In September last year, I won the “Welcome to Jozi” pack from 94.7, one of the most popular radio stations in the city, which basically means that for a whole year I get free tickets to all the parks, museums and events sponsored by the radio. Quite a nice way to feel welcomed in the city, I must say!
Hence, as part of the pack, I got tickets to all the rugby games of the season but never managed to make it to any of these so far. That was until last week, when I finally got to see the Lions playing the Waratahs in Ellis Park. I loved it so much that I can only recommend to anyone who comes to the city to go and support the local team. Here are the reasons why.
Jozi’s skyline at sunrise
You fear the traffic jams, Hillbrow, or for your own safety? Well, fear again! Because here are the five main challenges you will face when settling in your new city!
Nothing compares to the thrill of relocating to a new country. You start anew. It all looks much brighter and shiner. You feel like a 2-year old kid again. Your eyes become bigger than your head. Everything is new, everywhere. You’re hooked up. There’s no greater feeling than this.
So if you follow the Instagram feed, you will surely know by now that we are the proud owners of a wonderful French bulldog, born 8 months ago on the South African soil, bred & trained through regular feedings of billtong (the South African dried meet) and Royal Canin. Continue reading
Chasing sunsets, one of my favourite activities in the city
For those wondering what it’s like living in Jozi, here is a list of the few things that, as an expat, you will soon learn about this wonderful city.
There are a few things you will learn when you arrive to Johannesburg. Casual ones, like to always carry a lip balm with you everywhere you go, as the dry climate tears your lips apart. Or more serious ones, like to roll up your windows at crossroads, to prevent the mash and grab.
And then, there is the golden rule. Always hold on to your remote as if your life depended on it. That’s your lucky ticket, the one you don’t want to share, because a remote, that’s basically the key to a safe place in case of emergency. And in this city, you don’t want to jeopardise the access to your safe place. For your own security, and more importantly, for the one of your family.
Instameet under the old train station
I knew that I wanted to write this blog the moment we decided to move to Johannesburg. But I also knew that my computer skills being what they are, it would take me a while before I actually posted my first article. So what did I do in the meantime? I went for the easy road, and created an instagram account, @abrandnewsky, to document the steps of our journey to our new country.
We didn’t decide to go to Africa. It’s Africa that came to us, in the most surprising fashion. A phone call, in the heat of August 2013, while we were enjoying some well-deserved holidays, started everything. Lying in the sun of a Greek Island, I was asked if I would consider a position in South Africa. “South Africa? That isn’t exactly in our plans. Whereabout in South Africa? Cape Town?”, I asked, tentatively. “No, Johannesburg”.
And here she was: Johannesburg, the dreaded city. An embarrassing silence suddenly fell upon the conversation, where one could hear the sound of the mediterranean waves in the distance. I didn’t know much about Johannesburg at that time. Or at least, that’s what I thought. But my head was actually filled with flashes of decayed buildings, clustered homes, window bars and electric fences. Images of shotguns, drug dealers, robberies and heartless crimes, just to name a few, were running through my mind while a dizzying sensation crawled its way up from my stomach. I was feeling bad, physically bad. And before I knew it, before I even had the chance to consider the scope of our possibilities, the inevitable conclusion just imposed itself onto me: there was no way we would ever live in Johannesburg. Too dangerous. My guts had already decided for me.