Merry Christmas & Cheers to 2018!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year dear friends and family!!

What a year it has been, for you too we assume…. Life is flying by and we hope you’re having many adventures and have a blast in this thing called life, which we feel we are also doing! What a truly fabulous year it has been!

We began 2017 living in South Africa (and really living it up), we are so blessed for all of the experiences we had in SA and for all of the wonderful and amazing people we met and had great times with and whom we hope to stay in touch!

By July 1st we started the second half of the year back in our ‘old’ home in Upstate NY. At first it seemed great – the kids made fast friends with new families in the neighborhood and we both became gainfully employed. While it wasn’t the same it used to be, we did find a new normal, of comfort and familiarity in our town – and started to discover new desires and hopes for our future. (I’ll get to that in a minute).

“Little” B started 2nd Grade in our town public school system and has been doing very well. Our boy is independent, resilient, and learns and does well in school. B loves making new friends and jumps into action and fun activities wherever he goes. This boy is a sports fanatic and loves baseball (go, ‘merica!), tennis, soccer, golf, and even got back into drum lessons.

G is a Kindergartener this year at our “old” school, where B had been going since he was 18 months. G is like the ‘Queen Bee’ we’re told and loves to be in charge at school. She’s learning to read and write her letters and she’s always offering a helping hand to the littler ones at school. Gigi loves gymnastics and recently has become involved in ballet and tap dancing. She loves to move her body and dance.

Big B completed his Army Intermediate Level Education (ILE) and is waiting to pin on Lieutenant Colonel (“any day now” which probably really means by the summer, ha ha). He recently interviewed for a job as an Investigator, which would be a new role for the the civilian agency he works for. B’s currently working full-time for the 42nd Infantry Division as a mobilization planner before he returns to the NYSP.

As for me, I’m still trying to figure out what I should do with my professional life “when I get older”, ha ha. I finally completed my Master’s (and that dreaded awful thesis) in March and then finally my ILE in November. After celebrating my birthday just last week, and being that much closer to 40, you’d think I’d have it figured out by now.

We’re currently thinking of selling our home and moving somewhere else around the Capital Region. We may be here in NY for only a few more years. Our overseas experience has truly broadened our horizons and has helped us to see the world differently and our role in it, and what else may be possible in our lives. No longer do we feel as tied to NY as we once did. While we’re not 100% certain yet where we’ll go or what exactly we’ll do next, but the possibilities are limitless and time will tell. We’ve put our intentions out into the universe, so in time we’ll see what happens.

We hope every one of you has had a beautiful and fun 2017 and we hope you have a fantastic and magical 2018! We send all of our love and light out to every single one of you and to your loved ones. Cheers to a beautiful 2017 and help us ring in the new year with peace, love, joy, and light in our hearts.

From all of us at Team Bonanno,

Merry Christmas and have a very happy wonderful new year!!

2017 1216 Team B Christmas Tree picWe were grateful to visit NYC recently and the spectacular Rockefeller Christmas tree and see the Radio City Rockettes too!

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The power of being connected and having connections is magical.

Since July 2015 when I (and many others) completed Level 2 of Baptiste Yoga training, the awareness of being connected, of having strong, meaningful connections with human beings has been poignant and unforgettable.  Choosing to follow through that awareness, understanding, and ability to connect with human beings, on a deeper level, is where meaning and love is.  It’s an important part of the existence of my life, our lives.

Shortly after moving to South Africa, I was given the opportunity to visit the Africa Yoga Project for a weekend to assist a program called the Art of Assisting and to stay with one of my mentor’s, Paige, who trained me (along with others) at Level 2.  It was an opportunity to put words into action by striving to connect the love and learning of yoga with human beings in Nairobi and it was a fascinating weekend.

Since that time, from July and November 2015, I have been given the opportunity again and again to meet, connect with, and create intimate, meaningful connections with all sorts of human beings and I’ve continually been blown away and grateful for this adventure.

2017 0513 A&B Renewal of Vows andrea pic(photo credit: Andrea T)

On Saturday, May 13 2017, my amazing husband Brian surprised me and many of our dearest friends at a Ten Year Anniversary Party (yay for us!!!) with an opportunity to unexpectedly (to me) renew our marriage vows in front of these friends who have become like family.  Not only was it meaningful to me and a sweet and awe-inspiring reminder of our deep love and devotion to one another but it reaffirmed my connection with my husband.  Additionally, it was also an opportunity for greater, deeper connections with those present to witness our renewal of vows to one another.  Why is that important?  Not only has it has struck me since that ceremony that my husband loves me more deeply and is more connected to me than perhaps ever before; but that those who were present to witness the renewal of our love are also people, humans, that I am deeply connected to and love.  Does that make sense?  By sharing my love with my husband, we also shared our love among our friends in an intimate and meaningful way.

