The Passport Pair life updates!
We are finally getting settled into life in Cape Town, South Africa after 5-6 months from the initial move. This might seem like a long time, but moving continents was more of a logistical mess than we could have ever planned. While Max has lived in South Africa before, that was through a Masters program and school provided a good structure. This move was a bit more up in the air considering we did not have long-term visas to stay in the country. We signed a lease for an apartment knowing that technically we could only stay in the country for 3 month long periods on tourist visas. Quite seamlessly, we created a plan with help from friends, to get volunteer visas, which are good for 3 years!
Here are more details:
The organization I’m volunteering with and have my visa through, Education without Borders, is a Canadian nonprofit that has a branch in South Africa. I am finally starting up and I need to realize that things in South Africa work much slower. I will be a therapist in a high school in one of the townships in Cape Town. I will be starting to do a consistent afternoon at the school and provide one on one therapy/counseling for students, free of charge. They will be able to sign up for a time to see me and hopefully a consistent “client” base will begin. In addition to individual therapy, I will be conducting once a month group therapy sessions- disguised as group activities. We will be talking about serious topics that affect all of the students in large group setting. And finally, I will be setting up the psychosocial behavioral branch of the organization. I’m excited to further my social work career especially in an international setting!
I have also recently gained remote employment. I will be teaching English through a company in the US that facilitates Skype relationships between tutors and students and provides the educational resources/lesson plans. Typically the students are Chinese and working on their English. Having an hour-long English lesson with a native English speaker is an amazing resource to help with their fluency! Working remotely just takes creativity and dedication!
It might sound like my schedule is filling up, but I still have more time that I would like to dedicate to volunteering. I just started working one day a week at a nonprofit named Cheetah Outreach that aims to educate and bring awareness to the declining cheetah population. Along with cheetahs, they house servals, caracals, bat eared foxes, black backed jackals, meerkats, and tortoises. I love wildlife and wildlife conservation is essential to South Africa. Being connected with nature is important to me while I am living in Cape Town.
I have continued my digital marketing job from Michigan to here. Working remotely has presented some issues specifically with the time difference, but overall I am happy with where things are at. Just like any long distance relationship, communication is essential and it’s a learning experience for both ends of the business. I’m still learning a lot and am using what I do at work to our advantage with The Passport Pair.
I also have been volunteering with an organization, Aspire Youth, for my visa as a business consultant. There is a ton of exciting stuff coming up and a ton of potential. The owner of the nonprofit and myself make the perfect team and big things will be done. I am happy to be using my business background for avenues of social change in South Africa.
Since we moved, we have had four friends visit already! By having friends visit, it gives us an excuse to go on roadtrips, out to dinner, and to explore our new city thoroughly. We want our friends to love Cape Town as much as we do and so far, I think everyone has really liked it!
We are taking full advantage of living in South Africa by leaving the city whenever we can take a weekend for ourselves. There are a ton of beautiful camping spots within a few hours of Cape Town. Some beautiful photos and posts are coming up!
Now that things are being solidified and we are settling in after five months- its starting to feel more like home. It will never be HOME but the newness, unknowns, and fear are wearing off. I don’t think that we will be here forever (definitely won’t have babies here!) but we will be here for at least three years. It has not been easy and it has not been comfortable. But I truly believe that growth comes from being uncomfortable and finding solutions to your discomfort.
We had been talking about living in South Africa since Max got back from his year here in 2013 and I think that it is important for us to stick it out even when we want to come back to the States. I want to have integrity and do what we say we are going to do. This move has done wonders for our marriage- our communication has improved immensely and I am happy every morning when I wake up in South Africa as a team. We have created a schedule and life for ourselves that allows us to wake up slow, drink coffee while discussing our hopes, fears, and dreams, and say ‘I love you’ throughout the day. Both of us are still furthering our career while living here and will soon begin to pay off significant portions of our student loans. To be honest, this is what we had been day-dreaming about for awhile.
Life is good.
If you are considering a move such as this, we would love to hear your stories! Contact us if you have any specific questions, we are open books!