Finally getting a chance to sit down and blog! I've started this post about three times, only to cut it off from loading the pictures each time because I had to go do something else.
I'll show you the baby pictures first, because I know that's what you all want to see! I only have pictures of three of the babies thus far - we have four.
(All names have been changed for confidentiality purposes.)
If you remember from a while back, I told you the baby home got twins! Here is one, little Grace...
...and here is her twin (but not identical) sister, Peace.
Here is our thriving preemie, Snuffles - so named because he had some kind of difficulty breathing - he was in the hospital for a few weeks when he was younger. He still snuffles and snorts a lot but is happy and healthy!
I will have a picture coming soon of our fourth little guy, Happy!
So what have I been doing instead of blogging and taking baby pictures? (I don't start working until Wednesday....)
Moving in, among other things. Here is the room that I share with my Zimbabwean friend, Joy. We are doing our best to make things fit...I'm open to storage suggestions for living in a small house/room! We are coming up with a few ideas. It'll help when I get hangers and can get that final large cardboard box out of here...
I did bring lots of things from home, but they do make it feel more homey. I brought the quilt (purple one on the left bed) and afghan I made last winter/spring, among other things.
The one thing the room does have a lot of, is curtains! It was built onto the corner of a patio, so only two sets of curtains go to an outward window (the right wall on the picture above). The ones straight ahead sliding glass doors into the front apartment on the baby home (apartment is kind of a loose term, as nothing is completely separated - all of us in the building share a kitchen). The ones to the left cover a window into the baby home sitting area. Both of these windows are covered on each side for privacy.
Since we are certainly not lacking in curtains or curtain rods, I'm doing my best to use them to my advantage! The purple ones at the head of my bed hide the cardboard boxes I traveled with (folded flat). Below, you can see that the curtain rod makes a very efficient scarf hanger! I've also tucked seldom-accessed items behind the wardrobe and curtain on the windowsill. The sill is slanted - I'm trying to think of some way to lay something across it to make it slightly more efficient storage space.
This end of the curtain rod holds my hats, bags, and coats. Functional, but perhaps not terribly efficient choices, as I was too lazy to take off my shoes (so I could climb on my bed), and ripped the lining of my black coat trying to pull it down. Not irreparably, but perhaps I need to hang something else there.
I found this beautiful cactus succulent on my nightstand when I arrived, along with a sweet card from my auntie Patricia and friend Idelheit. I briefly considered moving it somewhere besides my nightstand when I realized it was a highly effective deterrent to hitting the snooze button...=)
Just when I unpacked three of my four boxes (the box with yarn is at my friends' house at the moment), I realized I still had to unpack EVERYTHING I packed up last year when I left!
Apparently I put on quite a show...
(Actually, I think Mama Linda and Deborah were just waiting for a ride, but still. Lol.) It turns out at least one of the bags was miscellaneous pillows that didn't belong to me, and several of them were full of kitchen things. I felt so silly packing up some things last year, but I am so glad I did! Without even having gone shopping, my pantry looked like this:
Some of those tins are empty, but I had rice, beans, popcorn, wheat flour, maple syrup, peanut butter, cornmeal, bran, LOTS of spices, and quite a few other things. Admittedly, it's hard to survive on things like, oh, three cups of poppy seeds, but it helped to not have to restart my pantry from scratch!
I found many other interesting and useful objects I'd half-forgotten about while unpacking, including but not limited to:
a butter dish
a mismatching platter and serving bowl (both beautiful, if you don't try to use them as a set...)
a towel I bought at the thrift store
a cooking scale
a miniature strainer
a two-inch-high grater that is useful for practically nothing
a handful of Kleenex
waxing strips I will never use
bike shorts that are too tight
jeans that I saved for scraps (possibly a rug in our future, if I can find some more...)
Scrabble in French
half-used bottles of shampoo and conditioner
my favorite Easter egg skirt
I frequented our small, local thrift store last year and picked up practically anything useful I could find, including those gorgeous tins in the pantry photo above. (It's also where I got French Scrabble...) No, there aren't many thrift stores in South Africa...but I discovered this one about a mile away, and even one is a big blessing! I showed it to a few of my African friends, who apparently go there all the time now and say it's a lot bigger. I plan on walking there tomorrow after Ladies' Bible Study.
Since one cannot survive on poppy seeds and coriander powder alone, I had to make a trip to the corner convenience store to grab a few things to tide me over until someone with a car could take me shopping.
In case anyone was wondering, this is what approximately $14 USD gets you at a convenience store in Pretoria, South Africa.
One whole chicken, one liter of milk, one small bottle of sunflower oil, one kilo of white potatoes, 10 (?) oranges, a small block of cheese, 250 grams of butter (about a cup), one loaf of wheat bread, a tin of apricot jam, and a cucumber. Not bad, but prices have gone up since I left - the price for real butter has raised roughly $1 to $2 a pound!
I've been fighting a nasty cold that hit me almost as soon as I landed. One of the hardest parts of being sick in a new country is not knowing what medicines to take. I brought Advil, Nyquil, and Airborne, but I needed a daytime medicine that was a mite stronger than Airborne vitamins. Thankfully a friend recommended this. It tastes roughly like drinking baking soda and salt mixed in water, but hey, it works great...
I have spent the last few days blowing my nose, visiting with friends, going to various and sundry parties/events, blowing my nose some more, unpacking, trying to make my Blackberry work (having problems accessing the internet...), and, as of today, car shopping. (You'll note that cooking has not featured significantly in there. Grilled cheese, eggs, toasting my bread before I make peanut butter and jelly. So far the only "real" food I've made was chicken, rice and beans.)
Anyway, yes, car shopping - a rather overwhelming and slightly terrifying experience. It is made infinitely better by having the 1Hope handyman, Randy, to take me - he knows practically everything about cars and the purchasing thereof. This won't help me, though, when I eventually have to drive a car myself in Pretoria rush hour traffic, where buses like to push you out of your lane as a matter of course, taxis honk at you, and people run into the street in front of your car. Yes, we have traffic rules, lanes, etc, just as you would expect anywhere in the Western world. No, we don't have cows in the road, but we might as well for as well as people follow aforementioned traffic rules. I've been assured I won't die. I hope they're right. I plan on driving about fifty laps around our small, quiet suburb before I venture out into the main city...although, I don't have a car yet. We only looked at two today, including a little yellow one I was in love with, but that didn't have power steering. Calling around about cars was certainly a step into "adulting" for me, but
OH MY GOODNESS TRYING TO UNDERSTAND PEOPLE ON THE PHONE.
And I'm sure they say the exact same thing about me.
Did you know "panda" rhymes with "Honda?"
I think that's about all for tonight. My sweet roommate assured me she doesn't mind the light on while she's trying to sleep, but still. I think it's time to call it a night. Please pray for me as I get all this adulting settled. Stubborn phone. Car shopping. Not dying while driving. Developing a budget. Cooking healthier meals (I do NOT want this year to be a repeat of last year's 20 pounds...) Re-fitting into life here in a different role (caregiver and not intern, doing pretty much the same thing - baby care - but still different).
Love you all!