I'm regularly asked what my daily life is like in South Africa. In many ways it's the same. There's still laundry to do, the house to clean, groceries to buy, errands to run.....the ordinary things of life don't change. I guess the biggest difference in that area is that things seem to take longer. There are many "conveniences" we live with in the U.S. that we take for granted and even consider them to sometimes be necessities. A lot of those are missing in South Africa, so doing "life" takes longer.
I sometimes feel myself caught between a 1st and 3rd world country........a country in transition perhaps. South Africa is a lovely country. Many things are definitely modern, cutting edge, and "1st world." And then there are other things that seem 3rd world. I hesitate to even use those terms because they don't seem to do justice to the reality of life here. Let's just say that there are areas that could do with some attention.
It's still in many ways a "paper society." It seems strange to be helped by someone who is sitting by a computer, and yet they are writing everything out by hand with multiple copies being made by carbon paper. Or they may be adding figures on paper by long hand when there is a calculator near by.
Because I handle all our finances and bookkeeping, I also do all our banking. I think this has been one of the biggest adjustments for me. It took us weeks and many, many trips to the bank before we could even get a bank account opened. Getting checks to use this account took a while longer. It took weeks for one and then months for the other to get the cards we needed for our financial business. We use one card to get money from the bank and another card to make purchases. Transactions that I'm used to taking care of at the bank in five minutes can take 60 - 90 minutes. I constantly have to tell myself to slow down, relax, and be patient.
I see people, on a daily basis, getting irritated and rude because of these stresses of daily life. I don't want to be like that or respond like that. Smiling, chatting with people around me, praying, and thinking of ways to express appreciation helps! I find myself constantly adjusting my expectations of time, and how much I can accomplish in a certain amount of time. My "to do" list for each day never quite gets done.
There don't seem to be any 2 days alike. I find myself each morning looking at what needs to be done, and asking the Lord for wisdom on which things to tackle that day.......not unlike what my life has always been like! So daily life for me is much the same......but different. Different people, a different country, a different culture, different ways of doing things. But life still gets done!!
I'm happy here. I'm grateful to be here. I'm thankful for all the ways the Lord has helped us in being here. It's home now........and becoming more precious to us day by day.
"Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established." Proverbs 16:3