This is the conclusion I've reached after about two months in Cape Town. All to say, we'd love phone calls, Skype conversations (once we have internet), letters, emails. We really appreciated the Christmas e-mails and cards in a special way this year.
We've been largely without internet except for sending and receiving email, because Telkom, the monopoly phone line provider, is, well, a monopoly. Lack of television and car are by our own choice, but our ability to get beautiful places is seriously curtailed, and I feel dependent on the kindness of others (my parents and siblings). I'm getting to the point where I feel too pregnant to bike, particularly with Noah in the back, which makes the prospect of the coming year (with a non-biking newborn) seem even more isolating.
Telkom is hopefully coming this Thursday, meaning we may have internet as soon as Friday. We'll see how we feel with internet, and based on that decide whether to find a way to get a car. A friend prayed for appropriate transportation for us, which suddenly made me want to pray for supernatural provision. Which is not an underhanded attempt to get you to give us a car but rather just to say, asking God for provision helped me look at our problem in a new way. I felt quite passionately that we should go without a car, and so I need a similarly passionate sense that yes, for now, a car is a good idea.
In the meantime, not having a car helps me to see my neighborhood differently. It's much harder to see run-down and trash-filled streets when it's hard to get away from them (they seem earthy and interesting when you're just driving by). I walk down the street- 100 year-old semi-detached houses on either side of me, and a crystal-clear view of Devil's Peak and Table Mountain in front of me, and the fact that there's a strong community doesn't make the trash and broken glass and trashed cars and people asking for money any less alienating. Rather than being diverse, the neighborhood is divided by blocks. Our block is largely white and some coloured (our unfortunate word for mixed race), but a few houses down begins a totally coloured Muslim neighborhood, and a few blocks beyond that, a largely black South African and Congolese area. I walk around a lot, which seems to help me imagining the transition between communities not being so awkward.
Thanks for your prayers for us, and for your support in other ways. I think we're hugely blessed to be here, and I'm still dreaming big, even if the dreams take more than my lifetime.