29 May 2012

Life Update.

I've been so caught up in trying to share all my travel photos from Rwanda/Uganda that I feel like I haven't given a good old general life update in quite awhile.  And, a lot has actually been going on lately so I decided to give the travel re-caps a break today {I literally have months and months worth of photos to share} and catch you guys up on what has been happening in South Africa outside of my travels.

First things first, a couple of weeks ago I bought a new car!  It's a shiny blue Ford Fiesta and I love, love, love it.  It just so happens to be the very first car that I've had to pay off in monthly installments {which I'm not so in love with}, but it also feels nice to know that it's 100% mine and that it's in my name and all of those other adult-like things.  I wasn't planning on buying one until at least the end of the year, but then my old car conveniently decided to die on me and I was really left with no other option.  

What do you guys think?  

Have Fiestas made it to the United States yet?  For some reason I don't think they have.  

Ford needs to get on that.

Yep, we drive on the other side of the road and also sit on the opposite side of the car.

If I look terrified in the above picture, it's because I am.  

That's me getting ready to drive manual for the first time {my previous car was an automatic} - and let me tell you, my stomach was doing somersaults.  Most of the cars here are manual, so when you're looking to buy if you aren't in the range of a BMW or Mercedes, manual {stick} is basically your only option.  You can get automatics in some less expensive models, but you pay substantially more than you would for a manual and I figured that I'd have to learn how at some point anyway.

While the first two or three days of driving were terrifying, after being forced to get over that initial hump, I can vouch that driving manual isn't that difficult.  Dare I say that it's even sort of fun? :)  I'm still not perfect and stall every once in a while, but over the past couple of weeks I've gotten pretty confident with my driving skills and no longer feel my stomach doing flip flops every time I get behind the wheel.

It's one of those things that I'm really glad I learned, but would have never done if I hadn't been forced. 

The other awesome thing about my car - the windows are "Smash & Grab" proof.  

One of the few not so nice realities of living in South Africa is that some people have a nasty habit of walking up to your car when you're stopped at a traffic light {we call them robots here, isn't that funny?} and smashing in your window with a brick, grabbing your purse, and then running away.  It's why you will never see South Africans driving with their purse sitting on the passenger seat - it's always either sitting on the floor or is stowed away in the trunk boot.  Lucky for me my Fiesta's windows smash and grab proof which means that on the off chance that someone does decide to throw a brick at my window, it should just bounce right back off and leave the window unscathed.  Pretty cool, huh?  Totally 007 if you ask me ;) 

Aside from the car, Jurg and I have been getting really excited for his parent's visit this weekend and for his graduation next week.  They are flying in from Cape Town this Friday and then we will be heading to Sun City for the weekend to celebrate Jurg's Phd.  Neither of us have ever been there, but we've heard it described as South Africa's Las Vegas so it should make for a great weekend.  Early the following week, a lot of his other family will be arriving for his graduation and then we're planning another celebration after the ceremony. 

 So many good things to look forward to over the next couple of weeks!

While you're here, please take a second to fill in the poll on the upper right-hand side of the blog.  Every once in a while I like to check in and see what you guys enjoy, what you want to see more of, and what doesn't really suit your taste.  Your opinions really help me in terms of gaining a better understanding of what you find most interesting/useful on here and really assist me in constantly working to make my blog better.  I really appreciate your input!

{Up next in my travel re-cap is Uganda!}


  1. I remember a friend's sister had a fiesta in Canada but that would have been in the late 90's - I'm not sure if they are selling the newer versions. Either way, it's cute and I'm proud that you took the jump to manual - I have yet to be so brave!

    There are quite a few people here who go to Sun City - I think it's an easy destination if you have kids as the resort atmosphere caters to that. Enjoy :)

  2. I love that you were nervous about driving a manual, thats funny! :)

    Your car does sound pretty 007 to me too!

    I'm going to do your poll now :)

    Amelia @ UGLY DUCKLING xxx

    Come say hey at Ducklingtoswan.com! :)

  3. congrats on your new car! how fun!! :) that color suits you well! :)

  4. Hi, I drive a silver version...well its called "moondust" but its pretty much silver. Unlike you though having grown up in SA I am used to driving a manual....so welcome to the club!!!!

    Enjoy Sun City!!

  5. Yep, we have the Fiestas here! I was lookng at them b/c they get really good mileage. I'm in the market too but sort of waiting for my old car to die.

  6. Just stumbled into your blog. love love it! Can't wait to keep reading. Definitely your newest follower.

    congrats on the new car. I just bought my first new car a couple months ago.

