May 17, 2012

My Glamorous Life as an Expat Wife

This one is going to take some work to fit into the Expat Joys series. I mean, how can this scene

and this one

and, briefly, this one

invoke any feelings of joy?

And yes, you're absolutely right, those toes are in serious need of a pedicure. Which of course is what I go and get every week in my glamorous expat wife life. Right after I've done other glamorous and extravagant expat wife thingies. Like hanging pictures on walls. Or spending two days trying to figure out how to get Telkom to turn the bloody phone back on. (There I said it, bloody - becoming a true South African.) I mean, it's all right up there with shopping all day and sipping mojitos by the pool, right?

Actually, I was going to take the picture with shoes on so as to avoid the peeling nail polish, but I was wearing my favorite furry crocs, which Noisette claims are totally geeky, and of course I didn't want to offend you with images of my geeky crocs. Though on second thought I'm not sure that in matters of footwear fashion I should listen to someone wearing sandals with socks.

The problem was, the laundry line in the back of our house was nearing the end of its life. And it was sagging. Can I just say that I HATE sagging laundry lines. Or, come to think of it, I hate ANYTHING sagging. Sadly, when you're in your forties, sagging things are a part of your life, whether you like it or not.

You might think fixing the laundry line is a perfect to-do item for your husband, the expat spouse's spouse. But honestly, what do you expect from someone called Noisette? On his long drive home from work, he harbors visions of the TV and a Milka chocolate bar, not of clambering up wobbly stools and fixing laundry lines. I suppose I always could have bribed him with some chocolate mousse, but making that seemed an even bigger effort.

And I already had a bundle of new laundry line sitting there in my kitchen and staring me in the face for weeks on end. I was mighty pleased to have found it on my first try at Builder's Warehouse. Even though I had no clue what length to get. I am totally deprived when it comes to judging the length of anything. It doesn't matter whether it's in meters or feet. (Though I do want to inject here that meters make a hell of a lot more sense, people.) "How big is your pool" is a question I was frequently asked after first moving here, when an increasingly greener shade of pool water necessitated a trip to the pool supply store. How should I know this? I absolutely have no clue.

Anyway, I was so chuffed, as they say here (although I have even less of a clue how to spell that), for scoring the laundry line that I mostly patted myself on the back for that feat, rather than actually doing something with it.

But today I decided that this was the last day of laundry line procrastination. It was a beautiful day (it always is a beautiful day in Johannesburg), so I climbed onto my wobbly stool and began my work of art, taking me the better part of the morning.

Such is the glamorous life of an expat wife.

And what do you think?

You could have played the violin on those strings, that's how taut they were. And how could it not be so, with the marvelous knot I tied. Of course Noisette, with years of sailing under his belt from, haughtily poo-poohed this knot made by someone with only years of sewing under her belt, but hey, I was the one doing the project so I'm the one getting to do the knots.

Meaning I'm also the one who gets to rearrange the clothes pins by color.

Let's just say I'm a wee bit anal. And I felt sorry for the red ones.

So what about the Expat Joy I promised you (other than getting to arrange clothes pins by color)?

The thing is, I feel wonderful foregoing the dryer and saving so much energy and being so environmentally conscious. Which I admit I only am because electricity prices in South Africa, well, suck. And because I'm not the one having to iron all this stuff.

But I'm very good at twisting my mind to believe pretty much anything I tell it. So now I can feel happy about letting the sun do the work while I do what glamorous expat wives are supposed to do:

I'm kinda glad my phone didn't fall into the water for this one. That would not have been glamorous at all.


Stephanie said...

Love it!

I am going to attempt and replace the switches on two lamps tomorrow. Probably end up with some similar picture!

Sine said...

I'm sure you will Stephanie, it seems in South Africa even changing a light bulb is a major undertaking! Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog. Just moved to UK from the states and will be here indefinitely. We almost got transferred to Joburg but in the end London. My better half will be heading to SA for a week next month. I hope to visit there in the future...something about it just calls to me. Look forward to your next post :)

Sine said...

Glad you found me, even though you didn't end up moving here. Hopefully you'll get to travel to and in Southern Africa, it's a beautiful place.

Rocio said...

Dear Sine, I´m a spanish "wife" who is planning moving over there, in fact, we are having contact with Dainfern College,
I´m kind of nervous about it, because
my kids don´t speak even english properly.
I will tell you about us soon.
Best regards

PS,my english is also quite bad.

Sine said...

Hi Rocio - that is exciting, and no, I think your English is good! I have a good friend who is Spanish with three children at Dainfern College, perhaps you would like to talk with her? Why don't you email me at joburgexpat at gmail dot com, and I can refer you to her. Please let me know how else I can help!

Meghan said...

Snorted out loud at the bit about spending 2 days sorting out the phone company. I so understand, and what an accomplishment those things become. My main task as an expat wife seems to be translator. Whenever we get some government document that seems important, yet which neither of us can read, I am the one relentlessly plugging phrases into Google Translator, or hunting down a friend and making them read my mail to me...

Sine said...

Hi Meghan - I guess I can consider myself lucky that translator was not one of the additional jobs hoisted on me. If you don't count translating weird words like "ballbox" and the exact meaning of "just now" or "eish". And you are so right, it is amazing what little things in life we count as accomplishments. The more pitiful the more meaningful sometimes. I got 7 things checked off my list yesterday and a few of them were dealing with Comcast (the equivalent of Eskom in South Africa) while one of them was unclogging a toilet, and I was insanely happy at the end of that day.

W. A. Jeffrey said...

Meters vs. Feet - It only makes sense if you are used to it. Trust me, when you've spent almost 40 years with standard measure it feels so natural that metric is the one that doesn't make sense.