Lay day

On Wednesday to Saturday last week, there was a big fishing tournament taking place in Grenada. Some of Jason’s friends had boats that were participating, so Jason came with on one of the boats one morning. (He said they caught a fish, but ‘apparently’ they let it go back in the water…).

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Off they go! 

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With fishing comes eating, so on Friday it was lay day – a break from the fishing, filled with barbecuing, rum and fun!

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Jason and I came down to the marina quite early, so we provided two pairs of good helping hands to prepare the food.

DSC_0002 DSC_0006 DSC_0009There was a lot of food to prepare, I think we fed almost 400 people!    DSC_0016 DSC_0018

Never seen such big pots in my life! 

After lots of preparations it was time to feast! All the fish we ate had been fished under the tournament.

There was music, lots and lots of people and of course lots and lots of good food! A good friday in Grenada 🙂

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Jason with a friend and his father enjoying the good vibe! 

Shopping in Grenada (Grocery shopping that is)

Good morning!

Happy Friday! In Grenada, Fridays means Beach Friday! After work and school everyone goes to the beach for a lime and has a nice relaxing evening there! It’s a good life indeed 🙂

Today I want to talk about grocery shopping in Grenada, haha!

Traveling to new places always gives such a good insight into differences around the world. That’s what I love about traveling that you get to see so many differences, which you never would’ve thought existed. That’s what grocery shopping in Grenada makes you think about, haha. So today comes a little culture update from Grenada.

Photo 27-01-2015 12 52 03As you can see, the supermarket above is quite modern and looks like any other supermarket. However, seeing as Grenada is an island, it cannot produce all the food and goods it sells itself; a lot of the goods have to be imported. So what’s not locally produced, can often not be on the shelves. That’s why it’s not too uncommon to see empty shelves around in the store.

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The store is usually restocked on a Thursday (don’t ask me why), and so by Monday/Tuesday the following week, the store is usually low on stock. That’s why it’s vital to get to the store early Thursday morning to get what you need for the week!

Another interesting difference is the fruit and vegetables here. To say the least, they are very different from the fruit and vegetables back home.

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I was very confused at first when I saw all these green and yellow fruits in all shapes and sizes. The way I know my fruits are that

  • mandarines = orange
  • oranges = … orange
  • lemons = yellow
  • limes = green

But that’s not the case in Grenada.

  • lemons = green
  • limes = usually yellow
  • mandarines = green/yellow
  • oranges = green/yellow

So I tend to be surprised whenever I cut open a fruit over here…

Photo 22-01-2015 14 22 31Tomatoes are not necessarily sold red, as you can see here the majority are usually green…

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Bananas are not perfectly yellow, but usually are covered in brown spots.

Also, if they don’t have what you need in the big supermarket, there are small local shops around that also sell food and other necessities, such as the one below.

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As you can see, the bananas are not necessarily yellow. Here they eat green bananas that are not ripe and they use it as a vegetable (you treat it like a potato).

Back home all our fruits and vegetables are imported from all over the world. The fruits and vegetables we find in our stores usually look 100% perfect, no brown spots on the bananas, perfectly red tomatoes, shiny red and green apples. In Grenada most of their fruits and vegetables are locally produced, which causes the fruits to look a bit more ‘damaged’. I might not be right, but I feel that the fruits and vegetables back home have been covered in pesticides and chemicals to make them look perfect, whereas here they are more organic and natural. 

Anyway, it’s interesting to see differences in various places around the world! 

Photo 27-01-2015 12 53 16Carly out shopping: Still no cucumber (there hasn’t been any for 2 weeks), yesterday there was no chicken, and the other day we spent the ‘whole’ day looking for paprika (grocery shopping gets interesting 🙂 )

37 and still no mid-life crisis

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Jason likes to play (but can’t really) play golf – so here he is, correctly portrayed on his cake, passed out on the golf course with a Carib (the beer in Grenada) in his hand

On Sunday, Jason got one year closer to retirement… oh wait, he’s already retired!

Jason turned the not-so-exciting 37, but a birthday is a birthday!

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Carly had been a very sweet wife and got together their friends here in Grenada for a surprise birthday party! It was a great, little celebration at a beautiful restaurant known as The Aquarium. It was right on the beach and while the grown-ups were sipping their rums, the children were playing in the sand and water #goodlifeinGrenada 🙂

DSC_0024 DSC_0022 DSC_0031 DSC_0033 DSC_0034It was great for me to get a chance to meet lots of their friends – it’s so easy getting along with everyone.

With 2 birthdays in 1 week I’ve settled nicely in here in Grenada! I will shortly start working in a private hospital here, just finalizing some details first. Overall, life is pretty good 🙂

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The people of Grenada liming! 

Hope everyone has a great day! x

Explore: Grenada

Hello again from Grenada!

I hope everyone is doing well back home (in what seems to be cold weather and snow!)

It is extreemely warm over here in Grenada – it will definitely take some time to get used to this heat (I’m not complaining, I’m just stating, haha!) It’s usually around 30 degrees in the shade, so I escape to my room with my air conditioner set on 17 degrees as often as possible (yes, I have developed quite a bad cough because of this…).

Today I wanted to share with you some pictures and experiences from Wednesday, when I got a tour of part of Grenada. On Jay’s birthday, I met one of Jason’s family members who drives a tourist bus when cruise ships come in to the island, and he said I could come with on one of the tours – how perfect!

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Driving through the capital, St. Georges

With 20 (almost all American) tourists and myself, we were on our way bright and early in the morning. I hope with the pictures from this post you will get a pretty good understanding of ‘what’ Grenada is and what it looks like.

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Along the road – 1

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Along the road – 2

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Along the road – 3

All the yellow, green and red flags around are decorations for Grenada’s upcoming Independence Day on the 7th February. (Their flag is yellow, green, and red…)

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We were told the red represents the love and kindness of the people, the green is for the lush vegetation, and the yellow for the sun. The little nut is a nutmeg, which Grenada used to produce in large amounts and the stars are for the provinces on the island.

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Haha, what a funny palm tree! Also look at how incredibly green it is!

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We passed some fishermen who were hard at work (here they do it the old-school way). So in their small fishing boats they would throw out the net and then pull it back in. People from the village would come down to help for a free fish or two in return.

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The locals helping out so they can get some free fish

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Stunning! 

We then went on to visit a ‘factory’ where they produce various spices. Grenada is known as the spice island as there is an abundance of spices such as cinnamon, saffron, clove (nellik in norwegian), and nutmeg. So we got to smell and hear about all the different spices.

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Then we passed some villagers who were sorting the nutmeg. A nutmeg looks like this:

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So with the fruit, you can make jam etc, with the mace (the red) you can spice your food or it’s used as food colouring, and then you have the nut inside. So here the men were taking the fruit/nut apart.

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The red in the tray is the mace. It is the most expensive part of the nutmeg

There used to be lots and lots of nutmeg growing in Grenada, but large amounts of the nutmeg plantations were wiped out during a hurricane in 2004, called Ivan. It had huge impacts on the island.

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Not only do they fish the old school way, washing is not exactly done in a washing machine (they don’t have the water system for that in the villages in the mountains)

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The picture above is a papaya tree! What I found so amazing about Grenada is that along the road you have mandarine trees, lemon trees, papaya trees, cashew nut trees, nutmeg trees – just anything!

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Rainforest! 

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Green, green, green

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Pictures of pretty flowers is a must

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Then we entered the Grand Etang national park, with the Crater Lake.

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The hair!! This man was selling spice necklaces, which has all sorts of different spices on it and smells delicious! 

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An awesome tree! Also known as a eucalyptus tree 🙂

Next stop was the Annendale Waterfall.

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Lastly, we went up a Fort, which had a great view. We saw down to St. Georges, which you can partly see on the ‘arm’ there, with the cruise ship on the back side.

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A long and great day – but lots of fun learning about the island!

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The green dots show where we went on the tour (I think…). Point 1 is St. Georges the capital city where we started and point 2 is where the lake was. Point 3 is where I am staying with Jason and his family 🙂

A long long post but hopefully you have a little better understanding of Grenada now 🙂

Good afternoon from Grenada!

Hello! 

I’m in paradise!! 🙂

I’ve been busy settling in so big apologies for no updates lately – but after 5 days on this island I’m ready to keep you updated on everything that I have been and that I will experience; this stay is going to be so great!

I landed in Grenada on Saturday and was welcomed at the airport by Jason and his family; his wife Carly and his three children Marley (6), Nia (4), and Jason (2)! It was great to finally meet all of them and I’m very excited to get to know all them well over the next months.

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Leaving Luxembourg round 2 – ready for new adventures!

Grenada is an absolutely stunning island. It is approximately the size of Luxembourg but only has about 110,000 inhabitants. So it’s a bit of everyone-knows-everyone and almost everyone you pass on the street you wave to or honk at because it’s a familiar face. It’s very difficult to explain the landscape and what it looks like here, but hopefully you’ll understand a bit with the pictures I’ll be taking. What I can say is that it’s extreeemely lush and green – it’s a bit like driving in a rainforest (I actually think we drive through some rainforest…).

Jason + co. live in a beautiful house with a stunning view. Where they are staying now is just temporary though because they are building a new house which we will move into in about 7 weeks.

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The stunning view from my veranda (yes I have my very own veranda 🙂 )

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Lush and green Grenada

On Sunday we were celebrating baby Jay’s birthday, which meant I got to meet lots more of the Roberts! They told me about the island and the culture here, and one thing that’s for sure is that everyone is extremely warm-hearted and welcoming!

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Carly with baby Jay’s cake

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Pool, sun, and lots of good food – a proper Grenadian lime*

*A Grenadian lime is something they say over here instead of saying ‘hanging out’. So if people get together to hang out they say ‘We’re having a lime’ or ‘We’re liming’! I’m going to try to bring this saying back home 🙂

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Jason and Carly took me to a beautiful restaurant on Monday and Tuesday (yes we went twice in a row, haha). Savvy is located on the Grand Anse beach which is the most popular beach in Grenada with stunning white sand and turquoise water! I couldn’t get over how absolutely beautiful it was.

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Exercise, eat at Savvy, chill on the beach – repeat! 

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Look at this view!!!! How lucky am I? 

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This is Grand Anse beach which stretches for miles and miles

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Paradise on Earth! 

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After 3 days on Grenada I still hadn’t properly gone to the beach, which Jason thought was a disgrace, so we spent a couple hours on Grand Anse on Tuesday 🙂

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So that’s a bit of an update from my side of the world, where we’re 5 hours after everyone back home… I feel extremely lucky to be here and to be with such amazing people who are taking very good care of me.

Next week after I’ve settled in properly I will start doing some work here – more on that later!

Home bound!

Hey everyone! 

It’s been long since last time, but I’m still alive and I’m back 🙂 !

Last Friday I arrived back HOME! It was a veery long and exhausting journey….35 hours and I can quite literally say that I traveled around the world as I went from Cape Town – Johannesburg – Abu Dhabi – Frankfurt – Luxembourg!

Last time you heard from me, my family were arriving in 3 days and I was finishing off my shift at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. I want to tell you all about that as well as a summary about my stay at St. George’s, but first a quick re-cap of everything that has happened after I finished my volunteer work.

The family arrived to come visit their long-lost sister and daughter in Cape Town! They arrived on Friday just as I finished my shift at Red Cross and there was indeed a couple of tears that were shed. I really had been looking forward to that moment, pretty much since I left them, haha! It was anyway, absolutely wonderful to see all of them and I was very excited about spending 2 weeks together with them showing them everything I had been doing and all the places I had gone to.

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Big smiles when the Thomassens were finally reunited at the Red Cross Hospital! 

Over the course of the two weeks we were up to lots of things! Here’s a ‘quick’ summary!

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Guess who’s been in Africa for 3 months? 🙂

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A visit to a nearby beach where we were staying

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Watching the beautiful sunset in Gordon’s bay where we even saw some dolphins jumping past!

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We spent a day on Robben Island where I had a different guide from last time and got even more insight into the South African history

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 A trip to Broadlands to meet Pat and Shelagh was a must! No matter how hard I’ve tried explaining my stay at Broadlands, I think the only way to really understand it and to understand Pat is to actually go there! So it was great to share this experience with the family as well! They even got to see Kaluu the chimp!

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Christmas shopping at the Waterfront was a must!

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 I was so happy to celebrate Christmas with my family! It really didn’t feel like Christmas seeing as it was approximately 25 degrees, but we had such a wonderful evening ❤

Christmas day was spent walking off the food from the night before! We had a nice long walk around Gordon’s Bay where we were staying.

