Last Thursday was
Groundhog Moving Day. That’s right, we moved again. Just as we were becoming quite comfortable in the Principal’s Residence (Guest Flat #1), we were required to move down to Guest Flat #3.
While part of the plan all along, it did seem like a bit of a slog to move for the third time in two months. After moving from the guesthouse to campus, we started to feel more at home and started to buy or find more of the things we need to truly live here. Now we are busy arranging those things in our new space.
Space is the key word. We have way more than we need. Guest Flat #3 is a 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath monster. It has a kitchen, living room, dining area, half bath and generous office on the first floor, while the bedrooms and two full baths are upstairs. The master bedroom even has a balcony. Swankity.
It’s the living room, though, that is really coming together.
The furniture provided by the university was, shall we say, a bit tired. A family of five from the UK had lived here for a couple of years, and I’m sure those kids weren’t the first to jump on the couches. We decided to start fresh. Thus, the dazzling davenports you see here.
We did scout the classifieds and second-hand stores for decent furniture, but nothing popped. Finally, we found some “modern African” sets and Jenny threw down the negotiating skills she honed as a corporate purchasing agent to get a good deal. (“I think you need to sharpen your pencil.”) As if the orange wasn’t enough, Jenny’s been busy making accent pillows to liven the place up a bit. It’s working.
Jenny’s handiwork notwithstanding, the most attractive feature of the new place is undoubtedly the yard. The front yard is immense and slopes down from the front door to the entrance to our garage area. It has already proven to be a fantastic ball-playing field for Indie, except for that time that the tennis ball went through the fence, down the hill and ended up in the loading dock of an adjacent building. The back yard is really more of a patio, or braai area, as it’s called here. Braai is the Afrikaans word for barbecue or grill, and we have a nice one.
There are more photos of our new place, Guest Flat #3, at the end of this post, but first a couple of additional updates:
Jenny tried to run over a herd of zebras on her bike
Those of you who are friends with Jenny on Facebook may have noticed the post below about zebras and mountain bikes:
Well, as amazing as that sounds, she may have buried the lede: We now have mountain bikes. We each found used bikes (though Jenny’s was barely used) online, threw them in the back of the Rio and took them in for tune-ups. Last Tuesday was the first day we had them out for a spin in the Groenkloof Nature Reserve, which has some great single-track bike paths.
It was on one of the more challenging up-and-downs that we encountered the zebra. We had just come down a rocky stretch and were pedaling hard up the next hill when we nearly ran into a small herd of zebras crossing the path. We both skidded to a stop, but since Jenny happened to be in the lead, I’m saying that she tried to run over the zebras.
We were so close to them at this point that we could smell them. As they trotted back into the trees, we noticed that they weren’t alone. There was also a small herd of wildebeest standing in the shade. We looked at each other, then the animals, then back at each other. Not your typical Tuesday.
For UP freshmen, every week is Hell Week
Since the school term started here at the University of Pretoria a few weeks ago, we’ve noticed that some form of singing or chanting — and sometimes some serious fireworks — spontaneously erupts from the residence halls. Usually, this happens between 10:30 and midnight. It always takes us by surprise.
Apparently, what’s happening is some form of freshman initiation. Because there are no fraternities or sororities, each residence hall has its own identity. On the Groenkloof Campus, there’s Kiatt for the men and Inca, Zinnia and Lilium for the women. Sometimes the freshmen boys from Kiatt have to serenade the ladies or prance around in nothing but panties. Some of the girls must wear butterfly wings all day. We’ve even heard some very tribal (likely Zulu) chanting, which probably means dancing, too. We need to investigate the next one.
Back to the house…
Yes, I know, there are no photos of zebras on bikes or men in panties as perhaps promised in the headline. There are, however, a few shots of our new place: