Sunday, October 4, 2015

August/September update

Hey all! Life has been happening over here, but not a whole lot of blogging. =) I'll try to get you up to speed!

Our little Umbututu went home with his mommy a few weeks ago! We are so thrilled for him! Although, Mama Linda said, "He must buy us cooldrink (pop, soda) when he leaves, for putting us through so much trouble!" (He cries a lot!)

Our friend Akila brought her dog to visit the babies! Mama Patricia was just through the roof with happiness. Every day for months she has read a book about dogs to the boys - one of those books with the fur - and she often takes them out to the gate, hoping that the neighbor dogs will bark so she can show them to Happy and Snuffy.

The babies all seemed to enjoy Nala, our doggy visitor, but she was a bit shy!

The girls are working very hard on holding their own bottles. Well, Auntie Abbie is sooooo ready for it and is working very hard on developing this skill in them. ;) Chipmunk almost has it. Chickadee lazily throws her hands out to the side after a minute or two...

Meanwhile, these kiddos were sipping on some yummy green smoothies this morning, full of lots of raw nutritious stuff like spinach, banana, cucumber, pineapple, and homemade yogurt. We need to find the sippy cups! Auntie Abbie is working hard at kicking stereotypical "orphanage diet" in the rear...sometimes they like my concoctions and sometimes it takes a looooot of tries! 

I've really enjoyed my role as Chief (aka only, lol) Baby Food maker here at MBH, even if it is a LOT of work. We have four babies eating solids and they eat a TON!

The kitchen usually looks messier than this when I'm making baby food! It's a full-scale production.

I generally have less than $15 to feed these four babies per month, so I have to get VERY creative. Everything is made from scratch - thankfully fruits and veggies are generally pretty cheap here! However, some things I can only buy a little of per month (apples, pears, etc.) and we must rely on cheaper veggies to make up the bulk of their diet - like pumpkin or carrots. I can buy 5 kg (about 11 lb) of carrots for $1.30, or a pumpkin for about $2. Spinach is about 35 cents per large bunch. Pears are about $1.20 a bag - not sure how big the bag is (2 kg maybe?) but is definitely much smaller than the carrots! Yogurt is about $1.50 a container, but I recently found I can make it for about half the price (although it's really runny - working on that).

Meat is a luxury we can't often afford! Sometimes I buy a whole chicken and debone it, and this month, I found some very old, forgotten chicken breasts in the freezer that I used! I also make broth from chicken carcasses and use it to blend the babies' purees.

I use Pinterest for inspiration, as well as There are a lot of creative ways to use herbs and spices to liven up the babies' foods! Some of the recipes, of course, are not practical to my budget, or contain hard-to-find produce in this part of the world - but some are cheap and great, or able to be tweaked.

Here are some of the foods and combinations I've fed our babies:

Applesauce (with and without cinnamon)
Apples and turnips with cinnamon
Turnips (after a few introductions, a favorite!)
Spinach/pear/banana with fresh grated ginger
Butternut (sometimes with cinnamon or thyme)
Beets (no one really likes them, unfortunately)
Spinach/sweet potato
Sweet potatoes
Persimmons with cinnamon and vanilla
Bananas - always a favorite!
Zucchini with potato
Broccoli with potato and garlic (not enjoyed greatly)
Avocado and plain yogurt (very popular with the boys)
Yogurt, plain or sweetened with fruit
Black beans/avocado/chicken/cumin
Chicken with various veggies
Roasted apples and bananas with cinnamon
Watermelon smoothies
Green smoothies (lots of fruits and veggies with yogurt)
Oatmeal porridge with/without fruit
Rice porridge (cook rice until soft,then puree in the blender)

They no longer turn up their noses at this turnip applsauce. ;)

Happy is getting older (he turns one tomorrow!) and I'm on a quest to find some cheap freezer meals I can make for them. He's refusing anything with much texture, so we'll see how these go.

Homemade "Spaghetti-O's" - pasta is cheap and so is tomato paste. I cooked the pasta, then cut it small (it was macaroni). I made a sauce from tomato paste, beef broth, oregano, garlic, and basil, then cooked it all until it was basically dead (trying to make it as soft as possible).

I then helped it along a bit more with a potato masher.

