Browsing Category: South Africa

The hardest lesson South Africa had to teach me

poverty SA

I lived in South Africa for almost ten years, and I really did love it there (how weird is it that I’m describing it in past tense, by the way!). I always described it as a first world experience in a third-world country. When people would ask about it, I would almost always give the example of the fact that I could drive from Joburg to Pretoria to get my waxing and nails done, eating sushi with my friend/beauty technician… but I’d have to drive past a township of shacks to get there. I didn’t think I had illusions about the poverty in South Africa, but it wasn’t something I was aware of on a daily basis until it all felt a lot closer to home.

To be clear, I knew there was intense poverty in the country. I saw it in the scale of the maternity ward when I did the Mother’s Day Connect event. And I even saw it when I got a domestic worker once a week to help clean my house – realizing how little she lived on and how grateful she was for anything extra that I could give her. Continue Reading

DID YOU LIKE THIS POST?

If you like these words, please check out more of what I say on twitter and Facebook, and pics I take on Instagram and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Also, please be sure to sign up to my carefully curated, crafted and infrequent newsletter.

After (almost) 10 years, one week left

one week left

October would have been ten years of me living in South Africa. Almost a decade of my life spent in this amazing, complicated, beautiful, bizarre country. I have lived here longer than I lived in The Netherlands, which was a huge part of my formative years, and despite the fact that South African Home Affairs never resolved the issues with my residency, I truly feel like South Africa has been my home for a decade. It’s hard to believe that in just a week, Dean, Harley and I will be getting on a plane and moving away.

On the 15th of August, we fly to the US to start our new life. It’s something we’ve been working towards for months now, something that seemed to take forever and then all of a sudden is happening so fast. We only have one week left to sort everything out. One week left to finish packing, one week left to finalize all our arrangements, one week left to say all our farewells. It’s emotional and stressful and chaotic, I’m feeling so many mixed emotions that I thought I’d try to blog them all out, but apologies if a todo list sneaks its way in – that seems to be how I think these days. Also, huge apologies for the infrequent blogging at this point; there just aren’t enough hours in the day for all the things. Continue Reading

DID YOU LIKE THIS POST?

If you like these words, please check out more of what I say on twitter and Facebook, and pics I take on Instagram and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Also, please be sure to sign up to my carefully curated, crafted and infrequent newsletter.

It always seems impossible until it’s done – an update on my 2017 goals

update on my 2017 goals

Today is Mandela Day here in South Africa, a celebration of one of the most iconic leaders of the modern world. One of my favorite quotes from Nelson Mandela is “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Any task can appear insurmountable, and then you chip away, take baby steps and all of a sudden it’s done. It’s sort of the basis of goals or resolutions – you aspire to something, but then need to figure out what exactly you will do in order to get there. I made three main goals for 2017, with a series of sub-goals along the way. So here is an update on my 2017 goals – how successful am I after half a year of striving?

To be honest, I think I’m actually doing better than I give myself credit for. So much of life is filled with mom guilt, with feeling inadequate or like I’m spinning my wheels, but actually I’ve made some pretty huge strides. I knew that I had these goals at the start of the year, but I didn’t make a vision board or anything, so they weren’t always at the front of my mind. Instead, I was focusing on all the little steps I had vowed to take to get there. Looking back now, I can see just how far I’ve come… at least on some of these goals. So here’s a reminder, and then an assessment. Continue Reading

DID YOU LIKE THIS POST?

If you like these words, please check out more of what I say on twitter and Facebook, and pics I take on Instagram and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Also, please be sure to sign up to my carefully curated, crafted and infrequent newsletter.

Emigration: From concept to hearing “congratulations”

emigration

I’ve written about our emigration process before. I talked about when we first started thinking about emigrating, how it was officially a goal for this year and even my ambivalence about really making the decision and feeling sad about leaving our wonderful life behind. I’ve bemoaned how long the admin was taking us and made a bit of a list of logistics I needed to put down so that they wouldn’t keep rattling around in my head. But we’ve hit a major milestone – we heard “Congratulations” at the consulate, and so I wanted to take you with me from start to finish.

Getting Dean’s Green Card has not been easy, and we still aren’t totally done. But I’m taking this milestone as an opportunity to reflect back on the process and talk about some of the big things we’ve gone through. If you’re planning to emigrate in general, or get a Green Card in particular, let me tell you that it is not easy, not for the faint of heart, but hopefully totally worth it. I did a Facebook Live about this as well, if you’re keen to watch me talk about this through Facebook or YouTube. Continue Reading

DID YOU LIKE THIS POST?

If you like these words, please check out more of what I say on twitter and Facebook, and pics I take on Instagram and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Also, please be sure to sign up to my carefully curated, crafted and infrequent newsletter.

It’s not just in our heads – food prices are ridiculous

food prices

Remember a while back when I asked you all how much you spent on groceries? A wide range of answers came in, mostly depending on how big families were, where you were based, and if you were really good about budgeting and meal planning. I tried to be more aware of our spending, but it actually just brought me down. Sure, I could just bulk up on cheaper starches, but that didn’t seem nutritious nor particularly appetizing. In fact, that wasn’t even that much more affordable. I mean, yes, rice, pasta, and pap are all a lot cheaper than steak and roasted veggies for dinner, but they’ve also gone up in price in recent years. Food prices as a whole seem to have gotten out of control, and it’s not just that I don’t know how to shop or something.

I saw this article in my twitter feed over the weekend, and I just had to read through it. I’m not going to go into the whole thing about regulation and retail pricing, mainly because I’m not 100% convinced that it’s all the evil corporations’ fault. However, this quote about the actual cost of living in South Africa jumped out at me: Continue Reading

DID YOU LIKE THIS POST?

If you like these words, please check out more of what I say on twitter and Facebook, and pics I take on Instagram and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Also, please be sure to sign up to my carefully curated, crafted and infrequent newsletter.