Dutch, Story Time

One Year Immigrant Anniversary

Oh boy I’m writing my first blog after two months of incredibly hard work. I have so much I want to share and not all of it is related to the house for those who couldn’t care less about the renovations, fret not I have other content heading your way. We just need to build our office desk so I can just sit and pump out work left and right. That came out wrong. Did it? Am I just over sensitive because I have to relearn how I write blogs? But anyway you’ve seen the title so you know what this blog is about but let me do the introduction and build myself up to it. Seriously how did I write blogs before?

The second of June has been a special day to me these last few years. The man of my dreams, my husband, birthday is on that day. So back in May 2017, we received my VISA. After getting the acceptance letter we had to wait two weeks as my approval didn’t show up in the system and we couldn’t get the stamp in my passport before it finally showed up. My big goal was to arrive before Onno’s birthday as the perfect birthday present because let’s face it his future wife being there for his birthday without ever having to leave again is a pretty good present. Things managed to work out and I landed on his birthday last year. So it’s safe to say that on Saturday we had a lot to celebrate. Added to the list of things to celebrate we had our first week in the house which still feels unreal. I worked incredibly hard this last week to unpack almost everything so the house could feel more like the home by Saturday.

We woke up bright and early to Speculoos running into the bedroom and jumping on the bed with his packet of treats. Treats he jumped up on the bookcase to get to. Treats that if he eats to much of he gets the runs. Hence why I put it in high places I thought he wouldn’t be able to reach. After Onno chased Speculoos down the stairs to get his treats, while he was downstairs he made me cup of tea because he is just that great. I do need to add I sang happy birthday to him six times. I’m incredibly tone deaf so it borderlines on torture. While we had our breakfast in bed my dad called and sang happy birthday in the same tone deaf brilliance that I inherited from him.  After the phone call Onno and I went downstairs to bake the milktart (a South African delight that Onno loves) before attempting to work on some small things around the house. After about an hour a nap was in order to restore the balance in the universe. A few hours later we resurfaced to get back to work. I once again sang to Onno till he left the bedroom to escape my brilliance. We very slowly got to work on the small things left to do in the house, mainly putting up a storage space on top of the washing machine and putting up the last bit of handles in the kitchen (a hole needed to be drilled in before we could put the handles on). While I started preparing the pork roast Onno finished the mini bookcase in the office. We stopped there for the day well it’s his birthday we can’t work the entire day. It was a nice day. We got some work done around the house, we relaxed and watched our favorite series together on the couch like the good old times and then enjoyed an incredibly delicious pork roast meal followed by dessert. We ended our night with a bubble bath, boy oh boy our bath in the new house is magical.

Honestly it still blows my mind that I’m living in the Netherlands now permanently. I’ve never been here for one year straight without going back to South Africa. Onno and I never had one uninterrupted year together. This last year was a crazy whirlwind of emotions, 2018 being the roughest emotional roller coaster ride I’ve ever been on, but I’m so incredibly happy to be with him. I’ve said incredibly a lot in this blog post. No idea where that is coming from. But anyway back to the blog; a year ago I never would’ve imagined where we are today and I’m just so excited to see what the next year will bring us. I have no idea where I’m going with this. I’m mainly just so happy, overwhelmed, emotionally unstable, tired, blessed and so much more.

A quick little side note before I end the blog (I really need to get back to work. We’re building our office desk today.) I failed the speaking part of my Dutch as a second language test AGAIN. It’s so incredibly frustrating. This time I failed with 9 points. Come on man throw a girl a bone! Anyway I will attempt another round later this year as well as starting to prepare for my immigration test (I have another two years to do that but who knows how easy that will go down). I’m also going to start the process of getting my driver’s license. Unfortunately my South African drivers license doesn’t mean shit here so I have to redo the entire process (yes I’m still butt hurt about this fact). We really needed me being allowed to drive when we moved and now that we live in a smaller ‘city’ further away from everything, we really need a car. Onno is going to do most of the driving but who knows, I might want to use it every now and again. I haven’t looked into it too much but hopefully I can scratch it of the list this year.

Alright that’s it for the blog. I’m sorry that I’m all over the place. I wish there was more I could say about my one year as an immigrant anniversary (boy that’s an uncomfortable mouthful) but honestly we just ate, slept and worked on the house all day. Nothing special. I’m sorry for being absent so long, I really tried my utmost best to avoid it from happening but the renovations was full of surprises and I just couldn’t keep up with everything. It also didn’t help that throughout these last two months I’ve had some big dentist appointments (read actual torture) but I have three more appointments to go before I’m almost done for the year. And by almost done I mean I have to get two teeth implanted and that’s going to take another few months before the gums are healed enough. Hopefully it will go into next year because honey I’m so drained. So much pain. So tired. Anyway I’m going of track. I will be back to my regular updates moving forward with a lot of exciting things coming up. I will start sharing some house related DIY projects soon, but other than that…I’M BACK!

