Thursday, March 24, 2011

One Life to Live

(Written on 2/27/2011 in Vrede, South Africa)

Have you ever felt so much like family in somebody else’s home that you aren’t sure where you’re supposed to not feel comfortable?  That’s how I feel at the Kramers'.  I’ve built Jenga(ish) blocks with their kids, watched some amazing sunsets (champagne in hand), stargazed while sipping on tequila, watched their kids school me at homemade pasta, and most of all had some enlightening conversations.  I feel like every person I meet has something to teach me - and the Kramers definitely came into my life for that reason. 
Proud of our creation

Hanging with the ladies
Jake's homemade bread - to die for

Another Kramer / Weinberg / FireLamb / Cheng feast!
Tequila anyone?!
Glynda has this vibrant, lively, inviting, and lovely air about her.  She makes everyone feel welcome and ready for the next adventure (case in point - I had sworn off tequila before Glynda coaxed me back to the “good side.”  Apparently what happens on the farm doesn't stay on the farm thanks to digital cameras.)  Sean is caring, passionate, relaxed and giving.  He has the unique gift of being a listener - allowing others to speak and gathering knowledge from observation.  I admire his curiosity and wisdom from watching others. The Kramers and their amazing synergy are a testament to how a family and a partnership really work. 
Our lovely hosts

The wandering Weinbergs

The FireLambs!

And me!
Everything that seems like it would be difficult in my normal life seems like it is handled with ease here.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware of the delusions that this is totally Glynda and Sean and not just some South African spell that they’ve put on their family…although I'm beginning to think that with 3 respectable, humble, helping and well-rounded children maybe they have drugged them.  I'm certain that my brothers and I were not that well behaved at their ages.
Tonight the Weinbergs shared about their gratitude for the Kramers' affection and hospitality.  I couldn’t have agreed more.  They spoke about the warm welcoming they received and whether in their own lives they would have taken the time to extend the same welcoming to strangers. 
Although the Kramers have busy lives of their own, they never made it seem like a burden to have a house full of guests.  Instead, it was a pleasure and adventure to host people they didn't even know!  As I looked through their farm guestbook I could tell from every page covered with words of appreciation that this wasn't a rare occasion for them - rather a way of life.  This is truly a family that brings love and warmth to every person and situation they meet.
The kids making pasta
Hmmm...salmon sauce or quattro formaggi?  Tough life decisions.
As most of my friends are at the point where they are starting families of their own, I leave them with this thought….what type of family are you growing?  I believe in righteousness and education, but I also believe in freedom, open thinking, and adventure. 
I loved Larry's reply to one of the Kramer boys when he asked about taking Larry’s 9 year old son four-wheeling.  He answered, “as long as you promise not to hurt him….go for it.” 
Life is about risks…whether it be allowing a 9 year old to hop on a four-wheeler, or opening your home to strangers.  You never know what will come from the risks you take and it's a constant struggle to find the balance and fine line between adventure and safety. 
I encourage you that with an open heart and faith in the "good in people" that you will find the right answer.  Before you say "no" to the next opportunity or request that passes your way, ask yourself what’s it worth to you?  If you live your life in fear of what might happen because of the risks you take, what are you missing out on?  Live your life…you only have one to live.


  1. Annie - what a gorgeous photo of you with the sun shining behind! I'm really enjoying reading your blog and learning about this beautiful journey that you are on. It really took some guts to do this...and now, apparently, you've even eaten some guts in South Africa. This blog is full of gross awesomeness.

  2. Thank you S! Checked out your blog too - love all the Seattle things and makes me think of home. :) I've also had a Stella & Dot party - so much fun!


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