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.

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