Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Drive- Jonkershoek

This past Sunday we went for an afternoon drive around town and ended up out at the Jonkershoek Basin. Jonkershoek is just outside of Stellenbosch and is popular with the hikers and bikers alike.

We first stopped at the Jonkershoek Restaurant and had a peach “iced tea”. Hoping to get a little taste of home, we were a little disappointed to find that the ice tea came from a can! The quaint restaurant is in a small old church building and is known for their cakes and hot teas! We will have to make a trip back just for that! 

We decided to drive the 10 km circle in to the Jonkershoek basin. The scenery was incredible but we soon learned that its rugged terrain is more suitable for hiking or mountain biking and not so much for our small and low-to-the-ground car. 

We might have left half of the underside of our car in the middle of the rocky path but the view made up for that and then some! Next time we will just remember to take our bikes!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Apartment Hunting

Early last week we started our search for an apartment (of “flat”) in Stellenbosch, the college town outside of Cape Town where David will be studying.  We thought we would have plenty to choose from since school doesn’t start for another two or three weeks but we soon learned that all the “good” flats are rented out in early December and the selection available now in the middle of January might be a little limited. The other limiting factor of our search is that we were looking for a furnished apartment. The real estate agents looked at us like we must be crazy to expect to find a furnished apartment this late in the game!

On Day 1 of our search we did find a furnished apartment just across the (busy) street from campus. It was a small, one bedroom apartment with one twin bed. Let’s just say it would have been quite a “cozy” year for the two of us. There was nothing spectacular about that apartment but it was clean and we felt like, if we had to, we could make it work.  But we wanted to keep looking.  We came back to our host family’s home a little discouraged and exhausted after our first day of searching. 

Day 2 of our apartment hunt started out just as discouraging with a couple of no-go apartment viewings and more real estate agents telling us they had nothing available that fit our criteria. Gavin, our host sponsor, and I stopped for a cup of coffee to try and figure out where to go next while David walked around hoping to find a “For Rent” sign on anything close by. He didn’t find an apartment but he did find another real estate agent who had a two bedroom furnished apartment for rent in Bosman’s Crossing. We came out to view it and fell in love within the first couple of minutes. It’s a little further out from campus and central Stellenbosch but we feel like we found the hidden gem that we were looking for. 

The exposed brick walls give this flat a loft feel and the modern furniture was a great surprise. The apartment came with a lot of the necessities like furniture, appliances, dishes, pots and pans but there are still a few things we would like to pick up to make it feel a little more homey.  

Bosman’s Crossing is a mixed-use development with commercial businesses, such as architecture firms, interior designers, and a little pastry shop that smells divine, on the ground floor and three floors of flats above. Just down the road is a wonderful Saturday Market with great crafts, clothes, fruits and vegetables and lots of great food available for breakfast or lunch. 

Now that we have our space, y’all come see us! We can’t wait to show you around!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Welcome to South Africa

David and I arrived safe and sound in Cape Town, South Africa a week ago today. This country is absolutely beautiful and much different than we expected. All the worrying I did before our big move seems silly now, but isn’t that how worrying usually ends up! 

Our first day in Cape Town was spent sleeping as the jet lag after flying for two days is tough! But all that sleeping led to an early morning the next day as we got out for a day of sightseeing.  We spent the day touring the city on a double-decker bus that highlighted all the great things to see and do in Cape Town.  We also learned how brutal the South African sun can be. Although it was a windy and cool day, we both came home looking like lobsters!  The next day we took a cable car up to the top of Table Mountain. Table Mountain is a large, flat topped, mountain in the heart of Cape Town. From the top, you have gorgeous 360˚ views of the city and surrounding areas. 

After our weekend in Cape Town, we met our Rotary Host Sponsor, Gavin, and his wife, Issy. They welcomed us in to their home in Somerset West and have been extremely sweet in helping us get settled here in South Africa. 

On Tuesday morning we attended our first Rotary meeting with the Helderberg Sunrise Rotary Club and met many of the Rotarians that we will get the chance to work with over the next year.  That evening, Gavin and Issy hosted a “Braai” (or what we would call a barbeque) at their home and invited a few of their friends over for us to meet. It was such a fun evening with delicious food and great people. 

We have also spent a few days taking care of business as well. After what felt like a long search, we found a perfect apartment and also a great little car to help us get around. We hope to pick up the car and move in to the apartment as early as tomorrow.  

We have had a wonderful time in South Africa so far and look forward to what this year has in store for us. 


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cape Town Calling

I can't believe that tomorrow is the big day! Time has flown by this past year and a half after we found out we are moving to South Africa! Our bags are packed, our house is leased, and we have finished up all the little things. All that is left is to say all of our goodbyes and board the plane tomorrow afternoon.

Wondering why in the world we are moving to South Africa? What we will do there? This is a great place to find out! We plan to use this blog as a way of updating our friends and family on our adventures while we are away!

Thanks for following along!