PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

greetings from Cape Town!

We’ve finally made it to South Africa! This is the view that greeted us as we stepped out of the airport – see the sunrise over Table Mountain in the background. A good start to our new life!

arrival at Cape Town

Just getting here has been an adventure in itself. We’ve had difficulties every step of the way: from selling the house in time; to getting our residency & work permits; to getting Maui’s travel paperwork in order – every possible thing always looked like it wasn’t going to work out, and then, at the very last possible minute, we got it sorted. It’s been the most stressful few months of my life, but, in what feels like a miracle, Dave, Maui, and I have all made it through safely and here we are, living in South Africa!

Just to give you an idea of the stress we’ve gone through, here are some highlights of the past week (skip this if you’re not interested in my travel adventures):

  • We were 2 days away from losing our Canadian Citizenship application because the South African consulate had kept our passports for longer than anticipated, so our citizenship tests hadn’t gone forward to be approved by the judge, and the judge was now away for longer than we had left in Canada. I finally found an amazing lady at the citizenship office who went over and above for us and managed to get a judge in Ottawa to submit the approval by fax. We became Canadian citizens the day before we left, and, although we didn’t have time to enjoy it on the day – we had to head off to Guelph to get Maui’s export permit as soon as we left the ceremony – I’d just like to say that I’m very happy and proud to be able to say that I AM CANADIAN! I miss you already, Canada.
  • When we arrived at the airport on Saturday, we took Maui to the cargo centre to be dropped off. I thought this was just going to be a formality – we had our official South African cat import permit, our official Canadian cat export permit, and the vet certificate to prove he’s healthy and doesn’t need to be quarantined on arrival. But it turns out they also wanted Maui’s rabies vaccination certificate because we were travelling via the UK, which has extremely strict policies on rabies, and apparently the vet certificate listing all his vaccinations wasn’t sufficient. The rabies form was currently somewhere inside our shipping container, already on its way to South Africa. What on earth could we do if they didn’t accept Maui?! After hours of stress and tears (on my part) I tried to phone our vet’s office, which was (extremely luckily) still open at 4pm on a Saturday, and they agreed to fax the missing paperwork directly to the British Airways World Cargo office where we were waiting. Fixed!
  • The first leg of our long journey was fine: we arrived at Heathrow and spent 9 boring hours waiting for the next flight. We boarded on time, and then spent the next 5 hours sitting in the plane on the tarmac in London – apparently there was a problem with the plane, and they were trying to fix it so we could take off. As the engines weren’t running, neither was the plane’s air conditioning, and we were all sweltering inside the cabin. They handed out cups of water, but we had no dinner, and they wouldn’t let us out of the plane. At midnight, they finally decided we weren’t going anywhere, and let us off the plane. They found hotels for all of us, but it was 2am before we got there, and the hotel forced us to check out by 10am, even though our replacement flight wasn’t until 5.30pm. Dave checked on what would happen to poor Maui – apparently he would be looked after by quarantine vets overnight but there was no way we’d be allowed to see him, so we headed off for our hotel and a few hours’ sleep.

After another exciting day spent sitting in the comfort-free chairs at Heathrow, the replacement flight was uneventful, and we arrived at Cape Town airport in time to see the view at the top of this post! We collected Maui – in an amazing turn of events giving everything else that’s gone wrong, that involved nothing more than going to three buildings, signing forms and paying a fee, and then they handed over his crate.

I’d just like to say that Maui is the strongest, bravest cat in the world. He was immediately very happy to see us, and after a long drink, he seemed none the worse for wear for having been crated and away from us for 60 hours – poor baby! He’s settled into our new flat like a champ, and now he’s king of the world, sitting on the windowsill and surveying his new domain, and watching strange and unusual birds flying past the window. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have my boy back safely after all these adventures he’s gone through.

Cape Town (and Maui) by night
Maui! And, oh yeah, some city in the background…

Cape Town (and Maui) by day
The amazing view from our flat. Cape Town is looking pretty good so far πŸ™‚

The only real downside is that we don’t have internet in this flat. I’m trying to get a Blackberry, but they won’t give me a contract as I don’t have a salary or 3 months’ South African bank records – I hope we can find a solution because it’s driving me crazy! Today, we’re visiting Dave’s new workplace, the Astronomical Observatory, and I can borrow their wireless while I’m here and post this. So, if I take a while to respond to emails etc, that’s why – please have some patience while I try to sort this out. If you need crochet patterns, please order through my fully automated shop and not Etsy, so you don’t have to wait for your patterns, and I don’t have to pay for internet to email them to you!

Once I fix the internet situation, I think I’m going to enjoy it here in Cape Town. I know this sounds lame (hello, internet addiction!) but I feel like I’m missing a limb when I can’t get online: not only am I in a strange country where I know nobody, but I’m cut off from my only link to my friends and family. I’ll lose that lonely feeling when I’m back online again, hopefully very soon.

And so begins my South African adventure…

28 Comments »

  1. Tara said

    Re: The phone contract- you should be able to get a pay-as-you-go using your passport – a temporary measure at least!
    Also; MWEB are really a really good ISP πŸ™‚
    Welcome at last!!

