I must apologize for not blogging these past few months. I was so caught up in the whirlwind of the new world and all that had to be sorted that I didn't, and that is exactly when I should have been!
I will start again and make it a priority and hopefully we'll get this thing going!
So - let me try to go over a few things that you have missed.....
First stuff relating to the kids, of course my most important thing.
Preschools- well, we have moved the kids from their original school to a new one. Not that there was really anything 'wrong' with the first one, but it ended up being quite far from home and S seemed to be getting bored in class as he knew all his colors and shapes and that is what they were covering. His behavior took a turn for the worse and I think it stemmed from him being bored. I researched actually sending him to Pre-k this next year, but because his birthday is in October he would have had to repeat either pre-k, kindergarten, or 1st grade, and I felt the possibility of him feeling a bit left out or held back was too great and confidence destroying. Besides, I found a great school less than a mile away, with a fantastic curriculum and for less money too. All around a pretty good thing! They have been there for a little over a month now and are very happy, and I am very happy with what they are learning and the behavior.
We have enrolled S into a dance program, yes I am sure the men out there are saying "what? a boy in dance?" Bu,t he asked to go, and I have read that it actually assists them in their sports endeavors and can improve their balance, agility, and body awareness. He has gone to two classes so far and absolutely adores it. I get reminded on Wednesdays to pack is dance clothes as the school is right near the dance studio and they get walked there and back. This Thursday he will begin his sports classes that will cover the general rules and how to play, hold equipment, and sportsmanship of a few sports.
O is still too small to do these things but they are willing to allow her to enroll in dance in the fall (the beginning of the school year here) even though she will only be 2 in October.
We were speaking the other day about how it is a bit sad that the kids left SA so early in their lives, that they probably won't remember much from living there, especially O. Though S seems to remember quite a bit and often asks me about something we had in 'Souf Af-ri-ca'. He doesn't comprehend the distance between there and here but he knows it is where he use to live and that his Ouma and Oupa live there and he misses them. He also misses our neighbors and their girls, he had such a close relationship with them. He speaks of them often and we are trying to keep those memories alive so they are long lasting.
I still miss their school, I honestly believe it is the best school in the world. I don't know of any other school that cares so much about the development of their kids.
Medical care here for kids...shoo...have we had a lesson in that these past weeks.
O has had a few ear infections, bronchitis and S has had the same. We have learned that they do not have Bisolvan Lintus here (a medicine that is an expectorant and bronchial dilator in one). You have to have a prescription to buy a nose spray other than saline here, and you can't get StoPyn (stilpain, panado with codeine, Tylenol with codeine) without a prescription either. The doctors here for the most part, though supposedly more educated in the 'latest' things, seem to be too bothered with making money than to care for their patients, and/or have their hands tied from the government watch dogs to be able to use a wide range of medicines.
That said, we have been so very lucky to find a fantastic ENT who makes an effort to get you in the same day and (believe it or not) a South African immigrated GP doctor, literally about a mile from our house. We found them via word of mouth after visiting a 'walk-in clinic' that was purely a money making racket, and not too friendly either. It was a lesson and an expensive one at that! Not again!
We do not have medical aid/health insurance, so we have been throwing money at the doctors and medicines, but here the medical aid comes with most jobs so I keep thinking J is going to get a job and we can just use that instead of getting on a private one to have to cancel when he does get hired. I am getting scared though and really thinking of just doing that to avoid any problems.
I must interject here that we have also been lucky to find a pharmacy/chemist 4 stores down from the dr, that is run by two Russian immigrant sisters. They too seem to understand the value of knowing their customers faces and names and families and have really gone out of their way to help us save money on medicines.
Here every weekend there is some kids centered 'thing' happening. That is one thing that seems to be better here than it was in SA. We have gone to a 'free day' sponsored by a chain store called Target (sort of a Dischem meets Pick-n-Pay meets Game, though of a much better quality) at a sculpture museum where the kids were able to do art project, walk around a sculpture garden, and spend time around other kids. It was nice. They do it once a month. There are also events at the arboretum, zoo, natural science museum, etc.
We have also gone to an art festival in the neighborhood where they had a special children area and the two did pottery, and sand molds, and made paper hats.
It just seems that here they are very good and having events for parents to take their kids to in order to enrich their experiences.
One thing that does seem to lack compared to SA is the kid friendly restaurants. They have nothing like the few places in Joburg (Tres Jolie, Bambanini, Serendipity etc) where there are actually kid playgrounds of varying degrees, petting areas, and jumping castles. Here, kid friendly means they have a kids menu.
I find it fascinating that one country would excel in one and the other in the other facet.
It's just a difference..
So that is pretty much it on the kids front..I have a few other topics to cover before catching you all up, but I don't want you to get bored with this too soon so I will stop for now.
Please feel free to comment or ask any questions you want about what we are dealing with, going through, or the differences or similarities of each place. I am happy to follow your lead.