South Africa

Well, Ethan and I are not in Africa anymore. I mean, we are physically…South Africa is technically on the continent, but it’s like no Africa I’ve ever known. We spent 4 hours cruising one of the malls here. Did you catch that? “one of…” There are more than one!!! And they’re real malls. Like, way more real than we even had in Yakima! I had to choose from a massive selection of restaurants. I bought a couple of things I needed—a 220v coffee maker and tea kettle, a jacket (who knew I would need one in Africa?), and some treats for the kids. South Africa manufactures their own brands of most things we have in the US, so there aren’t a ton of US product names. I did see Grape Nuts, and was tempted, but I couldn’t stomach the $11 price tag! But everything else is so much cheaper than in Malawi, because what we have there is imported from here, at $6.80 per gallon of gas plus import tax!
Yesterday we ate at McDonalds. I wasn’t a big McD’s fan in the US (please, don’t revoke my citizenship for that confession!) but let me tell you…after 18 months, the fries really did taste that good! Ethan was just amazed at finding a toy in his happy meal box.
Today I ate at “Mug & Bean”, South Africa’s answer to Panera Bread—and an impressive answer, at that. I had the most amazing chicken wrap with fresh cucumbers, avocado, lettuce, and a delicious sauce, and to drink? A vanilla late. Those of you in the US have NO idea just how breath-taking it was to savor those flavors again! I even let Ethan run across to the video arcade (!) by himself so I could revel in it a little longer.
But, it’s not the US either. I’ve had my share of blank looks from people at stores who have no idea what I’m saying (though we’re both speaking a form of English!). The doctors offices have all been impressive, and the OB did a 15 minute ultrasound so thoroughly that he counted each finger and each toe and measured the different ventricles in the brain…and recorded the whole scan and his commentary describing everything on a dvd he sent home with me! I’m so excited Chad will be able to see it all as well, since he couldn’t be with me. And won’t baby love watching that someday?!?!?!?! I did have to giggle, however, when the nurse handed me a urine dip-stick and told me to “go wee-wee on this and bring it back”. Wee-wee???? And then carry the dripping stick back down the hall??? And I thought it was embarrassing to carry the cup!
I’ve decided South Africa is a nice place to visit, recharge, fulfill some food-related cravings, bask in the order and cleanliness of everything, and then head on home. As much as I’m enjoying it, I’m not ready to move here—I miss Malawi’s laid-back attitude, friendly people, and lack of pretentions. And it feels good to miss Malawi.

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