• Leah Anne Little

L.L: Cameleoning

Hello Sunshines, A quick recap for yall! I am back in my home country South Africa! After being in Houston, Texas for 2 years. I got back in the beginning of April. Although it was a very unexpected visit home and seemed so abrupt at first, I got to be home for my brothers 8th birthday and it all has worked out for good. I have more than a month unlike past visits home to fit in all the catch up coffee dates and make up for missed adventures, fishing trips and a whole lot of sunsets.

In todays write I will be chatting about the cultural differences between my two homes, South Africa and Houston Texas. Lets first get started on some need to know lingo: - In South Africa we don’t have States, we have provinces and I live in the Western Cape, specifically the Garden route. Its a lot more like the Texas area with farm land etc but also the beaches of California just down the road. The best of both worlds. Cape Town is more like Malibu and LA vibes. I for sure think I love Texas so much compared to other states cause of the people, much like south Africans they are very warm and friendly. - They also understand the stereo types of “oh so if you are African you must have a pet Rhino” much like how many people think Texans must ride horses round in boots and a cowboy hat all day. - Texas has many things that other states don’t have and Texans sure are proud of that. Much like how in South Africa we have a food called biltong and get offended when Americans compare it to beef jerky. - One of the things I hope to never loose, unlike my accent according to my Family in South Africa. Is my appreciation for little things I sometimes realize I take for granted while in the USA. Little things like how in the USA most homes and malls etc have central heating or air conditioning, back here in SA central heating is known as a wood-burning fireplace and our version of turning on the AC is cracking open the windows. - In SA we also have water shortages and a little activity we call “load shedding” and oh my do South Africans love the government for it. It started happening years ago when our electricity supplier, Eskom could not keep up with the demand for electricity even if you pay your taxes and electricity bills, the electricity goes out for scheduled periods of the day according to zones/districts. Using candles for light or solar little lanterns if you are prepared and boiling water for a hot mini bath on the gas stove and more family time can be fun. But once your project deadlines that you need your laptop for come closer, work cannot be done because of lack of generators etc. Influencing the whole economy like a domino effect, it becomes not so much of a fake family camping trip.

I realized when getting back that my awareness and always being on high alert had lessened but needed to be picked back up again, even in the safest of areas, the poverty rate is high hence a lot of crime. Little things like not holding your phone in your hand or putting it in my back pocket to prevent drawing attention to a possible threat. All these things are what make us, the rainbow nation in SA so united. During times like those things like memes making light of the negatives that only people who have lived through it understand, that we all can relate to unite us and people start realizing how much harder some people who are not as fortunate have to work every day just to be in the exact position you complain about everyday. People realize that team work and compassion is the only way to maintain some form of peace and happiness. I find most areas in the USA are very much more separated by class and people. South African culture is full of color and diversity, from the foods of mixed cultures to areas that range from small town beach towns to farm lands within a few hundred meters of eachother. South Africa was not always so united and has taken years and generations and still is taking time to become more united. That is one thing that makes Texas feel like home to me is how Texans see being Texan as its own cultural group much like South Africans take pride in being a saffa, not a certain race or group but more so all the things we do and go through that make us proudly south African. One of the best ways I have grown with all my traveling is learning how to adapt and embrace the new environments you are thrown into! I am so lucky to have two places I call home and love switching from boots to sandals and being able to go straight back and change it up! One of my favorite quotes that I think goes well with this write is “be grateful for where you are and what you have because someone out there is wishing for your bad days” This always reminds me to humble myself and push through my bad days with positivity and grace!

I look forward to updating yall again about all my South African and future adventures! Lots of love Sunshines! Leah Anne


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