Thursday, September 17, 2009

A year of living dangerously

Exactly a year ago we were in Cape Town, squashing a family of five onto a plane.  (If you ever want to do something challenging, try an 18 hour flight with a 4 hour stay-over in Singapore, with three active kids and a stressed-out wife.)

I still remember walking along the airport, and realising that this may be the last time my feet touched the African continent. 

During my youth I never imagined that one day I would be extremely grateful and happy to leave this beautiful continent.

This was the first time any of us would ever see Australia, as there was no time or money to do spy-trips beforehand.  Although I had travelled to many African countries, I’d never been to any other continent before in my life.

We left Namibia on 3 September, and stayed with the family in Cape Town before we finally departed to the intriguing land of the koala and the dingo.

These pictures were taken just before we left Namibia:

Weck Familly (26 Aug 08 - 3)

( See why we had to leave?)

HPIM1643 HPIM1644






 Albert en Michael (26 Aug 08 - 2)

The family gathering in Cape Town: 

Retha foto 1 P1010043 HPIM1649

Before we made this courageous decision to leave the Motherland, we heard a lot of stories about the strict customs officials at Perth airport, and we were expecting real Nazis with their big dogs sniffing at our pockets to see if we brought in any African soil or seeds or maybe even a little hungry African stow-away in a bag.  There were no dogs, and we found the people to be very friendly.

One of the greatest moments in my life was when the customs-lady stamped my passport after a short but serious questioning-session, and finally said “welcome to ‘straylia, mate!”

New Picture

I was very tired after the long flight, but after finally getting through the long line at customs, I was very excited to get out and experience the lucky country.  My new boss Dennis, and an old friend of mine were there to pick us up at the airport:


At this point in time, Dewald and Sumare were the only people in Perth that we actually knew.  They were old friends of ours from Cape Town. 

Look at those glad-wrapped bags – in South Africa, you can’t trust the baggage handlers, so you have to take extra precautions.  We later realised that this is the easiest way to determine whether someone at an airport was from Africa – look at the glad-wrapped bags, it’s a dead give-away!

In these bags we apparently had everything that we needed for the next five months, as our container from Windhoek only arrived at the end of February 2009.

It’s really hard to believe that a year has gone by.  On the one hand, it feels like we’ve been living here for a long, long time.  On the other hand, it feels like yesterday when we landed, and I can still vividly remember those first days.

We started out with a circle of friends that only included one South African family.  In less than a year, this circle expanded to include (the obvious) many other South Africans, but also Canadians, Kiwi's, Zimbo’s, Poms and last but not least – real good down-to-earth local sandgroper Aussies.

And the meat is really good.  (This is an important part of my life!)


My Aussie mate Tony cooking at his barbeque in his backyard



I’m looking forward to many more carefree years Down Under.  As they say around here:

“She’ll be right, mate!”


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