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! 

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!

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!

The House Search

House hunting is hard!

We are still looking, but hope to find a great new home by the end of the week. Please pray with us for a house for our family to make a home in, a place where we could welcome many church friends and family!

First Things

As the jet lag lifts, we are starting to explore our new home: Johannesburg! Here are some highlights from our first few days.

We started setting up our new life right away: phones, banks, cars, houses… there’s a lot to organize in the first few days! We were told that setting up a bank account could take days – and the right connections – but First National Bank came through right away! Yay FNB!

Getting phones and banks organized the first day wore us all out, so we slept well that first night. Naomi gets the Sleeping Beauty prize – we’ve had to wake her up each morning so far. Jet lag’s got nothing on this girl!

It hasn’t been all work though. The girls and I got to run around with our hosts, the Russells, yesterday, to tennis lessons, a shopping centre, ballet class, and a library! A library! Living in a big city might not be so bad! 😉

Lots of new things, but also some good old friends! It wouldn’t be our first choice to see Kellen and Becca in a hospital, but we were SO excited to see these dear friends from Malawi, to catch up with them and to pray with them as they trust the Lord day by day. Please be praying for Kellen as the doctors and his body fight against East African sleeping sickness.

In the last couple months we went from autumn weather in Malawi, to summer weather in California, to now the dead of winter in South Africa. It’s cold here!!! It’s 65 degrees now, but it got down to 42 last night! We are definitely not in the tropics now! But we are starting to figure out how to live here.