Well, that's it for our time in South Africa. We had originally planned to go to Zambia in December to do some volunteer work at Koti Ni Eden, another of FCE's bases, but they advised us against it, mainly due to the higher-than-usual risk of malaria and the fact that our daughter would be highly susceptible to it. So, instead of spending Christmas in Africa and New Years in Europe, we've bumped up our schedule to spend two weeks with my relatives in Nederland and be back in Canada in time for Christmas. We both learned a lot in our six-week course. Being a condensed version of FCE's three-month course, it feels hard to process everything we've learned, but I have a binder full of notes that I plan on going over again to be sure I haven't missed anything. Now we're in Holland, and next week we'll go "home" to Canada and the search for work.
We spent a weekend in Hermanus, a bustling seaside town with many beaches. In the two days that we were there, we visited three different beaches and cooked over the braai many times. Hermanus is known for the fact that whales come quite close to shore, and we spent many hours just sitting on the beach and watching them.
We've now been in South Africa for just over a week. It's been a mix of culture shock and excitement as we have gotten used to the way things work over here.
FCE's headquarters is located in Wolsely, a quick 1.5 hour drive from Cape Town. It's a small town of ~8,000 people, nestled in between some beautiful, bare mountains, and surrounded by farmland. We're right on the north edge of town, and it's about a five-minute walk to the few shops that are worth going to. (That picture is looking looking north from the entrance of the property.) For any real shopping, and non-exorbitant prices, it's a 20-minute drive to nearby Ceres (which is also where the nearest secondary school is).
We arrived in Cape Town last night, and tomorrow we'll be heading up to Wolseley. (The flights went flawlessly, Zelena was amazing, and nothing got lost!) To me, at least, the culture here feels like an interesting mix of traditional/local, Dutch, and British. Here's a few observations so far:
- Looking up at a night sky and not recognizing a single constellation, except for the ones over the equator, is very strange.
This past month has been a major whirlwind. Five weeks ago, I was laid off from my web design job, due to shortage of work. While working for a friend and learning how to do stucco, my parent's called and said they had an urgent thing to discuss.
"We want to send your family on a missions trip to Africa."
My brother asked for a list of good iOS apps, since he was going to get an iPhone. So, Tyson, here's a few:
- Pocket is a great way to save things for reading later, even if offline.
- Overcast is the new podcast app on the block, and it's my favourite.
- YouVersion's Bible app is one of the most popular, and a great choice.
Friends who've asked me what cold-brew is, how to make it, or if it's easy: this is for you.
I first learned about cold-brewed coffee from author Cory Doctorow's book, Homeland. Simply put, it's coffee that is made the same way one makes cold-brewed iced tea (by leaving the leaves in cold water for a long period of time, rather than in hot water for a short period of time). As Cory puts it, it's "cheap, easy, no-mess", and "the best cup of coffee you're likely to drink this summer".
Say what you want about the Heartbleed bug, but it boils down to this: you need strong, memorable, unique passwords for everything. Many have been taught that the best passwords are the kind that look like a string of random characters, but who can memorize that? My friend Alex brings a solution to the table.
Alex's password generator starts simple: it combines a random adjective with a random type of animal. Then, depending on how you've set the difficulty slider, it will replace one or more characters with symbols, resulting in a secure password that doesn't take much effort to memorize.