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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PS. For those who is reading The Girl Writing In The Train, a new chapter will only be up near the end of June or beginning of July. I want to catch up with my blogs before I return to my creative writing. I can’t get into the flow of things when I feel like I’m behind on the blog aspect of my website if that even makes sense. I hope you will understand.

Dutch

My Attempt At Being A Tour Guide In Amsterdam

If there is only one thing you should know about me is that I’m very much in tune with my sense of direction…in South Africa. In the Netherlands, well let’s just say it’s takes me some time before I figure out what direction is what. I’m not kidding. What I think is the right way is NEVER the actual way. Here is a prime example of my brilliant sense of direction in the small and flat country.

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Here is the full caption that I posted with the picture. The sun is shining here in the Netherlands and I decided to somehow find my way to one of my favorite parks I always go to with Onno. Yeah it didn’t exactly go according to plan, swipe right and you will see my attempt. The fact that I tripped over my laces on my way out of the apartment should’ve been a foresight but it doesn’t end there. Oh no my foot slipped on the petals (three times) and the first time (because the seat was still too high) I lost my balance and gracefully fell over. In front of the central station, in the middle of the day…in the holiday period. Yeah people saw. Someone even asked me if I’m okay. I just felt the need to reassure them and myself that I’m not a complete amateur and I know how to bicycle. And as I was trying to find the road to the park I somehow circled back to the station twice till I found the Museum park which wasn’t even that pleasant because it’s packed with screaming kids and I’m an old fart that likes to read in parks. I’m back home, licking my wounds and playing with Speculoos (I then proceeded to tag my cat’s Instagram page. Cringe.)

What is your point women? Well basically I don’t know where the hell I’m going in this country most of the time (well I’m quite good in Rotterdam because I lived here for long enough but take me off my route and I’m lost) so picturing me as a tour guide is laughable. Where are you going with this? Well give me some time. I’m writing a blog for the first time in over a month. Like how do I open a word document? Where is J on the keyboard? Does auto correct still work? Does the internet on my laptop even still work? Is my blog still a thing?

Jokes aside, let me just get to the point. It’s 10pm and I’ve worked on the house the entire day and my brain is losing its ability to put words into functional sentences. I’m not even sure if I’m writing English right now. Oh lord imagine future Cassy trying to edit this blog tomorrow so it can go up on Monday and be like what the fuck?

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Wait what? What the hell past Cassy?

Okay enough fooling around. For real now. My father’s girlfriend did a European cruise through Italy, Spain, England, Portugal (maybe France?) and the cruise ship made a little pit stop in Amsterdam for the day. I’ve heard so much of her these last few months and was dying to meet her so I took the day off from renovations and went through to meet her and her family. We exchanged gifts and her family members met us at the cruise terminal soon after I arrived. Oh wait you need to know this story. I will get to my day as a tour guide through Amsterdam soon.

So South Africans are known to have a really hard time with going to England. I’m not even kidding. The travel agency told all the South Africans going on this trip that they wouldn’t have to apply for the British VISA as they won’t be leaving the ship on the day it’s stationed there. As this would save a lot of money and time they obviously took the agency’s word for it…Well they flew to the start of the cruise and was denied access to the boat because of this and over 30 South Africans were abandoned. This obviously ruined a lot of holidays for a lot of people. It’s disgusting really. Some of these people have saved for years to do this trip and because of the agency they get abandoned in a foreign country? Unfortunately my father’s girlfriend, Althea not Anthea (my dad got her name wrong and kept calling her Anthea and now it’s a funny joke) family was one of them. Three adults and one child were stranded. They managed to make a bad situation into a good one by still exploring some of the other European countries and met up with us in Amsterdam as they could join the cruise from there.

Okay back to my tour guide story. We started off at the central station and walked through the city center, making a pit stop at Primark because hello it’s Primark, before walking further into the bustling city on the hot day. We headed to the Museum park before taking a break at a small café on the side of a canal. We ended our day with a hour long canal cruise. That’s it folks. Hey I never said I was a good tour guide and there really wasn’t a lot of time to go far and show more of Amsterdam. Wait we did stop to buy cheese and take a picture of a flower decorated bicycle. Oh and we did stop at a little church in a side street. That’s about it. Nothing super fancy. Well that was unsatisfactory.

