([I do love a good ole syntactical mess. I do.])
And you're right.
As you can see from the sidebar and from the rather large giraffe photo in the banner, there is a pretense of me writing as an expatriate living in South Africa. In theory, that is true. I am an expatriate, and right now I am in fact living in South Africa.
However, I seem to be writing far more about myself, as a person. Just as a person (an eccentric, borderline alcoholic person, but a person nonetheless). Not as a Finn or a European in South Africa, or Africa. Because, I have just as many ups and downs in Scandinavia, as I do in Zambia. Everywhere, there are people and cultures that either throw you for a loop or make you feel like that is where you belong. For ever. There are excellent things, good things, bad things and very bad things everywhere, and I feel fine.
Will she break into song now? Who the hell knows? She doesn't, that's for sure.
No I won't (or at least you won't be able to hear my heart-rending gut-wrenching rendition of God save the Queen by Sex Pistols, which I sometimes like to sing. Loudly. By myself. In the car. While I'm riding a bike [don't own one at the moment though]. Or if I need to convince people of my decreased mental capacity).
But, sometimes there are differences that will crack you up like nothing else. So in the vein of the pretense of me being one of them expats, here are some expat observations.
There are places in this world where:
- Sanitary napkins come with instructions and no one is familiar with the word or the concept of a tampon.
- The correct answer to an uninvited "God will provide you children" is not "Which one?" That just freaks people out. Even if your intention is to be funny.
- Saying that you only see your parents once a year can make someone erupt in the traditional mourning sounds that sound a tad like bad yodeling.
- When you are asked whether you want coffee or tea, the tea-part is silent. And the only answer you are allowed to give is a "Only if you are making something for yourself, yes." If you neglect to answer, all of the above is implied.
- A cashier refusing to make eye contact or acknowledge you in any way is considered a sign of normalcy.
- A 'Foreplay Lounge' is not intended for actual foreplay.
- You can be smacked on the feet with a cane by an angry old guy, because your skirt is too short, and no one but you bats an eye.
- You are encouraged to walk on sharp, pointy stones barefoot to 'improve your constitution'.
- Unmanicured nails are frowned upon. And don't even mention that you've never ever shaved your legs.
- Kissing on the mouth is the way to congratulate someone.
- You can be called 'Little Fatty' by a sweet old lady who is 1/3 of your size.
- A waiter can look you up and down, and say "choose something else, you won't like that."
- A "train" can actually mean just one cart.
- A pothole can easily be the size of a medium size swimming pool.
- Loudly shouting "Obama!" will get you cheaper prices.
- You might get kicked or at least yelled at if you don't understand or perform the hand signs related to riding your bike on the bike lane.
- You being surprised or freaked out at someone having a little scull made out of sugar with your name on its forehead on a little homemade altar is considered bad form.
An expat-shot of downtown Lusaka, Zambia.
Can you guess where these observations took place? I'm not even sure anymore.