Jacobs Journeys March 2011

Posted: 3rd March 2011 by Caryn in Posts by Caryn

Well I’m writing to you from….

Boston, Massachusetts! Yay, we finally got here!
An unbelievable amount has happened in the last 3 months, so it’s a challenge not to turn this into a book. If you’re up for it, here goes.

The Trent Version

  • We have a new (fourth) nephew as of 22 February!
    Spent a happy Christmas and New Year in South Africa with loved ones.
  • Enjoyed bundu-bashing, game-driving, motor-biking, river swims and night-time bushbaby spotting on a game farm a few hours outside Jo’burg.
  • Trent’s enthusiasm for cycling (road and mountain bike) increased exponentially after some grueling cycles around Cape Town. (Thanks Pete and Noel) …
  • … so we are excited about our new road bikes bought here in the US and  about launching into new cycling adventures.
  • Quick trip back to Oz for fun celebration of Trent’s dad’s 60th. Just in time to see Kurt and Vix’s safe arrival in Oz despite Brisbane flood disaster. Then…
  • …landed in the US of A on 16 Jan 2011! Loving America so far.
  • Trent has started full time work and I am sort-of getting there-ish.
  • Boston is COLD! But snow storms and temperatures of -15°C made for some great skiing!
  • Have managed to find a great apartment 15min outside Boston city centre, (er…I mean centER), buy a car and wade through most of the admin of doing everything legally here (it’s overrated).
  • Greatly looking forward to friends visiting us in our new home for the first time.


The Caryn Version

Our native home
Going back to South Africa is always an emotional journey. This time, for the first time, we entered not as South Africans back from exploring the world, but as permanent residents of Australia. It required some psychological adjustment that wasn’t necessarily easy, and in a way it was helpful to see how some things had grown and moved on without us. But being with loved friends and family was a reminder of the valuable and lasting things in life.
Because of the impromptu nature of our visit we mainly saw close friends  and did some supercharged catch up, but it was revitalising. Trent was happily swept up in the cycling fanaticism of Noel and Pete, and we were reminded how insane South Africans can be. Trent donned a sexy purple Cadbury’s cycling outfit complete with ‘dorky pants’ (thanks Ryan!) and they went on 50km+ cycles all over the mountain on every possible day (including once ‘round the mountain before work for Pete). Of course this just invigorated Trent’s enthusiasm, and it possessed him to try out cleats (ie: shoes attach to pedals) for the first time – on a single track mountain bike trail. He fell over…just a bit. Nevertheless, the bug bit hard. Read on…
Colin and Carin once again made us part of their home in Cape Town, and we got to see a lot of extended family. Then on to Jo’burg where we spent some quality time with my parents, Lauren, Mark and the utterly charming little Luke. I had some delightful moments frolicking in the garden and the swimming pool with Luke, as only children can make you do. (And now we are very proud that we have a brand new delivery of Nephew No 4! Ethan arrived on 22 February amidst much excitement.)
In keeping with my parents’ tradition, Rhenosterpoort, a game farm near Nelspruit, was once again the destination for the New Years Eve week. It’s one of the best places to really unwind: out in the middle of nowhere in a rustic stone bungalow with no electricity or cell phone reception. The stargazing was magnificent. We went on hikes up the mountain and swam in rivers and waterfalls. Saw a sand snake and I almost stepped on a puff adder! My dad brought his new motorbike along and the guys had a bit of fun with that. The owner took us on a sunset game drive around the farm. And we spent lots of time lazing in hammocks, occasionally listening to baboon calls in the surrounding hills. Real bliss and a wonderful way to welcome in the new year.

Our ‘permanent’ home
The new year began with much activity! Back to Australia where the heavens had opened! We watched incredulously as the flood crisis in Brisbane unfolded, but it was equally amazing how communities in Australia rallied together and helped each other out. We were fortunately far enough north to avoid the floods, but the unrelenting heavy rain was quite a phenomenon.
Despite all that, Kurt and Vix’ emigration from the UK into the flood zone proceeded without glitch and the whole Jacobs clan eagerly welcomed their safe arrival to their new home.
The fun didn’t stop there – on to preparations for Dad Jacobs’ 60th. A party, a golfing cake, some ridiculous dress up props and a photo display made it a memorable occasion. It was also the first time in years that the whole Jacobs family was together. We left the next day.

Our temporary home
The long awaited business trip to the USA finally came together and we landed in Boston after a 30 hour journey, on 16 January this year. And Trent started work for Dynamyx Worldwide Inc. on the 17th!
Trent’s project got off to a good start and he has been coasting along quietly since then. I quickly established that I would not be able to practice as an occupational therapist here: I was gobsmacked to discover that since 2007 OT’s here need a Masters degree to practice! Poor things. So that left me to think out the box – Writing? Blogging? Hospital work? Volunteer work? Studying? One interview lined up so far – Program Manager for a summer camp for children with Aspergers Syndrome. Will see what happens…
The admin of settling in has felt like a bit of a minefield, but we managed to get a car without having a home address, car insurance without having a US driving history, an apartment without having a bank account, and a bank account without a social security number. Yay. Not done yet though – there’s still health insurance and employment card…
But the pros quickly outweigh the cons. We really like Americans. They have consistently been warm, friendly and positive people. Almost daily we have strangers wishing us a great day. Our accents are commonly cause for friendly enquiries about where we’re from. Not an easy question to answer! I was once given a discount at a local Italian deli “…‘cwos you’re from the UK.” We’ve chuckled at the ‘Bwoston’ accent where they drink ‘cwoffee’ and go to ‘Huhvard’ University.
As for the city of Boston – we’ve really liked what we’ve seen so far: convenient meets quaint. The area, known as New England, bears names that are only too familiar to us, starting with Reading(!) and moving along to Berkshire, Newbury, Salisbury and Gloucestor, amongst others. We’ve had the great opportunity already of going skiing in perfect conditions in the neighbouring state of New Hampshire and aim to get to the state of Vermont for some more sometime soon.
Then, as soon as the ice melts we’re going cycling! Yes, Trent’s cycling Bug resulted in the purchase of two road bikes. Since Trent is currently devoid of insane cycling partners, I am IT. We are now both fully kitted out for cycling (cleats included – what am I doing???) and I am being told all about how exciting it would be to aim for the 224km Boston to Cape Cod race here. Yes, dear.
6 months is going to go REALLY fast.

Our spiritual home
The great thing about being Christians is that no matter where in the world we find ourselves, if we find a church we have instant family and a social network with common purpose. Our search led us first to a tiny little Baptist congregation. What we didn’t realize was that we’d be the only white faces, so we really stood out and were consequently heartily welcomed! Even offered the pulpit! We felt privileged to hear their really slick jazz band jammin’ worship tunes. We also visited the local Vineyard church which was HUGE (Holy Trinity Brompton style). We just looked at each other and laughed when the worship turned into rap, and then country. Something for everyone! But the teaching was brilliant – truths from the Bible outlined in such relevant ways for our lives today. Also visited a very contemporary Presbyterian church, whose focus on humility and repentance before a generous God was really meaningful. We’re planning to get involved in small groups sometime soon, and are praying for God’s guidance on where we can best serve Him.

Looking forward
That brings you up to speed. Now we eagerly anticipate welcoming the Smiths and then the Tattons from the UK, as our first visitors. And after that America’s our oyster – so much to see, so liitle time! But that will be for the next Jacobs Journeys.
Blessings to you all. We love hearing from you, so please keep us filled in with what you’re up to.
Lots of love,
Caryn and Trent