    • June said

      Thanks, Tara! The problem is that I don’t really need a phone (I have nobody to call!) – I need constant internet, hence the Blackberry. And we’re just in a temporary rental until our furniture etc arrives in a couple of months, so I don’t think we can hook up an ISP in the flat.

      I’ve applied for a contract in Dave’s name – hopefully his PhD in astronomy will be enough to convince them he’s legit even without 3 months of bank statements. Should find out tomorrow…

  2. Ginny said

    Wow what an adventure.
    And Maui looks very happy.
    My husband is Canadian I am uk, and
    we have lived here now for 15 yrs!
    All the best.
    Ginny

    • June said

      What a coincidence – I’m now joint UK/Canadian! We all love it here so far – Maui included πŸ™‚

  3. Sounds like quite an adventure. Hope you get yourself sorted with internet soon.

    • June said

      Yes, it’s been a little more of an adventure than I was expecting! But we made it and it’s all lovely (apart from the lack of internet), so it was worth everything we went through to get here.

  4. Unforth said

    Very glad to hear that you arrived safely, and that despite all the snafus everything worked out!! Maui does look pretty happy. πŸ™‚

    • June said

      Hee, thanks! Yes, he’s loving it here!

  5. Jana Hunter said

    Yay! Glad you AND Maui are there safe and sound! Just so you know. If you already HAVE a cell phone, you CAN get a Vodacom SIM card for it and you CAN use that to hook up to your computer to get online! I did that way back in 2006 and 2007 when I visited Rachel there. As long as you can hook your phone to your computer you CAN do this, unless things have radically changed for the worst! Good Luck!

    • June said

      Thanks for the suggestion, Jana! I asked Vodacom about it, but the data rates are high that way, and as I run an online-based business I really need a better solution – I can’t afford to be online all day while paying by the MB! The Blackberry has unlimited internet/email/messaging so my plan is to use that for everything I can and only use the computer for stuff I can’t do on the BB – *if* I can just get them to give me a contract…

  6. Cape Town is an awesome city, I went there on honeymoon and loved it. I hope you settle in and enjoy exploring (I think you’ll like taking a wander around the Red and Blue Craft Sheds).

    Maui is a very handsome boy, glad to hear he didn’t get stuck in quarentine at Heathrow!

    • June said

      Thanks Claire! I can’t wait until we can explore, but we’re stuck at the moment – there are no hire cars available because it’s both Easter and the Cape Town marathon this weekend, and we can’t buy a car until we can sort out our bank account here, so we’re on foot only for the time being. Still, that’s okay – no rush, we’ll be here for a long time!

  7. Megan said

    Glad to hear that you are safe, amdist the craziness of getting there! And good luck with getting internet back!

  8. Else said

    Dear June, so glad you are safe and getting settled. Thanks for sharing all your adventures and details with us. Wishing you and your husband and Maui a blessed and happy time living in South Africa!

  9. Eve said

    Wow what an adventure June!! You are both going to have such a laugh about this in 2 months time. Sooo when is your container arriving? That is another super exciting day (closest thing to Christmas I’d see) and will probably help you settle in even more.

    All the best for the coming weeks
    xx Eve

    • June said

      Thanks, Eve! It should take 2 months, in theory, although who knows how long it’ll actually take! But we have to find a house to rent before the container arrives (so we’ll have somewhere to put all our furniture), so I’m not in too much of a hurry to get our stuff back. It’s sort of liberating to live with so few possessions (although I’m sure I’ll be sick of it in a couple of weeks…)

  10. welcome home june!

    i am so excited for all of you!
    you are a wonderful family!

    xoxoxo

    • June said

      Thanks, Melissa! I can’t say that this feels like home yet, but I’m sure that will come with time. I’m just grateful that we’re all here together πŸ™‚

  11. Jazz said

    I’m glad you finally got poor Maui back and safe.

    Good luck on your new life!

    • June said

      Thanks Jazz! After the extra day in transit, I was really worried about Maui, but he settled into life here as if it had always been this way πŸ™‚

  12. TracyKM said

    I’ve only recently started reading your blog, but I did see where you mention the hour long trip to Listowel and now you mention Guelph, so I was wondering where you had been living…I spent 12 years in Orangeville, and I really miss Guelph and Listowel!! I thought we had an adventure moving from O’ville to Whitby, LOL, but I can’t imagine moving 1/2 way around the world!! Good wishes for your new life!

    • June said

      Tracy, I’ve been living in Waterloo for the past few years – a lovely place πŸ™‚

      I thought I was semi-prepared for this move, as we also moved from the UK to Canada 8 years ago, but that move was much easier as we owned nothing back then – no house or furniture, no cat, and I didn’t have a business back then either! Nothing prepared me for how much work this move has been, and continues to be!

  13. Becky said

    I am glad you made it and your cat looks super happy with the birds.

  14. Catlyn said

    Wow! It seems like you guys, and especially Maui have been through alot! Its great to hear you all arrived safely and are doing great in Cape Town! πŸ™‚

    • June said

      Thank you! Yes, it’s been pretty stressful, but we made it πŸ˜€

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    June Gilbank

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