Sunday, 27 November 2011

View from the ocean!

It's been nearly a month since I arrived and it's been such a roller coaster - it's crazy!

From 2 am shopping at Wallmart, to meeting bus drivers, to taking 6 buses just to get to one shop....

We have had an epic adventure and it just started now. It's amazing

We recently went to Pompano Beach, that's our local beach, quite late one night and it was phenomenal. We didn't do anything wild or exotic, all we did was dig our toes into the sand and we enjoyed being alive and in this remarkable place that we find ourselves in.

As per usual, countless people do not believe that we are from South Africa, because how could we be? Haha, educated people that speak English? Never.
The one day a lady in Publix asked us if South Africa was in Australia....Not quite, Ma'am, but thank you anyway.

The weather here is great if you like humid sticky heat, but it cools down nicely at night and we do get a few driplets of rain every few days.

Thanks Giving was a fun experience. At the Onyx Bar, where I work, we all went around the table at lunch and said what we were thankful for, over huge pieces of

Home sickness? Not anywhere in sight as I get to Whatsapp my parents whenever I get a chance, and skype with the whole, and I do mean WHOLE, family on my days off.I think a huge factor is that I've made such great friends here, from the people I work with to the people that I come home to. Everyone here - South African, Romanian, Irishman and American - is so inviting and welcoming.

We're at home right here.

Author: Melissa Rauch

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The time has come:-)

The wait is finally over and off to the United States we go.

Arriving at the airport in Durban on the 18 November, I was ready to embark on the long trip to the USA. Having to say farewell to my mother and sister-in-law proved to be rather emotional as

Landed in Johannesburg …. Now for the 7 hour wait in the airport.

Met up with André from Cape Town and a few of the other participants flying out on the same flight to the USA. Everyone seeming very excited!

21H40 has arrived and off we go, 15 hours and 50 minutes till we set foot in New York International (JFK) Airport…

Yes!!! We are in the United States of America!

Now, passport control - check, collect luggage – check, bags rechecked – check. Now for something to eat, and then, e-mail everyone at home to say “Safe in New York” while we wait to board our flight to Florida :-)

Landing in Fort Lauderdale… exhausted yet so excited!!!!! We are here and the adventure begins!


“Life is what you make of it”……… so to every participant on our program, remember to embrace every minute and know that there are so many that will never get to travel and experience what you will and are doing!

Enjoy it, have fun and see you all at the Workaway Party soon soon :-)

Author: Lucille Earle

Monday, 21 November 2011

And then there was America!

Daniel is going to add his 2cents in brackets throughout the blog.

We were excited that on Daniel's birthday, we found out that we were accepted into the Workaway program.( then we had a crazy surprise birthday party that Roxi organised for me. Thanx babe) Then we had to wait forever to recieve our petition number. Since the unemployment rate spiked in the USA, all the country clubs had to offer the available jobs to the Americans first - which is understandable.

Then on MY birthday, Workaway called us to say the petition was signed and that we may
start making our visa appointments.(Roxi was actually pretty grumpy that day but she got happy later.:)I was at the consulate just a few days later. For me, this was a really stressful thing. I was having to take rescue tablets the day before, the day of my appointment, and Daniel's visa appointment was the day after mine, and I was still gulping down the rescue. I like to blame it on happiness and being excited not scared and anxious. Anyway, the consulate appointment was about 30 seconds long, done individually and they tell you immediately afterwards that your visa
is approved. So I was so relieved when the consulate officer behind the glass window gave me my receipt to collect my visa the next day! The next day was Daniel's turn at the consulate. I think the consulate officer must have been getting accustomed to all the Workaway applicants, because there were about 7 people from Workaway there with Daniel, and the officer who does the interview called the first girl, then the second, and then got over it, and called in all 5 of the remaining applicants at the same time and did a group interview. (he really struggled pronouncing my surname so we just called each other sir the whole time) And they all got their visa's approved! YAY! (WOOP!)

We then had 8 days to start organizing our clothes, and saying goodbye to family. Daniel's family lives 1:45 hours away, so we went to Greytown to say goodbye to them. Came home and had our fare well party (EISH), and then got packing. Of course I had been packing slowly for the last 3 weeks, but it only took Daniel a few hours! The day we went to go collect Daniel's visa, it was a Thursday. I drove past the consulate, Daniel ran in to collect while I drove around the block, 17 times, and picked him up again.

