Tuesday, November 24, 2015

|| dailies 105 ||

Here's another small glimpse into daily life here.

How do I best communicate with family and friends back home? Networks? Data? Monthly plan?  Internet?

Ok.  Here's how it works.  There are three national networks here for cell phone service.  Instead of buying a monthly plan, a person will buy what we call "talk time".  They come in increments as small as k2 and up as high as k100 (probably higher but I've never seen that).  

Today, I realized I wasn't receiving any messages through my Whatsapp while I was in town.  Upon checking my balance, I discovered it was at 0.  So while driving through town, I honked my horn at the guy at the railroad line and he came chasing the car with a fistful of talk time.  

k50 will last me a while if I watch my DATA.  Now on to the next topic.  In the States, you don't even think about data.  You just download videos, pictures, browse the web, search for a recipe while you're in the grocery store, check FB, download new apps, etc...etc...

(....this is how we feel when the talk time has finished on the phone....AND internet is down....)

It is so different here.  I am constantly watching my data.  In fact, the service I use has recently updated their data plans and they haven't been working to my advantage.  My talk time is getting eaten alive.  I plan to implement a new rule with myself to limit my data usage even more!

New topic:  best way to communicate.  I love Whatsapp.  If the internet is down or I am in town, then I have to turn on my mobile data to use Whatsapp.  But it is the best way to communicate.  My mom and I text just about every day that we don't talk.  AND, I've recently discovered the joy of making a call through Whatsapp.  My Mom and I talk at least once a week (sometimes two or three) through the phone call service of Whatsapp.  It works out so much cheaper for me than calling through the regular phone line.

But, really, how expensive is it to phone the States?  It truly is very inexpensive, especially if I call late at night.  If I want to call my grandma or wish someone a Happy Birthday, I try to do it after 9 pm. A 15 minutes call is literally a dollar.  

We do have internet on the farm but once again, we have to watch our data.  Some of us try to save our downloading until after 6 pm.  Others of us....well, we just push the limit as far as it will go!!!  haha!  So thankful for internet, though!!  It is a blessing to have on the farm.

Another peek into life here...!  :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

|| travels: Dubai ||

Here's something I haven't blogged about..our accidental stopover in Dubai!  To and from my brother's wedding, we went through Dubai.  Leon has always wanted to go there.  

On the way home, airport staff grabbed us right as we exited the plane.  I thought they had a super-speed transport to take us to the next flight.  On the contrary, we were stuck.  In Dubai.  Away from our baby girl.  I was heartbroken.  

But, it was a great detour.  We were able to hire a private taxi to take us around the city (and snap a few photos of us).  We were thoroughly impressed with how clean and safe and gorgeous Dubai is.

(this place reminded of the San Antonio Riverwalk)

Also, there is a couple that lives there that are family friends.  So we were able to meet up with them for a quick dinner.  The prices in the shops were affordable.  I could have bought another suitcase full of goodies but luckily our bags were packed to the gills.

beautiful goods

The next day as we eagerly checking in, we were pleasantly surprised to find we had been upgraded!!!!!!!  NOW, I could have really gone shopping.  Those overweight bags were free!!!  That spoiled me and Leon proper and that was the fastest seven hour flight we'd ever been on.  

Best part of all?  Kissing our baby girl at the airport.  :)

Friday, November 13, 2015

|| something fun ||

I am so glad that the youth group I was a part of in high school did lots of outdoor things!  Sidenote:  smart leaders, considering teenagers are very loud.  Hence, I love bonfires.  There is something incredibly quaint about a silly, little bonfire but it is relaxing...fun....and simple. 

Here we live in a climate that is accomodating to bonfires nine months out of the year and I still hadn't had a bonfire yet on the farm!  I've had big, grand plans of doing a dinner and marshmallow roast way out in the fields....under the stars....at night.  Reality:  I'd probably pick the wrong spot and burn down all the good grass.  Anyways, I'd have to snatch three workers to help me and that ain't gonna happen (let's be real!).  

Finally, I put my foot down and said to myself:  I'm building a bonfire.  Tonight.  In our garden.  

There's a small grove of fruit trees and one of the trees had to be dug out a few months back.  There was the perfect little hole.  I threw some wood in, doused the surrounding area in water, and tried my hand at starting a fire for a little date night.  

Leon came to my resuce and made a nice, roaring blaze and now we have the perfect pit.  

