Wednesday, July 21, 2010

22 hours later...

After 22 hours of travel the kids and I arrived safely in Johannesburg, South Africa! The flight from Atlanta to JoBurg was more than 15 hours but it was not nearly as painful as I anticipated. There was a TV in front of each seat with several movies and TV shows to choose from and they feed you constantly. Plus with a little Dramamine the kids slept for probably 9 hours of the flight! When we arrived at the Johannesburg airport we expected to find Trent at baggage but he was nowhere to be seen. I was a little perturbed at first and kind of surprised that he was not there waiting anxiously. It took all my strength to pull off all 6 bags. I put 3 of the largest bags on a cart for Aiden to push, I strapped together 3 of the bags and pulled those and Anna pulled our carry on. I was a little afraid to leave the airport and wait outside for Trent (being in a foreign country and all) so I found a security guard and asked her if my husband might be waiting somewhere else. I was relieved (and annoyed at the JoBurg airport) to find out that non-traveling persons are not allowed in the baggage area and that he could be found waiting outside the exit door. Of course this is a huge airport and it took us a while to get to the exit but once we got through the electric doors there was Trent on time and anxiously awaiting our arrival! Aiden was so excited that he left the cart of luggage and ran to Trent! It had been two long months since we had seen him so it was a much overdue reunion!

We did not get in until 9pm so I have not been able to see much yet. The condo we are living in is on the 3rd story (not fun when you have 6-50lb bags) and has 3 bedrooms. It is a brand new condo with nice but minimal furnishings. We have a very small washer/dryer and oven and no dishwasher! There is white tile and wood flooring throughout the house! I am excited to report we have a cleaning person named Pretty, that comes 3 days a week! I can definitely get used to that! It is a double gated community with security that walks the property 24 hours a day (I just saw him walk through the parking lot for the 3rd time since I woke up this morning) so needless to say I feel very safe here. We have satellite so the kids (and myself) are relieved to know that they have Nick and Disney! I am using a plug in prepaid internet connection which is very slow but I am grateful to still have access to the World Wide Web!

Presently, I am feeling slightly overwhelmed and anxious. The reality of being in a foreign country so far from home has began to sink in. Although, I have access to a vehicle it is a manual transmission and the wheel is on the wrong side of the car! Plus they drive on the opposite side of the road. So with the combination of being afraid to drive and not knowing where anything is I am feeling a little claustrophobic. The kids and I are so used to go go go that we don't know how to stay put. They have asked several times what we are doing today and all I want to do is crawl back into bed. Fortunately, Trent thinks he will be home early today. It is such a funny feeling to be eagerly awaiting for Trent to come home. I have always been so independent and since he has been away for most of the year I have become accustomed to doing everything myself and being alone with the kids. But seeing as he is the only other person we know in this country and he has become familiar with the area we are desperately waiting for his return! Although, I am suffering from jet lag I am excited to see what JoBurg has to offer. I am not sure yet what we are going to do today but the sky's the limit! I am grateful Trent will be our tour guide and body guard! I have already experienced some culture shock and am feeling very naive. It is difficult to know who to trust. Just last night as we were attempting to pay our parking fee at the airport a man came up and offered to get us out of the parking garage for less money then we owed and then began to push our luggage cart and told us to follow him to our car. As I looked at Trent for reassurance I realized he wasn't so sure what the man's intentions were either. Of course my first thought is this man is going to take our luggage and my purse is on that cart. So I grabbed my purse! I was trying to appear as if I needed it as I was worried I would give him the impression that I was afraid! The car was only about three spots away from where we were paying and the man helped us load the truck with all of our luggage, even climbing in to rearrange the bags to make them all fit. By this point I realized he was just looking for a tip and not my belongings and I felt very foolish. On the drive home Trent told me that everywhere we go, there are locals trying to sale things and do things for you to make money and that they are a bit relentless. Oh the things we have to look forward to!

There are two other lineman wives here and it will be great to meet them. I believe they spend the day doing things together so it will be nice to have some friends! We are also excited to attend church and meet people that way. I want to find out everything I can about this country and the culture here. I will also hopefully find out about opportunities to volunteer and how we can be of service. I am planning on homeschooling the children but if I can find a nice school in the area I am tempted to send them not only for my sanity but so they can make friends and learn more about this country. Although it would be easy to treat this trip as a vacation and just relax and sight see I plan to take advantage of this opportunity to grow and become our very best!

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