- Halloween (South Africa doesn't celebrate Halloween. Well, not really, anyway. Dressing up in a mask and knocking on strangers' doors is a good way to get shot).
- Remembrance Day (the public holidays here are obviously different from those in Canada)
- Leaves falling (We're just coming into summer, so all the trees are aggressively leafy right now)
- Being able to see your breath (Rather than see my breath in the cold, crisp, air, I've made the rather disconcerting discovery that my man-breasts are now large enough to produce underboob sweat (note to self- lay off the koeksisters)).
- Boogers freezing in your nose (nope, but apparently the summer allergies from which I thought I escaped back home followed me to South Africa)
The sequence is all off. Also, remember how I told you that South Africa FEELS familiar to start with, but not really? If not, you can read about it here. Christmas is the same thing. It kinda looks like home, but with some key differences.
Here are some Christmas observations from an outsider's first December in South Africa:
- I'm not entirely sick of Christmas music yet. In fact, I've barely heard any at all. This might be because singing about sleigh bells, snowmen, and Frosty the Snowman really have no relevance here. Whatever the reason, while I HATED Christmas music back home, I actually kind of miss it.
- Santa Claus here isn't the Santa we know. It makes sense that the costumes are flimsier- the temperature has been in the mid-30s the last little while here. Combine all that Santa sweat with the thousands of litres of kid urine I'm sure soaks into the suit, and by the end of the season, Santa would smell like a glorious combination of skunk colon, despair, and a bag full of whatever the collective internet would smell like if we could sniff it. But other than that, they still don't give a crap. The beards are fake 9 times out of ten, and not fake like your best friend Becky who tells you your jeans don't make you look fat in such a convincing way that you don't find out until later that she posted a picture on Instagram of your behind rammed into denim juxtaposed with a chubby cat in overalls.
This is as close as she'd get to Santa. I don't blame her.
- Christmas lights. Or lack thereof. In our security complex (there will be a blog about security in the near future), there's one house that decorated the outside.One. We kind of get a pass this year because we're so new, but I did tell the neighbours who decorated that it's ON next year. It's not just our complex, either. You have to look hard to see Christmas lights anywhere. Probably because except in very few areas, they'd be stolen before you put the ladder away.
- The whole country shuts down. I'm not even kidding. From about Dec 10 to Jan 15, what little work that usually goes on comes to a screeching halt. And I don't think the concept of having somebody to cover for people who are on vacation has caught on here. Everybody seems to have ONE job, and if the person who's responsible for that job happens not to be there, you're out of luck. (again, there will be a future post about this).
- Where are the Christmas movies? We pay a ridiculous amount for DSTV here, the equivalent of cable back home. It's great. We get a boatload of channels that play only repeats. But we can watch LOTS of repeats. You'd think that with more than 100 channels, we could find MAYBE one Christmas movie during the month of December. But nope. Thankfully we finally got our internet at home connected, so at least we can find some on Netflix.
- The heat. Holy Moses, the heat. I associate Christmas with snow, hot chocolate, and thousands of drivers who are caught off guard by the weather, despite the fact winter arrives literally every year. In Pretoria today, it's going to be 33 degrees. For some of you, that sounds nice, but I'm finding it super hard to get into the Christmas spirit when I'm sweating like a leper in a tilt-a-whirl.
There are a ton of other things I can talk about, but these were the ones that really stuck out. We still don't know many people here yet, and we don't have any family here, so we're going super low key this year. We'll do a small dinner, then probably just jump in the pool.
|Do you feel sorry for us yet?|