I had a great day though. I met my father’s soul mate and I can take great comfort in the fact that Althea truly loves and cares for my father. Yeah that’s about it. I’m sorry this blog isn’t that exciting but it’s now 10:30pm and I really can’t think of a fun way to milk out this tour. Maybe, it’s a miracle I didn’t burst into flames in the church? Well that’s a bad and untactful joke. Let me think of something else…we nearly got killed by a hot dog truck? Well not really. The guy came up to us and asked us to get out of the way while his buddy drove into the little area to park the truck. Heck when I say drive, he barely moved forward. Okay so that’s not anything juicy. Let me think…Okay there is honestly nothing. It was just a nice day out, getting to know each other and just walking through the city.

Before I go, here is a link to a proper website about tourist attractions in Amsterdam — http://www.netherlands-tourism.com/things-amsterdam-ultimate-top-50/

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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PS. I apologize for the lack of updates these last few blog days. Some things at the house took longer than what we thought so there honestly wasn’t any time to write. I will make up for it by basically low key, well not even low key, spamming you all with everything renovations related once we’re moved in. I also have a lot of great ideas that’s not related to the fact that we bought a house. I’m so excited to write them all. If I wasn’t struggling to keep my eyes open I would be writing them now.

Dutch, General Life Tips

Afrikaans Speakers Learning Dutch

I’m writing this one specially for my fellow South Africans here in the Netherlands. Specially the new ones. Now not all South Africans speak Afrikaans so this one is only for the little handful who do. Dutch is quite difficult for Afrikaans speakers because it’s so close yet so far. You can’t get away with speaking Afrikaans to a Dutch person. Yes they might follow you a little bit if you speak real slow but it’s only going to get you so far. Same goes for an Afrikaans person trying to follow a Dutch speaker. You might get a rough idea what they’re saying if they speak slow enough and they don’t have an accent but again it will only take you so far. Eventually you have to speak and learn proper Dutch.

I recommend you read these two blogs of mine as an extra or before you read this blog.

Blog number one is my experience with the big Dutch test and how to prepare for the test. I do have to add after I wrote that blog I found out I failed two of the tests (just barely) and I just wrote those two tests back in the beginning of March. They changed the program (not that much to make a difference in the content of this blog. They just upgraded the system. It’s a lot better. The speaking test was a lot easier in my opinion.)

https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/11/10/dutch-as-your-second-language-nt2/

Blog number two I give tips and tricks on how to go about learning a new language. It’s really helpful so definitely give it a read when you just started learning Dutch.

https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/11/10/how-to-learn-a-new-language/

Now let’s move on to my Afrikaans speakers. So once you’re deep into the I’m going to learn Dutch process you will probably start to talk a lot in Dutch (I definitely recommend this. It’s exhausting but it’s really going to improve your Dutch.) and you will make mistakes here and there. First of all just stay strong and if you battle with a word or how to pronounce something pause and ask for help. Here in the Netherlands when a Dutch speaker hears your broken Dutch they will switch over to English for your own comfort. I know it’s rude but they mean well. Just switch back over to Dutch and be straight forward with them. “Hey I’m trying to learn here. Help me please!” It’s not going to be easy but just keep at it. You will improve. I didn’t take this course because I felt like I was a little ahead (read I didn’t want to spend money on it) but this course looks very promising — https://www.zuidafrikahuis.nl/cursus-nederlands

The one main thing I recommend is get a little notebook you can carry around on your person to write notes in when you notice your Afrikaans mistakes that consistently slip in. I call my book: “Afrikaans oopsies!” It might sound Dutch but that’s almost never the case. The Dutch language is a special language hey. It will take a few months before you learn when to use “de, ben, zijn, heb” and etc. Alright before I share some of common mistakes I made (still make) I want to share a funny story. So we all know in South Africa a bill at the cashier is called a “slippie” well here it means G-string. It’s a “bon” here so just keep that in mind.

Amper = bijna

Basically every time you want to say “amper” stop yourself because it’s “bijna”.

Ander dag = laats

Aspris = expres

Baba = baby

Bekommerd = besorgt en ongerust

I always forget this one.

Baie warm = heet

Blameer = schuld geven

Bly = woont

Dun = small

Deurmekaar = verward

They do use “doormekaar” when someone is confused over a pack of cards. A person is “verward”.

