Joburg Expat: You're no Longer New to South Africa when...

March 5, 2012

You're no Longer New to South Africa when...

  • you ask for tomaaaahto sauce to go with your hamburger
  • you say "shame" in every other sentence
  • you  trust the parking guard waving you backwards
  • you don't find it weird that the parking guard calls you "Mami"
  • you say you'll do it "just now" and promptly forget about it, without feeling guilty
  • you no longer think a pig is being slaughtered in your bedroom when the hadedas wake you up in the morning
  • you no longer write down the reference numbers given you by Eskom customer service
  • you politely wave at minibus taxis as they pass you illegally and then squeeze in in front of you
  • you automatically carry your passport with you everywhere you go
  • you simply shrug your shoulders when there is no water coming out of the tap; you don't even call your neighbor to see if they have water coming out of the tap
  • you unplug all your TVs, modems, and computers when you hear thunder
  • you are no longer outraged when three robots in a row are not working
  • you no longer wonder how they could call it a robot in the first place
  • you no longer convert prices from rands to dollars and wonder how on Earth a pair of kids tennis shoes can cost the equivalent of $130
  • you don't rush out to play in the sun every chance you get, because by now you know that as sure as death and taxes, tomorrow the South African sun will shine just as beautifully as it does today
  • you think it's completely normal that to sign up for a new service of any kind you have to bring fifteen different documents and make three trips spanning several weeks before it's approved
  • you are not confounded by the choice of "boerewors" or "prego roll" on your child's class social signup sheet
  • you know that chocolate chips must be bought at the baking specialty store
  • you no longer find it strange that the appliances you buy in South African stores don't actually come with plugs that fit into South African electric outlets
  • you no longer suffer a near heart-attack when a traffic cop stops you and tells you he could have you arrested; in fact, you are almost wistful you've never been able to blog about being arrested
  • the offer to participate in a dried-impala-poop-spitting contest doesn't gross you out
  • you're excited to find a bill in your mailbox because it's such an event when a letter makes it all the way through the system
  • you are not offended to have to watch a sport that is like basketball except there is no backboard, no layup, and no dribbling
  • you're beginning to think that a bunch of men in tight short shorts throwing the football to each other underhanded do look sexy
  • you only occasionally wonder why it couldn't have been the Italians settling the Cape Colony instead of the Dutch while you're dunking a rusk into your Rooibos tea
  • it doesn't strike you as strange that there are five different emergency numbers to choose from
  • you think it is perfectly normal that your visa expired five months ago and that you are expected to travel using the flimsy "confirmation of application" letter you received from the Department of Home Affairs
  • you are not one bit surprised when the "confirmation of application" letter is not recognized by the Department of Home Affairs agent at the airport
  • you're on home leave sitting in your car at the gas station and wondering why the hell no one is showing up to put petrol in your tank for you
  • you've forgotten how your washing machine works
  • you come back to the United States and you realize that life is moving twice as fast as you are

We arrived in South Africa exactly two years ago on March 5, 2010. It has been a great ride. And we are officially no longer new to South Africa.

19 comments :

sonofA said...

"You only occasionally wonder why it couldn't have been the Italians settling the Cape Colony instead of the Dutch while you're dunking a rusk into your Rooibos tea"

What are you referencing here?

Love the blog!!!

Jenna said...

hahaha this is great! Yes, yes, and yea - I can relate to everything on this list!

Thanks for the laugh :)

xxx
Jenna

Sine said...

@sonofA: I'm referencing having to eat a rusk with Rooibos tea instead of a biscotti (far superior to the rusk) with a cappuccino (granted, they do have cappuccinos here).

2Summers said...

Happy anniversary to you too!

Jozie Days said...

Haha! I love your list - and can I add
* you roll down the window at the traffic light and give the vendor cash for a new cell phone cover that you will collect from him tomorrow (as he does not have the colour that you want), and then you collect it the next day! ;)

Paige said...

Loved this Sine! Am proud to say that I in the 6 months since we arrived, we are not so new to South Africa based on your list :) Love the new blog look.

nikkimoffitt said...

Hi Sine - I hope its OK if I share this link with the Durban expats Facebook group - too good not too ;)

nikkimoffitt said...

Hi Sine - I hope its OK if I share this link with the Durban expats Facebook group - too good not too ;)

Stephanie said...

I took my car into get serviced yesterday and thought of you. I cleaned it out before (we had R100 emergency stash in the glove compartment stolen last time that we had forgotten about). But, I forgot about the Leatherman tool that was in a little cubby. My husband picked the car up and was pretty excited to still find it on the seat -- examined when they cleaned the car but not stolen and those things are EXPENSIVE here. Oh and you forgot about how much South Africans say sorry all the time! :-) Shame and sorry are now my biggest vocabulary items (but definitely better than like).

Sine said...

@Jozie DAys: I LOVE that one, so true! I totally forgot, I did the same thing, gave the street vendor R400 advance for a cabinet and my husband thought I was crazy, and when the guy called me back to tell me it was ready, it was the first time ever in South AFrica that somebody had called me back exactly when they had promised.

Sine said...

@nikki: of course, we love the publicity! BTW I was thinking of you last weekend, as we did our first practice hike for Kili. I was exhausted afterwards - not a good sign I suppose!

Sine said...

@Paige - I guess people who read Joburg Expat aren't even new when they're arriving:-)

Sine said...

@Stephanie - you're definitely right about "sorry." Oh, and I guess I could have put an "eish!" or two in there...

shannon @ jozikaroo said...

How about "Your car gets stolen from in front of your house, and you share the news with your friend, who replies, 'Oh, yeah, mine, too.'" That happened to me today!

Sine said...

Shannon, you're kidding! It's actually really funny, except I suppose if it's YOUR car that is stolen. Very sorry for you but you are right, it fits in perfectly with my list.

PWT Health Tips said...

Fabulous post :)

Sónia Luísa said...

I arrived in 2005 and I know exactly what you mean 😀

W. A. Jeffrey said...

How frequently did you have to go without water and how long did it usually take before coming back on?

Sine said...

Hard to say, but I'd say it only ever lasted a few hours. I remember one time when it was an entire day, but that one was "scheduled" ahead of time when they were doing some kind of construction and needed to turn off the water. Knowing ahead of time helps tremendously. The unscheduled ones I'd say we perhaps had once every few months. It wasn't really as bad as I make it out to be, it never got to where you desperately needed water. Much worse in the good ole USA when Hurricane Fran hit and we had to go without water for something like 3 days, no electricity for 7, I"m not even kidding. Africa never did that to us:-)