Our (my) new favorite coffee shop (his new favorite tea)? And best of all: anything great quality, great price, and nearby!

Today I found 2 new favorites. Danielle, our hostess and guide to all things South African, pointed me in the direction of a fabric outlet and a butcher.

Ok, I should probably never be allowed to visit this place on my own! It is multiple warehouses of ideas and projects just waiting to be brought to life!

I love the feel of it, the smell of it, the potential of all these racks of fabric!

The girls caught on to my enthusiasm! 😊

We will definitely be back!

And then it was on to the butchers’…

This store had our mouths water from the first moment. It smells of delicious cooked meat… Abi said it was the best smelling store she had ever been in!

And you can get your own breakfast haggis!

Or, more likely for our family, a delicious treat of ostrich steaks! Unfortunately, no crocodile, but I guess you can’t win them all.

The big score at the butchers’ today was fantastic biltong! It was the first time I actually thought biltong was better than American beef jerky. This packet didn’t last 5 minutes once we got home and I had to say “Take the last piece out of your mouth so I can get a picture before it’s gone!!” Yay for new favorites!

Foreign Patient Liaison Officer

When we lived in Malawi, I always knew that any major medical issues would require a trip to South Africa – possibly a med-evac. Thankfully the Floreen family never had any major medical issues during our 10 years in Malawi, so never made the trip to visit a South African hospital. However, as soon as we arrived in SA, we headed to the hospital to see a good friend from Malawi. And this morning I’m sitting in a different hospital, waiting for another friend from Malawi to come out of surgery. The Dr just came to tell me the surgery went well and she is in recovery now.

Meanwhile, I wandered the hospital a bit, and I found that they have an office for me:

Ok, I’ll leave that official job to someone else! But I’m so glad we can be here to help these friends as they go through difficult times!

First Visitors

The prize for First Visitors goes to the Vieira family!

Amanda sent me a message on Saturday night to let us know they had decided on the spur of the moment to spend the end of their holiday time in Johannesburg and they would be coming to church with us the next morning! They joined us for church and then for the church picnic, and it was so wonderful to see these friends from Malawi. The girls loved being able to play with Cici again! We are thankful for friends old and new, and so glad we go to spend time with these dear ones again!

First Visitors

The prize for First Visitors goes to the Vieira family!

Amanda sent me a message on Saturday night to let us know they had decided on the spur of the moment to spend the end of their holiday time in Johannesburg and they would be coming to church with us the next morning! They joined us for church and then for the church picnic, and it was so wonderful to see these friends from Malawi. The girls loved being able to play with Cici again! We are thankful for friends old and new, and so glad we go to spend time with these dear ones again!

Signed a Lease!

We don’t have a house quite yet, but we signed a lease today!

The owners move out in the next couple weeks, and Lord willing we get to move in about mid-August. It’s a great size for us and a great location! We will be 7 minutes from the church!

To celebrate, we went out for Mexican food.

And wow… after 10 years of making our own Mexican food in Malawi, this was so good!

Smiles all around!

Accounting

If you want to be a missionary, you should probably take an accounting class of some sort. I’m working on cleaning up our cash and bank accounts from the last couple months of being in transition, and I have receipts in 5 different currencies (Malawian Kwacha, US Dollars, Euros, British Pounds, and South African Rand), as well as several currency exchanges to reconcile.

I don’t have a degree in accounting, or anything closely related to accounting or math. Let’s just say: we’ll be having frozen pizza for lunch today. After this I won’t be good for much else!

We Got Wheels!

Not so long ago, and not so far away, we had a gold Toyota Fortuner.

It was a great car. It was big and safe, it could hold 7 people, it had traction control so could do muddy roads, and it had a great manual transmission with some serious get-up-and-go. It was, for our family, the perfect African vehicle.

We were sad to sell it, but the Lord had good plans for it. A pastor friend wanted to buy it, and a church in the States that knows both him and our family helped us all out by making sure that the pastor could get the car and that we could sell it before we left Malawi. Win-win, everyone is happy! Just a little sadness at leaving behind such a great car…

Fast-forward a couple months, and look at what we got:

A silver Toyota Fortuner! It’s one year newer than our Malawi version and it’s silver, but otherwise it’s exactly the same car! Same interior, same 7 seats, same traction control, same perfect-for-our-family African vehicle.

And similar to the Malawi side of the story, the Lord had good plans on this side as well. This Fortuner belonged to a family who are emigrating to New Zealand on Sunday, and the Lord not only provided us with a car, but also provided a way for this family to sell their vehicle before they move!

One funny difference between Fortuners in Malawi and Fortuners in South Africa is how the name is pronounced. In Malawi it is pronounced FORTUNE-er. Here in South Africa many people say for-TUNE-er. For the life of me, I can’t help but hear “I went fishin today an caught me for-TUNE-er fish!” 🤣

Tears of a TCK

“Mom, moving is too hard for me!” she says through sobs and tears, late into a night of jet lag. I know, my girl, it’s hard for me too.

“Mom, we can go ICE SKATING any time we want to!” I know, my girl, isn’t that great?

“I don’t think I can be fancy like the people here.” I know, my girl, me neither.

“This place is so beautiful!” I know, my girl, it’s amazing!

“I just want to go home, but we don’t have a home.” I know, my girl, I want a home too.

Raising a third-culture kid (TCK) is wonderfully difficult. And yet, aren’t we all to some degree TCKs? We live here, somewhere in this world, but it is not our home – not truly the home of anyone who has had their heart captured by heaven and the sweet Savior who is preparing such a true home for us. I pray for my girls as they experience all these transitions early in life that it will be one of the things that draws their hearts in faith to the Savior and his heavenly home.

For more thoughts on TCKs, I highly recommend a blog post by my dear friend Lisa La George. And yes, I’m pretty sure some of her examples are taken right out of the experiences of our last couple months!