It’s hard to believe it’s been over four months in South Africa already. Like life tends to be, the time seems to have passed both slower and faster than that.
In general it’s gone by very fast. I’ve done a lot but it doesn’t seem long ago that I was getting on a plane here. It doesn’t seem long ago that I was looking for an apartment and trying to decide whether to go to Ingwavuma. It doesn’t seem long ago that I was spending my birthday with people I hardly knew, but having a fine time anyway.
In a number of ways, things have gone slowly. Making friends takes time, though I feel like I’m starting to get there. I still haven’t gotten a number of things that I thought would be nearly immediate: a bike and a guitar among them.
Culture shock has come slowly and subtly. For how South African I viewed myself and all the things I was already accustomed to—most language, food, braais, mannerisms, etc—it was a bit of a surprise that there was any culture shock, but it was that little things that I found surprising, distressing, or disorienting.
When it comes to culture, it’s difficult deciding what I’m going to be stubborn about. One may think that it’d be best to be fluid and adopting of another culture, and that may help socially, but there are some thing I want to be stubborn about. One easy example is that I’d like to guard against the (sometimes intense) paranoia that some South Africans display. I feel like there’s little reason to live life paranoid and if I do get to that stage, it’s time to move back to the States.
I don’t have much of a concrete plan about what the future will hold, but I am coming back in January to see. It should be an exciting few months: a roadtrip with a friend, a visit from my parents (planned before I decided to move here), and the World Cup. And I’m sure other things will turn up in there as well.
But for now, I’m preparing to return to the US America. I’m pretty excited for the trip, to see friends and family, to see my breath, eat some comfort food and drink good beer.