Friday, March 23, 2012

Skaaptjoppies and other stories.

For years I have tried to convince my sibling to start writing a blog, and now she has. 

I am happy about this since, for many years, we lived in close proximity (i.e. less than 10 km), but now live very far apart  (i.e. more than 10000 km) . One of the things that lack in the lives of expatriates is connecting with family.

Luckily in modern society we have awesome technology that allow us to have face-to-face conversations via Skype or other marvelous inventions. Thus we get updated every Sunday evening, by our parents, on what has been happening with them, our sibs, the country and any other interesting things. Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to this type of communication. The main problem is the extremely bad internet service in South Africa. It is very slow, coverage is bad and pricing is insane. This means that our Skype conversations often have the following phrases (randomly interspersed):

"are you still there?"
"we are still here, are you still there?"
"yes we are, where are you now?"

"we cannot see you, can you see us?"
"no, but it looks as if you are loading?"
"ahaa, we see you now…wait you are gone again"
"lets turn off the camera, the internet is too slow tonight"

"what has happened are you still there?" (slight laughing heard in the background)
"yes we are why, what is wrong?"
"you have frozen, and Ronnie's mouth is in mid word. He looks a bit 'strange'." (more laughing)
"we will restart the camera."

These are the conversations (and variations on these) that we have had multiple times with the addition of ghost images, blurred images, strange background noises, short lags, long lags, frozen images and loads of other disturbances*. The point is that even the hardcore Skypers, who has coverage, and patience (i.e. our parents and us), still struggle to communicate. Communicating with many of our other relatives has thus been reduced to text messages via telephone, cryptic status messages on Facebook or, in some cases, seeing each other only when visiting.

But back to my sibling's blog. One of the things that I miss most is inviting my sibling to the lab where I worked, for a short visit and coffee. This happened at least once a week when she would come over and we would have a coffee and talk about all kinds of interesting and funny things and people. Our current method of communication is via google chat and this is ok. However, it is not well suited to tell a good story and lacks an audience. Many stories during our meetings in the lab started with me saying "remember when…" referring to some event in the past**. Cindy*° would then with great detail and color retell the story, enthralling all the other lab-members. And these stories are good. I hope to see some of them (e.g. "in the church", "in-house wall climbing", "falling wall", "falling pillar", "10 mini pizzas", "falling in the mud", "hairy neck", "smelly potato", "smelly egg", "roof jumping", "in his undies", "running from the church", "chewed lego", "stuck to ice", "the unfortunate swing jump" and many many more) in her blog in the future. But also new stories (such as the one here).

This brings me to the final part of my siblings blog. Unbeknownst to her, there are a great number of possible fans. These are the people who think she dons a hat and go into caves to find ancient treasures for a living (the hat part is unfortunately incorrect). They were excited to see the pictures of the caves where she work and has requested more information and pictures on the life of an archeologist.

I may also have mentioned the scary beasties that present themselves, as well as her local celebrity status :)

Feel free to click over to her blog "Skaaptjoppies and other stories" and subscribe if you find it interesting (click here to find it).


*I think the people at Skype don't (and shouldn't) even look at the errors reported after some the conversations, since there are no software advancements that can help the bad connections to the southern tip of Africa.

**The past is anything from what happened last week to when we were kids.

*°This is the name of my sibling

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Downhill activities

Previously, our high-speed downhill activities were on snowy slopes in Sweden (see previous post). However, our recent visit to South Africa (see here) allowed us a different experience. Below is a video of our sandboarding adventures at the "Dragon Dune":

Although no serious injuries were sustained, a minor muscle tear, whip-lash and bruises of assorted colors were reported by participants.

Click HERE for more information on how to book your own ride on the "Dragon Dune".


ps. Ronnie's sibling, featured in the video above (the one with the Star Wars attire), has started her own blog. We will blog more thoroughly about her blog in the future but here is a link to: Skaaptjopies and Other Stories

Friday, March 2, 2012

Nice holiday in South Africa

As soon as the Christmas holidays were over, we suddenly found ourselves with loads of work. This was in part due to the pending trip to South Africa. We needed to finish many things before we could leave and Carina needed to plan many other things for the trip (since part of her visit included work). But on the 10th of February I joined her in South Africa (after traveling through an Air France strike) and we had a very nice time with our families.

The first few days we spent with my parents and sibling and her fiance (getting married early next year). They live in an apartment in Mossel Bay with a beautiful view of the ocean.

Apartment in the background.

Beach across their apartment.

We had a number of activities during our stay in Mossel Bay...


Visiting caves (where my sibling works). 

The cave man Cois

At the Knysna Heads.

Noetsie (the place is called Noetsie, not the person).

Sandboarding.... (more about this later)

 We flew back to Johannesburg and drove to the Free state to visit Carina's family.

A great braai on the weekend.

We then went to Clarence in the eastern Free state with Carina's parents for a few days.

To eat (...and drink) some more.


Visit Golden Gate National Park 

We left the Free State and had one final braai before returning to Sverige.

We have planned quite a number of activities for the coming summer and will blog on them soon.


p.s.  I also took two Swedish colleagues to SA and tried to feed them to the lions :)