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Christmas day was spent walking off the food from the night before! We had a nice long walk around Gordon’s Bay where we were staying.

 I really enjoyed doing the Cape Peninsula Tour when I first came to Cape Town, so I decided to bring the others with as well! A day filled with penguins, Cape of Good Hope, biking and lots of wind and fresh air!

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We had an absolutely amazing day at a place called Babylonstoren, which is a vineyard area in the wine areas outside Cape Town. They had the most beautiful gardens and so we decided to treat ourselves with some spa as well 🙂 

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We had a tour of Khayelitsha the township on one of the days. It had been very difficult to explain what a township was like, so it was great for the family to actually see what it was like. If you want to look at some of the pictures I took on my previous tour click here: https://annathomassen.com/2014/10/23/township-tour/

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We also spent a day with ‘my’ lovely children who I had been working with at FIkelela. They were the ones who weren’t placed with a foster family over Christmas. So Ed and Heather from Via Volunteers organized a day for them at a cafe where there was a pool and a playground and the children could make their own pizzas. It was so amazing to see how well-behaved and how much fun the kids were having ❤

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A quick stop in Muizenberg! 

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And of course the compulsory trip up to Table Mountain! A family of bright colours 🙂 

It had been an absolutely amazing trip with my family – I’ll be writing about some of our adventures in some more detail later!

It was great to get back to Luxembourg for a couple of days! I finally got to see my dear Linnea and caught up with some other friends 🙂 After a couple days in Luxembourg, I left for Dundee on Monday for an interview at the university there *fingers crossed*. Right now I am in London visiting my Julie at Goldsmith and finally I am traveling back to Luxembourg tomorrow, but theeeen I leave for Grenada on Saturday *sick of airports; but I can’t wait*! So there’s a lot going on – but it’s all good fun (and a little nerve-wracking in terms of the interview, but I hope it went well)

I still have lots and lots to show you from my days in Cape Town, so you’ll see more in the coming days.

Ciaao for now! 

Party time with my girls!

Hey everyone! 

I have started working at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital and I am loving it! There is always a lot to take in and a lot to get used to the first couple of days when you are going to a new place, but it seems like a great project. Of course I am also counting down the days now until my family arrives on Friday *3 days – can’t wait*!!

Last week on Tuesday I had an absolutely lovely evening with the girls at St. George’s as there was a big evening planned for everyone. It was Awards Night, which is an event they do at the end of each year where the Home gives out various awards to the girls.

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There was a lovely dinner prepared for everyone as well as presents for all the girls as well!

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We spent almost 2 hours before we left to the venue, doing girl-stuff; getting ourselves ready! Hair had to be washed and straightened, outfits had to be picked, nails had to be painted and suddenly all the girls looked absolutely gorgeous and dressed up!

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Lauren and me

(Lauren is old enough and is allowed to give me permission to show you her and share her name)

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Jeavonte looked absolutely stunning in her pink princess dress ❤ 

(She is the daughter of one of the house moms at St. George’s so I have the permission to show you her as well) 

After a lovely dinner it was time to give out some of the awards, which range from academic awards to awards such as who has been the biggest helping hand, who always smiles, who always gives in their homework on time, who spreads the most joy around the Home and so on!

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After the handing out of the awards, it was time to dance! 

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Back home, when you’re at a party, say a children’s party, and you ask them to dance, my experiences says you will struggle to get people on the dance floor. You’ll need to encourage and really push people to dance, but at St. Georges, Graeme (the manager) wasn’t even able to finish his sentence of “And now it’s time to start dancing” before 2 of the girls were busy out on the dance floor showing off their moves!

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Christopher is also a volunteer who is working at St. George’s   DSC_0557 DSC_0607

The girls have incredible moves! 

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Qwethu goes to dance school and got a chance to show off on the dance floor 🙂

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Here is Graeme with 2 of ‘his’ girls! Graeme is known as uncle Graeme to all the girls. He is the director of St. George’s and has been at the Home for 7 years now. His work with the girls is quite incredible, his office door is almost always open and the girls love sitting in his office and talking to him about this and that. He is a great role model for the girls and is a big part of their lives. One day I went to office to just ask him about something, and before I knew it I had been in there for 2 hours with girls coming in and out and Graeme didn’t end up going home before 9 in the evening!

