English South African

I was wrong about the heat – today it got up to 30 degrees. I was also wrong about Pretoria being a ghost town, it really was because it’s a holiday. I’m told the norm on a morn is bumper to bumper and I’ve seen quite a few crowds.

I have ticked off a bunch of my “things to do” or rather “things to eat”! Koeksisters, cream soda, Romany creams, onion rings, rusks, chicory coffee… I recognise a few more birds although I don’t know names but plant names are beginning to stick – Fever tree, Jacaranda and Bougainvillea.

I was reminded of my foreignness when the other night I suggested we make a pot of tea and was laughed at. Also when I put on flip-flops to go to the dump and was told “You’ll understand when you get there.” I think South Africans just like to be prepared rather than sorry. Also need a hat so I don’t get sun stroke (which is a very good point and is on shopping list) and must watch my skin in the sun (again sun cream is on my shopping list). It is so weird to be so looked out for, like I am some delicate flower that will wither up and die in the heat or drop all my leaves if I get a splinter. Think I surprised them when I started slinging wood and branches into the skip.

When treated so differently it makes me think maybe I am different and makes me wonder how South Africa woman turn out so strong and independent… maybe it’s backlash. Don’t get me wrong it is lovely to be honoured and looked after but gentlemen-ness like this is not my English experience and with most people, including woman, I am left feeling indebted. This, in my English way, is uncomfortable.

Pretoria, South Africa:   Sunrise 05:55   Sunset 18:04

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