Druip = onvoldoende of niet gehaald

Daglig = overdag

Eendag op ’n reëndag = op een dag

Eenkeur = op een keur

Ek wonder = ik vraag me af

Gunstelling = lievelings, favoriete

Hoender = kip

Gets me all the damn time.

Hardkoppig = koppig

Hartseer = verdrietig

Irreterend  = irritant

In klim = in stappen

Kombuis = keuken

“Kombuis” is a boat’s kitchen here.

Kar = auto

This one always get me. Insert rage filled scream. My trick is think of a car as an automobile. This way you remember it’ “auto” in Dutch.

Kos = eten

Kombers = deken

Kwaad = boos

Kettel = waterkoker

Kleinseerig = kleinzielig

Lekker = leuk (alleen lekker kos of lekker weertje)

Awwwh we Afrikaans speakers use “lekker” for everything. It’s the way of life. When you want to say “lekker” it’s probably not the right time to say it. It’s only correct when referring to food or when saying the term: “lekker weertje” otherwise it’s “leuk”.

Lip ice = lippenbalsem

Los my uit = laat mij met rust

Min = minder, weinig

Mince = rundergehakt

Mikrogolf = magnetron

Mat = vloerkleed

Navorsing = onderzoek

Opgewonde = heel veel zin in of enthousiast

Oomblik = ogenblik of plotseling

Partykeur = soms en afentoe

Reg = goed, klaar

Here you almost never say “reg” only when you’re talking about direction (but not really it’s “rechts” and “rechtdoor”) and the law. So I know in Afrikaans we use “reg” all the damn time – “Die kos is reg!” – but stop yourself and choose another word because it’s never “reg” when you want to use it.

Sukkel = worstel/worsteling

This one was quite funny because I was like “Ek sukkel hoor!” but yeah “sukkel” isn’t a word here. “Ik worstel om dit te doen.”

Skaars = amper

So basically as an Afrikaans speaker when you want to say “skaars” its “amper” here.

Stamp = duwen

Spasie = plaats, ruimte

Stadig = langzaam

Stort = douche

Spinnekop = spin

Skottelgoed = afwassen

Sensitief = gevoelig

Tumbledryer = droger

Terg = plagen

This is when you tease someone.

Verhouding = relatie

Vervelig = saai

Dutch speakers use “vervelend” when something bad happens or a case of bad luck.

Vinnig = snel

Verskooning = excuus

Venster = raam

Vloekwoorde = scheldwoorde

Warmwatersak = kruik

’n koek in jou hare = klitten

That’s only a few of my Afrikaans oopsies. It has really helped me because now in the back of mind I knew about these words and after a few more slip ups eventually I remember the right word for what I want to say. I wish you all the best!

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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PS: If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me. Ek sal jou enige tyd help waar ek kan! Lekker daggie verder!

 

General Life Tips

South African Travel Tips From A Native | Part One | Garden Route

South Africa is truly a beautiful country even if I do have to say so myself but I don’t because once you see it you will completely agree with me. It has the mountains. It has the sea. It has the wildlife. It has the great food. It has so much more but I can’t really come up with them now but seriously it’s a pretty good deal. Take a look at this video that the YouTube channel ‘We Travel The World’ made. It’s pretty well done.

youtube video for south africa

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUwTTTVCDqA

Now that you’ve watched the video (hands up if you actually watched it!) and you’re interested in the country here is a few things you should know. I first want to say that even though I would love to be able to sugar coat things and really sell you on my home country…I’m not going to do that because I want everyone to enjoy their visit there but most importantly stay safe. As horrible as it is, South Africa isn’t that safe anymore and tourist are the top victims. I’m sorry but it’s true and not just for South Africa it’s for every place in the world.

The other day I was talking to a friend who showed interested in visiting South Africa. I just started to lists great places to go too and what you should keep into account and etc. It was a lot and I’m not even sure if most of it settled so I figured a blog post dedicated to travel tips.

I’m going to start off in Cape Town mostly because that’s where I spend most of my life and I actually know my stuff in that area. So like most countries you can go through a travel company but I’m writing this blog to those who are do it on your own types of travelers. Renting a car is incredibly important. Public transports isn’t a thing. There is Ubers but not in all the small towns and can be quite expensive. Car rental companies are luckily all over the place, heck there is one right at the airport. Now because you don’t know the area GPS is going to make a massive difference. I would recommend you spend the extra money on insurance. There is a lot of hit and runs, or scratch and bumps in South Africa. You could’ve parked your car and went out and about and come back with a massive scratch on the side or a bump in the back. The last thing you want is to have that type of damage on you. Luckily the petrol isn’t that expensive with most rental cars so really, get that insurance.

