House Hunt on High Alert

We’ve been here a month and 2 days now. I’m feeling lonely, old, worn out, displaced and frustrated. All of these feelings are making me more aggressive. This is good in a sense that it is making me get out more and hunt for what I want /need (apartment, school for Yusra, classes for me, etc.). On the other hand these feelings are also making me quick tempered with the kids (go figure). I just wish I had a friendly adult to converse with daily. A good girlfriend chat is the remedy. But no internet, no chat. Did I mention I’m oh so lonely? I need to begin working on my books (3 unfinished novels; pathetic). Insha Allah, tonight.

June 2, 2011

Good bad news: our host needs his flat back ASAP. This means we MUST move soon, insha Allah. Yay!

On another subject, here are some differences I’ve noticed in Azaadville South Africa;

In America, Muslims incorporate Arabic phrases into English conversation (i.e. “how are u Akhee?). but here in Azaadville, the incorporated tongue is Urdu. I’m no longer “Sr. Shama.” I’m Aapa Shama. Instead of praying the salah, its namaaz. Whenever anyone wants me to repeat something its “chee” or “jee” (I’m not quite sure which, I’ve heard both). People seem to be with the understanding that a Muslim woman’s voice should not be heard even to salaam (unless necessary, like in the shops). Oh, food costs about the same as in America. Shoes and clothes are just a smidge cheaper. Big appliances are way cheaper, refrigerators, stoves, etc. Rent is WAY cheaper. $500 (R3100) will get you a 3 bedroom home (not flat). But electronics such as mobile phones, gaming devices and TVs cost more. The small grocery stores here in town are too expensive though. I saw in the paper, stores about 10 minutes drive away, the prices are about R4 cheaper on each item I buy. Yet I have no way of getting there. Basically if you have no car here in Azaadville, you are trapped in Azaadville.


Differences continued: they drive on the left side of the road here. On a phone, where we are prompted to press the pound key, in S. Africa the prompt says press the hash key. It took me a few guesses to figure out that the hash key IS the pound key. There are no stop lights here in Azaadville; only stop signs which are loosely recognized as pause signs.


I’ve been in South Africa for exactly 45 days. What has been accomplished?

• Boys are in school, Alhamdulillah.

• Met some very nice Muslimahs, Maasha’Allah.

• I can calculate the difference between Fahrenheit and Celsius much faster than before.

• For the first time I’ve used Garam Masala in a meal and it tasted great!

• The girls and I are getting much more exercise with our brisk walks to and from the commercial centre to buy groceries and go to the internet café (although now that brisk walk sometimes includes a stop at the bakery which sort of defeats the purpose of the brisk walk).

• We were invited to dinner at my 8yr old’s teacher’s home. His wife was very nice, Maasha’Allah, and she had small children as well. I don’t get to meet many Muslimahs with children here because I’m living in a community of mainly students in their late teens to mid twenties. So it was refreshing to find potential playmates for my kids. They are tiring of each other’s company.

• I’ve been incorporating much more Arabic in my homeschooling curriculum for the girls. My 5yr old cannot attend school here until she is 7; even though she can read now and is eager to learn. So I’ve up’d the ante on our home school.

• We are still in housing limbo (staying at a friend’s home). This is my most immediate goal. I cannot feel at home until I actually have a home. May Allah keep me patient, ameen.


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