South Africa Chronicles 2013-2014, Part 3:
Ten Things We Love
We thought, as our hiatus in South Africa comes to a close, to share some things we love about South Africa and America. Hope you enjoy, and those of you who have never been to SA, we hope you someday have the joy of visiting this lovely country!
Ben: Ten Things I Love About South Africa
- Coffee Shops are for spending time with people and not for getting work done.
- 11 national languages forces you to deal with cultural differences on a daily basis and continually check why you do what you do. Am I doing this because I am a westerner, or because I am a Christian.
- The pace of life (especially in the Durban area) seems a lot more laid back. There isn’t a pressure to hurry up and get going, instead, wait until everyone is there, and and everyone is ready.
- Appletiser . . . this fizzy fruit juice is hard to beat.
- The vegetation and foliage is everywhere, and the whole landscape is a constant sea of greenery, just teeming with life. Being from Colorado, we are used to 6 months (or more) of dreary yellow grass, and barren trees. Here everything is always so luscious!
- South Africans remind me of what Paul said of the Athenians: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious (Acts 17:22).” There is a deep reverence for spiritual matters. Though there is a deep need for biblical discipleship, there is a deep hunger for spiritual life and vitality. I have come to deeply cherish the spiritual eagerness of the folks here!
- I probably take American Politics way too seriously. Here in SA, though it is a sad reality, their government always is doing something that gives its citizens something to laugh about. For instance, at Mandela’s funeral the sign-language interpreter had no clue what he was doing, and then all the political parties blamed each other for hiring him! So, SA politics are a great opportunity to not take the democratic process too seriously!
- People love babies here . . . at least they love my baby! Everywhere we went people would stop and comment how cute she is. The common Afrikaans response is, “Oh siestog!” Meaning, “So cute it’s a shame!”
- Monkeys in the backyard . . . um, how could that ever get old?!!
- Looking out over the Indian Ocean each morning? Lovely, glorious, and awe-inspiring!!
Elsje: Ten Things I Love About America
- Two words. Customer. Service.
- The sense of safety and security, and not constantly feeling like I need to be on guard against some form of crime i.e robbery, hi-jacking etc. I like the fact that we sometimes sleep with the front door unlocked, or the garage door wide open…and everything is still there, and we’re still alive in the morning.
- I love driving in the U.S. People are much more considerate, and much less aggressive on the roads. Again, I just feel a whole lot safer on American soil.
- The phrase, “have a good one”, that seems to accompany every cup of coffee ordered, check paid, call made and check outs at just about every store.
- People in the U.S don’t confuse themselves with cars. They use sidewalks.
- By and large, Americans keep their protests civil, whereas in S-A things get burned, stores get vandalized and a number of other less-than-dignified things go hand- in hand with protests.
- Hobby Lobby. This is a fairly recently discovered treasure in the U.S for me- it is one of my favorite stores, and Ben usually surprises me with a trip there on our date night.
- Fall, Autumn, whatever you might call it…I love it. Growing up in a town that is the sister to the Amazon, where it is always green, the golden-orange glow of the Fall has truly charmed me!
- The parks in America are just on a whole different level. They are clean, everything works, the equipment is safe; however, in Colorado they just don’t have quite enough trees for my liking!!!
- How can you not look west, see the grand heights of the Rocky Mountains and not have your breath stolen away! Indeed, purple mountain’s majesty . . .