Monday, November 10, 2014

.com Moms - #Joziexpat chronicles

As far as stereotypes are concerned, I proudly espouse “Your Typical American Suburban Mom” definition.  I carry a history of driving a minivan on the streets of Westchester, a wardrobe dominated by yoga pants and a bathroom drawer that carries all the hues for elastic bands I use to tie that perfect morning ponytail high up.

I did my gym hour with my peers every morning after drop offs and I dragged my sulking face and objecting feet back home for housework and cooking afterwards. Ultimately, I became a social media addict.. I made it social, political, sometimes religious.. Anything to make my excuse for not cleaning.. Yet another bathroom, legit!

But there is this much you can say on Facebook without coming across as an empty headed, emotional fireball, totally bored with her life despite all its blessings.  So I moved to the magical world of .com shopping.. It was perfect: convenient, available, no time restrictions and no one sitting there to judge your every click! Delivery was free on almost everything and if you didn’t like it… you would just return it, also free of charge.. Welcome to American convenience at its finest!

I was explaining to some European friends here how, only last year I was planning for my nephew’s wedding back In Cairo and I simply didn’t feel the urge to go dress hunting. So I ended up buying the dress of my dreams online and with 50% discount from ebay. To make it even sweeter, I ordered 7 pairs of possibly matching sandals from Zappos and zoom, three days later, I was trying them on in my bedroom.. Picked one up and just as easily, returned the remaining 6 with a couple of clicks, a quick trip to the post office and a full refund a few days later. That easy!

From the looks on their faces, I decided not to share my nostalgia for my weekly virtual super market visits to Freshdirect, my secret Santa amazon midnight sprees and the amazing deals I found on Groupon and LivingSocial. Zappos was seismic enough for the fragile state of our newfound friendship here.

And then came that moment all expats dread - or sometimes anticipate depending on your personal experience -  When you are told: WE ARE MOVING… new post.. new life. For me, that meant: more Internet time, legit time, to research my new destination and explore its virtual benefits to give myself something to look forward to.

The thing about searching for info on South Africa online is that it has this dramatic feel that only health sites are notorious for. If you search your symptoms online, you’re sure you’re going to die before you make to the doctor’s office.

But just like health sites, the drama turns out to be nothing more than an exaggerated disclaimer.. Your symptoms are nothing but a stress induced nervous entanglement… The issues with security in South Africa don’t make your daily life a venture into a mine field either.

One thing my .com savyy eyes immediately caught on: shops close at 6 pm on weekdays and are almost all closed on Sundays.. Then to make it worse, I stumbled upon this great blog by an expat in Joburg and on it, she lamented the loss of the way of life…. Ooohhh.. Now I need a legitimate excuse to be online.. fast!

F-forward two months and I proudly sit right now to brag about another misconception about South Africa I’m about to dispel.. 

For all .com buffs like me, who are either living in or about to move to Joburg, here is a list of what I’ve found and already tried J
1- For    there is always
2- For FreshDirect    there is PicknPay
3- For Craigslist    there is
4- for Groupon… well there is also
and it’s just as colorful and vibrant with daily add-ons and quirky stuff
5- for Zappos.. Unfortunately my hunt has not yielded much in that department.. Yet.. but don’t despair.. I’m on it

After all, I’ve only been here two months now!

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