What I learned in July 2015 at Menla in Phoenicia, New York was how important it is to get rid of the masks and filters that we oftentimes hide behind to allow for a more authentic human experience to connect and serve our fellow humans.  To this day, I feel very good about helping to assist the human species by trying my damnedest to create connections, to exude love and possibility, and to say yes as much as possible (even if that means enjoying too much amazing South African wine too often, but it’s just so damn good).  Ha ha.

As Team Bonanno prepares to leave South Africa and return to upstate New York to friends and family there, I make a promise to myself, to my husband and children, and to my friends and family everywhere.  I want you to know that: I love you, I’m glad I’ve connected with you, and I can’t wait to see you all again.  I feel nostalgic for the time we’ve spent here, the friends we’ve made who have become like family, and I’m even eager to get back to our hometown to reconnect and embody that love to my “old” friends and family in the U.S. too.  Not only has my husband vowed to love me more, longer, and with such deep devotion and conviction, but I return that vow of love out into the world.  You could say my husband has inspired me to want to be even better, to do greater, more meaningful things in our life together, and to spread the love around, everywhere we go.  They say to pay it forward and I believe in living and loving out loud.

So, to my, rather our, dearest and greatest friends in South Africa: Team Bonanno loves you, won’t ever forget you, and let’s meet up again (like in Taiwan, Joy; New Zealand, Kate or Lisbon, Joana, or Chicago, Kate and Ottawa, Amy et cetera).  To our friends and family back at home in NY and around the U.S.: we can’t wait to reconnect with you, have fun with you, and spread the joy and love around the earth with you again!

We’ve thoroughly loved where we’ve been and can’t wait for whatever adventure we create next.

Life is truly amazing when we’re connected with each other, sharing and surrounding ourselves and our loved ones with love and joy.

With love always,

Team Bonanno

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Adventuring in South Africa


It has been far too long since our last update.  The adventures don’t stop, so neither do we.

Apparently, we have been quite busy.  It’s been so fun but as I look to the past it’s all a blur of friends, fun, activities, travel, sights, sounds, kids, joy, and love.  All great things.

As of now Team Bonanno has seen a total of five southern African countries.  We’ve also been grateful and lucky to have visited Cape Town twice.  We’ve been to ‘dull way’ Dullstroom – which is gorgeous, really struck a chord with us.  We’ve visited the tiny african country of Lesotho- and played in the snow there!  We’ve seen the ‘Dragons Mountains’ – Drakensberg this month and the phenomenal city of Durban on the Indian Ocean.  Freezing cold, rainy, and yucky there, but being on the ocean is always therapeutic no matter what.  At least for us.  We have been truly blessed with some really remarkable experiences, meeting amazing new people, and having a spectacular time as a family.  Even though our kiddos are much younger, I truly hope that they will remember some of these places and times as they grow older.

One of the issues we’ve experienced as a North American family being in Africa is the school schedule and how we’ve got the African winter free – but with colder temps and a lot less to do than the other 10 months of the year.  So, little lessons we’ve learned here, which we’re happy for.

We’ve got much, MUCH more on our list of things to see and do in this amazing country.  We’re happily, slowly, and other times quickly, ticking things off of our to do list!  We’ve got a lot of friends and family who plan and hope to come visit us – if you’re in that category and want to see South Africa – come!  Even if you want to see any other portion of Africa, come here and adventure back out!  You will love it here.  Amazing times, we’re blessed.

Team Bonanno is living the dream life and we couldn’t be more happy with life.  Join us on our journey, come see for yourself.  Life is amazing.

Be well all,

Team B is ready for you NOW!





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April Fool’s

Have we told you yet we’re staying here for three more years?!  April Fool’s!  Just kidding, although we are expecting to stay here until early May 2018.  That does add an extra year to our stay here.  And that’s a good thing.  Because we are up to a lot!

March was crazy – it went in like a lamb and out like a lion!  Things were calm, quiet, and good, and then we had one adventure after another lined up and it’s been F U N!

Our first big adventure was really G’s – she was in her first big on-stage production for ballet.  The ballet teachers come to her school and other schools.  On the 9th they held a huge ballet show that incorporated all of the different children with different songs and outfits- G was in her glory!  She soaked up every moment and channeled her inner ballerina for a beautiful girls’ evening!  She was amazing, happy, and beyond excited- she was living her three year old little dreams!  It was so fun to watch her and to feel her excited energy in the hours and minutes leading up to her show.