Okay so there is a lot to see and experience in Cape Town itself, there is probably a lot of information about all the tourist sites in the city on the web. Here is a link to one — http://www.touropia.com/tourist-attractions-in-cape-town/ — I’m going to talk a little more about the towns and experiences close by. I will be up front, you will be traveling a lot via the car but I promise you some of it will make it worthwhile. I will also recommend you try to find a place to stay outside the big cities. Cape Town hotels can be quite expensive and you can get just as great sea view on the side of a mountain with a hour drive. Don’t worry. I will tell you all about it. There is a small beach town really close to Cape Town, Hout Bay, you can look into staying there. The views are pretty amazing.

The main thing I would recommend is the table mountain I mean just look at this view.

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I’m going to recommended  a small but sweet beach town called Gordon’s Bay. It’s where I used to stay so I can tell you that it’s a pretty great spot to spend some time. The drive from Cape Town to there is very short, here is a screenshot from Google. There is a few things I want to tell you about driving in South Africa. We drive on the left side of the road. We have stop streets and we call traffic lights robots. We also have taxis which are famous for being the worst drivers around. They’re not like you’re imagining that I can tell you now. It’s like a mini bus – always over crowded, painted with graffiti art and a little beat up – and they drive however they want too. They will speed up next to you, half push you out of the road, go in front of you and then suddenly stop on the side of the road to drop someone off. It’s very annoying but just keep an eye out. Also while we’re talking about pigs on the road. When a traffic light turns green of red, don’t immediately floor it and go for it. Give it five seconds and double check there isn’t a straggler trying to make it through the red light. I almost got killed once. Seriously just look. Don’t trust the other people on the road.

cape town to gordon's bay

Try to avoid driving on the highway in the middle of the night and never stop. Never go into the townships, you will know what it is when you see it. I mean no offence but that’s the last place you want to be as a tourist in the middle of the night. Unfortunately there is a lot of people who would steal that nice car and all your belongings right under from you. I really don’t want to scare you but all countries have areas where bad folk gather a little more. Just keep your doors lock and don’t stop on the side of the highway if you can help it. Awhile ago the people from the township would throw rocks from the bridge over the highway to get the cars to stop. Once the cars stop, friends waiting on the side of the road pounce.

Okay the drive to Gordon’s Bay is quite nice. Close by you have Stellenbosch which is small little university towns that’s famous for great wine and going out to party. Somerset West is just as close, which has a great nature reserve if you want to go for a hike. Here is the pictures I took when I hiked that nature reserve. It’s a hike I’ve done quite a few times and I enjoy it every time.

Strand is next to Somerset West, it has a nice beach but Gordon’s bay is literally a throw away with a small beach too. Here is a picture I took when I was still there.

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There is many great places there so really try to look into staying there for a bit. For day activities close to Gordon’s Bay you can go to crystal pools which is a beautiful waterfall hike. Here is a link for more details — https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1020231-d9828027-Reviews-Crystal_Pools_Waterfall_Hike-Gordon_s_Bay_Western_Cape.html — While I’m in Gordon’s Bay. A restaurant I would hundred percent recommend is — https://www.facebook.com/The-Thirsty-Oyster-Tavern-763767090329474/ — Try their pork roast. My dad had it on my 21st dinner and it looked delicious. I was seriously considering ‘glutening’ myself for a bite.

After you seen and done what you wanted to do in Gordon’s Bay here is a great drive I want you to take. It’s in the mountains. It’s a beautiful ride. On the one side you have you mountain and on the other side you have you ocean. There is many beautiful small towns that you can stop and maybe even stay a night. Look on airbnb for a possible place to stay but there is hotels if you’re feeling fancy. The dollars/euros/pounds compared to the ZAR is quite nice. You can go all out for a lot less money in South Africa.

gordons bay to hermanus drive

You make this a day drive trip as there is quite a few pretty small towns. Betty’s Bay is beautiful small beach town. You will find penguins there! Kleinmond also has it’s attractions to tourist but I want to take you too Hermanus. They are pretty famous for their whale watching points (although they’re only around certain times in the year. Find more information here — http://www.hermanus.co.za/whale-watching —) but they also have some great fish food. The restaurant on the edge, wait let me find their website (—http://www.bientangscave.com/ —) has the best fish food I’ve tried in a long time. Their prawns is magical! The view from the restaurant is also pretty beautiful. Seriously if you’re in Hermanus GO THERE!

Here is some of the views you can find on this drive.

