Arrival in South Africa and Settling into a New Life in Johannesburg

This blog post is an attempt to give a glimpse of what's in store for an expat family the first few weeks after their arrival in South Africa, from Babbalas to Yebo, from enrolling the kids in school to going on the first safari, from watching weaver birds build nests in the yard to watching them tear them apart, from learning what robots are to learning what to do when they're broken, and more.

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Clutter, Culture, and Getting Stuff Done

Most recently, Pamela Druckerman wrote about mankind's newest love affair with de-cluttering as the solution to all human ills. She arrives at the conclusion that it's probably more a fad, like all those other self-help fads we regularly feel compelled to try, and that " I’m starting to suspect that the joy of ditching all of our stuff is just as illusory as the joy of acquiring it all was."

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Memoirs of an Exchange Student: I’m Leeeeeeeaving, on a Jet Plane…

When I flew to America in 1983, It was my first trip outside of Europe. We had traveled quite a bit throughout Europe as children but the day my 16-year old self said good-bye to my parents in Frankfurt, Germany, not to set eyes on them for the next entire year, was the first time I would leave its boundaries. It was also the very first time I would travel on an airplane, an absolute novelty.

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Reverse Culture Shock

Reverse culture shock upon repatriation is worse than any culture shock. Before, there was the excitement about living in a new country, coupled with the benevolence you feel towards a people you don't completely understand. Then you return home and feel like you understand everyone far too well, and you don't like what you think you know about their psyche.

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Culture Shock Circa 1986: From Fishhead to Communist

You don't have to go abroad to experience culture shock. You really just have to travel, say, seven hours on the Autobahn from the North of Germany to the Southern lands of Swabia or Bavaria. Somewhere along the way you'll cross over the Weisswurschtläquator (white sausage equator, South Africans might recognize it as a relative of the Boerewors Curtain) into Süddeutschland.

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Culture Shock!

The following is a guest post by Barbara Bruhwiler.

A strange thing is happening to me: Here I’ve happily been living as an expat in Johannesburgfor more than five years, but suddenly I’m suffering from a severe case of culture shock.

My symptoms? I feel ... 

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