Navigating your way through life in a new country, with different customs and a language you don’t understand is difficult. For a spoilt South African who has never had to use public transport, is directionally challenged, and has always had domestic help? Well, let’s just say my quest to find the washing machine in the studio I inhabit temporarily proved fruitless, and ended with me sitting in a heap (of clothing) on the floor Googling “doing laundry by hand” and trying to convince myself that, no, Google was not in fact judging me.
My first attempt at laundry in the bath tub was a success (well, I can only assume, but ask me in a week if my clothes are still sticky), as was my first shopping excursion. I only misunderstood two labels and purchased icing sugar instead of sugar and cream instead of milk. However, I remembered to buy a bag and I used the odd-looking plastic divider to separate my groceries from those of the next shopper at the check-out counters, which was met with a nod of approval from an elderly German lady and a mental fist pump from me.
Feeling confident, I ventured out of the office during my lunch break to order some food by myself. At a small kiosk down the street offering a limited selection of foods, I managed to order some fries with ketchup to take away using what can only be described as some sort of pidgin sign language. As I am a vegetarian and there was not a trace of wurst in my container of deep-fried deliciousness, I consider that a victory.
And so I am learning that to survive and keep a sense of humor, you can’t sweat the small stuff, but you ought to celebrate it all!