We were able to visit the amazing Madikwe Nature Reserve up north, next to the Botswana border.  We stayed at a place called Motswiri which was beautiful, gorgeous, and quiet.  We literally had the resort to ourselves.  Beautiful, attention to detail, calm, serene, and exquisite.  That is definitely a place where we will return again.

The following weekend we went camping in South Africa for the first time- to a Jazz/Music Fest-Yoga Retreat where I taught.  We had a lot of lessons learned about camping in ZA.  But it was a fantastic experience and that’s another event we hope to return next year.

Then, our big huge bucket list trip was to….. get ready….. are you ready…..  V I C T O R I A  F A L L S!  That life bucket list item, the one biggest, main waterfall on the continent and we got to soak it up – literally, we got soaked.  I loved it!  It was beautiful and gorgeous and wet and rainy and awesome and inspiring and African!  It was awe-some!  I literally referred to it as a beautiful Zambezi God-given rain shower.  IMG_6604.JPG

AHHHHHHH-MAZINGGGGGGG!!!  Beautiful, gorgeous.  This doesn’t even begin to show or explain its beauty and power.


Was trying to show B and the waterfall and the sun, but my innocent picture taking doesn’t suffice.  Sharing photo here anyway 🙂 

We visited the Chobe River National Park- via boat and land.  Boating was a much better experience for us.  The game drive we experienced had us in too many close encounters with too many elephants that seemed to want us OUT!  Big B has a short video clip to prove it- and our harrowing experience.  But we managed okay.  Despite my fight or flight gut-wrenching experience.

That brought us through the Easter holiday.  We are so grateful for our experiences and adventures in southern Africa this month!  We have much more planned for April and I’m already looking at getting away in May.  We’ll be sure to share what we’ve been up to.

The kids have been great.  They have really nice friends, we have really nice friends and we’ve been doing really very well.  Big B is always busy with work.  New days but different work – all busy, all the time.  I’ve been able to conduct my Guard training in B’s office, working towards the same goals and missions.  That’s been fun.

I have been waiting to begin my new federal employment job but am still waiting on things from their HR department which is really going to be quite sad for them since…. I was offered a new job last week and a lot less paperwork and time will allow me to begin in this newer capacity in about a month.  Who knows how long that other federal agency would take to let me start working there…. and it was half the pay.  That situation has been going on since December.  This new opportunity allows me to be my current rank here, at double the pay.  Not that money is everything but since we plan to visit this country and continent so much while we’re here, some extra “casheesh” helps.  🙂  All is well.

We hope everyone had a beautiful Easter, we did as well.  Happy April Fool’s Day!  I had to explain to B this morning what a prank was and how to say, “April Fool’s” – I hope I don’t get a call about anything today.  😉

We’re sending all of our African love right back to all of our friends and family back in the States and beyond.  We wish you well always and continue to hold you in hugs and kisses.

Be well all.  Talk to you soon.

With Love,

Team Bonanno – A


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Post Leap Year greeting

Happy day-late Leap Year!  I soooo wanted to write to you on 29 February, but the day completely got away from me!  Hoping everyone enjoyed their Monday-Leap Year 2016- day!  Ours was a bit of the same old yesterday, albeit in South Africa- so it was still great!

Team Bonanno has been bUsY!  Bet I bet we all are busy, no?  We’ve been out to Pilanesburg National Park in South Africa – it was amazing!  So laid back, low key, fun, adventurous!  It was an absolutely fantastic trip!  We saw our first aggressive elephant in the wild – Amarula! He’s literally known for flipping vehicles when instigated, from what we heard.  He was amazing.  Loved seeing him so up close- and we have the photos to prove it ;).  I think my two favorite animals in Africa are giraffe’s and elephants.  Something about them…. and we witnessed our first “cat” in the wild too – a Lion!  We heard him and his brother roaring to each other in an attempt to meet up, but the sun was going down and we had to get out of the park for the night.  Amazing, truly fantastic experiences that will be marked on our brains for life!  We feel so blessed here.

For Valentine’s weekend (and President’s Day) we made it up into the Bela Bela area.  We had all of these amazing plans to go to Nature Reserve’s and to the “warmbaths” that Bela Bela is known for (literally its former name is Warmbaths).  But, we relaxed and stayed on the Lodge property for almost four whole days – at the pool, at the restaurants; the kids went fishing with Daddy, we saw African dancers before dinner times.  I visited the spa;).  It was a great trip to take a load off and indulge.