Since then, we've invited friends over for a simple meal and roasted marshmallows.  Amazing how the simple things in life are so pleasurable!

trim.460CB4A4-F1B8-4F01-BEAB-A44485481C1A from Rebecca Staal on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

|| God cares ||

Last year around this time, I casually mentioned to Leon that I would love to have my bike shipped here one day.  I knew it wasn't high on the priority list but it was one of three things I would love to have imported.  There's a really great company that we use to ship things here and they ship a lot of bikes for organizations.

Literally days later, my brother called and asked if I'd like to have my bike.  Shipped here.  For free.  Bam.  Boom.  Done and dusted.

I could not believe it.  No one knew about my (small) desire to have my bike here.  But God did.

When I see that bike sitting outside, I am reminded that God does care for the smallest little desires of our hearts.  Is God a genie waiting to grant our every wish?  No!  But He uses opportunities to show us just how much He loves His children.  It is truly amazing!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

|| dailies 104 ||

^^unedited beauty^^

The mornings here are pretty glorious.  My only dislike is that we can't fully enjoy them because they start fast and furious.

We have made a rule that we don't pick Liesl up until 6 am.  That little stinker normally wakes up around 5:15 but will drop off to sleep again if we don't peek our heads in her room. Once she's up, she's busy.

Register is at 7 am each morning.  This is where all of the farm workers check in for the day.  The dairy guys have already been busy milking for at least an hour.  The maids for the house are busy making porridge and tea.  They come as early as 6:15 (depending on the day) to bath, and get their day going.  

At register, Leon dismisses the guys for all the various jobs.  There's dairy guys, irrigation guys (moving pipes and sprayers to keep the grass nice and green for the cows), two to three herdsmen that take the cows outside the electric fence during the day for grazing, and general workers.  

Like I mentioned in my last post, Liesl very often goes with Leon to register.  This is my time to get ready for the day, put my pot of coffee on, make sure the girls' desks are cleared for school and their books are out, and sort the laundry before my maid comes.

Also, depending on the loadshedding, mornings are different.  For instance, tomorrow morning, the power comes on at 8 am.  So...there's not much to do.  I probably will wait to make my coffee and get ready a bit later.  Other days, it goes off at 8 am so that's a real rush. On those mornings, I try to get up super early and get at least one load of laundry in and out on the line and any other tasks that involve electricity.  

Back to the gorgeousness of the mornings.  The weather is picture perfect.  A slight coolness and gentle breeze.  It is the quintessential summer morning almost all year round (except the dreaded winter -- my worst season here).  Despite the cold mornings of winter, there's a misty haze rising off the pastures that is breathtaking.  One must stop then to enjoy it because coming back even five minutes later, the fog has dissipated.  

The beautiful mornings truly makes one think of the verse, "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are NEW EVERY MORNING; great is thy faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

Monday, November 2, 2015

|| Liesl baby ||

My precious, precious, spirited, lively girl.  Oh how we LOVE YOU.  Daily, you make us laugh and catch our breaths.  Your papa and I look at each other and say, "She is so gorgeous.  What did we do to deserve such a beautiful baby girl."

Even at just a few weeks old, we could see your fiery personality. ^^

You are constantly on the move, mimmicking our actions, and our words.  Of course, you say (and know) MaMa and PaPa.  You are crazy about your cousins.  To you, both of them are Teija (TA-yah).  When you see them from a mile away, you scream, flap your arms, and shout, Teija! Teija!

You also say duh-ees (duckies) and fis-ees (fishies).  Your parents (in classic first-parent-fashion), are pretty sure you can count to three.  We count your ducks every time you bath....which is twice a day (sometimes three times!!).  

Which leads me to the next thing we LOVE about you.  You are a farm girl, through and through.  You are up and at 'em with the sunshine.  We only pick you up at 6 am.  By 7, you are ready to go with Papa to register.  And if he even dares to sneak off without taking you, you yell, PaPA! PaPA! And stretch your arms out wide and beckon him to come back.  In a few months, he won't even have a choice.  You will be running after him.  :) Soon, you will be in the fields with your daddy for the entire morning.  You love animals and dirt and water....all in classic farm girl fashion.  

There's so many things that I don't want to forget about this stage of your life.  Goodness, the time has flown.  How is that you are almost one year, three months old?

Liesl baby, we love you.  We thank God for you very, very often and pray that you become His child and that He uses you in a super special way.