Name: Lani Jooste
Family: Married to Albert, with two children, Gerhan and Rone
Profession: Immigration Consultant
Years in Grenfell: 5 1/2
How old were you when you got married and where was it?
I was 27 when I got married. We got married in the same church that my grandma got married in. It's a really old church, the first one that was built actually, in the town I grew up in. It's called Vryheid, in South Africa. It's a really nice big, old sandstone church. We got married in the afternoon, then had our reception at a game farm. We went on a game drive when we went to do our pictures. We had our photos done in the bush belt - like by thorn trees and old ruins. Our venue was small, so our wedding wasn't really big. About 100 people.
What did you do straight out of high school?
I went to university, wanting to be a vet. It wasn't quite what I expected. I thought we were going to start off with animals, but you start off with science and biology. So after the first year I changed to a B. Comm in statistics, but I didn't finish that either. It was math and statistics, which I enjoyed a little bit more, but then I stopped with studying and started working as a trader, in foreign exchange. I worked for a stock broker. I did study for that, but it is a shorter course that you do at the stock exchange. That was basically my first three years after I left high school.
How did you meet your spouse?
Albert was working in England and I had just come back from working on a cruise ship in the Bahamas as a massage therapist and fitness instructor. My sister and Albert's parents were neighbors. They knew each other, and I went to go visit my sister. Albert and my sister's husband got to be friends when he was back at home. So we started to get to know eachother through those connections. He tried to get me to be interested in him for about a year before we went on our first date. Within a month of that, we got engaged! That was January, and we got married in September.
When you hear the word Saskatchewan, what does it make you think?
Flat. When we first got here, Ken and Shauna (Dimler) picked us up from the airport. It was July. Shauna asked what we thought. We had gone for a drive around Regina, and that was really pretty, but then we got on the #1 highway, and it was so flat. The roads were so straight. We are so used to windy roads, and mountains and valleys. In 2015 we went on a trip to B.C. and we thought it would be so nice to see the mountains, but we found it so nice to leave there actually. You can't see. You can't see anything. Just to come out of that was like a breath of fresh air, to be able to see everything again. So in the beginning, what we thought might not be so nice, is what we really enjoy.
Have you ever relocated for love?
Yes, because when we got married, I moved to where Albert's family lived. It was a 7 hour drive from where I lived. I moved to their farm, because that was where he worked. We built a house there. We were there five years, before we moved to Canada.
What's on your bucket list?
I think I've already done a lot of the stuff on my bucket list. But I like to travel, so there's still a few places on the travel bucket list to go. What I would like to do is to go see some castles in Scotland. Maybe do a trip on the canals on a boat. You can get off at some of the places and check out the castles. I'd love to see other places too. We've done a fair bit of travelling, but there's always more places to see.
What has been your biggest challenge?
I would say probably coming here, to Canada. It was making the decision that was hard. Weighing up leaving your family, and everything you've known forever, and packing up your 2 and 4 year old and moving to a completely new place, where you have no idea how it's going to pan out. It was hard for me and Albert to be on the same page about it. At some points I would say yes, I think we should go, and he wouldn't be sure. Then he would be on the other side saying he was ready, but then I wasn't sure. The day that we were both on the same page, we decided we wouldn't turn back and we would just go for it. There was a lot of praying, and trusting, but not knowing what's next. We just went in blind in a way. Albert had sent out hundreds of resumes, but only one guy called back. He was a colleague of Ken and Shauna's. He said thanks for the resume, but he'd just hired another South African. Then he asked if we would mind if he forwarded our resume on to someone else, and that was to the Dimlers. They contacted us, and that was an answer to prayer. We prayed really specifically that we wanted to be somewhat close to a city, and we wanted to work for people that shared the same faith as us, and we got it all. It worked out so well, just trusting God to figure it all out for us, and here we are, five years later.
Describe your perfect day.
A perfect day for me would be sunshine, and no wind. And just spending it with the family. It's nice to do something together as a family. We like doing things outside, like hiking.
What scar do you have that tells the best story?
I have one up here on my eyebrow. I was about 7 or 8 and we played crochet. It was a really intense game, and we were with a bunch of friends. The one friend was going to cheat, and I didn't want friends fighting, so I bent down to pick up the ball, and the friend went to hit the ball, and my eye was in the way. The other scar is on my lower back. I was around 5 maybe. I can still remember it. Our yard then had a big hill and my dad made us a rope swing. It had a big tree and I was swinging on it. He was busy working in the garden and he had a wheelbarrow out. He told us not to go on the swing, because it was there nearby, and we'd get hurt if we landed on it. I of course didn't listen, and I went on the swing. The swing turned, and I went full force into the handle of the wheelbarrow. It had a steel handle, and it hit me on the back. I couldn't walk, and my dad was yelling at me that he told me not to do it. He told me to go to my mom, but I told him I couldn't move. When he realized I couldn't walk, then he felt bad for me. I couldn't walk for about two hours, so they were pretty worried, but then eventually I was o.k. Now I have the circle of the handle imprinted on my back. After that, I listened a little better.
Talk about a dangerous situation you've been in.
I was working on the cruise ship during Hurricane Katrina. That was pretty scary. The cruise that I did was from Jacksonville, FL to Key West to the Bahamas. We were on that route when the hurricane came through. The whole of Key West was under water, so we couldn't stop there for 3 or 4 weeks. The cruises go for three or four days, and we had just picked up some people. Our first stop would have been Key West, but we couldn't stop there, so we spent three days on the water, floating around, trying to maneuver out of the worst of it. The first deck that is open is the tenth floor. The people weren't allowed to go outside at all. The wind was so bad that if a door shut on you, it would chop your arm off. The waves were up to that tenth floor. They had to keep draining the pool, but a half an hour later it would be full from the waves crashing over the deck. All the people were sick. They would come out of the dining room and be green. It was so dangerous. Your bed can't move, because it's of course attached to the wall. But every now and again you'd fall out. You couldn't sleep. The captain of the ship gave us a print out of the satellite picture, and there was a tropical storm on either side of the ship. We were right in the middle. Luckily he sent us that after the whole thing was over, because if I had seen that while we were in the middle of it, I would have freaked out if I'd known how bad it was.
Another situation was actually right before I got on the ship. I had to do some training in London and there was a gym we needed to go to for some yoga training. We needed to take the subway to get to that gym. At the station where we had to go through, there were nail bombs that had gone off. That was 2005, and there was a lot of stuff happening in London at that time. That was pretty scary. We were having lunch just right above the station when the nail bombs went off. I don't think anyone was killed in that incident, but a lot of people were injured. They closed the station for a few days after that because they had to do investigations and stuff, so we had to find a different route for the rest of our time there.