Welcome friends and family. This weblog documents our experiences during Matt's sabbatical in South Africa during 2009. Please enjoy and leave us some comments!
There are moments in life when many things come together to make an experience extremely special. I think we had one of those "moments" this year. We really anticipated and were excited for the year; we made some deeper friendships than we imagined possible in this short time; the professional involvements for both Tracy and me were very interesting, dynamic, and stimulating; our church experience was fantastic; Stellenbosch turned out to be a wonderful location for our family; and the Western Cape is a magical location with so much to do. It all added up to a fantastic year.
Finally, I need to do some thank-yous.
* Calvin College and the Alumni Association for sabbatical funding.
* Stellenbosch University and Wikus at the CRSES for taking a chance on an unknown American engineer. And Jos for all her guideance through the year.
* CPUT for providing the opportunity to teach two classes, especially Mark and Howard with whom I worked most closely.
* Mark, Eve, and Jess at the Sustainability Institute for a stimulating year.
* The University of Stellenbosch students and staff members who participated in the Sustainability Think Tank (STT) for allowing my leadership during the course of the year.
* My students at both CPUT and Stellenbosch who worked so hard and from whom I learned so much.
* My parents and Jonathan for watching over our finances, house, and car back in the U.S.
* And, finally, Tracy for her love and support throughout the year and especially for bringing the kids home early by herself. That was a saintly act.
And, with this, I say goodbye to the blog.
Despite a late night last night (dinner, teleconference, talking to Tracy, and finishing two papers), I woke early to start packing. I finally admitted to myself that not everything would fit under the weight limit, even with a third bag, so I removed two piles of non-essential books. The first pile can be given away to other professors at the Stellenbosch Engineering faculty. I asked Wikus to ask Jos to post the stack of essential books to me in the U.S.
At 09h00, I went to Créme with Louis and Amanda for one last breakfast at Louis' favorite spot. During breakfast, Amanda scared me with stories of needing to pay R8000 ($1150) for overweight and extra bags. So, I went back to Wikus' house to repack my bags. In the event that I would need to pay $1000 for my third bag, I wanted to be able to junk it on the spot. So, the black suitcase contained useful, but non-essential stuff.
I took the opportunity at breakfast to thank them for their friendship and hospitality. And, I was able to say that I'll miss them immensely.
At the airport, I paid for the extra bag ($175, much less than the value of everything in there, I believe) and was on my way.
On the day before Tracy, Mark, and Catherine departed, we talked about highlights from the year and things we want to do next time we come. Here's our list:
* Next Time:
Click for news about today.
We departed base camp and headed for Stellenbosch after an early breakfast. See some photos below.
Our final day on the river began at Beach campsite and ended back at base camp. Click the photos below for more information.
We moved from Trees campsite to Beach campsite. Click the photo for details.
Click for details of the second day on the river.
Our first day on the river took us from base camp to Scorpion. Click the photo for more details.
Click for info about our first night at base camp.