I woke up the other day and realised we moved to South Africa just over two years ago… writes Phil Maloney from Canada. Two. Years. In dog years, I’ve been in South Africa longer than the Spice Girls were a band. It’s been all kinds of crazy and all kinds of wonderful (but mostly all kinds of crazy).
Don’t even act like you haven’t done it.In what other place in the world could wild elephants, shark-filled oceans, Julius Malema, massive braais, and never-ending jols exist? Some of those are great, while others are up for debate (hint – it rhymes with shlalayma), but one fact remains: it’s never boring here. A long time ago, I wrote a post called 30 Ways To Know You’re Almost A Local in South Africa.
Since then, I’ve come up with 31 other things that happen when you move to South Africa:
- You’ve perfected the art of braai.
- You’re used to scalding, then freezing your hands, then scalding them again because WHY DO SO MANY SINKS HAVE 2 FREAKING FAUCETS INSTEAD OF JUST ONE THAT HOT AND COLD WATER COMES OUT OF???? (ok, maybe I’m still not used to that one)
- You’ve attempted to peel off the last stubborn bit of paper from a Fizzer before just thinking “screw it,” and eating the whole thing, paper and all.
- You know where to buy the cheapest, driest sekelbos. And you’ve judged people who pay too much.
- You’ve muttered “not today, you blerrie chop,” as you’ve steadfastly held your ground and refused to let a taxi cut in front of you.
- You know the difference between actual traffic fines and R100 “spot fines.”
- You can pretty much keep it together and now only kinda giggle at all the guys wearing short shorts.
- You’ve put off doing something indefinitely simply by uttering the magic words: “I’ll do that just now,” knowing full well that you won’t be doing anything of the sort.
- “Sorry, I got stuck in traffic,” is a perfectly acceptable excuse to rock up late to literally anything. And you’ve used it.
- You’ve been added to several hundred Whatsapp chat groups. Every once in a while something useful/relevant comes in.
- You’ve always got a packet of emergency biltong handy. Just in case.
- You automatically start unplugging expensive electronics whenever you hear thunder.
- You don’t call the police anymore when you hear hadedas because you now know that sound was just a bird and not 679 people being murdered all at once right outside your window.
- You know that red robots are nothing more than a suggestion and that stop signs are for sissies.
- You call traffic lights robots now.
- You have a least one electrical outlet in your house that is definitely a fire hazard.
- You’ve eaten a… whatever this is….and lived to tell the tale.
- You’re no longer shocked by unintentionally hilarious signs.
- You know there are 3 ways to braai steak: rare, medium rare, and get out of my house and never return.
- Eating a wors roll at a kids’ sports event at 8am on a Saturday seems perfectly reasonable to you.
- You know that heating or cooling part of an office will immediately make every single one of your office workers grievously sick, because we all know slight variations in temperature are what cause colds, not viruses.
- You get all of Trevor Noah’s jokes.
- You look forward to payday because you know you’ll be able to buy a tank of petrol and then maybe a loaf of bread with all the money that’s left over.
- Driving into oncoming traffic to pass a slow-moving vehicle driving on the yellow line no longer requires a full seat cleaning and new underwear.
- You’ve embraced the fact that it’s socially acceptable for adults to drink at over-the-top kids’ birthday parties.
- Your power has been out for days and days because a substation overloaded when cables were stolen and when the workers went to fix it, they brought defective tools, so they had to go back and get working tools, and on the way back, they got held up at gunpoint, which caused further delays and led to another substation not just malfunctioning, but blowing entirely up, and when it was rebuilt, there were still delays because the newly-laid cables kept getting stolen before they could even turn power on.
- When number 26 actually makes sense to you.
- When you go to a Springboks game and actually understand what’s going on.
- You know what a sundowner is. And you have them regularly.
- Although you’re not proud of it, at one point in your life you’ve eaten KFC for breakfast. (OK, probably more than once)
- When you feel extraordinarily privileged to be surrounded every day by such exceptional people, culture, and natural beauty.
Only in South Africa!
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P.S. If this post makes you nostalgic for SA, and you live in the UK or Ireland – enter our competition to win return tickets to South Africa on SAA’s new Airbus A330-300.