    A Refreshed Take Off

  7. I like the new car! I need to learn how to drive a manual.

  8. yes-it is a cool wee car for the city. smash and grab proof-great-just keep your windows up then!

  9. That window thing is crazy! I visited Venezuela and found out that that type of thing is common there as well but I've never heard of this window type before...although they may need bullet proof windows as well.

  10. The car looks great! Lucky girl. Sounds like you're doing well with driving stick. Good job! My car back in SA had smash and grab too, it's pretty reassuring when you have that and super 007! Have fun at Sun City! :)

  11. i love fiestas! george and i are planning on getting one when we get a car.
    most cars are manual here too, but most people drive autos in sydney..so much easier haha :)
    loving all the previous travel updates! can't wait to see more x

  12. My very first car was a manual and I was so nervous to drive it! Eventually it became second nature though. Congrats on your new car, it's perfect!

  13. Love the Fiesta! I think they are in Europe...but would love if they came here.

  14. Love love love your car! It's super cute! But also weird to see you sitting on the opposite side. Haha.

  15. Ahhh your car is an absolutely fab colour!
    I'm from England and we drive on the side South Africa does. I'm currently doing driving lessons, and yesterday I had to drive on the right hand side of the road because of roadworks, and it was absolutely terrifying! I'm hating changing gears as well! Think I will be purchasing an automatic car in the future...
    And that's pretty scary that people will come up to your car and steal your bag.
    Really like your blog :)
    Jazz xx

  16. I first learned how to drive on a stick-shift so most of the time I actually hate driving automatics because I turn into a spaz wanting to shift gears when I'm not supposed to :) so glad you picked it up so fast though.

  17. Congrats on the new car, how exciting and freeing!

  18. congrats on the new car! that is so exciting. :) i should really learn how to drive manual, too. just in case you're ever in a bind it would be good to know... but you're right, it's hard to find the motivation if you're not forced!

    have fun this weekend!!

  19. swear i looked at this picture and was like "why does this look weird?" haha is driving on the other side of the road totally terrifying!!! even if it is....you look goooooood!

    have fun with jurgen's parents!!

  20. ford was auctioning off a fiesta this weekend at the sac county fair! and i knew them from germany, and of course, love them :) but girl, you are brave. i have decided that i will never be able to drive stick.

  21. holy cow - i've only ever tried driving stick a few times ( i thought i'd have to learn but turns out i didn't so i never completley go the hang of it ) and it is nerve racking in the beginning! way to go on getting comfortable with it!

  22. Yay for the Fiesta! Not so yay about the crazy purse stealers, but it sounds like you've got it covered!

  23. Wow you do have a lot of things going on! How exciting!

  24. Your Fiesta is so pretty, love the color! (my husband's first car was a blue ford fiest so great choice!) And YAY for smash and grab proof windows! When I lived in Dublin, I was constantly being reminded to not keep my purse on the passenger seat - such a difficult habit for us Americans to break :)

  25. yeaaa girl! congrats on your new car! as an expat i know what an accomplishment this is. maybe this has encouraged me to get my license here finally ;)

    and i had no idea about SA having problems with people purse snatching from in cars! crazy! thanks for those shatter proof windows though!

  26. OH man, I'm gonna have to do this as well! Not looking forward to a manual car, nor the robot brick ambush!? Sheesh.

  27. Now that you've learned to drive manual, I am probably the LAST person in all of South Africa who still doesn't know how :)

  28. Your blue Ford Fiesta looks good on the road under the blue sky. It can certainly be hard to adjust from automatic to manual, but after you get the hang of it, it would be breezy driving for you. And it would be good to learn both of them so that, whether you get an automatic or a manual, you can drive your car either way. If you want, you can think of it as an added life skill for you.

    @Ivo Beutler

  29. Knowing that some people may rob you, it’s a good thing that you opted for the Ford Fiesta, which has a “Smash & Grab” feature. I think this trait can certainly provide you with added protection. By the way, thanks for sharing your story. I loved reading it. :)

  30. The radiant color of your new car is outstanding! It’s as if it can coat the highway blue whenever you hit the road, leaving some tracks because of its admirable exterior finish. Hehe. I bet you’re comfortable with the automatic feature as of now. Congratulations on the new car, by the way. Don’t forget to drive safely!

  31. I have just been devouring your blog (I love reading about my home continent and country while so far away) and I have the exact same car :) My boyfriend and I like to call her the Blue Bullet haha. We love it, such a nice and easy car! Good choice!


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