Pumpkin with rice and spices

I also found a recipe for pasta with a carrot sauce, and I made a yummy (mild) potato/spinach curry - a very popular dish here - and mashed it. Everything is frozen in little cubes in the freezer, so we will see how things go - introducing stage 2 and 3 type foods has proven to be a challenge!

Chipmunk and her angry beet face 

Guess what, guys! I'm getting chickens! It's old news on Facebook, but those of you who read my blog for updates might not know. This is the area where I will build the coop. It looks a lot better now! A guy from our church comes and works in the yard once a week, and he does a great job - I've never seen anyone get work done quite so fast.

This is the area where I have my veggie garden. Almost everything is up and growing now, including a volunteer, "bondwe" as my Zambian auntie calls it. It's a green leafy plant that grows taller than my head and appears to be known by a different name in every African country. They eat the leaves like spinach and apparently it's very good for the heart, or the blood, or something, I forget. Not being a particular connoisseur of spinach, I'll leave it for my friends at the baby home! 

 And lastly - here's a bit of Happy for you. He recently learned how to take off his pants. Ok, so I was the one who put them on his head, see why, don't you? It's just too cute. ;)

Sorry, this wasn't an overwhelmingly comprehensive post, but I hope to be updating more regularly from now on.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Full house!

Hi everyone! I know it's been a while, but here's a post full of baby pictures to make up for it!

We now have a full house with the arrival of two new babies! 

Meet little "Mbututu" (a Zambian word for "baby" that sounds funny, so Auntie Patricia likes to use it when she talks about him).

He's a tiny little guy and likes to keep Auntie Linda up at night!

This is my new baby girl, "Bright Eyes." She's often wide awake with big eyes!

She likes to suck her fists.

She's a much better sleeper than Mbututu (knock on wood...)

First time on my back

She enjoys being carried.

Also, tummy time. (Auntie Abbie likes this one too, as it allows me to be flat on my back in the sunshine with my eyes closed...)

Chickadee and Chipmunk are learning to sit.

"Lean on me, when you're not strong...I'll be your twin...I'll help you carry onnnnn...."

Chipmunk is just too cool for you to handle. (No, she doesn't smile much, ever. Her twin does...)

I think she is the smaller twin but she's all chub.

She twists her body until her head almost touches her back when she's angry. I found her asleep like this the other night during "Unhappy Hour" (anytime after 5 pm).

Her fat cheeks make her the perfect candidate for anything with bear ears.


They like to lie next to each other, hold hands, and kick each other. Yes, they will stay together, for everyone who is asking. =)

Chickadee visited church on Sunday, where she made sure to praise the Lord loudly with happy sounds, despite Auntie Joy's best efforts.

Happy is scooting (almost crawling) VERY quickly and he is a little bruiser. He's earned the nickname Booboo for all the times he pinches, pokes, and sits on the other babies! He's fast!

Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters...many men have tried to split us up...oh wait, just this one. ;)

He stands up in his cot. He particularly likes to stand up and play with the curtains and ask for high fives at 3 am, or so I hear from Mama Linda.

Snuffy and Happy are both eating all kinds of various veggies and fruits. Snuffy loves food, whereas Happy has kind of decided he's not into eating...he's pretty ADD! He holds even his bottle for about 5 seconds before he decides to crawl off and steal someone's toy.

I make all their food and they've tried lots of different things: beets, avocado, bananas, apples, persimmons, butternut, spinach, pumpkin, gem squash, sweet potato, turnips, carrots, black beans, chicken, yogurt, cantaloupe, and a few more things. Our blender is starting to give out - I'm going to set up a YouCaring page to take donations for a food processor, soon! I'm hoping to raise a little extra as well to buy supplies to make baby books/scrapbooks to send home with each baby when they leave.

Well, I'm on night shift tonight, and I don't get much of a chance to sleep Tuesday morning, so I'm off to bed! Hope you enjoyed the pictures. =)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Snapshots of life

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I suppose that is true in a sense, but a picture can't always make you feel what the thousand words can. Did you ever look back at old photos of parties and realize, "Oh, yeah. There's a picture of all of us sitting in the living room eating pizza. Also, my uncle's elbow." Without words to tell you the funny stories that happened, it might be kind of dull!

