Monday, February 15
Today was a full day! We were able to get out of the flat in a timely manner and get our luggage into the car (a true feat as we have three huge duffel bags, three backpacks, one carry on, one booster seat, and the three of us). We had to swing by the flat rental place as we weren't able to pay for the additional days on Saturday. After paying, we headed to the office of Wybrow Oliver/Wandisa.
This was a hard goodbye. Brad and Rose had walked with us through so much. They are the ones who believed Tisetso would be a perfect match for our family (and they were right!). The staff at Wybrow Oliver/Wandisa were like a family away from home. Saying goodbye was harder than I thought it would be. We gave hugs, exchanged social media info, then headed to the airport.
Once there, we returned our car quickly. With that taken care of, we got our luggage wrapped (recommended for in-country flights to prevent luggage damage and theft), and checked in. We stopped at Mugg & Bean for lunch. We were all hungry and made short work of our meal. My only regret is that I didn’t get the chocolate chip cookie dough hot chocolate. I fear this decision will haunt me for the rest of my life.
After lunch, we boarded our plane. One thing that has been really different from America is prevalence of Islam. I counted five women wearing hijab and two women wearing full burkas in the line for our flight. I couldn’t help but think if this happened in America, there would be a lot of (unnecessary) hullabaloo.
While flying, I took some time to meditate and draw out some verses my sister had send me the previous day. I have been having a difficult time with Tisetso for the past few days, and she had sent me Scripture to encourage me. It was the perfect activity for the plane. Our flight landed quickly and we didn’t hit any turbulence (my least favorite anxiety causing activity).
When we landed in JoBurg, we had a surprise waiting. Our plane was parked (do planes park??) far from the terminal. We disembarked via staircase and had to take one of many buses to the main terminal. Of course the bus didn’t have air-conditioning. We were far from the sea/bay, so the temperature was a good 20° hotter. Add too many people crammed into a stifling bus and we were wilted by the time we collected our luggage. We were thankful to find all four pieces had arrived safely.
One entertaining aspect to our picking up the car was we made the same exact wrong detour in trying to find the car rental place as when we landed January 6. We followed the signs and arrows and ended up in the wrong place on the wrong floor. Signage is not very clear here (arrows point in vague directions, there are sometimes misspellings, or just plain wrong). We’ve experienced that time and time again and are still surprised when it fails.
After getting to the car rental place, we had to figure out renting a car for one day. Brian had accidentally rented the car starting Tuesday. The calendars here start Monday, contrary to ours which start Sunday. Brian had clicked the second day of the week (Tuesday) and went on his merry way. Thankfully, we were able to secure a manual transmission Honda. Brian had been wanting to rent a manual while we were in South Africa (significantly cheaper and a bit more fun), but I suggested it might be a bit much trying to do right hand drive on the left side of the road, in a foreign country, with a kid. Thankfully, I am married to a reasonable guy and he obliged. After one day with this car, he was happy to get the automatic transmission for all but that day!
The drive from the airport to our new flat was ... interesting. We hadn’t fully experienced JoBurg rush hour traffic until this point. It was rough. We were amazed at the number of cars and the number of people on the highway. The shoulder (apparently) turns into a 7th lane when desired. It was a cultural experience, for sure. Along with that, our GPS decided to take us the scenic (read: scary and possibly a bit unsafe) route.
When we arrived at our new flat, we were thankful to have made it in one piece. It is a beautiful, modern, furnished two-bedroom apartment with a kitchen and super fast internet. Like even faster than at home, which is refreshing and kind of amazing. With our bags unloaded from the car, we made a quick drive to an awesome restaurant Tisetso had picked out when we were in Pretoria called Tasha’s. There was a location super close to our new flat. We tried to eat and leave quickly as it became apparent very quickly that Tisetso had had enough of the day. It had been a long one and he needed sleep.
We got back to the flat, got him changed into pajamas, and into bed. One surprise of our new flat was the 10,000,000 channels it has! One of them shows House Hunters International every single night from 8:00pm-10:00pm. Needless to say, I have a feeling Tisetso will be in bed, lights out every night before 8:00pm...