From Hermanus I’m going to take you down a very famous drive in South Africa, the garden route. It’s a drive I’ve taken so many times in my life its actually almost painful. After this route I’m going to take you down a little bit more before I end this part one. As you can see you can’t see the entire country in three weeks. I would break it up if I were you. I mean we’re just touching the surface but you’re seeing quite a bit of the Western and Eastern Cape. Alright let’s go back to the garden route.

garden route

Here is a website that has a ton of information about everything. I mean why would I go through everything when this website has already done it for me. — http://www.gardenroute.co.za/ — I would recommended you stop in as many towns that pulls your attention as you can. My favourite places that I would recommend a overnight stop is Mossel Bay, Knysna (Sedgefield and Plettenberg Bay is just as beautiful and a short drive away), Jeffrey’s Bay and Port Elizabeth.

Mossel Bay is a harbour town with many great tourist stops. Knysna is beautiful with its forest walks and so much more. I would recommend you go to the heads and this restaurant. They’re food is amazing — http://www.sirocco.co.za/ — Sedgefield has a great flea and farmer market every Saturday right on the outside. You have to drive through but you can’t miss it. Let me see if I can find a link to it — http://www.wildoatsmarket.co.za/ — Plettenberg Bay has a beautiful beach and let’s not even begin to talk about all the little tourist parks on the way there. There is a elephant park (Here is the link for you — https://knysnaelephantpark.co.za/ —), a wolf sanctuary (Here is the link for you — http://wolfsanctuary.co.za/ —) and so much more. Google will probably give you more information. There is also a great nature park just outside Knysna. Here is the link — https://www.sanparks.org/parks/garden_route/  — You can even stay inside the park and I’m sure it would be a wonderful experience. Just look up ‘knysna tsitsikamma national park’ for more information. There is some great actives you can do there.

I personally went to the wolf sanctuary a few years back with my dad and I loved every second of it mostly because I’m obsessed with wolves. Here is a few photos from that day.

There is so many things you can do that I would seriously recommended you plan the drive and look up every town and see what there is to do that you would like. It’s a big country hey. If I have to go through every single town and what you can do there this would become a very long post (it already is but still). Also stop in Oudshoorn if you can because this — https://www.gardenroute.com/Cango-Caves-Garden-Route-South-Africa_content_op_view_id_41 — There is so many other places I could go into detail that it’s almost difficult to decide on one thing. Maybe I should make a separate blog and go through every town…someone probably did that. Google will probably pull through where I don’t. I mean I found this website after one second of searching — https://www.goatsontheroad.com/top-stops-garden-route-south-africa/ — so just take the time to look into everything. The last stop I want to recommend is Port Elizabeth. They have a small elephant slash game reserve park there that I would recommend. You drive through in your car and you might just sit between elephants.

Here is the photos we took when we went there. It was amazing.

Here is the link to the park — https://www.sanparks.org/parks/addo/

You can also stay inside the park and do tour through them which is probably an experience by itself. It’s a smaller park I mean if you think game reserve park in South Africa you think — https://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/ — but that’s on the other side and can be a completely other trip all together. otherwise you can also just trade in your rental car at Port Elizabeth, catch a plane to Johannesburg, get a new car and go from there. Depends on how you want to go about it. From Port Elizabeth you can go to East London but I have never been there personally so Google will have to fill in the blanks.

I think that’s about it for part one. There is just a few things I want to recommend for the entire country all together. Mug ‘n Bean is a restaurant you will find all over. They’re food is high quality and pretty great. Woolworths almost always have the nicest fruit and vegetables (they are very strict with they’re quality). I would also recommend you buy some clothes there if you need some because they’re quality is quite nice. It’s like a cheat. We bought work pants for my husband when he was in South Africa and for the price of one here in Europe we could get two to three really great quality ones. There is Truworths too but use your own judgement. It’s quite easy to see which is great quality clothing and which is not. For the ladies you can stop at Foschini for makeup and perfume. They have some brands that paying in ZAR can save you a bit of money. YOU NEED TO TRY A BRAAI, there is probably some restaurants that can give you something similar but I’m sure if you go to a park or something the opportunity will arise. It’s a barbeque (but don’t call it that) but South Africans are quite passionate about their meat on the fire. It’s really great though. I saw some airbnb places offer a Braai with the package. Safety wise don’t walk around in the dead of the night in side streets. Lock your car and don’t leave valuables in eye sight. Hold tight onto your handbag and don’t walk around with a phone in your hand (outside) if you can help it. Don’t leave your wallet or phone on the table at a restaurant where someone can grab it. Just be conscious about it and you will be fine.

