Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Day one

Day 1 20th Jan
It is ‘silly o’clock’ here in South Africa. 6am local time, 4am in the UK, you’d think I had jet lag but there’s only a 2 hour time difference, the sun is shining (streaming in through bedroom window) and there’s a variety of birds with their varying noises, dogs howling that have woken me up. Is there anywhere in the world that doesn’t have bloody seagulls? The washing machine has been on and the clothes are hanging up in the garden. I’ve had several cups of tea and have sorted out all the new paperwork, rearranged drawers and kitchen cupboards, am fully dressed and raring to go. I shall sit here quietly for the next 2 hours, reading and await HR for what will be a very long day. The children aren’t too impressed as they are off to school today to purchase uniform, register for classes and meet their new class mates. Dan isn’t impressed with the uniform – short trousers, knee length socks and its all beige. School here starts at 7.30am and is finished by 2pm every day. Peter will take the boys in the mornings and I will collect. Depending on where we finally settle, if its close enough the boys can cycle to school. At the moment we are about a 10 minute walk from the mall and it is perfectly safe for us to walk to it.
Our apartment is in a secure, gated tenement block, basically it is blocks of flats all brick built, it’s peaceful, tastefully laid out and we have heard rumours there is a swimming pool here. It’s a bit like a holiday complex and is perfect for us, while we get our bearings, but not an environment I would like to stay in permanently.
This morning we left the kids in their pyjamas while we went car shopping to the Toyota dealer to buy a gas guzzler of a 4x4 Fortuner 4 litre and a V6 engine and additional fuel tank.
We were welcomed at the school, a quick whistle stop tour, purchased school uniform, went shopping for stationary supplies and ta dah!!! Alex had his hair cut. Spent nearly £400 as we couldn’t bring everything with us on the flight, slightly annoyed that most of the stuff we purchased today will be coming over on the boat in 8-12 weeks. The school uniform is so different from what the boys are used to and Dan bless him at 16 in 2 days time has to wear short trousers to school. The kids look like they are off on safari, the only complaint we had, was from Dan who drew the line at wearing Speedos and opted for the board shorts. He’s also refusing to pull his socks up, so we’re not hassling him about it, he’ll soon fall into line at school. He’s also insisting on wearing his shorts hanging off his hips. Kids here wear their trousers on their actual waist and therefore don’t need belt loops and their shorts don’t keep falling down.
We took a drive around 2 different types of housing estates, one is cluster housing and surrounds a private golf course in a security estate, houses are big and grand with small gardens and spa sized pools. The other estate which we all preferred has a perimeter fence which is manned, but far nicer houses and bigger gardens with pools you can actually swim in.
Back to the mall, the driving is confusing me, we are on the opposite side of the world, 12 hours away by plane and they drive on the left, even so I keep trying to get in the wrong side of the car and panic slightly at junctions….I keep assuming they should be on the opposite side of the road. We purchased pay as you go cell phones as we need 3 months of SA bank statements and proof of residency to enter into a contract and I bought a SIM card for the dongle, which doesn’t work.
The evening was spent drinking wine on the patio, while Dan and I sorted out our phones and sent texts to one another to check they worked, Alex and Pete watched a DVD. Kids were very tired and went to bed early so we watched the end of Desperate Housewives and an episode of CSI Vegas whilst eating marmite on toast…nomm nomm.