April 2006 Archives

It’s been four months since the demise of my American Dream, and now that I’m back here in my native land, in this geographically far-flung outpost, I’ve reached a few conclusions about some things. Like about what I miss about the United States:

Some of the people I knew there.


ALL the dogs I knew there.

Affordable books, CDs, electronics, travel, etc.

The Salvation Army store where I bought second-hand hard covers for A QUARTER.


Inexpensive, super fast and UNCAPPED (as it should be, by human right) broadband internet.


Reliable, fast, safe public transit in places like D.C., Boston, New York City, Portland, Oregon and San Fran where people really do not need to drive.


Free local calls, which means hours on dial-up internet (if one really have to) without worrying about the phone bill.

Believe it or not, but Network TV. Here we have to pay for the channels that broadcast the same type of shows that one gets for free on American Network TV. Some things do make it onto our free channels, but overall the pickings are rather slim. NOT that I’m addicted to the telly or anything, no way. Oh, and at least Oprah and Dr. Phil are still on the free channels, even though the shows are months old by the time they get here.

Good ol’e garbage disposals. Sure, I may not have cooked in the States, but man, did I have fun trying to see what can/can’t go down the garbage disposal!!!

Heat inside the houses, ‘cause here in South Africa, houses are built mostly for our long hot summers without much thought left for the winters, which seem to be getting increasingly longer and chillier. Just a few weeks ago, the South African Weather Service announced with what seemed to me way too much glee, that after several years of milder than usual winters (for which I wasn’t here), South Africa is in for years of old-fashioned, ice-cold winters. Of course it’s happening now that I’m back! That’s just so TYPICAL of my bleedin’ luck.

I miss how every state seems like a different country, complete with the residents speaking in different accents and possessing different idiosyncrasies.

The general belief and confidence among the American people that nothing is impossible and that anyone can become anything they want to be.

Free coffee in the grocery store while you shop.

Free coffee refills.

Great live music in the most unlikely places.

I miss having people hanging onto my every word simply because of my accent.

Radio stations devoted solely to jazz.

And just in case you didn’t hear me before: S...T...A...R...B...U...C...K...S!

Things I do NOT miss about the States.

Some of the people I knew there.


Snow, sleet, ice and brutally cold winters that never ever seem to end.

Daylight Saving Time. Sure, the extended daylight hours are lovely in summer, but I used to hate that they changed the clocks back again in the fall, causing it to go dark before 5 in the afternoons.

Having to deal with the double combo of US Immigration and my Immigration Liar and feeling that my whole life depended on them. I still can’t decide which of the two was worse to deal with. I’ve since reached the conclusion that I’d rather take on Satan himself with my bare hands than having to go through that pain and anguish again.

Feeling cut off from the world because unless you really make an effort to search for news on the internet or have access to BBC, there generally really isn’t much attention given to what’s going on in the rest of the world by the American media, which I think is in large part to blame for why some Americans seem rather ignorant to outsiders.

Mug Shot

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Blame all the fresh air here in my new South African hometown of By George!, because something has seriously affected my mind (fine, ALLEGED mind) and I've decided to finally reveal my mug shot to the world. Maybe it's because I'm secure in the knowledge that only three of you make up this "world" of mine.

So folks, brace yerselves.

Disclaimer: Not for the faint-hearted, the whoozy, hypochondriacs, small children, animals, fish or birds. May cause a jolt, nausea, jitters, angst, headaches, and severe fluid retention.

Proceed at your own risk, and don't say I DIDN'T WARN YOU!!!!

I can’t help but notice that all three of you have been falling over yourselves to find out why I have been so quiet. I’m really touched to know that people (even phantom ones) care so much about my well-being and about whether I’m still alive or not.

WHADOYOUMEAN it’s nothing unusual for my lazy self to not update this blog for weeks, even months, at a time which is why you weren’t worried?

Oh, right... Never mind then.

Well, just so you know. For once I DO have a valid reason for my silence. Well, at least slightly more valid than watching too many Dr. Phil and Oprah episodes back-to-back, which used to be my usual excuse back in the States.

Ah, those WERE the days... but before we get side-tracked completely and this bit of news becomes entirely anti-climactic:

I have been quiet lately because I... brace yerselves... have.............

My poor mom.

For the first years of my life, on a daily basis, she looked forward to the day she would finally be able to kick me out of the nest. Towards my thirteenth year, she nearly succeeded in accomplishing that by pushing me out of the nest and sending me to boarding school.

After a year and a semester out of the nest, my desperation to return to my mom was so great, I managed to sneak my way back up the tree and into the nest.

