Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Nothing ordinary

I rediscovered these photos that from our 2012 trip through Glacier National Park today. My new favorite thing to do is change my screen saver often and have rotating photos display. Vietnam file, wedding file, travel through Europe file, and then today I set it up to display 'Travel 2012'. 

I can't tell you the amount of times I just stopped my work, waiting for the slide show to start. I was especially struck by how many amazing places I was fortunate to experience that year. I loved staring at that the stop over in Istanbul, the whale safari, the daffodil fields, the Modern Museum of Art in NYC, and of course Glacier

I hope that in that year, despite being nervous about immigrating, visa applications and finances, I was able to take in the wonderfulness of all of it. It came as a reminder today, that despite dealing with homesickness and job stress and everything that comes with that, that life is a gift, being here in the Northwest is amazing and being with the love of my life is nothing ordinary ever.

Monday, April 28, 2014

and now, more from the Kruger National Park

It's impossible for me to choose only a few photos to share our few days in the Kruger National Park with you. So I'll just share these for now, and then probably some more and then probably some more. I hope you will forgive me. I've already shared some here, in case you don't mind.

My family has always loved the bush, in fact, Ben would talk about the many trips he took as a kid to Disney World and surrounding parks and I would think "hmmm, I guess while you were doing that I was going here". (Ben's family lives in Florida so that helps). Being a multinational couple will never cease to amuse me!

You don't have to work very hard to fall in love with the bush here, it doesn't really give you much of an option anyway. The thick warm air that smells like no place you'll ever go, the sunsets, the sunrises, thorn trees, African sounds and of course the wildlife. It's touristy yes, but for all the right reasons.

With our recent trip to South Africa I had high hopes of exploring parts of the country that I've not been to, or at the very least that Ben's never seen. Like Kwazulu-Natal and surrounds, but with only a few short weeks it's basically impossible to pass up on a trip to the Kruger, especially with a crocodile river front view like the one I knew we'd have. 

That's just the trouble with the love of travel isn't it? Go back to the most amazing places we've seen or explore new most amazing places that we'll want to travel back to. Usually I'm up for the new, but lately I've found myself thinking about the places I've been and wanting to take Ben there, or wanting to share it with my friends. This summer is going to be hard not to basically repeat everything we've done last summer.  Just look at our trip to the North Cascades people, it will be wild and difficult to keep me from going there again.

Anyway, back to the Kruger. We didn't actually stay in the park itself, we stayed here, at Ngwenya Lodge. It's right on the border of the park so we could blissfully sip on gin and tonics and watch the happy hippos frolic about in the river and be on the look out for game on the Kruger side river banks. Things spotted from our porch: Happiest hippos, impala, crocodiles, buffalos, a sleepy rhino, and about 100 different types of birds.

Fine, I'll share some more pictures on this post just because I know you're used to scrolling down if you've made it this far. xoxo

Friday, April 25, 2014

Three things

Three things that are making me really happy today:

1- Daffodils and Tulips everywhere I look.

2- Finally getting into 'The Goldfinch', it's taken me a while... by 'in to' I mean excited about reading what comes next.

4- My photoshop class tomorrow and seeing lovely people on Sunday!

Have a great weekend friends.
By the way: Don't think for a second I'm done sharing South Africa photos and stories with you. More to come, a threat or a promise... x

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fears revisited, Wild Animals and a Give Away

I thought it might be fun to give you some feedback from those wild fears I had about going back to South Africa. Remember: Going back to South Africa and I'm terrified ? There were 12 things that gave me nightmares in anticipation to our trip.

I also thought it would be fun to share a few of my Kruger National Park captures while we're chatting.

ALSO: there's a give away at the end of this post. yay! 

So. First up:

1.How time will fly by faster than you can say 'gimmie-another-helping-of-potjiekos'
Man oh man, was this true! Even though I got to spend that extra week I'm recovering from the shock that it's all over. Just like that, where did March even go? So this fear was totally legit. 
The great aspect of having such a legitimate fear is that I could fully throw myself into the incredible thankfulness that I had for being there. I rarely felt like I was taking time with amazing people for granted and I ensured that my camera was charged at all times. So overall, thanks fear Number one! 
2) Weight gain.

