|King - living up to his name|
Hello, dear friends and family! Life couldn’t be better here in beautiful South Africa. We’ve had some really nice weather the past week; it’s a lot like a Michigan fall, so I am even further in my heaven. This week, I’d like to talk about a wonderful day off I had (it just so happened to coincide with the 4th of July), so I hope that you enjoy my ramblings and musings for the week!
Firstly, I have probably dropped over twenty pounds since being here. I have literally been working my butt off every day! I am so tired at the end of the day that I am in bed asleep by 9:00 every night. I probably walk over ten miles every day, lift heavy things, throw heavy things (like chickens), push wheelbarrows every single day. I’m actually really proud of myself because I put on a lot of unneeded weight because of breaking my back a year ago. I feel like I’m finally back to where I was when I was playing year round soccer in my early high school years. I am eating extremely healthy, drinking tons of water, working hard and enjoying every bit of it! My pants actually fall off if I’m not wearing a belt and I swim in my shirts. Anyways, where I was going with this is that on Thursday, my boyfriend Karel and I spent the day running errands in the morning and going on an adventure in the afternoon. Naturally, I needed to get new pants. Went to the mall and tried on some jeans, found some great cheap jeans (TWO pairs for about 15 USD), and found that I dropped not one, but TWO pants sizes! I haven’t been a size six since junior high school. People, it can be done! If you work hard, eat right, drink plenty of water, and live every day happily and fully, you can do anything!
We went to downtown Paarl to get lunch and pick up “take-aways” or carry-out for Jason for lunch (kind of as a thank you for letting us use his car all day). After delivering Jason his lunch at the lion park, we decided to go for a drive! On our own little adventure! And boy was it! I really enjoy driving here. I kind of see it as a challenge driving on the left side of the road, the driver’s side on the right side of the car. Plus most cars here are manual transmission, and stick-shifts are way more fun than automatics! We lucked out with a gorgeous day. It was sunny and close to 70 degrees with a fierce wind. Some of the trees are changing here, and it smells like crunching leaves, freshly mown grass, and FALL. We drove with the windows down so we could hear the leaves blowing and smell and see everything. Since I’m “The Boss” as Karel says (and the driver), I got to choose which way we went. We decided to hug the mountains and see where the road took us.
We ended up driving into an old wine estate. I felt as if I was transported into the plantation south. I was instantly reminded of a place my family went to every year when we vacationed in Biloxi, Mississippi. If any of you know about the Confederate Army leadership, Jefferson Davis had his home right on the coast in Biloxi, MS. His estate was named Beauvoir (beautiful view) and there was this spot as you walked to the back of the property toward a large cemetery where you were surrounded by a canopy of trees. This wine estate we drove into was like that. We drove down this lane of trees that curved over the road to create a tunnel. Leaves were swirling in the sun, and vineyards backed up to the huge hundred-year-old trees. This lane stretched for over a mile and curved up the mountainside. I drove slowly so I could just listen to the wind and take everything in. I wish I had thought to bring my camera, but this moment is one that will have to live in my memories and not on film.
After that we continued on the road along the mountain (I call it “Our Mountain” because it’s the mountain I see every day as I work and I use it as a landmark) until we found a crocodile farm. My favorite part of this place was while we waited to tour and see the crocodiles, we sat overlooking this gorgeous manmade reservoir and had coffee. The crocodile part wasn’t so great because this place basically breeds crocodiles, keeps them in a space WAY too small for two thousand crocodiles, in nasty conditions, then when they get big enough and fat enough they are sent off to be chopped up for meat and skin. I hated that part and almost pushed the tour guide into the pond to be eaten because he poked a baby crocodile in the eyes and ticked me off. We drove around a little more before finally returning to the park.
Even though we didn’t do much, I just loved the day for what it was. And that I got to spend it with someone special. This week I am turning 23! And Karel is taking me to hike up Table Mountain – keep your fingers crossed for a nice day!
Anyways, dear family and friends, you can rest easy because this chicky is still as happy as ever. I hope that you are all enjoying a beautiful summer and know that you are all missed and loved dearly.
|Karel and I - happy as clams|