Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Me and June Cleaver

I really do feel like I’m living in 1954. I have to say...believe the hype! There is something a  magical about life 50 years ago.

For instance...

  1. I am the dishwasher - We do not have a dishwasher so we hand wash all our dishes.  Wow!  Three meals a day for a family of 5 – that’s A LOT of dishes.  June Cleaver made it look so fun in those dresses and aprons! She didn’t sweat! She glowed! Her hair was magnificent and her kitchen sparkled. I think I would be having a much better time if I added some heels, pearls and cardigans to my dishwashing experience.

I’m way too excited about these kitchen scrubbers sent by a friend in America (thanks Jennifer)

2.  Not a disposable lifestyle – We seem to save everything!  It’s almost like I grew up in the Great Depression...I just can’t throw it away!  Ziplock bags, plastic disposable cups, the flimsy container the strawberries come get the idea. I even look at empty toilet paper rolls and think, “I’m SURE Jensen could make a craft out of that!  It’s really TOO good to throw away! I could desperately need this someday!”

In fact she did make a craft out of the TP roll...last week I turned around and she said, “Look, Mom! I made this 'camera' all by myself!" (I was actually pretty impressed)

On a side note....someone was asking me about our “wheelybin” recently.  I kept saying “What?” “What?” Until I realized they were saying Wheely Bin – meaning our outdoor trash can on wheels. I’m not absolutely positive I speak English here.

3. Line drying laundry – Until I moved to Africa...I had never hung clothes to dry outside. Here’s how I used to look at sunny days...
·         As a kid -  Fun! Now I can run around the neighbourhood endlessly and ride my bike and climb countless tress
·         In my teens – Great! Now I can lay out and get a stellar tan!
·         In my 20’s – Not Great! I’m stuck inside working on a gorgeous day.
·         In my 30’s – Fantastic! Now I can line dry my laundry and save $2 on electricity (big savings not using the “tumble drier” as they call it)

4. Jensen’s school – Jensen goes to a “public school” – but it feels like a nice small town school from the 50’s.  Her teacher is a Christian, they can pray in school, and religion is encouraged. The parents are nice, the teachers are’s all just so very nice.

5. He’s on the 20, the 15, the 5, Touchdown Nebraska! Karl found a way to listen to the Husker Game last weekend on the radio.   Kinda like a big screen, high-def TV...but not really. Actually, it was an iPad app that lets you listen to any radio station around the world. Similar to 1950...but in a much more global, techy way. 

 6.  I truly feel like I’m living in a small town.  The valley where we live is composed of several small towns within a 7 mile stretch.  So even though there are about 100,000 people in this little nook on the tip of Africa...every time I go to the grocery store or local cafe, I run into many people I know. Jensen and Karl play the game, “Who can see the first person we know?" (Jensen always wins with her eagle eyes).’re likely to know someone in the parking lot if your car won’t start (it’s happened...came in handy for a jump start). Downside: I can’t just run to grab some bananas in my sweats and hope I won’t see anyone I know. They will find me...especially if I’m make-up less and severely wind blown.

7. Mom and Pop Stores - There really aren't a lot of “chains” around here...the area is largely made up of locally owned restaurants and shops.  Where we used to go to Walmart as one stop for everything...we now have to go to 10 different smaller stores. Fish Hoek, a nearby small town, feels like Ansley, Nebraska 50 years ago – when small towns were alive and well. We can’t help but “Go Local and Buy Green.”

I confess there is a McDonalds nearby, but I have yet to find someone who can understand my thick American accent filtered through the drive-through intercom system (I try to tell them it's not ME with the accent).  This experience is usually composed of two people yelling, “What? What? WHAT??!?” into the microphone till I give up and drive to the window to give my order in person (they are still not quite sure what I’m talking about...which is pretty amazing since I’m just listing items off their menu). Karl is waging a silent war and now refuses to ever order anything through the speaker system (to their shock...he drives straight to the window every time).

 8. Neighbours with Chickens - Jensen was saying the other day that she really wants to see chickens and “pick eggs.”  When you’re living in the 1950’ naturally have friends with chickens in their back yard. Why wouldn’t you?  Of course we stopped by our friend’s house and Jensen gathered some eggs! Those chickens are on a mission!

Real chickens pecking away!

 9.  Words have new meaning -   Expressions that came from an earlier time in our history have taken on new meaning for us!
·         Don’t let the bed bugs bite – I used to say this to Jensen all the time back in America while I was tucking her in.  Ever since our bed bug incident...Jensen will say, “Mom! Don’t say that!! That scares me!”  She’s right...bed bugs are no joke.
·         Pecking order – Who knew that this expression came from chickens?  When Jensen went to feed the chickens the owner explained to us that there is a pecking order – as the chickens literally peck each other in a certain order. Chickens are not to be trifled with.
·         See you Soon, Baboon – Too many baboons around here that we do NOT want to see soon!

 10. Services – They pump your gas for you at the gas station (job creation is a big deal here so even you wanted can’t pump it yourself) and when you go to the doctor you actually see the doctor for most of the time (instead of all the nurses – the doctor is the one that actually weighs you, takes your blood pressure, and checks out the pee you JUST peed in a cup...right there in front of you...I admit...slightly disturbing...I prefer to think of my pee in a quarantined environment not handled by actual humans)

So there you go!

Of course this is Africa...and there is so much poverty, drugs and horrible situations...right next to all the 1950ness.  My life really feels like a strange combination of The Help, Lean on Me (or Dangerous Minds or Freedom Writers – take your pic of inspiring inner city school movies), and Tsotsi (set in one South Africa's notoriously crime-ridden townships).

We hope we are tempting you to visit and experience (or re-experience) America circa 1954 Africa style!