You could do no greater disservice to yourself and your family to stay at home and within the confines of your safe neighbourhood. There are beaches, wildlife, amusement parks, museums, scenic drives, and countless other mind-blowing activities all within driving distance of wherever you happen to live in South Africa. Get out there as often as you can.
So you’ve taken the plunge. Someone has convinced you that you’re special and talented. Your company could really use someone with your specific skillset at the branch in South Africa. Now you’ve just arrived in South Africa, and you’re filled with bright-eyed wonder. If you’re reading this, great news: you managed to find an internet connection. That’s your first win. Now what?
For expats moving to South Africa, the list of scary things you're led to believe will happen to you there is long and grisly. Smash-n-grabs, carjackings, hacked off limbs - you will find dire warnings of all of those when searching the Internet. So we thought you might enjoy a humorous break from the gruesome. Nevertheless a warning: contains disturbing pictures!
Please excuse the rather strange headline, but I thought I'd come right out with what this blog post is about: A collection of the most outlandish questions and requests I get through the Contact Me page on Joburg Expat. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and sit down - this one is going to be fun!
The scene: A beautiful Sunday morning in September, a serenely calm house, a just-poured mug of coffee, the New York Times still pristine in neat folds ready to be plucked apart and spread out. Daughter, plodding down the stairs: "Mom, I have to build a cell replica for science class on Tuesday." And then it goes downhill from there...
I have made a sad progression. I went from being an employer of paid (and therefore professional) domestic help to hiring the new free (and slightly less professional as well as reluctant) domestic help. And now, the final stage: I AM the domestic help. Remember the Zits cartoons? I feel an affinity to Jeremy's dad. He, too, is the domestic help.
Load-shedding isn't really anything new. It's a problem that has haunted South Africa for years but has recently returned with full fervor. But fortunately, no one can joke about such a kak situation as well as the South African people, so here I give you the - ahem - lighter side of load-shedding.
If you've ever been an exchange student or an expat, this will be familiar turf for you. We've all gotten them, the wide-eyed questions from those who've vaguely heard about our country but don't really know much about it. You kind of want to give them credit for asking, but you also kind of want to punch them in the face for knowing so very little.
I was on the train back home after my second summer in France, still flush from the experience of living with other people who are interesting and exciting and, most importantly, never nag you. I was speaking French like a local with only a trace of an accent and was making friends with this French boy in my compartment. Did I like Itlaire, he wanted to know.
If you've come to love South Africa, nothing will quite make you smile like The Twelve Days of Christmas sung in Afrikaans accented South African English about all the things a true South African holds dear, including with - surprise - "a haded a in a tree." Much better than a partridge in a pear tree, I'd say!