There is so much more I can tell you but I should probably end it here before this gets ridiculously long. I’ve never really explored the countries at the top but I will do some research and ask friends and family and make a part two sometime in the next few weeks. If you end up going to South Africa I hope you would enjoy it fully. It’s truly a beautiful country with great food, people and experiences.

I wish you all the best and I will see you in a click!

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General Life Tips, Story Time

I Got A Present From My Mommy Dearest | NT2 Update

My Thursday morning started with going online and fighting the internet because for some reason it couldn’t open the website or it will shut down once I click on the ‘see results’ tab. I should explain a little. So remember five weeks ago I wrote my NT2 or Dutch as a second language test. It was finally time to see the results and boy could I hardly breathe while waiting for the internet to finally get its shit together. So I clicked enter after putting in my details, closed my eyes and blocked the screen with a piece of paper. After a few minutes I grew a pair and finally checked. Boy did I get a sucker punch. Please give me a few minutes while I rant. Just skip it but also feel free to read because it’s probably entertaining.

What the actual fuck man. I mean I failed the one test (writing) with 8 points. 8 points. Throw a bitch a bone man. I mean 8 points. Now I have to redo the test just to make an extra 8 points. Like come on! 8 points. 492. That’s a lot of points. The worst part is I have no idea where I went wrong. It wasn’t a test I was that worried about afterwards. The only part that made me second guess the success of the test was the two long questions at the end. They asked for 180 words and I gave them 350 easy. It could go two ways. First they only mark the first 180 words and then leave out the rest or mark everything as is. I suspect they only marked the first 180 words. That’s the only way I could lose so many points and fail. I really can’t think of how else I lost those 8 points. It was just really disappointing if I’m upfront with you. I worked really hard and studied my ass off and now I have to redo it again. What a sucker punch.

I failed the speaking test too. It wasn’t a super close call like the writing test but 37 points from passing is still pretty frustrating if you catch my drift. The speaking test is the one that made me panic and I honestly thought I would be lucky if I get half of the stuff correct but then again it still feels pretty disappointed that I failed. I don’t want to fail. I also really don’t want to retake this test. It was fucking horrible. I hated that test so much and now I have to do it again. It just really was a blow and I know it’s not that big and all but it does change my future plans a little bit. I think the worst part outside retaking the test is just how frustrating it. I just really wanted that part of my life behind me but now I have to wait weeks before I can retake the test and then wait weeks for my results. The positive thing is I know exactly what to expect and can properly prepare myself.

The one thing that really worried me was how this could affect my studies. I’ve been trying to start my studies a few years now. I’ve been ready but there is always something that needs to be done that takes months. My studies start in March and hopefully I can still start even though I won’t have all four certificates by the time I start. Oh that’s a messy sentence. All in all. It would have been wonderful if I passed all four tests but there is nothing I can do about it now. I just need to stand up, dust myself off and make sure I don’t make the same mistakes again. I shouldn’t be too hard on myself either. The test isn’t known to be easy and at that point I was probably actively studying Dutch for four  months. I mean this test is for people who are fluent in the language. I was close, 80% fluent so it really just adds to the frustration. But anyway there is nothing I can do about it and after sulking for a few hours I’ve moved on. I will probably make the appointment for the next test this weekend. It takes six weeks so I have time to prepare.

Now let’s move on to the good stuff. So I mentioned my sulking and pity part already but the results couldn’t have came on a better day because today I was expecting a package from my mommy dearest. I went out in the cold and picked up my package, basically sprinted home, died a little carrying the package up four flight of stairs before switching on Facebook Live and digging in. Boy I was like a little kid on a Christmas morning. My mom went all out with this package. All my favorites treats. Three packets of my favorite soft candy in the world. Two bar of chocolates that’s literally heaven. Six packets of rice chips in a flavor that is home and so much more. Speculoos even got some toys and the husband is just as obsessed with his present. It was truly just what I needed to end my day and got me out of my pity party and into a yay I can’t wait to stuff my face party.

I will be honest. Its hard sometimes to be so far away from family and the country that was your home and all you knew for nearly two decades and it will probably always be hard but festive season just takes it up a notch. I get homesick and I wish I can have my family by my side as I celebrate this season but I signed up for this when I made the big move. I will find a way to deal with the homesickness I’m sure but for now I’m just going to feel what I feel and enjoy my time here with my two favorite boys. (Okay I have three but my dad doesn’t even count. I mean he is my dad. He is included.)

