You Know You’ve Lived in Southern Africa When…

You know you’ve lived in Swaziland (with South Africa’s influence) long enough when:
1. Your husband thanks the guy pumping your petrol with a “thanks my boit”. (And you’re reminded that you’re not from here because you don’t know how to spell that word)
2. You call it “petrol” instead of “gas”
3. You find yourself pronouncing words differently, just to be understood- like bA-NAAAN-Ah instead of BaNANa. And when you hear another American call it that, you chuckle.
4. You switch word orders in sentences to reflect the siSwati word order, so even when speaking English, folks can understand you. Instead of “What are you making?”, you ask, “You are making what?”
5. You eat everything with a knife and fork. Everything. Pizza. Salad. Meat. Everything. And you’ve become quite dexterous at shoving peas & and pasta onto the backside of your fork and delivering said contents safely into your mouth.
6. When you eat your breakfast with just a fork, you find yourself judging yourself for heathen-ly sawing your eggs with said fork’s edge.
7. You walk on the left side of the sidewalk, and also drive effortlessly on the left side of the road.
8. When someone asks you when you returned from your trip (in English), you respond with Itolo and slightly panic, thinking How do you say ‘yesterday’ in English?

9. Your emails to family back home in the States include words like “shame!” (An overused expressed meaning “I’m sorry” and “oh no!” A cry of compassion, pity, and apology wrapped into one) and “sorry, sorry. So sorry.” Whenever someone tells you of their bad day, spilling coffee on their shirt, or a delayed flight. Sometimes you type “Shame. So sorry.” in an email to your family or friends, then quickly delete it before they think you’ve gone MAUD. (Going crazy is no longer called “going crazy,” but rather “MAUD” spelled mad, but never pronounced in that Yank’s accent.)
10. It’s October, & you’re wearing a tank top and shorts. Hoping no Swazis see you through the window because they’re all wearing long pants & skirts.
11. When friends send you links to articles like this and you nod along as you read, agreeing the whole way.

Categories: just for fun, Public Confession | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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