I met Sam my sophomore year of college at John Brown University. He was a freshman and truly ‘fresh’ from Africa. We met playing in a sand volleyball tournament where he showed up in neon yellow swim trunks. They were bright…but he also looked really good diving after that volleyball. He was intriguing. In the beginning I thought it just might be his accent or the way he described his idea of a perfect date which consisted of sitting on a far away beach in Cape Town watching the sun set over the ocean. (Come on what Kansas girl wouldn’t fall for that!) After that first volleyball game we passed each other briefly walking to and from class but we weren’t even friends. It took a year and a half and my traveling to Spain and back until we thought of one another as more than just a cute blonde. From the beginning there was something different about this boy and I finally began to figure it out. He was intriguing, confident, smart, witty, a prankster, introspective, intentional, and when he started to look at me like there was no one else in the room…I was gone. He had already started his adventure. He was living it and I desperately wanted to be part of his world. I knew that if I could just be by his side he would take me places. The next August I was walking down an aisle smiling at my adventure.
From Zimbabwe to Africa
Why did you move to the U.S.?
I moved to the US to pursue tertiary education at a university that was not based out of a hut.
What are some unique differences living in the U.S. from Zimbabwe?
In situations like this I find bullet points a much easier way to get a point across:
- The sheer number of white people
- Not having to wait in line to buy petrol (gas)
- Feeling pride for a country
- The general ease of living & availability of…anything.
What is the weirdest thing that has happened to you in the U.S.?
Probably that time as an intern during my first summer in the US that I mistook Long Island Ice Tea for some fancy version of regular iced tea, and proceeded to get thoroughly buzzed in front of several colleagues at my first professional job.
Funny cultural nuances of moving to America?
- Having been used to kissing girls/ladies on the lips when greeting, or hugging at a minimum, the transition to emo-style head nods or casual “’sups” as a greeting was an interesting transition.
- 44 oz drinks
- Drinks measure in ounces. (Farenheit was a bitch too. Who does that calculation in their head every time they want to know what the temperature is in the format that they grew up with?)
- The art of haggling
What do you not like about the U.S.?
- Ignorant world-views, or the view that the country you are in IS the world.
- Credit cards
- Socialized anything
What do you miss about Africa?
- People with similar accents
- The African attitude toward time (i.e. not really caring about it)
- Rugby, cricket and field-hockey (yes, men play it)
- Schweppes Orange
- Afternoon thunderstorms
Favorite food/drink since moving to America?
- Gin & tonic
- Any kind of Asian food
What has changed in your routine since moving?
Efficiency is much more of a focus – time has become more of a commodity than an afterthought (come to think of it, that could also be a result of being married…)
What do you love about the people?
Americans surprised me when I first arrived – I think they have gotten a bad rep overseas. They are on the whole, some of the friendliest, well-meaning people I have come across in my travels. They are accepting to a fault and for the most part are an excellent representation of the diversity in this large nation.
What is easier in your new country?
- Everything. The only exception to this would be getting to know people. Really know people, not just remember their name at the same starbucks you go to everyday.
- Travelling on a US passport
What is harder?
*see exception above.
Also, changing allegiances and being
How does the country/culture make you feel?
It has forced me to express my feelings a lot more than I have been accustomed to. For the most part I believe that is a good thing. Overall, the culture here in the US makes me feel privileged to be able to experience it.
How has it changed your life/perspective
It has certainly awoken the whole “land of opportunity” vibe in me. There are incredible opportunities available to people in this country. One cannot help but be inspired to work towards your goals and dreams here.
How do you relax
Watch tv mostly, to the great disdain of my wife. Who doesn’t like Top Gear and the Military Channel?
How has living abroad made you a better person?
Perhaps the better question is whether I think I am actually a better person today than 8 years ago in Zimbabwe. I don’t think actually moving countries has affected many of the decisions that are involved in bettering myself. However, living here has certainly provided a much easier platform for those decisions to be made. Being married, now THAT has made me a better person…!
How long do you want to stay there?
Indefinitely eventually, intermittently presently.
Where do you want to travel or move next?
Spain, France, Germany. In that order.