Returning to South Africa and… food poisoning

As most of you might have noticed, I am back in South Africa. I arrived about a month and a half ago and will be flying back to Hong Kong in three weeks. I decided to spend July and August in South Africa since the schools in China were closed for the summer holidays and I wouldn’t be able to make any money during that period. It is also SUPER hot and humid in Shenzhen during the summer. I’m not exaggerating at all – I would wake up drenched in sweat and no amount of showering helped. The only way to survive the heat was to stay in an air conditioned room at all times. It was a nightmare walking from one destination to another, because the heat and humidity would hit me like tsunami. describes the humidity perfectly:

“The muggier period of the year lasts for 7.9 months, from March 16 to November 14, during which time the comfort level is muggy, oppressive, or miserable at least 27% of the time. The muggiest day of the year is July 25, with muggy conditions 100% of the time.”

I kid you not, I checked the humidity levels almost every day during May and June and it was always between 80% and 98%. Add in the fact that it’s also the wet season and I had to carry an umbrella everywhere I went and deal with thunderstorms and a typhoon. It was miserable! I was so excited to have some cold weather and looking forward to returning to South Africa. But, I landed in Cape Town and it was wet, cold and miserable – I had forgotten that I also hated winter. There was just no pleasing me!

I was also dying to eat some South African meat – I hadn’t been able to eat a lot of meat in China. I had gotten used to eating more rice and less meat and the quality of meat in China was not as good as in South Africa. So, I came home and begged to have a huge braai and we had lamb chops, boerewors (a traditional South African sausage), skilpadjies (liver covered in a thin sheet of fat) and vinkies (chicken meat covered in a thin sheet of fat). I was in heaven – until I realized that my body wasn’t used to eating these foods any more – I ended up with food poisoning and spent the next few days in bed!


A good ol’ braai with the family.


I had missed South Africa a lot while I was in China and had a certain picture in my mind of what it would be like to back home (ahem… perfect), but when I came back I realised that I had romanticised many of my memories of home and I actually started to miss China a week into my visit. I now know that it is still good to remember my roots fondly, but I shouldn’t uphold them to an impossible standard. I should be happy and thankful for wherever I am in the present moment and just enjoy whatever I am able to. Each day is a blessing, of course.


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