According to Wikipedia In Africa, there’s a saying “TIA” meaning “This Is Africa” – term of endearment/explanation typically used when tourists from western countries visit Africa, or expats work in Africa, to shrug off power shut downs, old technology, slow pace of business, questionable business ethics and dealings etc.

I used to hate people using TIA, often combined with rolling eyes and shoulder shrugging.

Now I’ve been back to SA for a week. As a visitor. With the purpose of tying up some loose ends, and opening some new doors. Meeting friends, running and hiking.



I’ve spent a week 24/7 dealing with a rain water damage (what an irony considering the current drought in Western Cape), body corporate trustees, insurance companies, builders and contractors.

Because of new yet completely dysfunctional and/or wrongly installed gutter during our absence.

I have hardly slept, hardly eaten, gotten zero work done (did try to attend one skype meeting running between computer upstairs and wiping the floor downstairs – didn’t work out too well), lost at least two kilos in weight.

I’ve made tens of phone calls, sent a bunch of emails, filled in forms, had dozens of men coming in and out the flat. You’re not thinking getting this fixed this year? No, I’m thinking of getting this fixed next week!

I think what I need is a good lawyer.

In Finland we have this saying “Ei menny niinku Strömsössä”.



Where in the World do people take a day off (or two!) just to go on a hike with a friend visiting town?

Where in the World does a neighbour you hardly know come at 6am to help you construct a duct tape-plastic-silicon “solution” when water gushes in through a window? Where does a neighbour take you to a builders warehouse to choose tiles (!) just because he realises you are about to completely loose it and need a break.


Similar (well, this is sort of on the extreme end) situations were a norm when we still lived in Cape Town. I guess in 2.5 months I’ve become so accustomed to the easy life in Finland, that I’m nearly unable to deal with adversities like this.

Today someone asked me if I’m looking forward going back to Finland. I replied “yes”.

Yet before that happens I hope I’ll finally get a chance to do a tiny bit of running, meet some friends, get out of Hout Bay, and maybe even tie up at least some of those loose ends. Opening new doors will have to wait.

Featured image courtesy of I. Isaacs


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