Here is the picture of my big present. Quite impressive isn’t it? I’m so happy right now. I already made quite a big dent in it as I’m writing this and you bet your sweet little booty by the time this blog goes online there will be another big dent in it. I can’t wait. I’m going to stuff my face.

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Story Time

The Big Move: Immigrating From South Africa To The Netherlands

This blog was interestingly enough difficult to write. There is only so much I can say about the move and why I did it. I can go into detail that I left my home country to be with my beloved in his country. I can go into detail about the absolutely horror that happens in my home country as we speak. I can do all that, but yet it doesn’t feel like the reason why I left. Yes, it contributed to my decision but it’s so much more than that.

I fell in love with the Netherlands not long after I came here the first time around. One day I took my bicycle and just went for a ride through the country and it stole my heart. I loved everything about it. I loved how safe I felt. I loved the culture. I grew to love the language. I believe that everyone has a place that is home. South Africa just wasn’t that for me. And then I met Onno and it was just a cherry on top. I knew he was my future husband. I also knew that we will choose to live our life together in the Netherlands.

We discussed our options. Onno could move to South Africa. We could both immigrate to New Zealand or Australia. It wasn’t completely impossible for a South African. Onno is Dutch and with his degree he will have options all over the world. We had options. We really did. It just didn’t feel right. I just hated the idea of leaving the Netherlands behind. The country where I found myself.

The process leading up to the move was difficult. It was incredibly long and frustrating. We had to prove our relationship. We had to promise our intentions were pure. We had to endure months apart as we waited. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it. There really isn’t much to say. I love living here in the Netherlands. It was a bit difficult to adjust and I was overwhelmed a few times. I miss my family and friends. I miss my culture and language. I miss a lot of things but I don’t regret my decision and I never will. This is my home now.

I wrote this the day I left as a little memoir.

2 June 2017

(Fun fact: I landed on Onno’s birthday! He truly received the best present he could’ve asked for!)

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Thank you for reading!

xoxo

 

Story Time

A Wedding Before My Wedding (My Pre-Wedding Experience)

Every girl dreams of this day. It’s the day that they prepare for since their pigtail days. It’s the day that’s perfectly planned out from the tune of the bells to the clear silk of the dress. Every bead, every rosebud and every silver wear perfectly aligned in their rightful place. I can only be talking about one thing. Oh yes. There’s nothing alike. Her W-E-D-D-I-N-G day! In my case it my Pre-Wedding and to explain it briefly; It was basically a wedding without the legal part of it. It was for my family and friends in South Africa before I immigrate to the Netherlands. Obviously because we want our union to be recognized in the Netherlands we had to wait till I was abroad before we could take the steps to tie the knot for the real. It’s on the 22nd of August in the court. Afterwards we’re going to enjoy a lovely meal at a pizza restaurant that serves gluten free food. Something I wanted in the first place.

My time arrived quite early in my life in a time where my adult mind could make decisions that my child self would never come to. One of these decisions is that no, I don’t want the fancy dress, all the flowers, the big event and food that no one really enjoys. What I do want is to spend the rest of my life on this earth with the man I love. I don’t need an over top ceremony to make this possible. Unfortunately I’m a great person and listen to the wishes of my parents. One of those wishes was an over top ceremony that I managed to compromise to something smaller but the bells, rosebuds and silky white dress I couldn’t escape. The idea that I, a woman that loves wearing princess dresses doesn’t want a wedding was something no one could wrap their mind around.

I wish I can say everything went smoothly and I enjoyed every last second of the entire process, but I had frustrations left and right. The first thing that comes to mind was the venue. I’ve never dealt with a business that I loathed more. The memory of the horrors they pushed me through is enough to make me clench my teeth. Then came choosing the dress, it would come to no surprise that I had no cooking clue what I wanted as the entire wedding ceremony was all a smokey haze. I was lucky enough to have a father willing to buy my wedding dress but unlucky enough that his wife is a controlling woman that felt like it was her right to choose my dress. As I only had three months to put the entire thing together, a lot of things I would’ve enjoyed to have on the day wasn’t possible, but let’s move away from the long list negatives.

The positive thing was that I saw most of my cared for family and friends. I made lovely memories.  My uncle’s ceremony. Onno’s vows. My parents speeches. My grandma’s speech. My first dance. My dances with my parents. Oh and I got some great pictures out of the thing so there is that too. But honestly, I encourage you to take control of the situation and celebrate your marriage to the person you love more than anything as YOU TWO wish it to be. Don’t compromise. Don’t let anyone ruin or change this special moment. Don’t please them, please the two of you. Your happiness is important.

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