Thursday, August 18, 2016


I write a lot about my experiences in South Africa that I find interesting and unusual. This time I am going to turn the tables a bit. We are back in the U.S.A. for ten days. Here are a few observations.

We landed in New York City on a beautiful August day. Whenever I visit New York in the summer I need to remind myself of one word...January. Because as gorgeous as it is in the summer winter is a world of pain.  After we dropped off our bags and Mr. Deep went for a run (good for him because I was not feeling so energetic after flying for 17 hours) we went to Starbucks. Of all the things to do in New York the first thing on our agenda was visiting Starbucks. 

I love Starbucks. If you aren't a fan you might wonder what is so great about it. We do have lovely coffee and numerous comfy places to drink it in Joburg. We even have places where you can sit with a laptop for hours and no will bother you. But there is something about Starbucks that is special. Their coffee is fine but it's definitely more the atmosphere that attracts me. That and the free wifi which is particularly useful as my South African SIM card doesn't work in the U.S. Starbucks is the answer to any question you could have...have time to kill, go to Starbucks, need to meet someone, go to Starbucks, feeling hungry, go to Starbucks, feeling tired, go to Starbucks, feeling bored, go to Starbucks, need to do work, go to Starbucks. You get the idea.

While we are on the subject of coffee I need to ask a question of my American readers. What is the deal with cold brew? I am seeing signs for it everywhere in America and while maybe I have heard of it before I am not quite sure what exactly it is. I am going to assume it's coffee served cold that somehow was brewed without ever having been hot. Like Coors Light. Wow, there is a major marketing push going on now for cold brew. And now I am feeling like I must try it even though I don't even know what it is. That's good American marketing.

This one is hand crafted
While many would describe the humidity in the northeast over the past week as oppressive I am thoroughly enjoying it. As I write this post the humidity where I am is listed at 71%. and it feels like heaven. Joburg is so dry and it's a struggle for me to stay properly hydrated. Yes, I know people live in shacks without proper services like water and electricity but for a moment we need to talk about my struggle with proper hydration. Even though I try to drink a good amount of water each day in Joburg my hydration is always a losing game. I wake up every morning feeling like a pile of dust. I can feel my skin aging rapidly and I am pretty sure that in the near future I am going to look like Georgia O'Keeffe minus the nice paintings. But with humidity, I can drink a few glasses of water a day and feel normal. I am not constantly parched with a headache and I'm not applying endless amounts of lotion. My skin is naturally plumping back up to normal levels and I believe I am now aging backwards. 

I am also noticing (and missing) the politeness of people in South Africa. In Joburg when you walk into a store you are greeted with "good morning ma'am" or "morning morning how are you ma'am?" The correct response to being asked how you are is good and you? which is pronounced "good and youuuuuuu?" Then, once these pleasantries are out of the way, you can proceed with your question or your business. 

In America people might also say good morning or ask how you are when you walk into a store but there is no one correct response. You can reply that you are good without inquiring back as how the other person is. People might also say hello or good morning in America and they might even ask how you are but then they might walk away before you can reply. I'm not saying people are rude here, I'm just saying our American way of greeting each other is totally different and much less involved kind of abrupt and not very genuine. It's not all that genuine in South Africa either as you're expected to reply "good and youuuu" and not to start listing your problems when asked how you are but I still like pleasantries and the way people in South Africa are careful to greet each other before getting down to business. I'm not saying people in the U.S. are rude. They aren't. It's just a different greeting process.

There was one gentleman who was rude to Mr. Deep. As we walked in New York a homeless man asked Mr. Deep for money. Because both Mr. Deep and I are so used to concerning ourselves with having spare change on us at all times so we can tip the never ending car guards who we come in contact with, Mr. Deep replied to the man "sorry I don't have any change." This response was not quite right. A better response might have been to say nothing, or to reply sorry I don't have any money. But Mr. Deep replied that he didn't have any change and the man took exception. He started yelling at Mr. Deep and continued to yell at him as Mr. Deep walked down the block. He yelled, "you don't have any change? What the F*** am I supposed to do with change motherf*****? This is New York F****** City! I don't need change. I need at least $20."

Welcome to the U.S.A.


  1. Get a humidifier for your bedroom and use it at night. You'll be amazed at how much it helps, especially the sinuses.

    1. I have a humidifier but I am still dry. Maybe it's because the humidifier is on my husband's side of the bed and he is getting all the good and moist air. Maybe I need a second one.

  2. Yes, with such dry air you need two.


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.