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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Stopover in Paris

We arrived in Paris at 6 AM on Friday morning and caught a taxi to go see the Eiffel Tower.  When we arrived at the tower it was still dark and except for a few workers overhead soldering iron rods;  completely desolate in a bleak and almost eery kind of way!

So we went to look for a place to warm up and found a spot down the street to enjoy a morning snack.

We settled in to enjoy hot cups of coffee and cocoa with croissants and crepes covered with chocolate.  Delicious!  I honestly can say this was the best croissant I've ever eaten.

After several fruitless attempts to capture the whole Eiffel Tower from up close I whipped out an imaginary piece of paper and started writing:

"Dear Santa,

All I want for next Christmas is a wide angle lens!  I know it is a bit early, but I wanted to get this to you as soon as possible so you can start work on that right away!" 

We stood in line for almost an hour before the ticket booth opened and every minute we waited in line it got colder; more and more people arrived to fall in line and the girls became more and more impossible to deal with!  A pretty fatal combination after being on a plane for 12 hours flying from Cape Town to Paris!

Several different elevators whisked us from one level to the next, until we finally reached the very tippy top shrouded in a mysterious, white, poofy cloud.  The wind blew hard and it was bitterly cold.  I heard a gentleman behind me say to his friend  "The weather is terrible!"  And then his friend replied:  "Yes, but I can tick it off my bucket list!  Ching!"  It made me smile since I could relate.  We can tick it off our bucket list too, but I would love to come back to see more.  We had to make a run for it and arrived at the airport just in time to board a plane to Atlanta!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Trip to South Africa

We've just come back from a trip to South Africa and there are so many thoughts and feelings floating through my mind.  Too many actually.  It is overwhelming to summarize in a few short paragraphs, but it is catapulting so many plans into my head because one thing I truly am is a resourceful spirit!  I love thinking through ideas and figuring out "what can I do to make this happen?"  and sometimes I come up with impossible possibilities, but sometimes I come up with useful changes.

 Table Mountain

I question things;  make changes and challenge myself.  I believe it absolutely necessary!  

White Lions
It is hard to live so far away from your family.  It is really, truly hard!  I might be sulking a little bit over the coming days while readjusting sleeping and eating patterns.  I did not even want to get out of my pajamas today.  When hubby asked me if we are going to unpack all the bags by end of day I had a proverbial shot gun pointed at him with an imaginary sergeant major yelling in the background "Fire at will!"

Sunset at Beach House

Deep down I'm happy.  I am privileged to have all these people in my life.  Despite our differences and indifferences we need each other and spending time together is restorative.   It is good for me to renew and revisit the images and experiences I share with people and places I grew up with.  It grounds me.  It helps keep me from floating away, which is quite easy to do living in another country!

 Knysna Forest

So here is to "not floating away" in 2013!  May it be a year in which I get down to business and get those bags unpacked sooner rather than later!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Gifts From The Heart

The past few weeks the girls were working diligently in making cards and putting together bags of treats to gift to residents at a local nursery home.  Last night they all got on a bus to do just that!

Caramel told me this lady was so frail;  her hands as light as feathers, but she was so grateful for this gift bag.  She grabbed Caramel by the arms and told her "you are the light of my life!"

How wonderful. A small gesture of kindness can mean so much to those that need it!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Africa, Here We Come

Today Caramel ran inside the house, breathless, asking me to please come look at the tablecloth she created for Table Mountain.  I decided to go take a look and came upon a scene they've put together in the dirt with holes they dug, rock arrangements, several sticks and the few flowers they could find.

"Over here is Table Mountain!"  Caramel said pointing over to an arrangement of rocks with a flat top.

"And over here is the cable car which we are going to take up Table Mountain!"  Fudge said pointing towards a stick balanced quite peculiarly on the side of the rock formation.

"Here I've put some rhinos representing the big five!" Caramel said pointing to several acorns each with a small stone stacked on top.

"And these two flowers are the king proteas we learned about!" Fudge said pointing towards two beautiful red camellia flowers.

They are meeting their cousins in South Africa in person for the first time, this holiday season.  We are very excited for them too, but I have to admit I'm not looking forward to the arduous two day trek to get there!