Woke up to a warm muscular man beside me, sunlight creeping in under the matte silver curtains. He pulled me to his chest in an embrace and uttered, “It’s 7:10, breakfast together before I go?”
This is Matthew 6 feet of blonde accented South African glory.
We’re at the Southern Sun Hyde Park hotel in Sandton, South Africa, snuggled under a down comforter with the AC purring quietly in the background.
He slips from under my grasp and beelines for the shower, a glass dual headed enclosure, and I peel back the curtains to discover another 80 degree day and a view over the cities of the northern suburbs of Johannesburg – pockets of houses and 50 types of trees making a green mosaic with purple jacarandas polka dotting the scape.
So this is a blog of my life in South Africa, and let’s catch up to speed here.
I was born in the USA – the Pacific Northwest to be exact. When I was 16 I took my high school french across to Paris, where I went to french high school for a month and met my future first loves – Edouard. And the city. The city…
At 18 I applied to the American University of Paris, and fate gave me the tools to move across the world and set up my life in Paris, en permanence, for the next three years.
Of course I fell in love with Edouard. Given our story of coup de foudre passion and romance, however our story can be found in detail in the Paris blog, 7thandEiffel, and not here.
Long story short, at 20 I had enough of the complexities of our relationship and we split, just in time to summer vacation in Mykonos Greece and then spend my final year of undergrad dating the charming and very frustrating men of Paris. It was great fun.
Upon graduation, I had several job offers to consider, and after flying down to Madrid to ensure it was the right fit, I signed a contract with World Investment News, and promptly opened myself up to being sent anywhere in the world at a week’s notice. Logical next step, right?
And thus begins the story of my time in South Africa.
I’ve been here for 3 ½ months now, working with director/colleague Kevin, who also happens to be American, however from the opposite coast. We’ve had other team members come in and out, as they are sent anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice as well, who add a bit of color to our work here. One from Australia, one from the UK, and rumor has it we will see an Italian trainee come along soon.
How to describe South Africa? Meat. Rugby. Lion cubs. It is very much westernized (plenty of top notch hotels, Mercedes and BMWs, huge malls) but infused with a very particular South African culture. There is a huge divide between the rich and the poor. There is a huge divide between education levels. The government is largely corrupt but after Apartheid…the pendulum swinging the other way is unfortunately to be expected. One can only hope in the near future it will find balance.
Anyway, I decided to begin writing again to document my time here…this time for Africa!
You have to give yourself enough room to grow into who you are and then not be so attached to it that you won’t let yourself become who you’re going to be.
Things didn’t work out because, well, greater things were in the works. It’s so difficult while we’re blind and hurting and don’t know which way is up. But, if you have faith in anything, have faith in the fact that the universe has a beautiful way of straightening things out far better than we ever could. You may not see it today or tomorrow, but you will look back in a few years and be absolutely perplexed and awed by how every little thing added up and brought you somewhere wonderful– or where you always wanted to be. You will be grateful that things didn’t work out the way you once wanted them to."
As I watched the HR director’s red heels click down the stairs in the office, my eyes were wide…. and though I maintained confidence and composure, on the inside I was trembling like a leaf in autumn.
She motioned me into her office, sat down at the table and smiled. “I have spoken to the president of the company, and we agree that after this intensive selection process, we are all set to invite you to join our team at World Investment News”
I beamed and applauded, eliciting a great smile from Carolina, and I in took a large breath of air.
One week ago I graduated from the American University of Paris with my degree in International Business Administration, surrounded by my friends and family.
One month ago I sent out a dozen cover letters, imploring companies both in France and abroad, to truly consider my qualifications.
And one year ago I never would have guessed that my first real job out of college would come a week after graduation, and be taking place in countless countries around the world.
At World Investment News, I will be an International Consultant and Sales Executive. Starting in the trainee position of course, I will learn from my team of three about the process in the field. World Investment News produces in-depth country reports from exclusive interviews with emerging nation’s top leaders and businessmen. They also provide company profiles and sell advertising within the magazine to the top business leaders, increasing foreign direct investment for the country.
One moves up the ranks from trainee to associate to director within a year, and travels to a new country and new project every 3-5 months.
Though this marks an incredible new beginning, I am already feeling the sharp pain of leaving my home for the past three years….My Paris. The city, my best friends, my boyfriend, my dance team, the parties…everything I knew will change.
I will embrace it…cry a little…smile a lot…and recognize that life is made up of a series of moments….
Moments that change you.
tomorrow I’m going back to his city
tomorrow I’m going back to my city.