Sunday, March 20, 2011

Monthaversary One: Are we still waiting for our real life to begin?

It has been just over a month of living in Cape Town. Life is continually evolving here. When we first arrived, we did not have a car and we live on a big hill. We had to walk to get food and household goods and carry it all home. We did this every day and so little by little we got what we needed to be comfortable. We took minibus taxis everywhere to save money; we only rode in regular taxis twice. Now that we have been able to borrow a car, we have been revolutionized.

Learning to drive here has been tough. In the western USA, we are used to large, wide streets with roomy lanes. Here, the lanes are so narrow and cars are constantly swerving into your lane to avoid a stopped taxi or a car stopping to turn. Pedestrians add to the mix by playing roulette with their lives, walking against the light, not using crosswalks, and standing between lanes to let cars pass. Driving, initially was stressful with all these distractions and to top it all, having to manually drive a car where everything is flipped, such as the seat belt and stick shift. Now, driving is like second nature, and the roads, perceptually, do not seem as narrow as they first did. Weird, huh? Still, navigation is hard, and we are constantly using Google maps on our iPhones and the map book we bought in our first week. We have done some exploring to Betty’s Bay and Hout Bay. We got to see African Penguins and saw some baboons eating by the side of the road. We are starting to get to know various neighborhoods by going to places and asking people for their opinion. We are starting our initial search for another place and have tried to equate neighborhoods here to ones in Tucson. Would we live in slightly sketchy neighborhood in Tucson, probably not, so why would we here? The hard part is weighing it against distance to UCT and price of rent.

P at Gordon's Bay
We have gotten to meet new people, from South Africa and from the United States. Through a friend we actually met people from Tucson who live here. They are very welcoming and have given us many tips and links to South African web sites. The people here seem nice, but there are variations in ‘warmth’. The lady bagging our food at Pick N’ Pay jokes with us about liking “sour” limes. The couple we had dinner with a few days ago were great conversationalists.

Other parts of our lives are coming together. We joined a gym and we have been going regularly. I’ve taken several different classes here and am getting used to the emphasis on physical fitness that I have observed. And after noticing that Reeses was looking different, we took her to the Veterinarian on Main Road. We learned she is experiencing a false pregnancy, stemming from her last bout of heat. Not much to do but wait it out. She is lactating (not too much) and wants to be with us more than normal. She has not displayed any herding of small objects or nesting, thank goodness! On the job front, P’s learning how to “not to be grad student.” He is learning the ropes at this new job and if you ask me, doing superbly. I know it can't be easy starting a new job in a new country, supporting your entire family.

Me at Betty's Bay. Do you see the Penguins?!

And me, I’m learning to be a housewife. I really do not mind it right now, but I know that as our lives get more complicated here, my experience might change. I have never been good at housework, so I am feeling satisfaction from getting things done regularly. One perk is that I have gotten to read books, and not just listen to them on tape! 

Song of the Month:  Waiting for my real life to begin by Colin Hay. Listen here.

1 comment:

Yvette said...

Hey, seems like you are finally settling in. Thanks for posting a picture of you. You look great, keep them coming.