Monday, January 7, 2013

A YASC Family Christmas

Christmas Eve Sunset
Greetings and Happy New Year! I hope you all had as good a Christmas and New Years as I did, because mine was absolutely fantastic. I travelled to Cape Town, SA to visit with nearly all of the other YASCers in Africa. Only one of the African YASCers couldn't make it, so in total we had 7 people in our little entourage. After a little mishap where one of the YASCers got stuck in Rwanda for a day, we all met up in Struisbaai, SA on December 22nd. Struisbaai is about 3 hours east of Cape Town.

Our Beach Condo in Struisbaai
Since there were so many of us coming, we were able to rent a condo at the beach in Struisbaai for dirt cheap. We had to do some bed sharing, but all-in-all it was a really nice set up. We were just a 2 minute walk from one of the most pristine beaches in South Africa. I'd like to say that we spent our time exploring the area and seeing the sights around Struisbaai, but who am I kidding, we spent nearly every day at the beach. Whoops.... Hey, thats what you're supposed to do at the beach, right? We did do some sight seeing though. We took a trip down to the southern most tip of Africa, which is the point where the Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean. Some in the group tried to swim from the Atlantic into the Indian, but the jagged rocks made that a little difficult.

Southern Most Tip of Africa

Christmas Eve Dinner
We had a lovely Christmas Eve braai (cookout). Everyone pitched in and we had a pretty delicious meal. Thanks to Holly's meticulously selected Christmas music playlist, the good food, and good friends I finally started to feel like it was Christmas! We spent the evening reminiscing about Christmases past and family traditions that we would miss this year. It was one of those moments that yanks on your heart stings a little bit. It was very difficult to not be surrounded by family, but I could not have asked for better people to be around! We all slept in a little bit on Christmas morning, and then woke up to make a big Christmas brunch. Once again, when you have 7 people cooking you can make a really good meal with minimal effort. We concluded our brunch with mimosas, because hey, its not brunch without mimosas!

The Beach on Christmas Day
After brunch, we did what any self-respecting person near a beach on Christmas would do, we went to the beach! It was absolutely perfect weather and we even had a dolphin sighting, though I should mention we all thought they were sharks at first and frantically yelled at Cameron to GET OUT OF THE WATER! After a quick afternoon nap, we headed back out to the beach to watch the sunset. We stayed out long after the sun went down and reveled in the moonlit beach. It was the perfect way to end our YASC Christmas.

Sunset on Christmas Day

The Group at Jenny Dick's House
Our time in Struisbaai ended the day after Christmas, so we headed back to Cape Town. Holly is the YASC volunteer in Cape Town and she is also the warden at the Anglican Student house for the University of Cape Town. Since it is the summer break for UCT, there was plenty of room for all of us to stay at the house for the rest our time in Cape Town. We had a long time in Cape Town so we were able to do quite a bit. Winery tours, Cape Town beaches, seeing the wild South African Penguins, hiking Table Mountain, sunsets at Camp's Bay, and much much more. We got to visit with some of the HOPE Africa Staff during our time as well. Jenny Dick and Mpho Mashengete both had the whole group over for lunch on separate days. I can't say thank you to them enough for their hospitality. It's no easy feat to prepare food for 7 hungry missionaries! Thanks again!

Jenny and I at a Camp's Bay Sundown
The View from Table Mountain
Wild Penguins!
One of the Many Wineries We Visited

The Group with the SSM Brothers and Fr. Michael
We also ran into none other than Father Michael Lapsley and several of the SSM brothers from Lesotho when we went to St. George's Cathedral on the Sunday after Christmas. I was not expecting to see so many familiar faces from Lesotho. I was happy that the group got to meet with Fr. Michael and some of the brothers that I work with from time to time. It was an unexpected surprise!

New Year's Eve Picnic at Kirstenbosch Gardens
Our New Year's Eve was a particularly fun night. We got tickets to a jazz concert in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, right at the base of Table Mountain. If you haven't heard of Kirstenbosch, just imagine if you could go to Jurassic Park without the fear of being eaten by a dinosaur. It is breathtakingly beautiful! The opening act was a local Cape Town band, Hot Water, and the main act was Hugh Masekela. We brought a picnic dinner and a few bottles of champagne to enjoy while we danced our way into 2013. It was one of my best New Year's Eves in memory!

It was hard to leave Cape Town and all of my friends. The two weeks we had together has been one of the highlights of my year so far! I'm so grateful to have good relationships while over here. It makes life so much easier to know that I've got friends that are going through the same struggles and challenges that I am and that I can always call on these people to help get me through. Thanks you guys!

I'm back in Maseru now for about another week. I should be headed up to the hospital either this week or next! It's an exciting time, but there is a lot to prepare. This week I'll be working on getting everything ready to move up to Mantsonyane for the next 8 months. I hope you are all having a great start to your New Year. I know that I am!  

A quick shout out to Jenny Korwan because I stole most of the pictures on this blog post from her camera. Thanks Jenny!

Make sure to check out these blogs for more stories and pictures from our trip to Cape Town: HollyJennyCameronSteve, and Benjamin & Elizabeth 

Sala hantle!

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