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“Compliments of the Season” is a greeting we’ve heard almost daily since the day after Christmas. It’s similar to our use of “Happy Holidays” but it’s used through the middle of January and is a very common way to greet people through the middle of January.

We had such a memorable holiday season, unlike any Christmas and New Years we’ve had before.  Some of our favorite memories from the past year happened in the last month so even though this post is a little bit late we still wanted to document all of the fun.

Christmas

There are a lot of people in our church who, like us, were far away from family during Christmas time. So we all gathered together and became each other’s family! About 15 of us gathered on the perfect beach of Clifton 4th to spend Christmas. We played frisbee, american football, spike ball, and volleyball. We did a white elephant gift exchange, which got pretty nasty as people fought over some tasty cookies. We had a picnic on the beach with fruit kabobs, chicken salad, potato salad, watermelon and chocolate chip cookies. We even did the very South African thing of popping christmas crackers.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather. It wasn’t too hot nor was it too windy. The water was icy cold, as is typical this time of year, but many of the guys braved the seaweed infested waves to cool off.

Most of these guys had to depend on public transportation to get into the city so we were limited on how late we could hang out. Around 5:00 pm we left the beach to make sure everyone could get home safely. By that point we were appropriately fried in the sun so it was a good time to leave. J.J. and I then went to McDonalds for dinner. We were so thankful something was open because we hadn’t really thought past the picnic on the beach and had nothing to eat in the house. And it was one of the best McDonalds meals ever! Fresh, FRIED apple pie and hot, salty french fries… speaks love to my heart!

New Years

J.J. and I decided to squeeze in a trip to the Garden Route while the team had their family in town and things were pretty quiet in Cape Town. The Garden Route is a gorgeous drive along the southern coast of Africa. Due to the ocean currents, it is lush and green, the ocean water is warm, and there are cute coastal towns every hour or so. A great place to spend your holiday between Christmas and New Year.

Little did we know, the rest of South Africa had the same idea! We spent a week looking for a place to stay and then a solid 2 days trying to find a car to rent (because we knew lil beeper wouldn’t be able to make the drive too well!) Literally everything was booked. We ended up finding the last car within a 3 hour drive of Cape Town and probably the only place available to sleep in all of the Garden Route.

Highlights of our trip

  • driving a car with working aircon
  • Cape Agulhas, the southern most point of Africa, and watching the waves and wiggling our toes in the much warmer water
  • jamming to “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” on a late night drive
  • an early morning swim in Knysna
  • a hike and lookout at the Featherbed Nature Reserve
  • staying on a cheese farm with no electricity, giant dogs, crowing roosters, curious cats, and fresh milk, yogurt and cheese!
  • visiting “Big Tree” – a 37 meter / 121 foot TREE
  • watching a crazy storm blow through the farm & an hour long colorful sunset
  • hiking to a waterfall in the Stormsriver Mouth Nature Area
  • a new years eve steak dinner and a candlelight game of Dominion
  • welcoming in the new year with a sunrise elephant ride!
  • driving home through the majestic Swartberg Pass

This was such a special couple of weeks. While we missed our family it was such a memorable few weeks spent with those we love most in South Africa!

Categories: Mission

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