Sunday, June 22, 2014

Give it a Year - Day 336

Three hundred and sixty-five days of living in Johannesburg is almost here, dear friends. And what better time than any, I get a mail from a friend in Durban asking me what it’s been like thus far. From what I can tell she’s braving the move, so to help her out I thought a little summary of my year would be a perfect opportunity to unblock this writers stall and indulge her and enlighten you to a city I will now call home for yet another three hundred and sixty-five days. 

So here goes…

She says in her mail “ I know you grew a very large pair of testicles and made the move.” I don’t think it was ever about “growing a pair” It was more about outgrowing Durban. The opportunities to make a life in Durban became harder. The thought patterns became a saturated circle of the same ideas, same people and I felt less and less motivated to follow a dream. Weekends became the same activities all surrounded by the ocean, getting a tan (well, not in your case Angie) having a braai and watching the rugga. Driving out to the midlands, or taking a costal trip got harder, as again, the motivation in our twenty-something brains felt more comfort, stagnated and drained from fighting in the same pool in the office every week. My move came from a pull of something different, and push away from the same old. It definitely wasn’t about growing a pair, it was just about growing. 

I remember driving away from Durban for the first time, the further I got, the looser the noose around my comfort strings got. It was like Durban let me go, and as I neared the big smoke I felt a pull unlike any. She (Johannesburg) in all her wintery smog engulfed me into the type of welcoming hug you experience from a friend that you havnt seen in a very long time. My nostrils burnt from the dryness, and my eyes tried to adjust to the initial ugliness she is. Winter is not a good look on her. But as I cornered into my new home I was surprised at the beauty she has hidden. 

Johannesburg is about diversity, it’s the people that make the city. At first glance I get why we are drilled from afar of why it’s such a shitty place to live. All you see when we set the stage are actors that play on crime, cold and a money making propaganda of no use to the twenty-something creatives that are all shipped to Cape Town to fall into self expression. Listen here, Joburg is self expression. I look at the city and there is not one neighbourhood that isn’t created by it’s community.  It’s more alive than any city I have been in, it’s more real and exactly where any dream is created and guess what? Where all dreams are actually followed through. It's not a forever place, but the place we all need to start with.

Making friends with Joburg is a tad harder than making friends with it’s people. A ring full of roads with the closest place of convenience just, “20 minutes away”, for a Durbanite this was the first bit of “Wow, this city is big!” and “Down the road can’t possibly be the difference between Kloof and Durban central, because that’s a day trip, right?". My faith became my GPS as landmarks move quicker than the night (Joburg’s infrastructure is an evolutionary project, buildings go up and buildings come down. It’s a man made battle to win the sky, so nothing is the same for very long.) and difference between the M1 and N1 is the difference between getting home at night or “you’re lost, you might as well park and take the train.” 
It’s, to say it bluntly, scary learning the curves in her structure. But once you get it, it’s like conquering the moon. Back roads, ain’t nothing but a thang, (unless you venture North then I can’t help you, Fourways and I still havnt become friends). 

The weather? Jozi’s winter is harsh. It comes with no warning and you are left bone cold and grasping for moisture. The farce of the sun is just there to comfort you and let you know that summer still exists, somewhere. The fashion options are just layers of fun, knits, boots and scarves for days, which makes it bareable and sparks new excitement into the frosty air. Then Spring, my most favourite season in this city arrives, butterfly swarms decorate the streets like spring snowflakes, it’s awakening and magical. Onto summer storms, loud enough to deafen a deaf man and like clock work at 5pm they come and they go leaving you with rainbows, and sunsets that welcome you home after a long day. 
It’s the nature of Joburg to pull you into a work drive that at times makes you want to die and then lift your spirits so high in it’s natural beauty that makes it all ok. The intensity of it’s pace becomes a drug, in all aspects. 

So did I find it easy to make friends? I don’t think I have ever had a problem making friends, but in this city, the people are warm, we only really have each other and because of the diversity in it’s culture everyone is looking for a new lunch date, a new dancing buddy or someone to call for a sneaky glass of wine on a Sunday afternoon. And the most bizarre thing is that when you meet someone at a bar, and exchange numbers.. they actually call! The people of Joburg want to get to know you, I have a ridiculously diversity in my friends, from Jews, to Greeks, Polish, English, German and Bulgarians.. cliques don’t exist here. So it’s best to leave your apprehensions elsewhere. We’re open, everyday. 

I feel like I could go one about the greatness here, I could go on for days, but I can’t tell you that you are going to be right for Joburg, I honestly think it’s like an arranged marriage. You aren’t really sure about her in the beginning but over time you can’t help but fall so deeply in love with her that living anywhere else could not match up to what she has to offer. 

So on that note Angie: I would take the leap, it’s only 550kms from “home” and if you don’t like it, go home. But give it time. Live the four seasons with open arms and embrace a new adventure. As a creative there is no better place than here. And I am here. 

Ah friends, I can't wait to move into my new home in a week and start all over again, in my new neighbourhood, in the same city and for the millionth time see it with completely different eyes. 

No comments :

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...