Is this really my life? Has it really been almost two years since I left Boston, not sure of anything except the most burning desire to be in South Africa? Am I now officially an expat? Am I American? Capetonian? What, if anything, does it mean that I’m now subvocalizing words like ‘progress’ with a South African pronunciation?
Why is it that I feel deeply satisfied and yet deeply unsatisfied at the same time? That as much as I do, as good as I am, at work, at sport, at life, is actually never quite good enough?
Have I really turned into the girl who goes out to a bar and doesn’t drink? Who has no couch but a set of gymnastic rings hanging from the balcony? Who works far too hard for far too little money, at work she loves, with people she loves, and yet finds herself in meetings wondering why her clean has been stuck at 60kgs for months now? Who, the leaner she gets, worries more about how she looks?
I read this blog post from someone I know in Cape Town when I was in the airport waiting for my flight to Joburg and it just tore my heartstrings apart. Probably this was because her experience has been so completely different than mine. Rather than come here for love, I came here for love of a different sort, and was lucky: I think life would be way harder without a work permit (organized by a kick-ass immigration lawyer who never charged me a dime), a bank account, and supportive co-workers and community of fellow [deeply strange, but also lovely] CrossFitters. Some of what she says strikes home though.
I’ve said it before but I do sometimes miss America … not just people, or a what-might-have-been or could-be life, but things like the chill of the autumn air. The first frost. Apple cider. Maple candy. Daylilies. Daffodils. Dunkin Donuts. Football. Ice hockey. When the trees leaf out in the spring and it’s as colourful as the autumn.
But I also love Cape Town. The light on the mountain in the morning. Camps Bay. Vida. The Old Castle Brewery. The Sea Point pool. The Biscuit Mill. Autumn in the winelands. Fynbos. Local honey. The Twelve Apostles. The beach. Sandbar omelettes.
I never thought it would be like this, though. The number of people relying on me to come up with ‘the answer’ or ‘an answer.’ The complexity of the money-no money white-black social enterprise-charity situation. The ‘beneficiaries’ (and how I squirm that the term even has to exist!) who see you as no more than every other paleface with rand signs where your eyes should be, to the point where you wonder if you are that different, after all, and if they are really that different from the same robot hawkers at the same intersections day in and day out. The seeing families in the park and wondering if a small part of me still wants that life. The wondering how long I can keep on paying mortgage on a house I no longer live in before the money runs out. The wondering why the heck I am doing the sort of work I’m doing, and whether or not it’s the right decision.
The feeling pretty good about how well I did in a workout until seeing the number of girls who beat me by a few reps (it’s all relative, huh … well, it’s still a 20% improvement over the Ellie of October 2011, so f*ck it, I’ll take it). The continuous annoyance at seeing people post scores with unacceptable ROM … when actually it shouldn’t matter to me at all because that’s their issue not mine.
It’s like in some people’s eyes you can do no wrong, and in other people’s eyes you can do no right.
Like Kelsey said. It’s been a tough couple of weeks …
In happier news, my ankle is slowly recovering. I was able to do max squat cleans Saturday, which was a first since the injury (the torque had been too much for it). Managed to squat clean my clean PR a couple of times before my right shoulder gave out (when it gets tired or strained the arm moves too slowly to rotate fast enough that I lose the lift). And, for the first time since October, there were a couple of hours on a few separate occasions in the last few days where I’ve forgotten that I have an injury to my left side/back. Dare I tempt fate and say that in another two weeks or so I should actually be 100% healthy?
- “Oh! How beautiful is our city?” – Tammy
- “Don’t hate the player hate the game.” – Lauren