Ok, I admit it. I haven't done so great at taking photos. I do have some! I promise to do a blog post with more photos SOON! They just take a while to upload and it's not so easy to shoot off a quick post when you're tired.

Oh, ok. Here. There should be enough Happy cuteness in this picture to tide you over for a bit.

I haven't had much of a chance to slow down lately, but I'm loving it here. A few snippets of what I am blessed to call my life...

We all sit around the hugest dining room table I have ever seen as our two small groups throw a baby shower for an expecting Swiss couple in our church. Four or five different pots of soup sit on the kitchen counter and are the perfect warming dish at the end of a crisp winter day. I have a flashback to the end of my apprentice year, when we pushed all the tables together to make one large one where we could all fit. I remember being sad because my year at the Bible school was almost over and I wouldn't get to enjoy this any more. But as I sat around that huge wooden table I realized that despite being with different people on the other side of the world, the feeling has only intensified and

Joy and I have the evening off. "HEY! WE'RE FINALLY OFF TOGETHER! LET'S MAKE THE CURTAINS!" "Yeah!" We spend the night cutting and sewing (and ripping out). Joy plays music a bit too loud on her tablet, but we're enjoying it. We finally crash into bed a bit too late.

Our house mom was expecting a little one of her own. She sits and talks to my auntie for an hour or more about labor. It was a highly informative conversation, including such gems as, " HAVE to scream!" They don't do epidurals here in public hospitals. I was trying to explain what one was to my auntie. "It's like pain medicine." "But if it doesn't hurt, how can you give birth???!!" Well. Anyways...

All the caregivers except auntie Patricia and I are from Zimbabwe, which means they speak Shona. Patricia, the house mom (Sihle), and I do not speak Shona, so when it's a mixed conversation, there's usually a fair amount of English thrown around, but far less than last year, when we had more caregivers from DRC/South Africa/Zambia. I'm learning Shona....ohhhhhh so slowly. I mostly just sit around and listen to the Shona conversations and try to pick up words. It's weird because they throw a lot of English in...conversations are peppered with numbers, days of the week, "all right," "serious," "baby home," "home affairs," and dozens of other English words, with no apparent rhyme or reason as to why some English words are used and why some Shona words are used. Sample conversation:

"So the word for 'phone' is runhare?"
"What's the word for 'phones?'"
"So you don't have a plural for 'phones?'"
"Never in my life have I talked about more than one phone in Shona."
"Never? Ever? But you have three phones!"
"Well, then I guess I just say 'phones.'"
*they go on to make up words in Shona that might be the plural of "phone," which presumably sound as silly as "mooses" or "childs."*

Also, from Facebook the other day:

Mama Linda is the best to drive with because nothing scares her about my driving. And I mean nothing. Even the things that should. She has a tremendous amount of misplaced confidence in my driving skills.
I'm still kind of getting used to things driving, and I've done a few ditzy things. (Let's just say I remember to check my blind spots now - hard to think of when everything is opposite.)
I was following cars around a right-hand turn, without noticing that they'd been turning on a green arrow (thought we had a green light and opposing traffic was red) which was now not there anymore. I get halfway across the intersection and notice the line of cars has started to move. They do see me, so I'm not worried about impending doom - they're all blaring their horns at me. At this point, I figure it's better to plow on through than try to back up.
Mama Linda: You have confidence. Is better.
Me: Uh, auntie, I think that's called "stupidity," not confidence...
Mama Linda: You are a good driver.
At least she believes in me. The rest of you can just pray.

I attempted to take advantage of a "buy 3 get the cheapest thing free" deal at the grocery store today. Sure way to mess with a cashier's mind: get three equally priced things. They brought various things up to the cash register that were different prices: "See, you can get two of those and get this one free!" I don't want the thing you picked out! I don't need it! I'm not even going to use it! Aahh. I finally ended up not buying ANY of it!

I think I mentioned at some point that I'm living with all Africans in the baby home. "Living" is kind of a loose term, as only four of us actually stay here, then Britt and the (mostly American) interns (when we have interns) live in the house at the back of the property, and everyone, including people who don't live here, is in and out of the baby home all the time.  But, you could say that we have a strongly African influence in this house, particularly as Britt comes up and does her office jobs and goes home ("downstairs"), and, as I mentioned, we don't even have any interns at the moment. 

