Sunday, March 18, 2012

What it's Like to be a Californian in South Africa

It is powerful thunderstorms
breathtaking sunsets
beautiful mountains
and missing the fog
roll over the Golden Gate Bridge

It is love for my new home
longing for my old one
learning new worldviews
joy at the discoveries
and ache for loss of the familiar

It is warm smiles
generous hospitality
confused glances
and angry gestures of
“What were you thinking?”

It is tear-stained dictionaries
trying to communicate
always being a student
never assuming
and often misunderstanding

It is hiding my accent
trying to blend in
being laughed at or pitied
wearing my nationality
like a scarlet letter

It is not having a shared history
entering mid-story
journeying together
learning to put people first
and tasks second

It is eleven official languages
850 bird species
the most gorgeous country in the world
despite the challenges
and a profound sense of gratitude

It is being the luckiest girl in the world.


Amaris in Wonderland said...

Love it!!!

Here, i've had to wholeheartedly accept the fact that i probably won't ever be accepted by… whomever, for one reason or another… and that i do not need to feel guilty about not hiding who i am.

Do i like being gawked at or looked down on? No. I'd truly prefer to blend in (i'm uncomfortable with attention: negative or positive) but that's not going to happen here. Life here simply isn't as diverse, as far as people go. Birds are another story. ;)

Sounds like we both live in a bird paradise! This region of Brazil (the cerrado) has 837 different species of birds. :)

Anna said...

Thanks for sharing! I am sorry that it's difficult at times. I can understand somewhat, although I think the diversity of people is a bit more here in South Africa, so I don't stand out quite as much.

My heart goes out to you. Is there anything you enjoy about Brazil and being a foreigner?

The birds... I love that about South Africa. I can only imagine how colourful the birds in Brazil must be!