Would you come to a country thinking you had to survive off a gallon of water you stuffed in your luggage, when all along there was perfect running water and electricity? Me neither.
Over my time spent in South Africa, I have finally figured out what grinds my American gears. It took awhile to figure it out, and it was only until it became so expected that I realized the question irritated me.
“So it’s not what you had expected, is it?”
The question that seems to roll off every South African’s tongue when we meet for the first time. They stand their with their eyebrows lifted and a smirk, waiting for my ignorance to seep through my teeth, thinking I will say “Oh my God! I’m so relieved I’m not naked, sleeping on a small cot, shooing away humongous flies under a scorching sun!”
I truly hate that question, because it makes no sense to me. Granted, I’m a college educated woman, but I would hope that even the crazy football fans did a little bit of research before flying across the seas to watch the tournament.
I don’t doubt there are those blockheads, who arrived to O.R. Tambo International Airport with a bag full of shorts, suntan lotion and protective nets, but for the most part, I’m sure people did their homework.
What aggravates me even more is when I tell them, “No I knew what to expect,” and they sarcastically rebut, “Oh so you did a little preparation before coming here?”
No! Actually, I had been forced to read books, search AOL (before Google was hot) and watch documentaries about foreign places when I would rather be outside with the rest of the 9-year-olds in my neighborhood.
The conversation always becomes insulting to me, and I give up before someone labels me a know-it-all-American-jerk.
Me assuming your country is some third-world ill country is just as bad as you assuming foreigners don’t take the time to learn about your country.
Although this does bother me, I have yet to deter from wanting to be here after graduation. I still love Mzansi and its people, bad assumptions and all.