I've touched on culture differences in the last blog post, but I think I've neglected to mention the Zimbabwean Sink Steal. Frequency: multiple times per day.
It works like this: You go to the sink to wash three utensils. Three. Count them. You won't even be there long enough to bother running a sink full of water, so you just get the sponge soapy and prepare to wash them off quickly.
A friend runs up next to you. "OH! I need to wash my dish! Let me steal your water!" She grabs the faucet and pulls it over to her side of the sink. While she is soaping up HER sponge, you grab it and pull it off in attempt to rinse off utensil one of three. She pulls it back to rinse hers off. You go back and forth like this all the way through utensil number two.
By the time you get to utensil number three, a second friend is breathing down your other shoulder, teacup in hand...
I have never lived in a culture where people wash dishes quite so...communally. "GUYS!! I HAD THREE DISHES!!" Then everyone cracks up laughing. And tries to grab the faucet again. Because you know. Tea can't wait. Even though we're in possession of about 50 mugs.

Off to bed! I have to work in the morning. Soon, I will do a blog post with lots of baby pictures. =)

Monday, July 6, 2015

I should be sleeping. =)

So I'm on night shift right now, and I should *probably* be asleep if I know what's good for me. But I haven't updated this in SO long and I don't know when I'll get a chance to sit down and do it, so here goes.

I've had bits and pieces of blog posts in my head for so long, so this might be a compilation of everything...

Life here just never seems to stop going. There is always something to keep me busy. Most days I consider myself to have a head start on the day if I get my bed made before 5 pm. (This probably says more about my bedtime/rising habits than anything else, but still.) Work this shift, go shopping, take this person there, go to that person's goodbye dinner, bake muffins for something else, etc, etc, make more baby food because we're running out, type up development charts, record things, try to set up a budget (eish! the amount of money I've spent on food this month when I haven't been keeping track! I can only hope that those funds have gone into stocking my pantry and I can eat for a while off of that...)

A little about my life here...I live upstairs in a room off of the baby home, and I live with all Africans. Joy is my roommate, and then Sbu and Sihle are the married houseparents who live in front apartment of the home. In the main part of the home, there are a steady stream of caregivers, interns, and visitors. I share a kitchen and a bathroom in the main part. Between 6:30 am until the babies go to sleep at night, this home is rarely quiet. My room is in the corner of the baby home and the front apartment, so I hear EVERYTHING. If the babies aren't crying, someone is playing music or talking on the phone or having visitors over (that last one is usually at a normal hour) or having a party or something. (Africans get up early and go to bed early. I haven't acclimated.) I am up by then 4-5 days a week for a shift. On the days I'm not, I roll over and put in my very effective earplugs. I bought a whole box. They save my sanity and probably my relationships too. =)

I am enjoying living with all Africans. Mostly everyone here is from a different culture than each other, so I'm not completely different. Sihle and Sbu speak a South African language (she's probably going to smack me for not remembering which one) and a lot of caregivers speak Shona, so there is a lot of English spoken. I still want to learn Shona so I can understand the 1/3 or so of conversations in this house that I don't currently understand...

It is different than sharing a kitchen/living space with Americans. Africa is very go-with-the-flow. (Except when it comes to dulling your housemate's kitchen knives.) (We got a knife sharpener.) I'm not very go-with-the-flow. At all. I'm learning. It is nice to be on the receiving end of go-with-the-flow. Whenever I drive Americans, they're all like "BE ON TIME! WHY AREN'T YOU ON TIME?!" Africans are just like "Eh." Except Sihle, who likes to proclaim, "YOU ARE LATE, BEAUTIFUL ONE!" and further scold me as I am rushing out the door for church after a crazy morning on shift.  Most of us also tend to speak our minds more blatantly than most Americans. This is rather startling at first but becomes, if not always less startling, often amusing. Hey. It's life. =) I'm sure I speak my mind about things that are strange to everyone else living with me. We do laugh a lot, so I guess it's not all bad. =)

I have had quite a bit of car trouble lately. =/ I had to have my clutch repaired (thankfully not replaced like I initially thought), something fixed with my suspension, and now my battery needs to be replaced. Life is surprisingly expensive. I'm also surprisingly dependent on my would think I would be fine for a week or so without a car, after last year (10 months without one). But a day or two and I'm all AAAAAHHHH! I NEED TO GO PLACES AND DO THINGS!