My mom relented, and so for the remainder of my high school and college years, I held the title envied by thousands of boarding school students the world over: that of ‘Day Scholar.’

Every day, upon our release from classes, the boarders were sent back to the dark corridors of chilly, inhospitable hostels, where they were held captive by strictly regimented increments of time enforced by an army of prefects, the most unpleasant and frustrated teachers and the shrill scream of a bell: Fifteen minutes for lunch... BELL! Fifteen minutes rest and relaxat... BELL! Three hours for homework....... BELL! Fifteen minutes to shower... BELL! Fifteen minutes for dinner... BELL! Four hours of homework...... BELL! Lights out... BELL!

Whereas I, who happened to for once in my life be a part of the crème de la crème, the elite, the most revered and envied DAY SCHOLARS, were picked up by boyfriends or parents (or in my case, the city bus) and then we made our different ways through the tree-lined suburban streets back to the comforts and coziness of our mothers’ nests.

In my third year of college, at the dawn of my turbulent twenties, followed by a rather firm push on my backside by my mom, I was sent fluttering out of the nest yet again. One would think I would’ve gotten the message then, yes? But nooooo. Not me.

For, after not even a year out in the wild, in my own chaotic little rented nest in which I was a very bewildered dweller, I managed to claw my way back up the tree and into the safe haven of my mom’s nest yet again.

However, before I could even scratch out a comfortable corner for myself, my mom gave what she thought would be the final push. In a moment of brilliance and ingenuity, she decided that since I was clearly never going to leave, SHE would. Not only that, but she’d sell the nest out from under me so that I would have no CHOICE but to leave as well.

That’s how I ended up in that petrol-scented nest I wrote about here.

And my mom’s plan worked, because after leaving THAT rental nest, I finally and quite literally flew. All the way to the United States.

Here it is a decade later, and what do you know? I have yet again found my way back to my mom’s cozy nest.

I’m rather interested to see how she is going to try and get rid of me this time, but just in case she mistakes my curiosity for a challenge – a challenge she’ll readily accept, I should add – I’m not going to tell HER that!

Typical of my luck...

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Just a quick one (or a slow one... my mom has DIAL-UP internet, but it gets even more dire than that, believe it or not: for it's only available in the day-time!!!!!! Courtesy of some senior-citizens internet-plan thingy she has, to which I softly beg: Help me!). Anyway... as I was saying: I have to make this quick. Just want to say that I arrived in By George! my new home-town, in one piece.

I've already been across the mountain to the famous KKNK. And no, the KKNK is NOT affiliated with or supported by (or to be confused with) the American KKK. This KKNK to which I refer is a fab arts festival celebrated annually in Oudtshoorn, a town on the outskirts of the Karoo (which is South Africa's version of the Outback), where I unwittingly chatted up South African celebs. More about that in a later update (when I manage to steal on here again).

But what the title of this blog is really referring to today is THIS article I glanced at when the MSN homepage finally downloaded.

I read it and wept a bit for myself. But should this bill pass, I'd be very, very happy for millions of other deserving hangers-on.

Edited to say: I know that this is probably an effort by the generally Xenophobic Republicans to clamour for votes, and ironically their proposed bill is very similar to what the Democrats have been trying to pass for a while, but at this point, I don't care, I just want long-suffering immigrants to benefit for a change, because I've BEEN there, and I know what that kind of life (if one can call it that) is like.

By George! I'm moving. Again.

To this place.

See you all on the other side.

is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)


  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Terra: YES! Wait... you didn't think that I would be this possessed to post for NO REASON, did ya???... [go]
  • Terra.Shield : OH! ... [go]
  • Marco Author Profile Page: Be a bit like serving drinks at AA?... [go]
  • Marco Author Profile Page: I personally think it is a mindset that has been cultivated over the years, and one, if not stemmed,... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Ms. Crazy Cat Lady Pants!!! Squeeeee! Sooo good to see you! (I thought NO ONE was bothering to read ... [go]
  • Ms. Pants : Kitties don't get enough credit sometimes. (All times, if you ask me, but I'm a Crazy Cat Lady.)... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Hey Tamara! I know, right?? That is a tough act to follow indeed. I adored that dentist. He used to ... [go]
  • Tamara Tipton : Well, I am not sure how any dentist could live up to that standard! LOL! I hope your appointment was... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: I'm really really glad that I'm not the only one, Po! Sometimes I drive myself mad with all the what... [go]
  • Po : Those questions run through my heads for various times in my life too, that is for sure!... [go]
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