To lower yourself down a mountain…

We’ve been so busy these last few months, which is wonderful of course, but it leaves little time for anything else. So it’s been a long time since you heard from us here.

My boyfriend Wayne and I did however take some time off to try abseiling, what an awesome adventure.

A Sunday in the middle of September we headed south from Wayne’s hometown Krugersdorp, to Parys, a small town situated about 100-150 km away. We had an early start and when we arrived we were met by our guide.

To come down you must first go up, so we had to walk up to the top of the old quarry where it all happen. From the top it was 45 meters to the bottom, it may not sound like much but once you are up there, it feels like…pretty much…

We were given a safety briefing and some instructions and then it was time to go. Wayne had the pleasure to start…and he made it down in a rather composed and dignified way. I didn’t feel so tough anymore when my turn arrived. The very first section was the scariest; it takes some guts to lean out over the edge and trust that you’re safe! But once I dared to lean back and rely on the harness and ropes to hold me, it went really well. And it was fun! 🙂

Wayne finished it all with a dip in the dam down below, I was not as brave – perhaps mostly because I had neither swimwear nor a change of clothes with me. Sorry, no pictures guys 😉

We had a wonderful day and we both left Parys with big smiles on our faces. Now that we’ve had a taste of a slightly more adventurous experiences, we will definitely make more room for that in the future!

Until next time!

-Lina

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Rugby

On Friday evening there was a knock on the door, Freddy opened and there was our neighbour asking if we had any plans for Saturday. The answer was no, whereupon he presented two tickets for the game between The Blue Bulls from Pretoria and The Cheetahs from Bloemfontein. Not only that, it was tickets to a Platinum Suite 🙂

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So on Saturday we headed off to Loftus Versveld Stadium in Pretoria and found our suite. Free food and free drinks and a lot of big – no, huge – men who brutally dives into the fight for the ball.

It wasn’t an important game, so the number of spectators was unfortunately quite low, but believe me – the noise levels can become high anyway. South Africans are very passionate about rugby!

I have said for probably 15 years that I want to go to a rugby game and this sure was a nice way to do it. But next time it will have to be when The Lions from Johannesburg play. But we had a great time!

Wedding

Lately we have – even if it has been a while – told you a lot about our trip to Cape Town. And we will surely have some more small treats from there, Cape Town really is full of wonerful experiences.

The trip to Cape Town had been planned a long time, but we added one more thing that we wanted to do while we were there. We threw in a small wedding 🙂

My Freddy proposed inside the Kruger National Park last August, at sunset by a dam full of hippos. Absolutely perfect… We knew early on that we wanted a small wedding, not a big spectacle that shrinks the bank account and makes you stress, and we agreed that combining a wedding with our trip to Cape Town was a very good idea. The only guest was Lina, who was also the bridesmaid, best man, ring bearer and our right-hand man..eh..woman.

In 2013 I helped a Swedish couple who wanted to get married in South Africa and I put them in touch with Weddings out of Africa who helped them with everything and they got married on top of Table Mountain. When we saw the pictures, I think both Freddy and I quietly thought that this might be it (but by then it was too early to talk about marriage).

We also asked Kirsty at Weddings out of Africa for help and we  too chose to get married on top of Table Mountain. There are some paperwork that needs to be sorted out before you can get married in South Africa and I will soon write a post and tell you exactly what is needed and how to proceed. If you are marrying a South African like I did, you must nowadays also go for an interview at the Department of Home Affairs.

So we booked a time, two days before the wedding, and the interview was a strangely unpleasant experience. I never thought it would be so hard to explain why you love someone, or answer any other questions, but despite my stuttering we were considered to be a genuine couple and we got permission to get married.

On February 25 the day had come and I had the pleasure of being prettified by a real pro who came “home” to us. If anyone ever needs someone who can do your hair and makeup I can really recommend Bernice Dodd.

Unfortunately a big fat cloud, the famous table cloth, decided to park right on top of the mountain and we couldn’t have the ceremony there, so we had it at the foot of the mountain instead but that was very nice too. After the ceremony, and the mandatory paperwork, we went to Signal Hill and Glen Forest with photographer Jilda G, she too is amazing.

The evening ended at the restaurant we chose – The Roundhouse Restaurant that offers really great food!

I’m super pleased with our day and very happy.

Hugs,
Mrs. Lindgren-King 🙂

Christmas came and went

So it’s been in Christmas. Again … We hope you all had a really lovely one, with all that comes with that loved ones, far too much good food and drinks and hopefully temperatures below zero and a white blanket of snow on the ground.

Preparing for Christmas

Preparing for Christmas

To celebrate Christmas in the middle of the summer, which is the case if you are in South Africa, is still a bit strange. It’s hard to find that real Christmas spirit when the sun is shining and its approaching 30 degrees Celsius. However, it becomes less and less weird for every year that passes.

Presents under the Christmas tree

Presents under the Christmas tree

One advantage is of course also that you get two Christmases! A Swedish one on Christmas Eve and a South African one on Christmas Day 🙂 This year we had to move the Swedish Christmas a little, because Lina flew to Sweden on 20 December. So we bunched Christmas Eve together with St Lucy’s Day and celebrated Christmas on 13 December. Cheating!, as my very tradition-bound sister Sofia said, but sometimes you have to improvise.