Now that March is here (Happy March!) we’ve got some big trips coming up: Madikwe near the border to Botswana, which has amazing game reserves we hear.  We’ve got our first camping trip planned down in Mpumalanga Province where I’ll help lead some yoga retreat classes and such.  Then, we’ve got Victoria Falls after that!  I’ve been talking about seeing Vic Falls (and now Chobe is added to the list) for well over a year now- since I knew we were coming to Africa!  I can’t wait to tell you about it.  BUT, you’ll have to come here to see it for yourself.  I grew up near Niagara Falls and that is spectacular- so this will be fascinating, I imagine…

The kids are great, plugging away at school.  B is involved in French lessons once per week as well as tennis lessons.  We’re interested in interesting him in golf since we love it and miss it and want our kids to join in with us as they grow older… actually, we love all sports and are so ready for our kids to love to hike with us, explore, play, swim, and much more!  They’re already starting, but now we’re ready to do more!  G takes swimming twice per week, does Kindermusik which we love, and she’s in ballet – she has her first actual real recital, on a big stage next week – we can’t wait!  She’s soooo excited.  If a girl could love dancing and ballet any more than she does I would be surprised!  She’s obsessed, loves all things girly !

Big B is doing great at work.  One of his goals is to run a half marathon this year and take the Army’s PT test soon – so he’s working out, running, and trying to get fit.  Work is good- super busy, but good.  He starts each day with a to do list and hopes to get it half way completed before the close of business each day…. some times unexpected things happen, some times it’s other stuff.  But it’s all interesting, so he’s busy, challenged, and doing well!

Me…. I still STILL need to complete my thesis.  BUT, since the last time I wrote, I’m now down to needing to finish writing one chapter and editing the rest of the thesis.  I actually compiled my thesis yesterday into one large document and had 91 pages.  Not bad.  Now, the cutting and editing and finalizing needs to commence…. my hoped for date to be done will be 11 March and I’m not going to make it.  I’m hoping for a short extension to get done within the next 60 days…..  because I have been gathering materials and having discussions about running for election for the AIS-J Board of Directors here.  It’s B’s International School here, so I’ve been writing essays and gathering resume information to apply to stand for an election to the Board.  So, my attention has been diverted.  I just have to get through this week and then start to tackle my thesis again next week – and finish it over the course of the next few weeks.  I WILL!  I MUST!

Plus, I got a job.  Kind of.  It’s for a US government agency and I’ve been told I’ve been offered the job, but I haven’t seen my offer letter yet nor do I have any idea when I would start.  Plus, I believe there may be a background check involved.  Time will tell.  If that gets finalized, I’ll be sure to update myself on LinkedIn.  😉

We’ve got some friends from the States making plans to come visit us – we can’t wait and I hope they do!  Things are great here.  Though there are times when I miss home.  But, I hear it’s 60 degrees (F) where we live, so that I don’t miss.  Still hot and sunny here, still in summer here in ZA.

Have a great March!  Sounds like it’s coming in like a lamb in the US.  Visit us, if it’s on your Bucket List!  We’d love to see you.

Be well.  Sending you all love and hugs from here.

With love,

Team Bonanno – A

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New Vision & Challenges for 2016

Happy New Year everyone, from Team Bonanno!

Been meaning to get this message out to everyone for a few weeks now!  Gigi finally returned to school here in ZA just late last week and by the next day we were off on another adventure!

We’re hoping everyone enjoyed their Christmas and New Year.  Ours was quaint and quiet – a bit different for us, buy joyful and relaxed.  Our New Year was spent with some wonderful new friends from Canada and South Africa – we had a great night ringing in the new year!  And we’ve been on two more safari’s already – in Pilanesberg National Park, about two hours from here.  If ever you find yourself in South Africa, you must add this location to your to-do list!  Next up for us will be Madikwe near the border of Botswana next month!  After that will be the famous Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe!  I grew up not far from Niagara Falls and it became like an, “oh yeah they’re alright after you’ve been there a few dozen times” so I can’t wait to see these and see how different or similar it is to that!

One thing I’m also excited about is our ’52 in 52′ list we’ve created for ourselves.  It’s a list whereby you create your 52 goals for the year, to be completed in 52 weeks.  B and I worked on ours together last week and I’m happy to share it here with you:

