so thanks to anyone who was in the process of sending a fridge, as requested, but i now have cold juice once more! i never thought i’d be so happy about owning a kitchen appliance, but warm raw meat sitting on a countertop for over 6 hours while the temperature in the house reaches at least 30 degrees was just making me a little too nervous!

i had a chance to use the fridge to its fullest on cold drinks for everyone this weekend due to the impromptu “housewarming” party that arrived on my doorstep on Saturday night!

i’ve been spending a lot of time with David, my landlord/work colleague and now closest jo’burg friend. he’s got some amazing mates and we partied with them all weekend. after the bar closed on saturday night the party naturally (??) moved to my sofa-less cottage. several games of Rummy and Blackjack passed the time as we all drank champagne from the bottle while sitting on cushions graciously donated to the cause by David. at least having next to no furniture made clean up fairly simple and i didn’t worry about anything being broken by drunken rowdies (there were only 5 of us in total so it didn’t get that “rowdy” anyhow!)

the increased social circle has done wonders for me. i’m so thankful to David for including me on most of his plans and outings. his friends are sweet and cool and open and sincere and great fun to hang out with. having things to do on the weekends and evenings has definitely improved my outlook and my attitude about this new life i’ve come to. i’m starting to see the fun side of jo’burg, rather than having to stare at my bare walls!

i managed to make another acquaintance – a fellow Canadian. i went out for coffee with her during the week and decided to join her and some of her friends on Friday night since i had no other plans. she chose this really strange backpackers hovel and, since i was early, i sat nursing my cooler and watching people.

it was by far one of the oddest places i’ve ever been to. hundreds of kids from the UK and elsewhere on their “gap” year (i.e. between High School/Matric and University) nervously flitted about and flirted with each other and the black locals (it’s all part of the “African Adventure” to shag a “local”, of course!). the locals mocked them behind their backs and i enjoyed the comedy until the others in my party joined later on. the Canadian acquaintance spent most of her time making fun of my home province (she’s from Toronto and aparently from the “hub” of intellectualism and refined raw material processing while Albertans are just the idiot farmers, ranchers and general workhorses of the country.) and waxing poetic about the wonderful world of Development and how it’s going to “save” these “backward” countries (perhaps Alberta can sign up to be an eventual recipient of such holy altruism). while i (unfortunately) kept relatively quiet about the Alberta bashing i let loose on her regarding being development “saviours”. while i don’t regret the profession i’ve chosen and i am optimistic about the use of development to counteract the abuse of the global capitalist economy, i get quite tired of these naive youngsters failing to critically analyse their impact and involvement therein. you cannot deny, once researching the issue, that development can also, and is also, be/ing used to open these countries further to the interests and exploitation of the corporate capitalist monoliths. quite simply, the neo-liberal agenda is also, unfortunately, very present in the motives and apparent “goodness” of development. i ripped into her to little avail… this verbal assault just seemed to further encourage her to defend her point in a painful 30 minute monologue about the beauty of “helping” these “poor people”. ugh.

anyways, i digress. the end conclusion is that i don’t imagine i’ll be asked to join the Canadian on future outings.

this does not upset me.

on the upside i will be joining one of the other girls i met that night for coffee this evening. we had a brilliant conversation about the history of religion and Christianity (she’s becoming a United Church Minister in the US after completing her 2 year placement here). i think we both enjoyed the private academic conversation with each other far more than the inane “this is what i think of Johannesburg, development, crime, and Alberta” conversation being monopolised all evening by the insane Canadian. good things do often result from bad.

in the same way, from my initial loneliness i’ve spent more time analysing what i want to do while here, how i will conduct business professionally, personally and socially, and who i want to spend time with. the results have been astonishing. it’s amazing to me that i’ve managed to make friends/acquaintances far quicker than i ever have before when arriving somewhere new. while these newfound people do not provide the kind of deep emotional connections that i have with my friends in Canada (and Malawi – see you soon, achimwene Adam!!), given that there is little shared history, i have fortunately been spared weekends and evenings staring at my walls feeling lonely and alone.

another bonus of this weekend is that i’ve learned to avoid backpacker places. the real locals can be found on the streets, in the clubs, dancing sweaty next to you enjoying the good music vibes right alongside you – and in your own front yard!

Waya waya! All is lekker.

I have arrived.

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