Settling Into Life – 6 Months in SA

It takes a bit of time to settle into life whenever you move to a new location. But with the start of this new year, it feels like we have settled. We have regular routines, we (usually) know what to expect, and we have a few favorites. I’m hoping to share some of those things with you in the coming weeks. Thanks for following along!

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Unexpected Pets

It was very hard to leave Simba and Samson, our two Great Danes, back in Malawi. Ever since then, we have been talking as a family about whether or not we will get another pet, and if so what kind? Bird? Fish?

And then one day I got a call from Matt while he was working at the church. The gardener at church had caught a mother and baby sparrow, and would we like to take them home and release them later? I confirmed that the baby could fly, and agreed to our first temporary pets. We only had them for about an hour, and then let them fly off. The baby was very docile, and a little confused when it ran into a glass door, so Abi held it for a little while.

Soon it was doing fine, and joined its mother in a nearby tree.

A few days later, Matt came home with another box, another temporary pet: a tiny, scared bunny, that was quickly named Charcoal and given a temporary home in a tall planter. Very temporary: in less than an hour Charcoal had escaped and hidden either under the low decking or under the wooden storage building in the yard. “Temporary” quickly became “we can’t catch her!”

And so: we now have a pet rabbit living in our back yard. We didn’t choose her, but I guess she chose us!

She eats leaves (like in this picture), but prefers red hibiscus flowers. She has been with us more than a week, and if we ever do catch her, I’m not sure if we would take her back to the church property or if we would keep her. I’m guessing she would stay! So much for temporary!

Week 1 in Our House

We are in!

There were a LOT of boxes!

And a lot of things to fix and rewire.

We took a few breaks along the way.

And we made some great progress – enough that we’ve been back to school for 3 days already!

Some parts of our house are looking better than others. These bookshelves look pretty impressive until you look closely and realize that the books are not sorted at all! That will come. Still lots of unboxing and sorting to do, but this place is starting to feel like home!

Container on the Move

Last we heard – Friday morning – our container was supposedly crossing the boarder into Zimbabwe (orange circle in the pic below). We are told to expect it at our new house sometime the middle of next week!

Container travel to Joburg

There’s still a lot of geography between our container and our home, but we are glad to hear it’s on the move!

Moving Next Week… Maybe?

We are set to receive the keys for our new home on Sunday, so we are working with our moving company to send our container down from Malawi to be able to move in Monday or Tuesday next week. We are finalizing things on this end, but we got this message from the moving company:

“We are preparing the Customs Export Entry now and want to load this week but opposition has called for strikes again this week threatening to close the airport and borders. So we have to see how it goes and will keep you informed as we go along.”

Malawi is a bit unsettled these days, and our hearts – and apparently our plans – are still very much tied to our former home! Please pray with us that our container can clear the boarder in the next couple days without incident!

moving boxes

This is what we are waiting for… lots of boxes! 

Birthday Girl!

Abigail turned 9 this weekend! To celebrate, we planned a couple adventures for her – one with our family and one with new friends.

girls with lion cub

Our family went to visit a lion park nearby. We got to drive through the park to see lion, cheetah, and wild dogs, and the girls got to pet lion cubs too! This one was a 5 month old white lion.

abi feeding giraffe

We also got to feed a giraffe, which was a lot more fun and a lot less messy than we thought it would be!

matt with map

For fun time with her new friends, we made a treasure hunt, complete with map, hidden messages, and a treasure at the end of the hunt!

girls hunting

It took a bit of work and a lot of cooperation, but they worked hard for over an hour to figure out the clues, follow the map, and find all the message bottles.


At the end: buried treasure! All things sparkly and fun for little girls, including gold wrapped chocolate Kugerrands!

abi with balloons

We love this little one, who is growing up so quickly these days! She is a joy to us, and we thank the Lord for her life every day of the year!

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.