Saturday, April 23, 2011

Exploring the Griffith Observatory with Mike,Licia and Connor

Mike and Licia are friends of ours from our days in London! We had known that they were planning a visit for a while now and so it was so good to catch up- even though it was for one evening! It was also good because Izak was forced to take a break in the midst of the intense schedule. We decided to go to Griffith Observatory since we had heard such wonderful things about it from friends and the admission is free! 

It was such a fun trip (even the navigating our way there) since it reminded us of our London city walks. We were given a deck of London walk cards and it really made our London experience quite exceptional as it helped us to find landmarks that we otherwise would have missed. I remember us going by famous author's homes and fun hidden restaurants that well known people had gone to! We would definitely recommend getting a deck if you happen to be in one of the cities that they are made for... Here is the link: http://www.chroniclebooks.com/citywalks/) So, this time, we did an 'LA walk' with our car!

Driving towards Griffith Observatory, we were amazed to see how beautiful the area around Griffith Park is... so green and lush!
We parked quite a way from the observatory in the end because it was very busy- even on a Thursday evening and so it did turn out to be a bit of a city walk after all!
Here is the beginning of our 'trek' up the hill to the observatory:


As you climb the hill leading up to the observatory, you begin to get a better and better view of the sprawling city from above:



Here we have made it up the hill and have our first view of the actual Griffith Observatory:
Here is another shot of LA from the front of the observatory:





A closer look at the entrance: (including the astronomers memorial in the entrance grounds and the details on the wall of the entrance door...)





And your South African's upon arrival: It was such a fun experience!







Then, on the inside of the Observatory... in the Central Rotunda:
Impressive Ballin ceiling and wall murals:





Then meet Mike and Licia:

And meeting little Connor for the first time:
 
 Within the Rotunda, there is this Foucault Pendulum, which was developed by a French physicist called Leon Foucault and it demonstrates the rotation of the earth... Must say that seeing how it proves the earth to be rotating made me feel a little motion sick- fortunately it isn't something that I am continually aware of! Here are some pics of the pendulum and then a short clip:



video
Then, we got to see a Tesla Coil: (It was created by Nikola Tesla in +- 1891 and is a sort of resonant transformer- it was used to conduct experiments for things like electrical lighting...)
 
 Here is a quick clip of the Tesla Coil:
video
Then, there are amazing views of LA from these observation terraces: (You can see the Hollywood sign in the second picture if you look carefully...)

Then, pictures from the different areas within the observatory: (There is a planetarium that is apparently very good that we will try and go to see next time.) 








Seeing all of this made me think of Psalm 19:1, which says,
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.”

We hope that you enjoyed a quick tour of the Griffith Observatory! We look forward to hearing from you and thanks for reading our post!






Friday, April 15, 2011

Goodbye to Mrs C, Volleyball games and Trader Joe gift vouchers


Can you believe that we have had our last Sem wives meet-up until next semester? That's right! Only 5 weeks until the end of the semester.

My sem wife table leader Mrs C (Colleen Craigen- who is married to the well-known Dr. Craigen) is leaving with her beloved husband to go and settle down closer to their kids.

She shared about herself with all the ladies for our last night of festivities... for this semester!

Here are some pics of the evening:
This is one of our table... the girls from table 3:

A table heavy laden with scrumptious goodies:

My partner-in-crime for the evening- Elena from the UK... We had such good fun! 
 Mrs C, sharing her encouraging yet tear-jerking message...
Then... for those who were not aware... I have started assisting one of the seminary students coach volleyball for the Grace Community School that is on the campus. The sem student has classes for part of the practices on both Tuesdays and Thursdays so he needed someone to help him out on those afternoons. Before you ask if I have ever played volleyball before... the answer is... No! I have indeed never played volleyball before in my life! The good news is that I am only responsible for the warm ups and some drills. (Bonus! Free gym twice a week!)

I tried to help a girl with her serve based on my tennis know-how and I hope that it helped! hehe! ;) 

I have really enjoyed getting to know the middle school girls (grades 6-9) and learning all about Volleyball.  I went to watch one of their games this last week and it was so sweet- they dedicated the game to me and then won it! Go Lady Hawks!
Here are some pictures of the Lady Hawks A team:

And here are the sweet B Team girls supporting them as they played:



And here the B Team girls are in action:
Then, we were blessed with some Trader Joe's vouchers and some of the  ingredients were used to cook the below recipes...

With the help of a sem wife called Katie (who reeeally knows how to cook!) I made:
1.) Parmesan and caramelized onion brown rice,
2.) Sauteed reggae coloured veggies and ...
3.) All-American cranberry chicken

I am still amazed at how well it worked out!

First the Trader Joe voucher:
A pretty one of some bright peppers in my star colander: ( I love stars! And Lenore had kept this for me. when we first arrived..)
Here is the meal:
And a happy Izak:

Finally, you'll be pleased to know that I ventured off on the LA freeways to South Pasadena to have coffee with a friend from our Glendale Bible Study.... Christy! We went and had such fun chats, giggles and wonderful treats with her sweet little boy, Caleb... here is a cute one of the two of them:

Well, thanks for reading our fairly long post- we hope to hear from you soon! Keep in touch as always!

Your Bakkes'

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Rain in California, Crock pot gift and Amazon Rooibos Tea

Well, it is that time in the semester when everything seems to have reached a deadline! I was sitting next to a student and he asked, "What class is this again?". I think that helps define the situation that many students find themselves in at the moment.

We had some pretty heavy rain recently and the roads literally seemed to turn into rivers! Here are some pictures of us just about sailin' down LA river-roads! 




The lovely part about the rain that we had the most beautiful sunset that evening... You can't quite get the complete picture here, but the tree branches had an almost golden halo-effect and the sky was such vibrant pinks and purples: (Taken from our driveway...)
 Then, we were given an amazing Crockpot from a friend and I am sooo thankful! I can't stop thinking about all the easy recipes that this pot will be cooking for the Bakkes family!
Here it is on its virgin voyage: Yummy beef and vegetable stew:


Also, we found some reasonably priced Rooibos Tea on Amazon! We are so thankful as the options in the normal stores are a little expensive and this loose leaf tea is amazing! We even made it with our filter coffee machine and it worked very well!
Lastly, our car, as you know has been giving us many problems, and we have not been able to take it in for repairs as we needed transportation BUT then our friend Christopher Robin (the missionary that knows Wynand and the gang back home...) let us use his Toyota pickup while he is away. Now we can hopefully get our car repaired. (If it is worth it as there seem to be some major electrical problems.) Christopher Robin's truck / "bakkie" is great! It reminds us of being on a farm... Now when we are on our way to school, Izak and I joke about going to check up on the sheep and making sure that the reservoir levels are right! (I really loved the farm that I spent the first few years of my life on as it brings back such fond memories!)

Well- please keep in touch, feel free to make comments and thanks for reading our news!