South African Swedish Christmas Dinner table

South African Swedish Christmas Dinner table

In fact, there are a lot of Swedish food to buy here so you can have a pretty good Swedish Christmas – you can get Abbas herring here, for example. However, we have developed this, so every time Lina goes to Sweden she brings tinned herring (no spiced added) so that we can make our own herring. And if I may say so myself, we make the world’s best herring!

Home made herring and creamy beetroot salad

Home made herring and creamy beetroot salad

We also make our own beetroot salad, Jansson’s Temptation (Lina must once again help out and import the Swedish anchovies), ham, meatballs, fudge and a whole lot of other goodies. And mulled wine, or Glögg as it’s called, of course (we use ready made spice packages in a good South African wine. And this is actually best served cold here in the heat …

Egg and kaviar bake and meatballs

Egg and kaviar bake and meatballs

While Lina celebrated a wonderfully genuine Swedish Christmas with the whole family, Freddy and I chose to keep it very simple and we packed a picnic basket and went to Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden. Here we had a wonderful time until the clouds looked a little too threatening.

Wet and cold!

What happened?! With the weather? OK, so we’ve had a long and very dry winter, and we need the rain. But does it really have to be completely gray and raining more or less constant for several days in a row?

We tend to be spoiled with rainstorms that lasts between 1 and 2 hours and then it’s over. Usually with a glorious spectacle in the form of lightning and thunder. But now it has been going on since Saturday night!

It also becomes cold when it keeps on like this, we probably haven’t had more 20 degrees today. And it’s a cold 20 degrees … So here we sit with thick socks on and a blanket over our knees. All those things were packed away … it’s summer (well almost anyway)!

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The thing is that although Johannesburg every summer gets quite large amounts of rain, the city is not equipped to cope with it. There will be floods, power outages, internet stops working, the cell phone reception becomes hopelessly bad, the newspaper can’t be delivered and traffic lights throughout the city give up – which, together with large amounts of water on the roads and some potholes that you have to zigzag between, creates nasty traffic problems in a city where driving in good conditions is trying your patience.

Unfortunately, the prognosis is not very uplifting either … next week seems to be cold and wet. I guess it’s time to rescue the pots with the lettuce from the balcony before they float away, and then just curl up on the couch. Well, at least we don’t have snow! 🙂

Sea of purple!

jakarandaIt’s October and summer is fast approaching in South Africa. It feels absolutely wonderful! Even in South Africa it gets really cold in the winter and without any form of insulation in the houses, you never truly escape the cold. Wrapped in the blanket becomes a normal state…

But now winter seems far away, we’re back to skirt and tank top and right now Johannesburg is also graced with flowering Jacaranda trees. These are quite large trees with dark trunk and the flowers are beautifully purple. Along with many cerise bougainvillea bushes they transform Johannesburg into a beautiful sea of colour. Pretoria has even more Jacaranda trees than Johannesburg, between 40 000 and 70 000 trees, hence its nickname, The Jacaranda City.

Interestingly, the Jacaranda trees are not indigenous to South Africa. They were imported from South America in the 1880s, but due to the large number of trees they have become something of a South African icon.

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The South African government has quite recently passed new laws to try to bring down the number of invasive species and to ensure the survival of native species. Jacaranda trees fall into this category, but fortunately they are not in the group of plants that need to be removed. However, no new trees are allowed to be planted, so if existing trees die they can’t be replaced. So let’s hope all the Jacaranda trees here in the area will survive for many generations!

Rain, rain, rain, rain beautiful rain!

fireAs a Swede, it feels slightly strange to wait and long for rain. It is rarely something to look forward to in Sweden, but if you live in South Africa this is something that happens every spring …

At least if you live in areas that have summer rain, and only summer rain. In Johannesburg, where I live, most of the rain falls between October and March. There is some rain in April and it can also be some scatter showers during winter, but it’s really not more than a few drops.

So now, in early October, this is something that everyone here thinks and talks about. We are all very tired of all the dust that finds its way into just about everywhere! It’s actually one of the few times when the South Africans also talk about the weather. Usually one merely states that it’s sunny or cloudy and people give you strange looks if you ask how many degrees it is.

When it rains here it pours. There is rarely a Swedish grey sky that, day after day, emits a steady amount of rain. It is usually a dark black sky, the wind picks up properly and a raindrop is probably the size of a teaspoon. And the whole thing is accompanied by an amazing spectacle of lightning that lit up the whole sky and thunder so powerful that the windows vibrate.

As soon as the clouds pull in, expectations increase. And if the wind picks up a little, one can literally see the longing in people’s eyes when they look up to the sky to almost encourage the clouds to let go of a little water. But so far nothing, or at least not here in the northern parts of the city.

dark_skiesWell, last Sunday there actually was some rain. And when the first drops fell on the tin roofs in the area, I saw the neighbors jumping with joy, and the balconies were slowly filled with people and we all stood the with silly smiles looking up to the skies, and welcomed the first real rain. Or so we thought … It was a teasing rain from a pitch black sky, but we didn’t get much more than a light shower that only left a spots all over the dust cover.

So we continue to wait. Continue to look up at the sky. Continue to dust. Continue to bet on when the first rain will come. And we will rejoice when it arrives!

This post was written by Julia on 7 October 2013