Sunday, September 21
(Author - Susan)
We packed again, hopped in our car and said goodbye to Fish Hoek.We started heading east along the Garden Route to the town of Knysna.Brent had worked out the lodging through his colleague Diana Thomas, who we are forever indebted to. Diana is from South Africa and hooked Brent up with someone in Knysna.I realized as we were driving to Knysna, Brent and the gentlemen he had been communicating with, had made these arrangements man style.He had no idea if we were staying with this family, in a hut off the road, in the back of a van or what.I kept asking him questions about it and he just kept saying, "I don't know".We crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.After 5 hours on the road, we met the gentlemen, Schalk, at the coffee shop/restaurant, Nautilus.I asked Schalk if we were staying in his home, and he let us know that he had a condo unit in an area that he had developed.The actual town we are staying in is Brenton on Sea about 6 miles from Knysna.Well, it was paradise.More beautiful than we could have imagined.We have a full view of the ocean from our deck and the unit has three bedrooms with a loft.The best part, we just have to pay for water and electricity.I'm not sure that we should have started our year abroad in such a beautiful place because now we are reluctant to leave.
As Susan indicated we arrived in Knysna around 6pm on Sunday evening after a long and tiring 5 hour drive from Fish Hoek.Since I'm the designated driver on this trip I believe I felt the most exhausted.Sam was for sure the most rested since he slept the entire freaking way there.As you can image he didn't go to sleep until 11:30 that evening.I had never met Schalk but had communicated with him through email and later phone.The reason there wasn't more discussion regarding the arrangements was our means of communication was limited.As I later found out he rarely checks email and I didn't have his phone number until our second day in Fish Hoek.However, after talking to Diana when I originally found out about this opportunity, I felt we would be well accommodated and I wasn't very concerned with the situation.In any event, I don't believe words can explain the excitement we felt when we arrived at the Sheer Cliff Condos Unit #19 which would be our home for the next 4 weeks.A view of the Indian Ocean as far as the eye could see and a cute 3 bedroom 2 bath condo with a loft, how can we possibly leave?The community of Brenton on Sea is adorable and the people are extremely friendly.I wouldn't be surprised if we found our way back here one day.
We have spent the last couple of days getting settled. We walked to the beach a couple of times. On one afternoon, Emma and I were close to the water looking down at some shells and before we knew it we were engulfed by a wave. We were soaked and didn't have anything with us. Our walkie talkie got wet, so we couldn't get in touch with Brent and Emma, Sam and I started walking back in hopes we would see Brent along the way. Emma and I were freezing and Emma cried the whole way because the sand was scratching her. Thankfully I wasn't wearing a white T-shirt and even more thankfully we spotted Brent in the car not too far away and started screaming and he heard us. That saved us about a 10 minute walk home. Other than that we have been pretty domestic. Thanks to Brent's perseverance, we were able to get limited internet at the condo. Internet is not something in abundance here. We didn't realize how internet dependent we were and phone dependent. Brent has a phone and we just buy minutes when we run out. So, we don't use it too often. We set up desks for the kids and have been a little more organized with their school work. Home schooling has been the most challenging part of this trip. I'm sure we will get the hang of it, but it's hard to have a routine when we are on the road and not used to teaching our own kids. We joined the Knysna library and checked out readers and books on South Africa. The librarian that helped us knew English, Afrikaans (similar to Dutch), Zulu and Xhosa. The "X" I believe, is the sound of the clicking made at the back of the throat. I'm not sure how to spell it. She gave me a book on several of the languages of South Africa. From what I understand, there were many different tribes that had their own language and that's why there are so many different languages here. Also, Afrikaans is a Flemish language, but similar to Dutch.
Wednesday, we just got home from a Braai which is the South African equivalent to a Barbecue. It is Heritage Day here which is a National holiday. They cook steak, sausage (Wors, pronounced like "Vosch") and lamb. They have a lot of lamb here which I love. They also have a side dish called milipap which is similar to grits.