Friday 24 December 2010

Settling in...

Settling into a new community is something many of us have experienced at some point in our lives. It always takes longer than you think it will… especially when you’re setting up home in a new country with no furniture and little spare cash in the bank. Trying to figure out how to pay the electricity, whether you need a TV licence, how to get hot water working, where the nearest shops are, what’s the exchange rate, how to work the security gate, what’s the number in emergency etc can be somewhat draining.

Then comes the culture shock… “I miss Christmas in the cold”…and …”it’s snowing back home and I’m missing it!” Or, “they don’t do that here?!” or “Why can’t we go out alone at night?” or “Why is everything so expensive?”

Thankfully, we see these as tell-tale signs of moving to a new place and despite our – relatively minor – struggles, Becky and I have been blessed by such a great community around us. We do miss England and our friends from Luton.

This year we will be celebrating Christmas with some people we got to know already (albeit briefly, as we were students then) last time we were here and some people we have only just met. None of the people we are spending Christmas with are family and none are ‘old friends’. Christmas with family will be limited to telephone calls and ‘Skyping’! Thankfully telephone calls and internet is much more accessible and cheaper than it was just a few years ago.

Christmas will not be the same this year as it was last, but should it be?

Thursday 16 December 2010

Christmas in the warm

Stepping off the plane from -3 degrees in England to +24 degrees in Cape Town was a pleasant feeling, though we were far too over dressed, with socks, shoes, coats and scarves - shedding layers as we drove across town to our new home in Muizenberg.
It has been a great time meeting and greeting folk from the time we were here last and seeing some new faces around. People have been extremely accommodating and welcoming.

Becky's pregnancy is going well and we're due to go for the next check-up (with our new midwife) next Tuesday. The house we've moved into is lovely, albeit a bit furniture-less. Over the past week we have managed to acquire a refrigerator, two sofas (although one needs repairing - time to buy some tools!), a kettle, a toaster, a single bed (yes, we know, a double bed would be better, but as it stands double beds are hard to come by or extremely expensive).

Christmas is not going to be the same without family around us. We will definitely miss all in England and wish we could be there with them. We had our work Christmas 'do' which was a picnic in the park with salad, chicken wraps and soft drinks. It's not like any Christmas meal we've had before! Christmas falls in the middle of a long summer break in SA, so while everyone in England is busy with carol concerts and family gatherings with mince pies and mulled wine, most here are gradually winding up their work to go on a camping holiday or something similar. Muizenberg will certainly be quiet this year. We have attempted to decorate our house with some fairy lights, but it is still looking somewhat bare!

Some friends (those who haven't left already) have invited us over to celebrate Christmas with them, which will be lovely.

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