I have countless reasons to stay in SA. My friends and family, our kickass diversity, national pride, the glorious weather (although Cape Town is really letting the side down at the moment), the beautiful beaches, forests, National Parks, the wonder of biltong… The list goes on, but I've decided to dwell on a few lesser sung virtues of our so-often-called-rainbow-that-it's-really-starting-to-work-on-my-nerves-nation.
1. Other countries' patriotism is creepy
Here in the Republic we've cultivated a healthy skepticism regarding the government, service providers, civil servants etc - I actually just walked in from a lunchtime protest outside of parliament, opposing the proposed information bill. Not only do I believe this to be the cornerstone of a healthy democracy but it's also much cooler to be cynical.
Ask anyone, really. And, for better or for worse, our grumbled questioning is the national fodder of dinner party conversation. Imagine having to constantly gush about your country. Lame!
Besides, is there more annoying than a smug Scandinavian or a self-righteous American? Which reminds me... Read our former intern Samantha Hermann's piece about the 10 SA things she wishes they had in the US. She had me at number 3. Actually she had me at number 2!
2. The South African sense of humour
They say humour is universal. I say "they" obviously haven't spent enough time in Germany. (Drum roll! Cue laughter.) Ha. A cheap shot I know, but seriously, there's nothing that'll make you miss home quicker than the realisation that although you understand the jokes your new Australian neighbour tells you, you don't really understand them.
Because a person's sense of humour is hugely influenced by said person's culture, you see. And if there's one thing about SA that we can unselfconsciously brag about, it's our unique brand of sexy multiculturalism. So when I talk about a South African sense of humour I’m not talking about Leon Schuster movies or jokes about high-jackings and load-shedding. Or rather, I'm not only talking about that.
3. The language barrier
There are only about five countries in the world you can go to where you can speak the language. And even if you do go to Aus, NZ, Canada, UK or the USA you’re going to have to adopt the accent or the locals will look at you funny.
And then, if you ever dare to put foot on home soil again, the locals here will look at you funny. Look at poor Charlize – SA still hasn't forgiven her for the Thé-Rhan.
4. The upside to unemployment
If you happen to be one of the lucky few to actually have a job in SA, then you can pay other people to do just about anything for you. You can have a nanny, a domestic worker, a gardener, pool services, a personal trainer, a dog walker, a house sitter etc. And the beauty is that your nanny can then afford a nanny who can afford a nanny and so on.
5. Nostalgia is annoying
People who miss home are boring. Soon you become the irritating sop who thinks 7de Laan is the best TV program ever, Mrs Balls the best chutney, rooibos tea the cure for cancer etc. etc. It's pathetic.
The flip side of course, is that you become an embittered ex-pat who hates everything about SA because you have to constantly convince yourself that you're doing the right thing. This is even more annoying for everyone around you.
So I'm staying right here, thank you. And I only have one last warning for those thinking of leaving: Don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.