Your Typical Errand in South Africa

Moving to South Africa, or to Africa in general, and adapting to life there, is most of all an exercise in patience.

The irony is that when you arrive, you are all ready to go go GO! for months you’ve been busting your backside getting visa applications filled out, securing coveted waitlist spots ...  Continue Reading

The Expat Shopper in Johannesburg

I’m not the world’s biggest shopper. I don’t love the excitement of going out there to hunt for bargains. I don’t revel in waiting with bated breath for the grand opening of a long-awaited store. And I don’t go all crazy over finding my favorite brand-names far from home.

Because I don’t love shopping, I’ve become really good at making it efficient. Especially as a newly-arrived expat, you need to know where to buy your steaks, your chocolate chips, your converter plugs. Especially your converter plugs, if you live in a country like South Africa ...  Continue Reading

African Time is Like Dog Years

African time is like dog years.

Or maybe it’s the reverse if you really did the math correctly. My point is, everything takes about seven times as long as you’re used to if, like most expats, you’ve grown up on a continent with a more mainstream concept of time. Or maybe I should ...  Continue Reading

Perfect Marketplace for Expats: Gumtree.co.za

I’ve told you my story about buying a car in South Africa, in all its glorious (and sometimes embarrassing) detail. I’ve also told you my story about selling the car again, taking place almost three years later, and it provided another welcome opportunity to let you learn from my successes and (as more often than not) mistakes. But what might have saved me a great many words (and almost certainly some money) is a simpler approach: I could have used =&0=&. And no, by that I do not mean that I should have trekked to the village square where business is conducted under a large tree and where goods change hands, although when I first heard of Gumtree I thought that it must have derived its name from exactly such a scenario.

What is Gumtree?

www.gumtree.co.za is a classifieds website, much like Craigslist in the United States. I’ve since learned that the name was a brainchild of the original founders, who launched the site in 2000 and were looking for a name that might ...  Continue Reading