Let me see your visa!!

I don’t have it.

Okay, ummm, why?

It is a public holiday in America today.

Roxi: So we just have to fetch it tomorrow before we leave.

Its a public holiday tomorrow too.

But, but we leaving tomorrow. (white face) When are we... How are we... But then...I was speechless! Then Daniel takes the visa out and shows it to me!

Friday came, the excitement reached boiling point! We arrived at the airport and crossed through
those dramatic boarding gates, where our families were waving through the glass
windows and our mothers were crying bucketfuls of tears.

The journey has began!

A 1 hour flight to Johannesburg from Durban. A 6 hour wait at the airport. A 15 hour flight to JFK. (let me just warn you now that if you have limbs, representing legs, that the seats are a tight
squeeze so when u checking in find out if you can change seats to one that has a vacant seat next to you.) A 8 hour wait at the airport.A 4 hour flight into Fort Lauderdale(you get blue chips on this flight, they're actually blue in colour). And when those wheels of the plane hit the ground, we could not have been happier!

A Workaway representative met us at the airport at 6pm USA time, we got our luggage, we jumped on a bus and drove to Boca Raton (which according to the American sitting next to us on the plane, means "mouth of the rat") The driver took us to Walmart! We had 20 mins to
shop for food for the next three days. Not so easy when the shop is the size of a small island. And you don’t know what you looking at or what you looking for!
So we got eggs and bread, the all-time die-hard. We were then dropped off at our apartments, which are really really nice, and spacious, and the beds are so welcoming!

PLOP, we were passed out before we knew it! (I was out, Roxi was trying to make the place all pretty before bed, don’t ask me cuz i dunno)

Author: Roxane Gordon and Daniel Pfeil

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Bon Voyage...

A lot has happened since I wrote my last blog for the website… We received the approval s for the visa applications which meant the we went into full gear to get everyone to sign and submit their visa applications and prepare for their departures to a new adventure in the USA.

It’s been quite hectic, but exciting as well seeing all the hard work from the last few months come to fruition with the participants going to the consulate for the visa appointments, which has been very nerve-wrecking for all. For many it has been a success story and for few, some have not been so lucky, which is just unfortunate because everyone deserves the opportunity to experience another culture.

A lot of the participants have already flown to the US and started the season. It’s great to see the Facebook updates with everyone’s experiences of flying and settling in. For some it has been the first time they have ever flown. A long way to travel for ones first time, but there is no better way for the travel experience to fly half way across the world. No fear… because your travel instinct (which you don’t know you have) automatically kicks in when you board the flight.

I too decided a few weeks ago to travel again to the US for a different experience. For many seasons I have been fortunate to live in Palm Beach and work for Admirals Cove, but will now take on a new experience at Addison Reserve in Delray Beach. I am VERY excited and can’t wait to go. Luckily, I will have a good support structure with Michelle and Lucille from Workaway joining me there for the season.

I have one more hurdle to pass in getting my visa (nerves) and then hopefully jetting off to the US within the next two weeks. A benefit is that I will for the first time in many years be here in South Africa to celebrate my birthday with friends and family.
So lets hold thumbs that my visa application is successful and I will be joining you in the US of A. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Workaway Party!!

Author: Andre Smith

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Its the final countdown!!!

So I finally found out that my visa petition has been approved, its been a long wait but once you get the call with the good news that all is then realize, this is it the time has finally come.

There are so many emotions that go through your head at that time, I had to take a few minutes to just think that I will be going back “home” well lets just say my second home!!! You start thinking about, what you need to pack, when you need to start... Its so exciting knowing that I will be back very soon but also very stressful knowing that I will be leaving my friends and family in SA but on the other hand I have got such great friends in the US too...

Its going to be hard to leave again because there is so many things I enjoyed while i have been back like peri peri sauce, Simba chips, boerewors... the list goes on, but I will make sure that there are a few things I will be packing in my bag.

15 days it is... I have so much to look forward to when I get back...I did not think I would ever say this but I miss the work in the US, its just so much fun working with all the good people that work at Sailfish!!!!

Well done to all that have got their visas and good luck to the ones that will be going in the weeks to come...Its the last step then you can say its OFFICIAL you will be jetting off on the most amazing experience of your life.
See you all soon....

Author: Tyrone Havenga