Here I am!
Married in March, and only now do I decide to start documenting this transitional time in my life.
Thinking about it, I don’t know at what future date our lives will cease to be transitional. College, dating, moving, paperwork and visas, marriage, more paperwork and visas, moving again, babies, paperwork, babies while moving, paperwork….. Paperwork, changes, dishes, and laundry, are about the only constants we can count on.
I decided to start a blog because it seemed more sensible to me than buying yet another journal, that I will write in approximately 8 times a year. Detailed entries, yes. Good handwriting and commitment to writing frequently, no. However, one thing I am diligent with using on a daily basis, is my handy-dandy, world-connecting, handheld device- my iPhone. So a blog, a public journal, if you will, sounded more reasonably suited for documenting my thoughts and experiences. Plus, there is so much less anxiety in publishing a blog post that was written with a public audience in mind, than carrying around a journal filled with personal thoughts. (Flashback to Jr. High when schoolmates found my journal. *shudder* )
So, sit back, strap in, and try not to hate me when my true feelings come out- even under veils of metaphors and pseudonyms, which is likely..
So what happened in my world today? Well, I went shopping with a friend (yay! A friend!) for a wedding present, which is something I have found myself doing every month or so, for the past year. (I guess i’m at that stage in my life, the everyone-I-have-ever-known-is-getting-married-or-having-babies stage. And sheesh- wedding gifts can be expensive!) While in the very large Menlyn mall (it makes the ‘maze’ of Northstar in San Antonio seem like a child’s puzzle) we went into a store called CNA- a stationary store, of sorts. In the checkout line, I was speaking to my friend, (yay! A friend!) and my recognizable accent- was recognized.
This is the conversation that ensued:
Speaker A: Nicely dressed woman of average-height, short brown hair, early to mid thirties, slight under-bite
Myself: Awkwardly tall, long blonde hair that needs a brush, early twenties, sweating because she is dressed way too warmly
Speaker A: “Are you from the US? I recognized your accent.”
Myself: *Smile* “I’m from Texas.”
Speaker A: “I’m from Indiana”
Myself: “Oh, That’s cool. How long have you lived here?”
Speaker A: “Off and on, since 2007.”
Myself: “Cool, I married a South African in March. How are you liking it here?”
Speaker A: “I like it. I was robbed yesterday.”
Myself: *Awkward Smile* “Oh, that really stinks. I hope your day gets better today. It was nice to meet you.”
And I walked away, kicking myself that I didn’t say more. More so, because I didn’t witness to her about the power of prayer.
The thoughts of how blatant her statement was, and the placidity of her demeanor, leaves me with the feeling that she was silently telling me “Just wait, it will happen to you, too.”. I wish so badly that I had told her what comforts me- prayers of protection by the power of the blood of Jesus- over myself, my car, my husband, my home, and my family, ALL THE TIME. Silently. Audibly. Everywhere. (Read “The Blood and the Glory” by Billye Brim, and buy “Prayers that Avail Much” by Germaine Copeland.) In conjunction with having the peace of protection through faith, I have also learned how to not make myself a victim by constantly being acutely aware of my surroundings and my actions.
Now, before you think that all of Africa is a scum-ridden, vile, wild land filled with criminals, I want to ensure you that it’s not. The habits I speak about above, stem from being in a city with a large population. Period. I would have to develop the same, if not more severe, defensive habits if I lived in Taiwan, Chicago, London, or Jerusalem. Simple statistics will tell you that if you live in a large city, there will be more crime than in a small town, simply because there are more people. Outside of the fairy tale land of which is most towns and cities in the U.S., this is even more so because, from what I’ve seen in Pretoria and Johannesburg, any persons in a rural town who want to ‘make it’, famously or financially, come here to the Gauteng province because there are large cities with looming opportunities.
(Flashback to the opening and ending lines of “Pretty Woman”, set in Hollywood.)
They then end up in worse living conditions, out of a job, without a support system of family or friends, and turn to the easy route of petty theft and crime in order to feed themselves.
Does this validate the person who breaks into houses and steals televisions? No. But it does explain why there are walls, electric fences, bars, security gates, and/or 24 hour security systems surrounding 99% of all South African homes, if the owners can afford to do so. Likewise or similar security accompanies all offices, malls, vehicles, etc.
This all has taken some getting used to, especially coming from a small town of less than 14,000 people.
But so we adjust. And live. And learn. And then learn to enjoy and then live and learn some more.
I must now go and frost a “perfectly chocolate” I-wish-this-was-Hershey’s-Cocoa Cake.
Until next time.