I have gotten to do quite a few rides for people on property/nearby. It's fun (although inevitably someone needs to go somewhere right when I'm heading to go somewhere else). Sometimes it involves squishing a crazy amount of people into my car. Sometimes it involves picking people up so they don't get taken to prison for not having the right papers after a long day at Home Affairs trying to GET the right papers...otherwise they are trying to make it across the street to catch a taxi, but the police wait right outside for them and if they don't have the right papers, you could get fined or worse. Sometimes it involves trips to thrift stores. =) Sometimes it involves large tubs of fish and wrong turns down dark streets in the dark when your car won't go into reverse. Sometimes it involves waiting awkwardly and yellowly in taxi stands....but all in all, it's been a big help for me to have a car here!! Now if I can just get it up and running again...

*break to feed Grace (twin #1)*

Morning snuggles from last Monday's night shift - aka Auntie Abbie doesn't want to get out of bed yet.

Oh, speaking of twins, I now have proper nicknames for them. They were Grace and Peace, nicknames I gave them before I met them for blog purposes, but now that I know them well, I can give them nicknames based more upon their personalities.

The ditzy looking one staring at her hand... ;) (she does that all day long, with a sort of awestruck wonder: "A HAND. I HAVE A HAND. OH GLORIOUS HAND, HOW I LOVE TO STARE AT THEE.")...anyway, the one staring at her hand - Peace - now has the nickname of Chipmunk (because of her chubby fat cheeks. I also call her Fat-face or Chubbycheeks. Don't worry, being fat is a good thing here... =D)

The other one, Grace, is the more vocal of the two. She's also the more motivated twin when it comes to tummy time, etc. My nickname for her is Chickadee.

It's late. My loving roommate walked by half an hour ago and scolded me for not being in bed. No, she's not bossy (mostly) and she typically is smarter about these things than I am...but I stayed up to finish my blog post!

Sorry for the short posts lately. I promise to attempt a deep and insightful post...soon! =) If I can dig something up...

Monday, June 29, 2015

I'm still here...

Hey guys, sorry so long without a blog post! I'm writing this from my phone as the babies sleep, so it won't be very long or include pictures...hope to do one of those soon!

I can't believe I've been here a month yesterday!  (And that I'm already failing at blogging...) The time has flown and I really am still settling in. I'm on a regular work schedule now - Monday night, then Wednesday, Thursday, Friday  and Sunday.  We still have four babies.  I'm doing lots of shopping, organizing, driving people places, etc., and spending a lot of time with friends  (easy to do when you work with them and you live at work!) Of course I am missing you all at home so much but I feel equally at home here and for that I am so grateful!  I do wish I could put all of you in one place!

Well, typing with one's thumbs is tedious at best and I need to sleep but I will write a real post soon!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

My Week, or, The Quest to Get My Car Inspected, or, Killing One Bird with Three Stones

I've written far too many blog posts titled "Catching Up" or "Settling In." I'm struggling to find good names for posts that don't have a specific theme...

I've rather neglected my blog lately! I've been pretty busy here around the baby home and out and about in Pretoria.

Yes, out and about, because....

I have a car!

Meet "Sunshine," the newest member of the MBH fleet...and my new baby. ;) Actually, the first car I've had that I really love! She's a tiny Hyundai Atos who's great on gas ("petrol") and easy to maneuver into little parking spaces and the nonexistent space between bumper-to-bumper traffic during rush hour. She's also my first stick shift car and is a lot harder to drive than my dad's Dodge Neon! We stall a lot. We're working on that.

Don't let her small size fool you! She has plenty of space for transport. I got a call on Sunday - it was Heather letting me know that my roommate Joy's sister had missed the taxi. "Can you give Gertrude a ride?" Well, long story short, instead of just me and Gertrude it ended up being me, Joy, Gertrude, Gertrude's two kids, their other sister, and their cousin. Family is rather an exponential thing here in Africa. No, kids often do not ride in car seats here. No, we did not put anyone in the trunk (unlike a certain other friend who shall remain nameless). No, people probably did not have adequate room to breathe. The ride home also included thirty eggs and various Sunday school crafts. This is fun.

