Wednesday, July 15, 2015

July 15th

Today marks the one year anniversary since the potential of Mr. Deep taking a job in South Africa was first mentioned.

I remember when I heard about it I was in my office in White Plains, NY, probably about to jump on a conference call when I got a text from Mr. Deep. He said an opportunity had come up within his company and that we would discuss it that night at home. I was surprised that he was being so vague about the whole thing. I had told him a bunch of times that I was very interested in moving if he felt the right work option came along for him. What was there to discuss? Call the moving company!

I did what people often do when they only have a piece of information. I filled in the blanks. I figured there was something about this that was making him hesitate. Maybe he didn't think it was the right job for him. Or maybe it meant moving within the U.S. to a place that he didn't think I'd be particularly excited about. Like a city that has a big arch in it. Or maybe he was just trying to do what you're supposed to do when you're married, make decisions together. 

I never ever imagined South Africa.

When I got home he told me.

"Cape Town?" I said excitedly. Not knowing anything about Cape Town except it's supposed to be very beautiful and they have vineyards there. 

"No, Johannesburg." Nothing came to mind so we starting googling it. Not a great topic to research if you want to get excited about a relocation. 

Crime and violence.

Then I remembered, Oscar Pistorius. Although he he didn't live in Johannesburg, he did live in South Africa. Didn't he claim that he shot his girlfriend because he thought she was an intruder? I remember a reporter on TV saying that the crime rate was so high in the country and there were so many break ins that it seemed like a plausible defense.  What?

We then tried to figure out how bad the crime was. I can't remember our exact formula but in reviewing it now I think our data was flawed. We thought we figured out the crime rate in Joburg was similar to that of New Orleans and Detroit. In reviewing now, I think the rates in those places are worse.

So I based my decision on bad data and fun memories of Bourbon Street.

"I'd totally move to New Orleans, " I said.

And so it was a yes for me. 

Mr. Deep still gave it quite a bit of time before he officially threw his hat in the ring. Maybe he was waiting to see if I'd have a freak out and change my mind. Maybe he was waiting to see if he'd change his. 

And here we are.  Happy Anniversary! 


  1. Not so different from our story. Except we found way worse stories about crime when Googling SA. Literally that we would be murdered on the way from the airport. And limbs hacked off to get to our jewelry. I hope that in your search my blog already popped up and you were less disposed to ditch the whole thing based on crime because of it:-)

    1. Yes, the first time we came here I think I threw my body across our luggage in the airport while we were waiting for our driver to come pick us up so no one would steal it. Of course the driver never showed up but that's a whole different story. And yes, we found your blog and we saw that somehow you were surviving (with your kids no less) and we figured we could live here as well. I'm so glad we are here and didn't let fear stop us from coming. What a shame that would have been.

  2. Ah - I hope to hear the driver story soon too. Our driver story was that he did pick us up from the airport, even brought a colleague with a bakkie for all our luggage, then pointed to Alexandra on the side of the highway as we were driving by and said "don't ever go there if you don't want to die." He himself lived in Soweto - it has always struck me as funny how not only whites are afraid to go into townships, but blacks as well, when it is not the one they live in. Of course, I went there not three months later and spent a lot of time driving around on my errands with Alexandra baseball and lived to tell the tale:-)

  3. I always find it funny that people unintentionally view different ethnic groups somewhat monolithically. A couple examples. In SA, non-Zulus tend to have very clear opinions about Zulus either good or bad. Another example is how many Africans react negatively to the mention of Nigerians as if they are criminal by default. I always laugh at this because here in the USA most of the Africans I know are from Nigeria and I think they are great. I get such a kick out of how stereotypes very from country to country and culture to culture.

    As to the crime comparison you are correct. I often hear that Mexico has similar numbers but I always feel it is a poor comparison as the nature of crime in Mexico is so different and can be random in a way that it does not tend to be in SA.


About Me

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Hello and thank you for taking an interest in my blog. This blog tells the story of some big life changes. First, my husband and I have just moved to Geneva, Switzerland for a few months following a few years of living in Johannesburg, South Africa. The two places could not be more different. I'm excited to share our adventures, challenges and insights with you! My thoughts and opinions are my own.