A’s 52 in 52 2016

  1. Send 5 postcards                                   27.  Attend a South African Futbol Game
  2. Meditate twice in one week                      28.  Create and Lead a Baptiste Workshop
  3. Make autumn loaf                                                   29.  Get another tattoo
  4. Bring the kids to a new place by myself            30.  Visit Victoria Falls (Bucket List!)
  5. Wake up at 0530 for an entire week               31.  See the Indian Ocean
  6. Read a classical book                                      32.  Attend an Opera
  7. Go down a water slide                                   33.  Do legitimate 40 Days Revolution prog.
  8. Random kindness Day                                   34.  Journal for at least one month
  9. Stay off of Facebook/Instagram for one week               35.  Find a great Jazz CD
  10. Finish Master’s Thesis                                                 36.  Sunbathe nude one day
  11. Finish ILE Phase 2                                   37.  Star Gaze one night during a celestial event
  12. Finish ILE Phase 3                                   38.  Take book from endless list and read it!
  13. Get Baptiste Yoga Certified                  39.  Visit a Planetarium
  14. Learn 8 more Sanskrit yogic terms               40.  Spend two hours practicing calligraphy
  15. Do a 4 Day silent retreat   41.  Watch children play with no distractions and foster this
  16. Attend an Art of Living class              42.  Plant a seed, care for it here, and leave it here
  17. Attend a Centre for Meditation course               43.  Learn to compost and do it
  18. Go Camping in the Bush in a tent                44.  Throw a fancy cocktail party – whole bit
  19. No phone for 24 hours                             45.  Write a white paper to be published in SWJ
  20. Run a 10K                                           46.  Watch ‘Som’ documentary
  21. Go Whale Watching in Hermanus   47.  Walk barefoot on a white sand beach (Mozam)
  22. Visit Soweto                                        48.  Get family photos taken of us in SA
  23. Learn to knit                                         49.  Purchase a beautiful hand blown glass vase
  24. Learn 5 Afrikaans phrases                              50.  See a Philharmonic Orchestra
  25. Watch a Cricket Match in person                             51.  Reduce debt by 85%
  26. Attend a Rugby Game   52.  Write letter to D. Michalski                                                         53. Visit an Art Museum

B’s 52 in 52 List

  1. Learn 10 Italian Phrases                   27. Take a photography class or learn the camera
  2. Camp one night alone in the Bush               28. See a Lion and a Leopard in the wild
  3. Visit Soweto                                                      29.  Make a batch of homemade cookies
  4. Visit Victoria Falls                              30.  Write a letter to myself to be opened in 30 years
  5. See the Indian Ocean in person           31.  Go on a fishing trip – ocean commercial liner
  6. Attend an Opera                                  32.  Have a conversation with P. Maggio
  7. Sunbathe nude one day                                   33.  Track down Mommy Ree and Daddy Hun
  8. Star gaze- watch an important celestial event        34.  Shoot the pocket cannon
  9. Drink a rare Scotch no matter the price   35.  Learn how to start a fire without a match
  10. Kill an SA animal and get it mounted                      36.  Paint a picture
  11. No phone for 24 hours           37.  Build a 6-pack wooden beer holder with opener on it
  12. Do a completely anonymous thing for someone                38.  Read book on Boer War
  13. Run a half marathon                                39.  Buy a tailor made suit
  14. Go shark diving                    40.  Purchase a quality writing instrument w/ replacements
  15. Go on a Zipline                           41.  Buy a $100 bottle of wine and savor it
  16. Go whale watching                            42.  Find a special gift for mom’s birthday
  17. Camp completely alone for 48 hours                               43.  Grow a plant from a seed
  18. Read a book about Fishing                     44.  Write my daughter a poem
  19. Attend a Cricket Match                              45.  Join a Book Club
  20. Attend a Futbol/Soccer game                   46.  Read a biography on a person I despise
  21. Attend a Rugby game in person            47.  Plan a family trip without input, keep secret
  22. Get a dog trainer                                 48.  Watch movie Citizen Kane
  23. Build a model airplane with BAB                               49.  Shoot a Bow & Arrow
  24. Get a tattoo                                    50.  Do a NY Times Crossword Puzzle, minus cheating
  25. Read a book on hiking the Appalachian Trail                    51.  Get a 90 minute massage
  26. Learn a new recipe by heart                              52.  Visit an Art Museum

You can see how some of these are family-oriented, some are individual, some we may have done anyway – but they’re important to us this year.  Or, even if we don’t do all of these on this list, we can reevaluate whether we want to follow through and do it next year or drop it altogether.  I thought it would be fun to share and to see if others create their vision for the year with their spouses, or on their own, or if this is something new and unique!

As you can see, Team Bonanno is off to a great start.  Things are well and good here in ZA and we’re having an amazing time- loving our friends, our family, and our adventures!  All is well here and we hope all is well where you are too!

Sending you all merry and bright blessings for the new year!  Have a kick ass 2016!  Be well and we’ll talk to you soon!

With Love & Gratitude,

A & B

Team B out


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More like July 4th and less like Christmas

Greetings everyone,

I always mean to write….and then I don’t.  My phone has been reminding me to write to you here since September…and we’ve started December already.  So, Happy almost Merry Christmas!

