Friday, 20 February 2015

Mkhuze {part 1}

We spent the night in Mkuze game reserve, and the next morning set off for a hide. Mum and dad were already there and V, Malcolm and I left a little bit later and got there after them. The parking lot was full, and we'd never been to this hide before. We headed down a path towards the hide. I remarked at how surprised I was that the path was so bushy, but we followed the footprints. It was a windy morning, and suddenly the footprints faded out, and the sand was smooth. Except for some rather large cat paw prints over the freshly wind-swept sand. We decided then that we were probably on the wrong path, and quickly turned around and headed back to the parking lot! Now that we were properly awake, we noticed another path, this one in the right direction to the hide! 


Unfortunately, there wasn't much happening at the water hole, and with so many people there it wasn't so great anyway. So we piled back into the cars and went for a drive instead, where we then saw a bit more!



Later that morning, Malcolm's parents arrived. After settling in a tiny bit, we were off again for a drive. This time we spotted a Rhino which was really great!






Of course, what's a trip to the game reserve without car trouble? We were in a bit of a rush to get back to the camp, and were driving on rather rocky roads... the result: One popped tire. Fortunately, Malcolm's dad had brought radios with, so we had better communication between cars and I could ask mum and dad to stop! Malcolm and his Dad changed the tire at lightning speed, and then we were off again.



We got back to camp on time, and then headed back out to go for a guided walk.


Our guide, Patrick, made sure we understood that we were heading into the wild, and then we set off into the bush. It was seriously hot, and every now and again Patrick would stop in a patch of shade and show us certain leaves or bark and explain their traditional uses.


Fairly early on we crossed the Mkuze river over a long suspension bridge. Fortunately it's been recently renovated so it was a lot more stable than the previous one! 





We walked down to the dried river bed (a little squelchy...) to see some eagles.



An exhausted and sweaty family photo.




At the furthest point of the walk we went up onto a boardwalk and had a beautiful view into the trees.




Then it was time to head back to the game vehicle and drive back to camp.






And, to end a really long, exciting, hot day, it ending it with a braai and family-time was just perfect.


*** All watermarked photos are taken by my dad.*** 
The problem with traveling with a photographer is that I get lazy taking my own photos. For more of his photos, check out Zululand Pix on Facebook

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Home again

My definition of home has certainly been loosened over the last 2 years - getting married, having Malcolm move into my apartment, moving to Germany to a furnished apartment, moving to Marburg and starting from scratch, suddenly leaving that home, living with friends, with people from our church, in a student residence... saying "I'm going home" came to mean so many different things.

However, we now have a place we can quite simply call home again.




The Wednesday before leaving to SA, after finding out about an apartment for rent in the neighbourhood we lived in before, I called the estate agent and made an appointment to see it. That Saturday we went and had a look at it. It was really nice, and we were pretty sure we wanted to live there. The problem was, we were heading to SA and could then not sign contracts etc. There were a number of factors against us, and others were interested as well. Our chances seemed slim.

We boldly handed in a form saying we want to rent the place, signed papers that confirmed it all if we were chosen, packed our bags and headed to SA for nearly 6 weeks. While we were there, we received and email saying that so far, we were the preferred tenants, but the landlord wanted to know for how long we'd be there. We told her 2 to 2.5 years and hoped that's what she wanted to hear. A week or so passed, and we suddenly saw the flat being advertised online again. My stomach dropped.

I felt uneasy and disheartened. One morning, my stomach turning, Malcolm and I prayed that if God wants us back in Richtsberg, if He wants us in this house, that He should take care of it. We laid it in His hands and left it at that.

Later that morning, while out shopping in eShowe, I got an email. The landlord originally told the estate agent that he should keep looking for somebody else since we weren't long term enough, but that morning she called and told him she changed her mind: she chose us.

I have no idea what made her change her mind. But I'm pretty sure that that was God's answer. His stamp of approval on the commission papers we find in Matthew 28:19. In my mind, it's completely settled that we are in exactly the right place where He wants us.


Monday, 9 February 2015

January

January has been all over the place. Various places in SA, over the alps back to Germany. And then still more adventures and moving. What a month! 

//Road trippin' with Malcolm, back and forth between eShowe and Durban.//

//Malcolm and one of his Grandma's//

//Family time away at Mkuze//

//Saying goodbyes again.//

//Our last day in South Africa - the sunny skies tried to tempt us in to staying. Not hard! //

//With Granny at the airport//

//On the plane and ready to go! //

//Flying over the alps//

//Back in Marburg in the Student Residence. //


/I went away for a weekend with work colleagues for the annual meeting/ 
//This was the view from my window.//






//we went for a walk... it was my first time walking on ice and I was quite terrified, actually. Fortunately I cover nervousness with giggles so I just come across as a really friendly and happy walker. Grateful for all the tips I learned from those I was walking with!//


//It snowed in Marburg, too, but mostly stuck up in the hills. So I visited Malcolm at the campus up on the hill where he studies. We were the weird people walking next to the path so that we could feel the snow crunch. // 

//The day we went into town to sign our new rental contract, it snowed beautifully. We had a lot to do, but prioritised walking around the pretty Sudviertel, and then up to the top floor of a department store to see the castle while defrosting our toes.//






//January involved more packing. This time, our rooms at the student res. The emergency blankets from the fire finally came in handy again.//

//Moving day, the 31st. We woke up to snow...//

//And did what everybody would do on the day where a lot needs to be done but there's SNOW lying outside. We rushed out and built a snowman. He's pictured alone so that one can't see just how tiny he is.// 


//And then, 3 trips on the bus, and two by car, and the muscles and time of dear friends, and we were moved in.//

2015 is not disappointing!