Home, Sweet Home

How I love my little rural village. Two traffic lights, one shopping centre, eye contact, greeting, lots of parking, open spaces, friendly smiles... all so different from the city.

I lived in various cities for many years and I used to love it, but no more, I have become accustomed to better. At one time on Saturday, I was waiting for Liz (my daughter) outside a shop and as I watched the passersby, I realised that they do not make eye contact, they all try their utmost to ignore everybody around them.

Then I purposely tried to catch their eyes and when they did make eye contact, I smiled at them. Their reactions were quite amusing. Some started smiling back (oh, here's somebody who knows me), then a sudden, penetrating look (oh no, I do not know this person) and then a really artificial smile (but just in case it is someone I should know...). Others just looked away quickly. Well, anyway, I am back home in my little friendly town where friendly people live and where we greet one another, even if we do not know the other person.

Shopping went well and I did find a pair of lovely soft leather shoes for wearing with slacks to work and I also found two long-sleeved shirts. However, my good intentions of actually buying decent slacks went by the wayside and I came home with another pair of jeans. You will remember that I intended for some of my shopping to land on Liz's account, well that never happened. Instead a lovely scarf that she liked ended up in her bag and the charge ended up on my account. ("No fool like an old fool" comes to mind. I get caught every time.)

What went even better than the shopping was our visit with old friends. We stayed with them for the weekend and even Liz ended up spending the weekend. Nineteen years ago our two families moved into the same street on the same day. We soon became friends and although they moved away three years later, we remained friends. We still see each other regularly and speak on the phone at least once a month. If it were possible for friendship to grow into kinship, we would have been it.

Something else that I did notice while driving around Pretoria was the progress that has been made with the Gautrain (a new high speed train service between Oliver Tambo Airport, Johannesburg and Pretoria) in preparation for the Soccer World Cup next year. I am not a soccer fan but could not help feeling excited about the tournament coming to South Africa.

Driving on the freeways in and around Pretoria and Johannesburg at present is hell. There are road works going on everywhere. All the main roads are being widened and upgraded which causes bottlenecks every few kilometres, but when I think of the improvement it will bring in the end, I do not mind suffering a bit of inconvenience and frustration. I do however feel sorry for drivers that must endure this everyday.

Okay, that was feedback on the weekend and I think that is enough of my boring little life at the moment. I promise I will write something more interesting in my next post.


jfrancis said...

Half a world away(e.texas usa)near tyler we do
the same thing, speak to everyone we meet even
on the most rural of roads. and i would not
have it any other way. it is a sign of sound
and solid civilization.

DUTA said...

I agree with you about smaller places being more friendly. But I'm afraid, the Gossip is bigger in these places, and it could spoil things.

Enjoy your new shoes and have many shopping escapades with your daughter.

Viewtiful_Justin said...

This was far from boring. I love hearing about the day-to-day of people far away from myself.


I feel the same way about a smaller town as you do. Although, there are drawbacks to knowing everyone, like everyone knowing your business and gossiping. I'm not a fan of that.

A human kind of human said...

jfrancis:- It is nice hearing from you and learning a little about you. Texas (USA), yes that is half a world away. I have very good friends living in Boston.

Duta:- Thanks for visiting. Oh I love shopping with both my daughters. They have totally different personalities but both have a fun streak that I enjoy. And yes you are right... the gossip!

Justin:- Thanks for your interest in my boring life. Yes, of course gossiping is bad in small towns, but luckily your friends also know enough about you to be able to judge gossip by their personal knowledge of you.

Argent said...

Not boring at all. I live in a big city where nobody knows anybody. I envy you. We have shedloads of roadworks too, but no World Cup to look forward to in compensation.

Jo said...

I love reading about your life in South Africa. It makes me think of my family, and sort of connects me with them.

Vancouver is full of construction right now too, in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics. I guess it will be fine when it's finished, but right now it's a mess. :-)