The New Joburg Expat, a New Webinar, And a New Word for Your South African Dictionary

webinar for expats moving to South Africa

This Thanksgiving break I inexplicably got it in my head to migrate my blog from Blogger to WordPress. What I should have done is a) picked a more opportune time when I wasn't already extremely busy, and b) created a test domain to migrate my blog to before switching to live, which I could have built in peace and tested to my heart's content until it was rock solid. But I didn't.

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What Americans (and United Airlines) Might Learn from South African Craftiness

South African airways plane

Americans are known to like the head-on approach to solving problems and to vanquish an opponent. Not so much subtlety as a show of overwhelming force, even if a lot of resources are needed that might be more wisely used with a more thoughtful approach. The latest brouhaha at United Airlines just underscores that point. Read how South Africa approaches problems differently.

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Patience vs Efficiency

One thing that makes expat life so interesting is that you do get to observe how other cultures foster behaviors different from our own, and often that teaches us something worth knowing about ourselves. Most Africans are patient. Very, VERY patient, in fact. If you see the kinds of queues people stand in on a Friday afternoon, you cannot help but marvel at such stoicism.

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Koeksister Who?

koeksister

Koeksisters (pronounced "cook sisters" or close to it) are one of the South African food staples. Right behind biltong, rusks, and all things off the braai. They are a very sweet and very sticky delicacy made from a donut-like dough shaped into mini-braids and finished off with sugar syrup. The word derives from the Dutch koekje, which means cookie.

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How Much is Enough: Expat Tips on Tipping

One of the first things you always have to learn in a new country is how much to tip. This is especially true in South Africa. You'll be setting out on your very first errand to buy milk and butter at the Woolworth's around the corner, you'll return to your car with your bags, and as you pull out of your parking space, a guy will be at your window with outstretched hand. What to do?

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Life in South Africa: The Unannounced Playdate

playdate in South Africa

More than anything else, the Unannounced Playdate is the face of the South African lifestyle. How many afternoons did I spend leisurely at a friend's house, only having meant to drop off or pick up my child, and, after being invited in, whiling away hours with great conversation while nibbling at biscuits and sipping tea? In South Africa, you are ALWAYS invited in, even if you're strangers.

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English. But not from England.

I've mentioned South Africa's racial diversity before. But it is South Africa's two white tribes that perhaps have the longest or at least most intense history of tension with one another. To this day, even the most superficial visitor of South Africa will immediately sense the rift between the Afrikaans-speaking part of the population and the English-speaking part.

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