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The girls then all received big boxes of presents which had been donated by various people – so everyone had big smiles on their faces!

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It had been a long evening and by the end of it we were all very exhausted just like Lauren here! I had left my camera with one of the girls, so when I got home I had 678 photos from the evening haha! I felt so lucky have been able to take part in the evening – I had had such a great time with all the girls!

Truck of Love

On Tuesday, the girls at St. George’s were met by a wonderful surprise! Santa came to visit a couple of days early! And it wasn’t Santa from the Northpole, no it was Santa from the South African radio station KFM. And he had brought lots and lots of presents for everyone!

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Cameras were everywhere and the girls were truly in the spotlight! It was such a great event and the girls got absolutely lovely presents.
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Camera, lights and action – SMILE 🙂 

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All of santa’s helpers and Santa himself from KFM made it a wonderful event for the girls! They were very lucky to get such a fun surprise – I must admit I was very jealous.

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The big Christmas truck was filled with beautiful Christmas decorations! What a great idea from KFM! The Truck of Love has been visiting various organisations for a couple of years and this year St. George’s was lucky to have been chosen and the Christmas truck came to them. Such a great initiative by KFM!

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DSC_0275A big thank you to KFM and Standard Bank for putting a big smile on all the girls’ faces! Such a great memory for all of them to have that they will remember for a long time! It’s so great to see the girls get a chance to experience moments like these because those moments are such important building blocks for them to become who they are. It helps make Christmas a fun and enjoyable time and teaches them to appreciate other people’s kindness!

I put together a little video from the event, hope you enjoy 🙂

Hiking up Table Mountain!

Hey!!

Time is flying by and I only have 3 more days left at St. George’s now before I start my last week of volunteering at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

The weekend before I went to Port Elizabeth, I went to go see Alex at Ashanti in Cape Town. We decided to (I made him) walk up Table Mountain! I had been at the top of the mountain before when I did my abseiling, but I had still wanted to actually hike up. 
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So off we went on an approximately 2-hour hike. We weren’t exactly super clever when we decided that hiking at 13:00 on the hottest day in Cape Town so far would be a good idea – but we managed to get up within 2 hours by chugging 2 big water bottles!!

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The scenery when walking up Table Mountain is absolutely breath taking! It’s so cool that you can hike up a pretty tall mountain and get an awesome view over a metropolitan city – you can’t do that many places around the world. That’s probably one of the reasons as to why Cape Town was voted #1 place to visit by the Telegraph this year 🙂 DSC_0389 DSC_0395

Some absolutely gorgeous nature is found all along the hike

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It was a great feeling coming to the top and we could see for miles and miles all over Cape Town city seeing as it was such a clear day.

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Alex and Cape Town

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Me and Cape Town

What’s nice about Table Mountain is that you have the possibility to walk quite far even once you’re at the top. So Alex and I decided to walk around on the top and from being in the middle of a huge tourist attraction with hundreds of tourists, you can end up in quite a remote area!

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Not a sound or a person – so peaceful! 

We (Alex… haha) decided we should take the cable car down. It was nice to catch up with Alex again and it had been such a great day (especially in terms of working on my tan 🙂 )

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Family Brunch chez les MacArthurs

Hope you enjoyed looking at some tasty cupcakes yesterday! Now over to some more food! (I can ensure you no one is letting me starve down here in ‘Africa’ haha!!)

Last Saturday it got busy at the MacArthur’s, because it was family brunch time, and by family I mean the whole family! Ronney’s cousin had her wedding the day before, so a lot of the extended family had come down to Cape Town from all over South Africa, and so to see them all, Ronney decided to prepare a brunch for everyone at their house.

At what a brunch! The food looked absolutely gorgeous and there was a lot of it too!

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The whole family was hard at work all of Friday evening with Ronney being the master chef! And suddenly we had a brunch table which looked as lovely as this:

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We had everything from scones to croissants, quiches and cakes.

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There were a lot of people to meet but everyone was very kind and open to the new member of the extended family – Anna, the volunteer from Norway. It almost ended up being easier to pretend that Ronney and them had just adopted me haha. I even got to be a part of the extended family picture 🙂

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 I’m off to St. George’s to work now! More to come later!