Joburg Expat: Home Leave

August 31, 2010

Home Leave

I just thought I'd drop a few lines to tell you I haven't vanished from the face of the Earth, but my family and I are on home leave in the U.S., enjoying a hot and humid summer and the company of good old friends. South Africa seems far, far away. But I do miss it. I miss the cool crisp mornings with the promise of another beautiful day in the air; the wide toothy (and toothless) smiles of people asking how I'm doing today; the dramatic landscapes of the highveld dotted with short stubby trees; the beautiful lilt of South African English; the birdsong concerts in the early morning. And I miss the slower pace of life in general.

On the other hand, here are the things I absolutely LOVE here in the U.S.A.:

  • Water fountains and free ice water pretty much everywhere
  • Baseball (even the Royals)
  • You won't believe this, but the hot and humid weather
  • Pee warm lake water you can hang out in all day
  • The sound of crickets
  • Turning on red
  • Hawker-free intersections (although I have to say they do kind of grow on you)
  • Parking anywhere I want, without an attendant waving from behind me who I'm afraid I'll run over
  • Plastic money (I came without a dime in cash and haven't needed any, zip, nada - Amex all the way)
  • Wide open highways
  • The ability to buy anything I can dream of at any time of day or night
  • More specifically, shopping at Target
  • Our president
  • Our group of wonderful friends

6 comments :

Maryanne said...

I love this post, Sine! Funny and poignant ways to describe your love of two very different places. Safe travels home - wish we'd gotten to see you!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Maryanne...I find it facinating what you miss about the US. Hope you had a nice visit. How is the schooling going in Joburg? We miss you. Melissa

Kate said...

Sine - glad that you are enjoying your trip. Thank you for sharing it is so interesting to me to hear about a country so far away! Travel back safely!

Sine said...

Thanks for the feedback! It's funny, I first meant to make a list of "likes and dislikes" about the US and I could have sworn I had some dislikes in mind when I first thought it up, but then as I sat down to type I could only come up with things I love! You really only ever appreciate the US fully when you've been gone for a long time. Funny how you miss the silliest things, right? At least this is what came to mind without thinking too much. Melissa - schooling in Joburg is great, very different in some ways, but also much the same. Read my post about schools a while back for lots of details.

W. A. Jeffrey said...

So you can't turn left on red in SA? Strange. Maybe it is just Johannesburg, but South Africa is loaded with different cricket species, just not the kind you find in the american midwest.

Yep, I don't believe you on the humidity. I can't imagine ever missing that.

The plastic money thing confuses me. I thought credit cards were very common in SA.

I know a lot of people who love Target but I've always been more of a Wal-Mart kind of guy.

The next to the last one is a head scratcher, but I guess he would be very appealing to Europeans.

Sine said...

Ah, so we're going to have to part ways on our like/dislike of the president:-)

You know, I hadn't been to Walmart in decades, mostly out of habit, but went the other day when at a lacrosse tournament far from home and wanting a nice chair to sit in with a blanket to keep me warm, and came out of the local Walmart so happy that I found what I wanted within minutes AND of course it was totally cheap but also really good quality. It kind of grew on me again then. I might have to go back there more often.

Credit card are indeed common but cash is still needed more often than the US. though I suppose that is changing with even more mobile phone friendly kinds of banking cropping up.

Yes, as far as I know you can't turn left on red anywhere in SA. You wouldn't be able to anyway in most places because of the throngs of pedestrians present on any given intersection.