My fiancé, Jamie, and I have been living in Johannesburg, South Africa since May 2015. As he went to work, I went exploring – mainly just driving around. For the first few weeks, it really didn’t seem that much different than Western culture, and I guess, overall, it really isn’t. It wasn’t until after those first few weeks
I realized to myself “wow, I live here…in Africa…”.
I’ll be honest, it was extremely scary and I had a meltdown or 2…or 5. All of those things that seemed “normal” to me at first, then seemed so far out of the scope of my reasoning. Like, “why is the grocery store just OUT of chicken?!” or “why is literally EVERYTHING inside of a mall – including the grocery store?!” (Apparently my outings included a lot of trips to the grocery store…). Anyway, the more I let those little frustrations get to me, the more I wasn’t enjoying this place. Then, through Jamie’s job and other ex-pats, we made friends – and a big group of friends at that! I am super grateful for that.
After making friends with South Africans and listening to this hilarious morning show on the radio, I realized, they are aware of these same frustrations and just laugh about it. Everything here is a lot slower paced and they don’t lose their mind when the grocery store is out of chicken (I might have done that). I think my defining moment of learning to become South African was meeting friends who taught me: don’t let the small things get you down, laugh it off, live in it. That was also what inspired me to write this blog.
Since May we have gone on a few trips and experienced a lot! And we have become more of a “local”. That is what I am looking forward to sharing with you – how to immerse yourself in the culture, become a local, and happily take advantage of where you live, no matter where it is!