It's been quite the process to try to get this thing insured. Here in South Africa, insurance is not legally required. I'm on my friends' insurance, which is totally the bomb because there are so many cars on the policy we get GREAT rates. I budgeted a lot more for insurance, but am only paying about $31 a month for COMPREHENSIVE. (Which is a good thing to have in a country where people aren't legally required to have car insurance.) So, my process to get the car insured goes like this.

Tuesday: I bring the car home. Heather calls to put me on the insurance, and we tell them I have smash-and-grab window treatment because I'm going to get it done on Thursday (since I work Wednesday). (Smash-and-grab window treatment protects against criminals who, as the name suggest, walk up to your car at an intersection, smash the window, and grab whatever they want. It's some kind of a coating that makes your windows just crack instead of shatter.)

Wednesday: I'm working so I can't do anything.

Thursday: We think that I'm covered by insurance. I decide to take interns shopping over the hill first since I need to go shopping too, and I don't know how long the treatment will take. We get back late. Crystel and I drive around looking for the window place. Our quest is futile and I end up accidentally driving over the big hill again. By the time we get back, it's too late. I have to work at 4. Ok, I'll go first thing Friday.

Friday: Twin #1 is up all.night.long. So much for first thing Friday. I crash all morning and plan on going in the afternoon. But wait! We have to go to the thrift store first. And before that, I have to make something to eat! And so on. And so forth. I do finally manage to find the place and get my windows done, but there's no time left to go to the other part of town to get inspected...barely enough time to make it through evening rush hour and get home in time to make gingerbread for youth group - gingerbread that I decided to try to cook in the gas oven downstairs during youth group - the gas oven that ran out of gas halfway through baking of said gingerbread. Thankfully we have an electric oven upstairs, so we did have warm gingerbread with whipped cream, although it was served rather late.

Saturday: We went to Pilansberg (a game park about an hour away). More on that in a later blog post!

Sunday:  Work. Church. 1Hope meeting (which is like a big family dinner and awesomely fun). It's not as hard to be away from family when you're with family.

Monday: I'm going to run errands today! Oh wait, I have to do one thing first. I have to pick up meds at the hospital - just some heartburn medication for one of the babies. No problem, they open at 7, I know it takes a while, but we'll be out of there by 9 or 10 at the latest...not. We get there a little late (7:30). By 12 or 1, we've finally made it through reception. 

The process goes like this: wait in line at the first reception desk. This isn't long...10 minutes maybe? Get a number. Wait for your number to be called at the second reception desk. We're number R212, but there aren't solely 212, they're also calling a second set of numbers WAY below us, a set of numbers with PR in front of them, and random numbers with other initials. In the meantime, stop at the hospital cafeteria and buy vinegar popcorn that you assume tastes like salt and vinegar but actually tastes more like pickles. Hours later, they've finally called your number! Walk up and hand it in, then ask what to do. Oh, you thought you could go to the pharmacy? Now you have to sit and wait for them to find your file - a manilla folder full of hospital documents. An hour or two later, they have it. Proceed to the pharmacy. 

By 3, we're still waiting in a room full of probably 100 people at the pharmacy. We're number 387 I believe. The numbers (of people who are completing the initial step of turning in their files) are up in the 500's and 600's. Our name is nowhere near being called. Hundreds of people are after us and many of them are getting their prescriptions, but we aren't. Let me remind you, we're waiting for something as simple as HEARTBURN MEDICINE. Our phones are dying. I have a nasty cold and definitely ran out of tissues hours ago and probably look like I'm there to be admitted myself. I have to work at four. Britt, bless her heart, has me come home an hour and a half before my shift and sends Crystel to relieve me. I take a MUCH needed nap for 45 minutes or so. Through another long and complicated turn of events (this is already getting too confusing) I end up having the night off, the girls come home with the medicine around 4:30 or 5 (apparently ours was one of the last prescriptions filled), I got a good night's sleep, and there was a happy end to a rather unpleasant day. I plan to have my car FINALLY inspected for insurance coverage the next day.

