Hi, my name is Claressa Swanepoel

I was born and raised in South Africa; was trained as a computer-programming analyst and served in this profession for the past 20 years. In the beginning of 1999, I was approached by a United States based personnel agency to do contract work over here and was officially employed during October 1999.

Our family have settled in a wonderful community and we enjoy living in the U.S.A. The people in our town are accommodating, kind, helpful and very laid-back. Crime is very low and it takes me only 7 minutes to drive to work! Whoa!!.... Long gone are the days that it took me an hour and 30 minutes to cover 8km from Randpark to Sandton, South Africa. Remember those days?

There is not much of a difference between life in South Africa and living in the USA. This helped us much in our adaptation. In fact, it did not take us very long to fall into a general routine such as going to work, going to movies, working out, visiting friends, (watching rugby), barbeque, and going to church. I guess it all starts with the latter. We got involved with a wonderful and fun filled church in Burlington, NC, through which we became involved in all kinds of activities. This helped us to acclimatize to our environment, and also to meet more friends which in turn helped us to settle in much quicker. Look at the photo my husband chose for this web site! I was not really ready, willing and happy that my picture be taken at the time.

Meet my hubby! How much easier do you want things to be? These engine driven lawn mowers are relatively inexpensive and almost everybody owns one. And many of them come with cup holders too! Eishh.... Most Americans are not so much into gardening as we are in South Africa - the soil (clay) that they have over here just does not allow them to. So what they do when they get back from work is to jump on their tractor mowers and quickly mow the lawn - and that takes care of the week-end's activities in the garden.

Pieter is currently following the MBA program at the Elon University Elon, North Carolina, hoping to complete most of his studies closer to the beginning of next year.

Our hopes are that this day may come sooner than later, not only because it would bring an end to the final phase of our relocation, but there is still so much for us to do. We enjoy traveling very much and would really like to do so again as soon as we can. Although we have not yet been to New York, we have seen most of America’s East Coast (from Maryland to as far south as Fort Lauderdale, Miami and the Bahamas). We need to see the West Coast, especially California, Oregon, maybe Washington State (we have been to Vancouver, close to Seattle), and definitely some of the major nature reserves, such as Yellowstone and Grand Teton, Wyoming, the Olympic rainforest in Washington, as well as Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. We recently purchased an old secondhand Bronco to accommodate all our camping equipment. Hopefully it will also transport us faithfully to all these interesting places.

I have two great kids, Pieter (Jr.) and Roelof, pictured here after a cross country race. They have really adapted well and have made some very good friends. This photograph was taken a few years ago. Pieter was a junior at the time while Roelof was a sophomore (standards 9 & 7 respectively, in South African terms). Nowadays, both of them are at college. Pieter is studying towards a degree in Computer Science, while Roelof intends to go to pre-med school. Time flies.

The boys competed at some of the most scenic places imaginable. This specific race was held somewhere close to Greensboro, NC. It was great to go out in the early mornings to watch our kids run, and we will always be thankful to them for getting us to see and enjoy some of these scenic sites in our county. I have posted a few thumbnails of images on our photo gallery. Make sure to look at some of them. North Carolina is truly a beautiful state - everywhere where you may want to go.

I greet you with a photo of our church. Where it all started, as I said. This picture was taken during Pieter's graduation. Most churches in America traditionally honor the members of their congregations who have graduated from school or college during the year. It is always a colorful and happy occasion and obviously one of the highlights on our church calendar. This was also the last graduation service in this worship center - we have since then moved into a much bigger and modern facility. Photos of our new worship center is posted elsewhere.