These greetings are in Spanish, French, Tswana, Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa.These are some of the 11 languages that are spoken here, we hear them but we are only required to learn French and Spanish in school.The best part is that English is spoken in South Africa and it sounds funny.
School is almost finished for us at the American International School of Johannesburg (AISJ) because we follow the American calendar.What is so hard for our parents though is that school is out in June, July and August and these are our winter months here. We will have to do indoor activities for the next 2 and a-half months.We were wondering if that is the reason my dad's head is bald and my mom's hair is turning white at the edges.Right now, we don't see any reason for them to stress out since we will be busy reading, cooking, horseback riding, taking piano lessons, doing some cultural tours, and just chilling with the Game Cube and the TV (yeah right).
We are looking forward to school closing but we will miss some of our friends.A few of our classmates are moving to other countries such as Thailand, United States, Switzerland, Singapore, Egypt, India and beyond. The exciting part is we will meet new friends when school opens in August and Chasah will be in the 8th grade, Caleb in the 7th grade and Charliese in the 5th grade.
Extracurricular activities and fun stuff to do
Recently Chasah and Caleb ran in the AISJ's 5k run.Five kilometers is about 3 miles, Caleb placed 39 and Chasah placed 128 out of 242 teachers, staff, and other kids.Watch out, the next time you see something whiz past you it might be one of us.Charliese came out first in her age group in horseback riding in cantering and jumping.She is getting to be quite good.We all participated in a school recital where Chasah played a minuet piece on the piano, Caleb played a drum composition that was his own and Charliese played a piece on her violin. Some of the fun stuff we like to do is play Crazy Taxi, Super Mario Smash Bros. and Rayman Arena after we are finished with our homework.
Some of the best things we like to do in South Africa are go to the beach in Durban South.Durban is about a 6-8 hour drive between, over, and through a mountainous area called the Drakensberg.The Durban beach is situated on the Indian Ocean and the currents are usually warm so it is possible sometimes to get in the water even in the wintertime.Durban is a very popular vacation spot and had been settled by a large population of Zulu people. We don't have monkeys swinging from our trees in our backyard in Johannesburg but the hotels in Durban do.We are told to close our windows when we go out of the hotel otherwise the monkeys will come into your room and trash it and steal your food. We don't have rhinos in our backyards and we don't live in huts. We are now having a mall being built behind our house; South Africa is a rising metropolis.
Some of you might remember our female German-shepherd doggy, Chacaliese from a former newsletter.Chacaliese is a combination of our names, Chasah, Caleb, and Charliese and we call her Chaki for short.On June 1, Chaki and Toska, our boy shepherd, had a litter of 8 puppies.Unfortunately five of the puppies died.The mother and remaining babies are doing fine and Toska, the daddy, is wearing a path in the grass from running around the house over and over.
We would like you to pray for us and to remember the West grown-ups (Sarah and Charles) too.
FUN PLACES IN SOUTH AFRICA
Did you know that in Johannesburg, South Africa there is an amusement park called Gold Reef City? There are 5 real roller coasters, and a lot of other rides. Also there is an Apartheid ["apart-hate"] museum right next to it. That isn't the only fun place to go. There is also Monte Casino that has a bird park, many shops, restaurants and children play lands like "Fun Spot" (a children's amusement and arcade place in New Hampshire where we used to live). There is one ice skating rink that we know of. Come visit these places if you ever come to South Africa!
Chasah, Caleb andCharliese West
MKs to South Africa
P.S. We thought you might like to see what Toska looks like