Thursday, January 17, 2013

I'm in America now, 12 things to 'get over'

moving to a new country is by no means easy.

nope, not at all.

new everything. new home, new (at some stage)job, new people, new rules, new language, new favorite bar, new favorite tv station, new seasons ... the list goes on.

i love new, really i do. but what often gets me is not that everything is so 'new' but more what 'isn't no more'.

no more family home, no more job i know and love, no more friends close by, no more afrikaans, no more sushi with belinda or sunday church with rosalye and karlin, no more sunshine, no more many things.

and this for me is what gets hard.

i find myself often complaining/noting/whispering/sarcastically pointing difference out to ben.  who by law is now obliged to listen my many observations of 'this is different in Johannesburg South Africa'. bless his heart.

recently i discovered how annoying i've become about certain issues or differences or what ever they are.  so i've made a list of things that are just different here, not always for the better, not always for the worse, it's just how it is. and by saying something about every time is just holding me back.

time to deal woman.

1. it's winter
yes, it's summer back home, and people are complaining about some sort of heat wave or whatever, but for me, it's winter, it's freaking cold, and will remain so for, what, the next 4 months?
deal with it.

2. wine and fruit are more expensive.
no need to roll your eyes at the paying R60 for a bag of clementines, or R45 for strawberries. Even the usual R60-80 for a bottle of wine.

what am i saying, we discovered the 2buck chuck at Trader Joes... it's less than R20... what was i sulking about again? never mind... oh, fruit! yes, comparatively it is pricey. and will remain to be so.
so get over it and drink more wine.

3. they drive on the other side of the road here.
as they did in Hanoi, so seriously, i should get over this too. stop walking all the way to the driver seat... every time.

4. people have bigger space bubbles here.
i've mentioned this before, and while it still strikes me as odd i do need to get over that too. i've discovered that i'm actually getting used to saying 'excuse me' when i walk with in earshot of strangers.

5. green card
it's expensive yes, but we've paid sent it all off.  stop sulking about how expensive it was, and how nerve wrecking the wait is. it's my own fault for falling in love with an attractive, adorable American. get the card, move on... to happily every after.

6. lack of violent crime
there's no point in explaining how certain crimes would not even make the local newspaper never mind the evening news.  i need to stop rolling my eyes at stories like ' sock monkey Christmas wreath stolen' 'man with pants around ankles tries to get into homes' ... crime is never funny. and pointing out how countless murders and violent crime is almost a boring fixture in Jo'burg is not amusing. 

7. friends and family are far.
while this sucks, it's time to get over it. not stop missing them, just deal until they are not so far anymore. this is by far the hardest part.

8.  showing ID when buying wine.
stop saying "now that's compliment", because they have to ask if you look under 40... so the Trader Joe cashier is not flirting, he's doing his job. Also, I should rather be more concerned when not asked for ID.

9. South African slang.
people here don't know what 'braai', 'bakkie', 'tekkies', 'lekker' is. and that's okay. from now on its BBQ, truck, sneakers and __________ no english word can possible have as many meaning as 'lekker'. so, stop it.

10. Measurements.
Learn about pounds, inches, ounces, miles, yards and so forth.  i can not always rely on my smart husband to translate the differences in measurements.  i'm here and that's just how it is.

11. Trader Joe's is the closete things to Woolworths
and i like it.

12. Parking
yes, it's easier to find parking in Johannesburg, congratulations, now get over it.

so there, 12 things to work on for me. so if you'll excuse i'll go give myself a splash of cold water and a slap and continue being happily married, exploring Spokane and dreaming of summer...
  because has hard as adjusting and starting over is, it's totally worth it, now that i've discovered where the 2.5usd wine is now that i'm with my beloved and have proper winter shoes.


  1. Wait!? Explain "space bubbles" to me? Is it that Americans need more space (e.g., they get annoyed if you get too close)? Or that they take up more space (e.g., by shouting about their latest sexual exploit in a public space or something like that)? Or something else entirely?

  2. Tannie Amanda hulle (my ma se sussie) het begin laas jaar Seattle toe getrek. So ek reken as jy lus het om seker die afstand van jhb tot durban te ry, is daar iemand om mee afrikaans te praat... Kan nogal sien hoe ek dieselfde reaksie as jy sou he met meeste van die veranderinge. Geniet dit!

  3. Sarah: now that you mention it i guess a bit of both. i mean the actual distance thing, it concerns me more than it should i think... like when am i being rude or what. so mostly that. i haven't experienced this so much in the big American cities, just here mostly. I don't mind overhearing about latest exploits actually... i don't get out much.

    Nino: hehe, dankie Nino, wat maak hulle in Seattle? Ek dink julle moet bietjie kom kuier dan maak julle sommer 'n draai hier by ons! Thanks vir die comment x

  4. I am really enjoying your blog!! Things must be really different here!! Hugs! :)

    1. Thank you Carolynn! Things are in some ways exactly the same too, so it's always fun to notice that at the same time. Thanks for stopping by ;)