Blog Archive

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Americans

As part of my Sr. Vice President of Household Operations duties I am in charge of all entertainment and social activities. You would think this would be easy but actually it can be challenging. Not only do I have to research fun things for us to do and manage all the logistics for these outings, but I have to strike the right balance so that we are not over or under scheduled. 

Being responsible for all things social also includes being in charge of making friends. In the time leading up to coming to South Africa and continuing when we first arrived, Mr. Deep reminded me numerous times that I "need to make us some friends." I think I've done well in that department. If Mr. Deep were to provide me with an annual performance evaluation, and honestly I hope he doesn't because I am not sure I want the feedback, I think I'd get a score of five (out of a possible five) in the friend making category. 

One way to easily meet new friends is to become involved with various organizations whose purpose is to bring people together. Groups like Meetup and Internations. We have participated in events with both but until yesterday we had never gone to any event organized by the American Society of South Africa (ASSA.) By the way, am I the only one who thinks ASSA is a funny abbreviation? 

We have met some Americans here who like to go to ASSA events and so finally last night we attended one. The event was a St. Patrick's Day happy hour at a pub in Sandton. Before I tell you about the event, I need to share that Mr. Deep and I had a challenging St. Patrick's Day. It started off with a fool's errand as we tried to rectify the situation with the cloned license plates. First, we went to the traffic registry office in Sandton. After waiting in the long line, Mr. Deep was told that they can't issue new plates there and we'd have to go to another office located in the Joburg CBD.  We were committed to getting this project handled so we headed to Joburg in rush hour traffic in the pouring rain. If that itself wasn't enough fun when we tried to find the building we were looking for we couldn't find it. We did see a building where the building we were looking for was supposed to be but it was all burned out and abandoned. So we threw in the towel and decided to just ignore any notices we receive going forward about unpaid tolls. That's what most South Africans do anyway.

The rain continued to come down heavily throughout the day and traveling back to Sandton during evening rush hour to drink green beer with Americans was not sounding all that fun and attractive. We forced ourselves to go and I'm glad we did because the happy hour was a lot of fun. We enjoyed spending time with our fellow country men and women. It is an interesting situation to be in a room full of people where the one and only thing that you all have in common is being American. Normally, when I speak to people here I try very hard to speak slowly and to enunciate properly. When I am not speaking I am listening carefully and concentrating very hard so that I can understand what others are saying. But at the happy hour, it was nice to just talk and to not feel self conscious about how I sound or worry about having to repeat myself a few times before being understood.

What did we all talk about? Mexican food of course. No, I'm not kidding. Both Mr. Deep and I got involved in conversations about Mexican food. I met a chef who recently moved here from California and is slowly introducing the taco to South Africa. Mr. Deep met a lady who likes to cook Mexican food and she told him where we can buy spices, tortillas and black beans. So yes, we celebrated St. Patrick's day in South Africa on a day when the weather felt like Ireland with a bunch of Americans and talked about Mexican food. Isn't that what makes America great?

2 comments:

  1. Yes, absolutely! Wonderful post. If you can, now that you are inducted, go to the Consul's reception of the ASSA. Great fun, if only to see where the consul lives, beautiful house. I hope they still do those! http://www.joburgexpat.com/2011/03/us-consul-generals-cocktail-reception.html. Oh, and here my take on Mexican food in SA: http://www.joburgexpat.com/2011/11/we-need-mexicans-to-get-on-boats.html. BTW I love your description of your job in finding friends for the household. Same here. Except that I am often quite happy to sit alone in my house not going out making friends or meeting with the friends already made, which sometimes causes disagreement.

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    Replies
    1. There do seem to be more Mexican restaurants popping up around town now as compared to when we first arrived. And to think I was taking Mexican food for granted the whole time we lived in the U.S. I never gave it any thought until I had to work to find it. And it is a good thing I have focused on making friends because the expat friends I have made keep on leaving and I have to make an effort to refill the pipeline. More on that coming in a future post (I think.) Thanks for reading!

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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 moved from the U.S. to South Africa for three years. We moved due to an exciting opportunity my husband had with his job. Second, I won't be working anymore. I'm actually not allowed to work so that will be different given that for the past twenty years I've been somewhat of a workaholic. I'm excited to share our adventures with you! My thoughts and opinions are my own.