To be honest, I miss New York – I miss the potential for a white Christmas.  I miss the cool, cold chilly air, and the preparation for snow – and the anticipation.  Here everyone’s talking about going on holiday for a month!  Literally this country shuts down for a month and everyone swarms to the ocean (the Cape or Durban) and plants themselves on beach chairs for the holiday season.  Not what I’ve been used to in my almost 37 years in New York.  But it’s a fun, new exciting anticipatory experience, nonetheless.

Awhile back I wanted to let you know how South Africa works – in interesting ways.  In ways that we never experienced, didn’t anticipate, and made us puzzled or intrigued.  Driving here was our biggest change – driving on the left hand side of the road.  Turning from the far left to the far left…. but we’ve become used to it.  The drivers themselves, however need some more practice and patience, and manners.  But I guess we have the same thing in the States too.  😉

All is well here.  Many people refer to ZA as “Africa-lite”.  As in, the poverty and the under-developedness (is that even a word?!), and the infrastructure isn’t as extreme as it is in the rest of the continent.  Things roll pretty smooth here, as long as you don’t venture out at 3am, until the power goes out (a huge problem here we’re told but we really haven’t experienced it too much yet), or there’s a huge car accident and no one wore their seat belts, or similar stories.  In essence, things are fine here, until something changes your perception, and you’re reminded you’re in Africa after all.  If that makes sense.  I’m muddling what I’m trying to get across.  Harken back to USA 1980’s – it’s kind of like that here.  But, all is well.

The food here has been great – I haven’t seen one restaurant from the States here (not counting a few fast food places, which isn’t our thing).  We’ve eaten at places called Mythos, Ocean Basket, Ritrovo, Col Cocchio’s, Cappuchino’s, Stephnie’s, Tribeca, Life (my favorite), Harissa, and more.  All very tasty and good and the price is far lower than we would experience in Upstate NY.  A glass of wine here is about $2 and a bottle can be as low as $7 for the table.

The kids are doing great in their respective schools.  B has even begun speaking more British-like, thanks to the heavy influences here in ZA.  He says, “tomAto” and “holiday” (as opposed to vacation), and other similar words.  Gigi even speaks with the British- A more in her words too, like “wAter”… you get the idea. 😉

We’ve ventured out and around Pretoria the most so far while here but have just finally been to Cape Town (as of the American holiday we call Thanksgiving).   We flew down there last week to visit and stayed in a nice home in Franschhoek, a wine region outside of Cape Town.  Then, we even got to see some of “CT” and plan to go back to see so much more!

We’ve got family planning to come in next week to visit and hopefully more friends into 2016!

Making plans to visit Botswana (and the Victoria Falls, God willing), Mauritius Islands off of ZA, and much more!  We’re even planning to visit Kruger National Park for the first time and Swaziland before the new year comes.

All is well here, who wouldn’t doubt it.

Thanks for sharing in the journey of our lives.  May you all have peace and joy this holiday season.  Know that we’re sending our love and hugs from here.

…Let’s go to South Africa and see the world…. the adventure awaits….

With Love & Gratitude,

Team Bonanno-A

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We’ve arrived

While we may have many many more updates than what is provided here, here is the latest on #TeamBonanno:

We spent a week in Stuttgart, GE back in late July.   It was neat for the kids and I to see a European US military base.  I don’t think I’ve ever been to one in my career.  We then flew out through Istanbul and arrived in Pretoria on Thursday, 8/6. They drive on the opposite side of the road, so that was my biggest hurdle to overcome.  Traffic here is insane! Traffic/driving/vehicles are literally the #1 killer here and it’s evident why- people cross the road everywhere, ride several to the backs of vehicles (like we did in the ’80’s in America), beggars are at several main intersections. But it’s enjoyable here too. Everyone is literally so kind and friendly. Everywhere I go, they’re grabbing and hugging and holding Gracie and her hair! Ha ha!  The South African people are so friendly, so warm, and smiley.  Once we got B into his school and settled, the focus became getting G set up in school.  She’ll attend another Montessori, quite similar to the one at ‘home’ in NY.  The owner has owned this Montessori for 16 years and is also a Psychologist. And gave me a pamphlet on Logotherapy, that she does. Helps kids to find their purpose in life, at a young age. Interesting. I’m open minded. Smiling face (black and white)

B’s campus is BEAUTIFUL. It reminds me of a mini college:  well manicured lawns, beautiful stunning playgrounds, gorgeous rooms and buildings. State of the art. While he’s being forced to redo Kindergarten, they’ve assured us they differentiate learning and tailor it to the child. I truly hope this is a good school for his growing breadth of learning. He walked out of class today holding a girl’s hand. Flushed face. He’ll start French lessons today for about an hour or so each week. Next year he’ll be able to stay after school and participate in after school activities, Kindergartners aren’t allowed to participate. Boo.

