We…are here! We, we are here!
Just as our friends from the Mamelodi cleanup day chanted their arrival (let’s be honest, they chanted their everything), we broke into a similar refrain when we opened the door to our new home: The Principal’s Residence on the University of Pretoria’s Groenkloof Campus.
Moving day was Friday, and a helpful Tukkies student named Cloete met us at the guesthouse at noon with a university bakkie to transport our stuff from Brooklyn to Groenkloof. Easy. We were done by 1:15.
We were a little sad to say goodbye to our new friends at the guesthouse, however, as they had taken such great care of us and we had grown quite fond of them. Our primary housekeeper, Maria, even had to stop by to say goodbye and take a photo with Indie before we left. I’m sure she told her family and friends all sorts of stories about the crazy Americans who brought their dog (and a mess of power cords) to South Africa.
The Principal’s Residence — or Principal’s Flat, or Guest Flat #1 — is reserved for the Principal of the university (the SA version of Chancellor or Rector or Provost, depending on the institution) and distinguished guests. I don’t know if we rate as “distinguished” but we are here; we, we are here until August 22, when the most permanent of our temporary homes, Guest Flat #3, is ready.
While the Principal’s Residence is only two doors down from Guest Flat #3, it may as well be half a world away. This place is great. The furniture and furnishings in this 3BR, 2.5BA apartment are all new, the painting and decor is fresh and modern, the kitchen has a full size range and there’s even an en suite master bedroom. Guest Flat #3? Not so much. At least, not right now.
To be fair, we understand that UP is rushing to complete a renovation of Guest Flat #3 before we move in, which is why we are in #1 for a couple of weeks. The renovation had been slated for later in the year, but the schedule was accelerated to accommodate us. From what we understand, the flat will get cleaned and painted, new beds and linens, new “crockery” and new window treatments. And, we just ordered a new living room set to be delivered after we move in, so you’ll all have to come check that out.
If I didn’t sound enough like a realtor in paragraph 4, I’ll make up for it now: The best feature of both flats is location, location, location. We are nestled deep inside a beautiful campus, where it is quiet, secure and convenient to things like groceries & gas, haircuts & hardware, take away & tuisnywerheid. There’s also a free shuttle bus that goes from this campus to the main UP campus in Hatfield every half hour, so getting to work for Jenny (and me, if I tag along) is safe and easy.
So, for at least the next few weeks, the Principal’s Residence is our principal residence. We’ll take it. On principle.