Tuesday: I drive to Hatfield. Oops, it's a public holiday. I'm sure these are totally legit holidays, but they are so inconvenient and happen when you least expect them. I'm sure they are nice for some people. Although I've been informed the way people celebrate being off of school is by wearing school uniforms. *scratches head* I also don't get my phone fixed (I can't call anyone or change my sim card) since the Cell C shop is also closed. I did go to Clicks and buy a rainbow whisk. I also figured out how get to Hatfield, so I suppose the trip wasn't a total loss. 

Wednesday: I work until 4. I should be able to get there in time to get it inspected - it's open till 5 or 6. I grossly underestimate Pretoria traffic. In a city where so many people don't drive but take public transportation, how can there be so. many. cars.?? I get a lot of practice with my car's stiff clutch. I pull in the parking lot at about 5:01. The place looks deserted. The sign on the door says they close at 5. A gas station attendant at the adjacent gas station informs me that (despite the sign on the door) they are actually open until 4.


Now I really know my way to Hatfield.

I've also gained a lot of confidence by driving during rush hour...driving this tiny little yellow thing who likes to stick her nose in places and is going to be owning the road before too long. ;) Except Sunshine got cut off by a turquoise Chevy Spark, which is possibly one of the few vehicles smaller than her...

So if anyone wonders why I've possibly been driving without insurance all week long, life has been happening!

Including plenty of time with these cuties...

Snuffy chilling while auntie does laundry

Grumpy twin, happy twin

"I'm holding a girl's hand??!"

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Babies, etc.

I've been settling in here at the baby home and started shifts this past Wednesday. These are the faces that greet me early in the morning!

Lots of twin time lately. They are still small enough that I can carry both of them around at once. Sometimes I can feed both of them at the same time. ;) Mama Patricia says they are synchronized in all the wrong ways! They like to cry, eat, and poop at the same time. But they are sweet! They aren't identical but it took me a few days to be able to tell them apart. Once I still mixed them up because I didn't realize they slept in either cot and couldn't tell in the dark...I thought Grace was Peace and Peace was Grace all night. Oops.

I still know how to tie a baby on my back. I was afraid I might have forgotten but I guess it's like riding a bicycle - you never forget. =)

Happy enjoying his porridge

I walked with Crystel, one of the interns, to my favorite little thrift shop (about a mile away). It's the first time I've been since I've been back. I wasn't sure if Elizabeth, the lady who runs it, would remember me, but as soon as I walked in she exclaimed, "You're finally back!" She made us tea and sandwiches, showed us pictures of her grandchildren, and continued her attempt to teach me Afrikaans. It was fun. The store is in a bigger room now and has all kinds of things - it reminds me more of a small rummage sale than a thrift store. I dug through a rather gross bin of mismatched plastic containers and lids until I found some that went together. This was what I ended up with after I got home and cleaned them with a LOT of bleach:

I also found hangers for my wardrobe:

And from Facebook: this was my Thursday adventure:

"African adventure of the morning: jumble sale at the church around the corner. Although garage saling is about my favorite thing ever to do at home in Ohio, I rather got the impression that white people don't go to jumble sales here. Like, ever. At least not at this church. I'm all for happily breaking stereotypes, but it was a little awkward. The sale was behind a gate (as is everything here in Pretoria). It took a bit of explaining to get the guy manning the gate to realize that yes, I actually wanted to come in to SHOP at the sale. Even once I was in, people kept walking up to me with confused looks on their faces and saying, "Can I help you?" My deductions were that a.) only black people shop at these things, which is fine, I'll go ahead and do it too, because I don't really care, or b.) this is some sort of charity not for any racial group in particular, but for poor people, in which case, oops. I did get two pairs of jeans for my rug for R5 (> 50 cents) each, and a rather well-used muffin tin. It was in a big bag of random containers, etc, that I didn't want and couldn't be split up, so I asked the old lady who was buying it if she'd take R10 for the tin, and she was more than happy to oblige..."

So yes, I am getting on with life here, and it is good. Joy is one of the best roommates ever. =) (I still miss Alyssa - "Lulu.") We've been busy with various events - soccer ministry (that no one came to this week), Bible studies, a baby shower, etc.

Oh, and I put down a deposit on the car I am going to buy! I'm so excited. You all will have to wait to see it until next week when the wire transfer comes through.

Keep in touch! Miss you all!