Big B is super busy at work and has a million tasks to do each day.  Literally a million.  He’s had a steep learning curve on who is who, and who needs to know what, and where are they, he’s been mired in his job daily and comes home with really unique and interesting stories.

We are still waiting to move into our new home, one that was assigned to us.  But while we wait, I’ve been meeting with other mothers from the Parent’s Association of B’s school.  One of them teaches yoga and we’re going to collaborate!  …after I finish my Master’s thesis from NPS and put a big dent into my own Army “ILE” training tho 😉

While this trip has certainly been out of our comfort zone and an experience none of us would ever be able to have otherwise, we do miss parts of being in NY and at home. Everyone says two years will go by quick. Every day I believe that’s a good thing and a bad thing.

Things here are getting better.  Each day our cicle of what we know and understand grows. I had a rough couple weeks here at first, it hasn’t been all roses.  And Gigi just got over being sick for four days, so I’ve finally started knocking things off my to-do list.  I even went for a local quick run around here today.  I only ran for 16 minutes due to the higher altitude, which was surprisingly a bit harder than I expected.  I’m teaching my first US Embassy-related power yoga class tomorrow morning at 0530.  It’s just not as safe here and open and wide and free like it is at home, so I feel closed in a lot more, more confined.

But I’m getting there.  I know I said it before, but the people here are truly fantastic.  When you wave or smile at a random stranger, they always give a big big smile right back.

It’s an adventure, right?  It’s a journey, not a destination.  I’ll try to write much more often.  I am trying to find a job here but it’s also nice to hold down the fort with and for the kids since B’s schedule is going to start becoming really hectic and busy.  We’ll see what happens.

Be well friends and family and loved ones.  We are on facebook, instagram, and twitter, so there are other ways we try and keep in touch too.  Stay healthy and well & consider coming to visit us 😉

Happy Wednesday!  Happy almost Labor too, Americans!  🙂


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Changes, updates, inquiries, to do lists, and more, Oh My!

Holy moly; what a whirlwind of activity we have been experiencing…well all of our years lately.  But specifically the last four months have been extremely busy!

Let me see, where to begin from where we left off…. !

Household “6” (that’s me) finished my Master’s degree BUT I still owe my thesis – eek!  I keep slipping further and further behind on it in an effort to streamline what we have going on in the house and around us here in preparation for our move to South Africa!

Holy moly, right!

B got his orders (three months after the fact, ridiculous, but I digress…) and has been officially working through various levels and chains of command and plethora of people to get passports, orders, visas, housing, schools, travel, shipments, job requirements all understood, renting of houses, house care, plans worked on, agreed to, and moving ahead.

It’s been a heavy, heavy (sometimes daunting, but always eager for the adventure) load to experience.  Of course B is always high-spirited, excited, eager, and ready to do anything to get ‘it all’ ready so we can pull up our anchor here and fly away onto the next crazy busy but awesome adventure in our life… the journey continues, right?!

The past four days specifically has been a roller coaster but things got ‘fixed’, changed and updated this morning, so we’re back on track.  In other words, B’s orders were amended by people in Germany, meaning his start date would be delayed.  That would have affected his civilian employment position.  It would have affected our household shipping date, and things I’ve put into motion.  But common sense prevailed, his orders were reinstated, and we’re almost back on track.  Then the rails came off again this morning when we were given the great news of our housing placement overseas!….but with the caveat that it wouldn’t be ready until September!  Zoiks!  The kids are supposed to start school in early August.  We’re trying to soften the transition and change as much as we can and get the kids on track and into a new routine for this move, but these types of things are unexpected and tripping us up.  That’s why we’re Team Bonanno though- in it to win it, in it with and for each other!

B has had to remind me a few times now that we will have to endure several hardships over the coming years- professionally, personally, in life, in living, in travel throughout this experience and more but we must always be grateful for all of it and enjoy the adventure we’re on!  He’s a wise, wise man, right?  <so blessed>.

The kids are doing well in school.  B will complete kindergarten in June and G is still in pre-school.  Great ages for a two year adventure overseas!

With one school behind me, B & I have both taken on yet another military school – ILE.  Intermediate Level Education.  It’s what you do once you become a Major before you can make Lt. Colonel.  So, from one school’s frying pan into the next.  Bring it.  I’m so burnt out, I’m just going with the flow and doing whatever I can whenever I can.  Or I can say: I’m so smart, this stuff is cake by now.  Depending on which day it is those two phrases will be my mantras.

