Stranger Danger

I’ve been in Joburg for almost 3 months now and before the move I was so worried that I would just be stuck in my house whilst Rob was at work, being a boring house wife with no friends and nothing interesting to do.  We would only know 2 couples in this place, and I fretted over having no friends.  I shed many a tear over this prospect.

Fast forward a few months, and I am out every other day going to the coolest places, meeting the most interesting people, and coping with a social life that I actually had to consciously decide to scale back 2 weeks ago as I have been so busy.  What a different reality to my fears!

I am meeting people every week that I really connect with.  We usually end up in a big group spending time chatting away like we have known each other for years, and I almost always see these people socially again.  The thing is, they are people that I really do want to see again too.  I thought that I would end up just having to spend 2 years with a few people that I don’t really get on with that well but otherwise I would have no friends.  I actually do know someone who has moved to Joburg but is in a different situation to me – that whilst they have made lots of friends here, they are mostly not the kind of friends that this person likes to usually spend time with.  I’m lucky – there are so many people here that I love spending time with.

Photo credit Tom Coggin of Urban Joburg (click the names for links to his awesome site)

I think it is Joburg.  I have had this discussion with so many of the people that we meet here, and they confirm that it happens all the time to them in Jozi, but never in any other city.  It’s so easy to make friends here – you just have to be willing to chat to strangers, even though your mum always told you not to (since when did you ever listen to her though, right?).

Take last night for example.  I attended some networking drinks organised by Past Experiences, a tour company in the inner city (which was awesome by the way.  Thanks guys).  Being a networking event, naturally everyone was chatting amongst themselves with people that they didn’t know.  But then at the end of it, a big group of us piled back to some random guys house who lived around the corner (and thankfully wasn’t a murderer or recruiting us to a cult) and we continued with the drinks and laughs for a few more hours (and yes Guy, if you are reading this, you are still a random guy ;-)).  I knew 2 of the people there, so it wasn’t complete stranger danger, but this guy had literally just met all of us.  We could have nicked sh*t from his awesome pad.  I know where he lives now, so still might…

Anyway, they were the most interesting, articulate, intelligent bunch of random people and I know that I will continue to be friends with them whilst we are here and see all of them again.  For me, a lot of the time when you do crazy things like this, you might click with 1 or 2 of the people and then the rest you kind of write off.  You might see them out and about, possibly even become friends on facebook, but not much more.  In Joburg though, I am consistently connecting with the whole bunch of people and everyone gets on like a house on fire.

New friends swapping numbers. Photo credit Kim Clark

I just don’t feel like I have ever experienced friendliness in any other city like I have in Joburg.  Sure, there are nice people everywhere, but here I just meet consistently awesome people that I feel like I will be friends with for the long run.  Ironically, I have a much larger social circle here than I did back in London.  I think that deeper friendships are formed much more quickly here than back in London.  In London sometimes it takes months or even longer to get to know someone, but here everyone is a great mate from day 1.  Most of us don’t have much family here, friends from school etc so maybe that is an ingredient?

I suppose the point of this post is not to boast about my awesome social life here (although it is kinda rad, ha!), but to allay the fears of anyone that is in the same situation that I was a few months ago – faced with the decision of whether to move to Jozi, and worried that it will be hard to make a life here due to all the bad press and lack of websites detailing things to do in Joburg.  This place is really awesome if you are willing to give yourself over to it.  Go to the places that you may not have otherwise gone, speak to the people that you may not otherwise have spoken to, and just go with the flow.  I absolutely adore Joburg, and it is mainly because of the people that I have met, plus there are a lot of very cool places to go too.  Moving here is the best thing that I have ever done.  Thank you to every single person that I have met here that is making this the best experience of my life.  You guys rock!


10 thoughts on “Stranger Danger

  1. ‘Rad’? Really? I honestly can’t remember the last time I heard anyone use that. Though it was possibly the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

  2. Instant friends that click… what a nice feeling! But then you are a nice person with strong social skills and a desire for the fun in life so I wouldnt be suprised to hear this even if you were based in Shijiazhuang… Im sure the other people felt exactly the same as you did and are excited about new friendships. Dont do go preaching the Jaegar Bomb drills 🙂

    Photos speak a thousand words, and youre either smiling or laughing in every one Ive seen. Glad to see such happiness in your life. Best wishes for Christmas to you and Rob!

  3. Hey Martina, awesome post and ironically, I had just recommended your blog to someone asking me on my blog about moving here. Funny that your post today speaks exactly to this topic, as he was asking how easy it might be to meet new people here. Very timely! By the way, I have heard the same thing about Joburg as well, and that it is not nearly as easy meeting people in Cape Town, for instance, which seems to be much more traditional and stuffed up. Though I’ve had a lively debate among readers whether Durban or Joburg might be a better place to move to…

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