South African House versus American House

February 18, 2013

In our South African house, I was puzzled to find no door bell.
In our American house, I am puzzled to find no toilet roll holder.

In our South African house, all the towel bars were loose and rattled.
In our American house, there are no towel bars.

In our South African house, it took five weeks (I checked my first blog entry) to get Telkom to install our ADSL line and get us connected to the internet.
In our American house, the cable guy (not Larry) came on the second day and installed cable TV and an internet connection.

In our South African house, I was overjoyed to have internet after such a long time, even if it was very slow.
In our American house, I am pissed off that the internet is so slow and intermittent, when all I dreamed about for three years was fast internet. (Comcast = my new Telkom, I can feel it in my bones!)

At our South African house, an empty garage greeted me, setting me off on a month-long adventure to buy a car.
At our American house, a brand-new minivan awaited me (thank you Noisette!), though not in the garage, because it is full of stuff.

In our South African house, the cars only fit narrowly through the garage doors.
In our American house the driveway is angled towards the garage so stupidly that some cars (i.e. my car) don't fit into the garage at all. Even after it has been emptied of stuff.

In our South African house, I needed an extension cord for the vacuum cleaner to reach all corners of some rooms, electric toothbrushes had to be charged in the bedroom, and each outlet was occupied by a towering construction of adapters and extension strips.
In our American house, there are 22 power outlets in the kitchen alone, four or more on each wall. More importantly, there are power outlets in each bathroom. And the appliances you buy in the store will actually plug directly into the outlet, without any adapters. (Goodbye, extension cords and power strips and adapters!)

In our South African house, coming home from the grocery store always precipitated a delicate game of "rearrange the fridge" to try and fit everything in.
In our American house, $400 worth of groceries can easily be put away without even making a dent. In our American house, there are already way too many groceries.

In our South African house, there was a small washing machine and hundreds of meters of clothesline. And a maid.
In our American house, there are two washers and two dryers that my kids can comfortably play hide-and-seek in. And I'm the maid.

At our South African house, me might have had a shit pipe flowing practically over our heads, but it is safe to say we never once, in three years, had a clogged toilet.
In our American house, the first toilet was clogged on the fourth day and we've already stocked up on all sorts of heavy-duty unclogging equipment.

At our South African house, we had the screech of the hadeda waking us up early in the morning.
At our American house, we have the wail of the tornado siren waking us up in the middle of the night.

At our South African house, we had a constant cloud of smoke from grass fires engulfing us every winter, but we slept in peace (until the cry of the hadeda).
At our American house, we have no smoke whatsoever but thirteen smoke detectors on high and unreachable ceilings, one of which is apparently faulty and makes the other twelve shriek at irregular intervals (but preferably at two in the morning).

In our South African  house, we had ants.
In our American house, we have dust bunnies.

At our South African house, we sometimes had Parktown Prawns and algae in the pool.
At our American house, we have no pool at all.

In our South African house, we had walls of titanium that made picture-hanging into a major construction project and left your walls looking like you survived the siege of Stalingrad.
In our American house, we have drywall that makes picture hanging a charm (you barely even need a hammer) but you might find a hole in it after your kids have had a minor altercation involving slight shoving.

Forget cultural differences - I have enough on my hands with the house!



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