I have been teaching yoga consistently since February.  I picked up two more teaching opportunities per week at another location – a spot that is working to become affiliated with the very kind of yoga I teach!  It’s all very exciting.  Hot yoga and Baptiste are where it’s at for me and I do love it, enjoy it, and I find plenty of challenges in it.  It’s a bit sad to see my dual-Bachelors degrees, two Master’s degrees, and five Military Operational Specialties (MOS’ – job skills) go unused mostly…..  BUT I’ll get back to it one day.  Some how.  I’d love to find a way to combine yoga with those degrees- and there are things happening with bringing yoga to Palestinian or Jewish people abroad to help them cope with PTSD or depression and other ailments… but I’m not ‘there’ yet with that.  I have an extreme interest in Countering Violent Extremism (which is what my thesis topic tries to help explore and solve) but combining it with yoga… hmmm… things that remain to be seen, if at all.  Or, I’ll just take this yoga-focused time and deal with changes I’m experiencing, refresh myself, and come back to the professional world of blackberry’s, white papers, and excel spreadsheets in due time.  That is what I plan to do while overseas- work there for the mission.  BUT, it all remains to be seen.

So, there we are.  B is home a bit longer than we expected.  We’ll move into a great home for two years by September.  In the meantime other things are just up in the air and we’re dealing with it.  Laughing and drinking and wondering helps us to ponder the adventure, and it makes us enjoy the journey that much more!

Please consider coming to visit us over there.  We’d love to host you.  We’ve been telling people that if you get the plane tix, we’ll cover room & board 🙂  Seriously.

South Africa has everything from wine country in Cape Town along the coast, to the other coast in Durban, to African safari, to lush preserves, waterfalls, city life, and a million other amazing things in between.

Lots of great, fun, amazing things happening.  It’s during the trying times when we’re reminded of our strength, our resiliency, and our love.  Through it all we’ll always have each other.  Goooooo Team Bonannooooooo!!!!!!!

Join us in the journey of our lives, the adventure continues…..

A out.

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The Long While

2015 0216 Me & Kids 2Well hello.

In an effort to avoid writing words for a thesis paper for school, I instead will use these words to write on our blog and to say hello.  Happy belated St. Valentine’s Day too everyone.

I am [    (this close)   ] to finishing my Master’s program in Homeland Security.  Every word that I should be creating right now should be for a 50-60-75 or more page thesis on deterring violent extremism!

So many changes have been occurring to our little family and life that I am bursting with news.  B accepted a position in the Guard that will take us to South Africa for two years, or more.  He’ll leave in a few months and I’ll follow with our kids a few weeks after that, once he gets things settled for us.  Talk about BIG changes!  We’re hoping with all of my credentials and MOS’s (Army capabilities/job skills) that finding me a good job shouldn’t be too difficult for us.  Here’s to hoping, anyway!

The kids are good and somewhat excited for the adventure that awaits us!  Being 5 and 2 years old, it doesn’t seem like much in theory now but we know they’ll enjoy our new journey once we begin it and remember it for years to come.  These are the ages (and stages) where real transformation and growth take place.  What we’ll be doing promises to be a truly unique cultural and life exchange that we never would have ever thought we’d experience, let alone for two years or more!  As a family!!  Together!!!

Lil B (rather, he’s ‘B’ now.  Daddy is ‘Big B’) will attend First and Second grades overseas and we think we’ll return to NY just before GiGi begins Kindergarten.  I’ve already added the Victoria Falls to my bucket list of things we all have to see once we get settled in down there.  Ha!

Yoga for me has been going well.  I’m a beginner.  Just started instructing, so that’s a new experience for me.  An adventure, if you will.  I teach two nights a week now.  Looking forward to the next Level which I’ll attend right before we leave NY.  It’s my church, my inspiration and my lifeblood.  But having to describe it to others and provide them the inspiration that I feel, has been my challenge.  I want to share what I know and have learned and yet under the ‘spotlight of teaching’ I’m finding it hard to grasp the words I want to share all of those things that I think matter in the art of practicing and doing yoga to attain self-awareness.  But, I’m not creating drama around it.  I’m just acknowledging my challenges and providing awareness to them to further grow and learn from the art of doing yoga and teaching it.  A few of my friends who are also new to teaching are experiencing the same dilemmas, so we’re all trying to grow and do.

This is a quick update and a ‘here’s what we’ve got going on’ post.  As we know more, we’ll share more.  Cloaked in our cryptology of an online accessible public blog.

You all be well.  STAY WARM!  And cheers to you.  We’ll be in touch.  We always are… sooner or later 🙂

—   Team Bonanno – A

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