Yup, yup, yup... that happened. Thankfully there is talk around our apartment of a half marathon coming up soon. So I don't even regret one koeksister, extra savannah dry or braaivleis for breakfast. Nope! 
3) Sunshine overload.
Jo'burg had a surprising amount of rain for that time of year, so our white as freaking snow selves could ease back into the land of sunshine. Kind of a boring fear to have had.

4) Moving back will seem like such a good idea.
You know what? Moving back is SUCH a good idea you guys!

...  dammit!
5) Buying more items from Woolworths than my luggage limit allows
I'd like to take a moment here and thank this bizarre two piece concept rule that allows travelers two suitcases in stead of one. If you didn't know, this is, for the most part, only applicable if you traveling from or to the US or Canada.. the rest of the world (for the most part!) only get's to travel with one suitcase as sad little economy passengers. So thank you second suitcase and thank you Woolworths for still being wonderful!
6) Getting teased about my Americanized accent.
Yeah, so that totally happened. I did however loose apparent American accent towards the end there. I was also surprised at how fast I got into the habit of saying 'hey' at the end of every sentence hey. 

7) Driving on the left side again.
I can gladly report back that nothing disastrous happened. Stupid fears... I actually loved driving in Jo'burg again with a stick shift. I remember coming home after living in Hanoi for a year and a half and loving how calm driving in Jo'burg is. I felt the complete opposite after living in medium sized, gracious drivers Spokane for a year and a half. I can't say that I really missed the taxis though!  
8) Forgetting the do's and dont's of going on Safari.
Funny I would say that because we had a near Elephant storming our car incident, however not because of our stupidity but that of the drivers around us thinking that the elephant was just joking around. Not my favorite moment of the trip I must say. Doesn't anybody pay attention to YouTube anymore?!  (No seriously, YouTube a few 'Kruger National Park Elephant attacks for fun and you'll see)
9) Buying all the things because of the exchange rate.
Eh, not so much.
10) Instagramming overload.
Yeah, so I lost a few followers along the way and that's okay. Not following me on Instragram? Catch up here, it's fun I promise!

11) Remembering how much I love my country and being around my people.
It's true! I do really love all of the country and all of my people. It's not been as easy to get back into the swing of American living as I thought, but I'll get there. It was great being around people that remembered that one time in 8th grade, or could understand when I mix English and Afrikaans. Overall I'm just so very grateful that I was able to go and go for enough time to make things feel normal-ish.  
12) Getting on that return flight come April 2.
Well this fear never materialized seeing as my flight was cancelled and I had to book a whole new ticket... a ticket I booked for a week later. Still... those moments right before I say good bye to my family, as my dad prays over me and my mom holds onto me are some of the hardest moments to face. They suck, I'll never get used to it.
On the other hand, and I've mentioned this a lot, that moment when I get off the plane and race through to the gates and see my Ben standing there waiting for me are some the best and easiest moments ever.

GIVE AWAY! Well kind of...

I'll send a copy of one of these photos in the post to the first three people that comment. 

Just tell me which photo you'd like and send me your email address in the comment section (so that I can get your postal address) 

Fun! Go:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Don't feel sorry for me, I went to Clarens

So, yesterday I made homemade Mayo, like I've made before, and it totally failed. Boo. I've been diving into the job market and the most enticing  offer was "best dolphin impersonation gets the job". Friday and Monday are not public holidays like they are in South Africa this week. Aaaand it's raining.

However, you can't really feel sorry for me when I spent a whole day walking around Clarens in the Free State just the other day. Hand in hand with my favorite, looking at art, shopping for home made jam, spending a good part of the afternoon at the local craft brewery, smelling this tiny town after the rain. I just can't complain about many things with memories like these still fresh in my mind.