well, that's me sort of back to square one because of me, then. i had this rather brilliant, elaborate plan for my (considerably) better half's imminent birthday, look you see. but then the stuff all arrived way earlier than i thought it might, and it just seemed incredibly mean not to just go right ahead and hand it all over.
by all, well, here is a picture of most of it.
yes, that's right, a whole stash of South African food and drink stuff. well, when i say drinks, cheap coffee and something that in our house shall always be known as "green cola".
be warned, for this post shall contain sentimental hygiene, advice, lament, regret, nostalgia and maybe, if we are all very lucky, one or two words of wisdom which may benefit the more random person browsing the net looking for a word or two on their own trials, tribulations and travels.
The South African Shop. there are a few to choose from, but this one clearly worked for me.
and when i say worked, i tried hard to find one to take an awful lot of money off of me. i will not name names as i hope they get sorted, but the first site i went to crashed on the shopping trolley, so i could not check out. the second wished to send me an authorization code before it would let me shop. three days later and i am still waiting for it. yes, some businesses bringing SA products to the UK would very much have decided that the SA Post Office business model should come too.
service levels of the place i used? superb. free, next day shipping on orders over £50, and the prices they had on everything were very good - better than or equal to what other stores had, with a discount thrown in if you ordered certain amounts of products. also, from what i could work out, they have a loyalty programme in place which seems to suggest frequent orders will work out very nicely indeed.
not that we will be ordering that often. good comparative prices are one thing, in particular when compared to the cost of importing the products in the first instance. however, it's still an expensive sort of treat thing. this 2l bottle of Creme Soda, for instance, works out at R93 when you translate the £ cost. blimey.
i figured after nearly a year and a half away my (considerably) better half was due some tastes of her home country. this was indeed prompted by the recent great act of generosity by my sister. however, it comes with danger.
one of the greatest bits of advice i ever heard was not directed at me and possibly came many years too late to make an impact. a gent told another that when you move country, just forget all about what was and where you are from, and be that of where you are now. clutching to a past and how things were pretty much stops you from settling in. but that should not stop you from indulging in a taste and a sense of home when you can.
i am, of course, very much at home now. my (considerably) better half and the boys too. with regards to the latter, friends, teachers, relatives and passing strangers speak of the boys in kind words, saying they act, talk and behave like they have lived here their whole lives. that's fantastic, of course, and makes it all far easier for us as we go onwards.
i didn't get quite such an easy ride, really. not that i would change a single thing of how i grew up. well, maybe the peculiar sense of isolation i seem to perpetually have, although in real terms i of course am not alone. i don't think i've had a just blend in, be the same identity since 1981. when i went to Australia i was the English boy, when i returned to England i was the Australian, when i went to South Africa i was the English gent (well, gent-ish), and now back home in England i suspect a few view me as possibly being South African. go figure. perhaps i should just go work for the UN or something.
oh indeed that is Ricoffy you see there. a small jar, for i do not miss it all that much. it was cheap in SA, but not necessarily nasty. it is, i believe the only one of these treats that i shall sample myself. will it give me a peculiar sense of being homesick? i highly doubt that, but i hope it brings back some fond memories. ones that i will, in fairness, have anyway.
the important, if you like overriding thing here is that three people are very, very happy with me in this house at the moment. i am pretty sure they usually are most of the time anyway, but it's nice to be able to do something like this once in a while.
hopefully not too much of this has come over all sad and woe is me, as that was surely not the intention. it's all good, believe me. and i hope this has helped some people looking towards similar shopping!
be lekker to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!