Monday, November 19, 2012

Week 2: Cheese, flowers, cars, and queues

 Week 2:
Pictured below are these cute little gem squash which look like "Holy Hand Grenades" when uncut. The skin on these things is like a kevlar jacket, but once you've popped it open they roast up beautifully.

Delicious squash and not so delicious goat Pecorino Romano
So, we have a duck guy. He's a duck enthusiast that Jonah met during his first trip to Neighbourgoods back in September. This past weekend, we splurged and bought two duck breasts to pan sear with onion marmalade. Mmmmm. Pictured above and below are the results from our hard work. Seriously, though the hardest part was not scarfing down the food instantly. Also, we got an asparagus guy. The duck guy is also the onion marmalade guy. But don't trust the goat pecorino girl, because she wouldn't know pecorino if it bit her.

In addition to duck, we have also taken to a new type of pasta. Spaghetti and mince...In this case, we minced up some boerwoers, added some canned tomatoes, and some legit cheddar cheese (Adobo is also featured in this sauce...). It's actually pretty darn good. Pasta takes FOREVER to cook here, and after a few glasses of wine some hard thinking, we finally realized why. We live a mile high, so water boils at a different temperature here (202F, in case you were wondering). Oh boy. Baking will certainly be an adventure now.

It's late Spring here, and if you guys come visit, you really should consider coming in November, because everything is in bloom. Of course, that means my nose has gone on strike (as is the style here). Below are a few pictures of some of the prize specimens from our garden at the house..

A mystery plant -thought it was Chelone
Bougainvillea along our fence; INVASIVE
Some flowering violet family thing?

Our koi pond

Bird-of-Paradise in our back garden; Native. These
have gone by now, starting to look like
fading rock stars-->

These are Cape Gooseberries; not native. You can see that
they are closely related to the tomatillo, but they're slightly 
more tangy.

Jacaranda trees lining our street; Non-native. The flowers can be inflated and popped in
your hand, a surprisingly engrossing pastime for us nitwits and noobs.
Our toilet-themed miniature succulent garden. 

The Saga of Buying a Car:

Step 1: Find a dealer you can trust, or find a car through a private seller. We opted for the private seller using Gumtree (essentially Craigslist with better graphics)

Step 2: Decide on the car of your dreams. Our dreams were financially limited, so we decided to get a diesel (for mileage), something small (for mileage and cuz we po), and a foreign make (i.e., not a Ford, Chevy or Dodge).

We found this little beauty, drove out to see it, and were hooked. Kelsey will tell you some time about my white-knuckle test drive doing 120 down back roads, but that's for another day.

Step 3: Realize that this is South Africa, so you MUST have at least 5 forms to fill out before you can actually drive the car you've fell in love with. DON'T forget to get things stamped.

Step 4: Dance a jig when you find out the forms AND instructions are ONLINE! See below.

Step 5: Dance of different type of jig when you realize that the forms and the instructions have been superseded by a rain soaked, poorly edited, size A4 sign attached to plywood at the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Go back to step 3.

Step 8??: Finally get all your forms together, stamped, etc. From left to right: instructions for how to get to registry, landlord's ID, utility bills for last three months, lease, job letter, driver's license, visa & passport, form, below 4 photos. Getting the photos was another shady story involving street entrepreneurs.

In the meantime, realize you've driven 49km to do all these tasks.

Step 9: Get to registry and realize line is literally out the door, off the sidewalk, and spilling into the highway well behind the silver Mercedes.

...But that was just the line to get in! Once inside, join the secondary line...

...and the tertiary line....

Step 10: Get forms stamped in office with no power, no computer, and no filing system. Go home or back to work, and tell Johnny all about your problems.

Protecting your Investments:

While Jonah was figuring out how to make us more mobile in a city dependent on cars, and cars alone (unless you want to take a crazy taxi minibus...hell to the no), I had a much more important task of making our house even more secure...

After many long, tedious hours on Gumtree, I finally found the humans who owned Mom & Rocky (above). These two lovely hounds were kind enough to supply an adorable litter of what South Africans call American Bullies. I emailed the guy, got an address after convincing him that we were legit and coming from Wits, and off we went.

Our newly employed home protector!! (btw- Midas is the one looking at the Ipad, he already loves having his photo taken)

Midas will be coming to live with us this weekend, once Jonah has secured us a legal vehicle. Luckily he won't be over 200lbs like the Boerboels we considered, so he should fit snugly into the back seat of our Getz. Road trip!!!!! ...Hopefully.


Whelp, we're suckers.

Based on comments by colleagues (e.g., "you're just getting ONE dog??"), the general cuteness shown below, and the fact that almost everybody we know on earth has a pair of dogs, we called the owner and told him to reserve us a female, too. She's the one in the pictures below with the crunk eye. We think. Anyway, we're sure about her name. It's apparently the name of a Zimbabwe goddess (don't tell Mugabe) who among other things is known for her half-moon pendant. This seemed to jibe well with the one moon-colored eye, and also Kelsey vetoed the name "Winkie".
Meet Mella (foreground left side). Midas is the brown and white
feller on top of the pig pile in the back.


  1. I'm sure you were informed that Cornel had to escort me out of the South African equivalent to the DMV. I applaud your patience. Bet it smelled like sweaty balls in there too.

  2. Midas! I love you!

    It looks beautiful and bureaucratic there. So happy you guys are doing a blog xo

  3. I love your stories of normal life in SA. I love the plants, the car, and the cute dog!! You both are so cute!!

  4. Nice work! The car, the flowers, the puppy!!!! I can't wait to meet Midas!!

  5. [pointing and laughing] gov'ment! Have you seen the infamous portrait yet?


  7. I love your updates! And I love the puppies even more!!

  8. I'm stealing my new niece and nephew puppies..I guess you'll have to chase me back to Florida to get them.. :D

  9. Or new glad youre suckers. I think you should know, I just became obsessed with your blog. I laughed out loud (literally) at least 5 times. If you slack again, my warning wont be so nice next time.

    That being said, i miss you guys like crazy. Love you lots. cant wait to see the millions of pictures of the newest editions.

  10. OK just as an update. I'm here in NJ at Grandma's house with Uncle John and now Aunt Norma showing them the blog! Norma is a hoot!!! We all have decided that you need to bring the puppies back this sumemr for a visit!!! Also, videos are a good idea!
    Me? I'm like Haley! Obsessed with it! ALSO NEED phone numbers!!! I just found out from Norma that texting across "The Great Divide" is no big deal! Her daughter is in Manilla and that's how they keep updated! (Skype too, so ya better work on the 'Net NEXT!)
    Really glad to see you guys are ingratiating all of South Africa to us Americans. Ok well apparently except for the "Cheese head". WTH we don't care much for Wisconsin here either so there! Love ya and miss ya!!!

  11. AHHH!!! MIDAS II!! So happy you decided on another pet! Two is the magic number and 3 is overwhelmingly selfish; good job.

    The DMV photos are great. I love the step-by-step process, especially the 49km map. Those are da best!

  12. Two puppies now, yay!!! Also, the duck dinner looks amazing. Hugs to both of you!!