Monday, January 16, 2012

On Biking with a Baby and Asking People for Stuff

We've been in our place just over a week. No Telkom (internet or phone line) yet, but otherwise we're making slow progress on our house every day. After a lot of plastering (and babysitting by my parents) one wall in the kitchen is almost done! It's Firecracker Red 6.

We seem to go to the supermarket just about every day. Maybe a bar fridge wasn't such a genius idea. Or maybe it was, if I could only stop myself from buying chocolate. Today Noah got two trips on his little seat on my bike, and unlike on the car seat (when he cries about going in) this time he cried (limbs prostrate, pounding the floor with his little hands) when I dared stop biking. It was 35C (a million degrees F). I had to stop. I was surprised to discover that babies fall asleep on bikes. Noah seemed way, way too excited. Until he wasn't, and was totally asleep.

I bake sourdough bread, plan meals, sweep almost constantly (Noah has a sandpit) hang with Noah, and occasionally study or work. I'm officially part of the IN crowd after paying R50 for a key to Station Rd. playground.

I remember before we moved, and even once we'd been in Plumstead a couple of days, I was very much into the idea of getting people's leftovers- stuff they didn't want, and so on.

In Boston, this would be totally socially acceptable and we'd get to meet our neighbors, enjoy a little grace, and avoid creating an entirely new waste stream by starting over new. Freecycle Watertown often posts couches, beds, washers, microwaves, and other household items. We once couldn't get anyone to take our fairly nice love seat. Here in Cape Town, a broken fridge will be gone within minutes on Freecycle. Which is not to say there isn't extraordinary wealth floating around.

Then we arrived in Observatory. Every day between three and eight people stop by asking for food, clothing, plastic bottles, or money. Suddenly asking our neighbors for stuff became ridiculous- we immediately were amongst the people being asked because we have money and a house. So I felt a bit naive. But I'm learning.

On learning hospitality, we've already had people over and met several of our neighbors. We still only have one chair, but those who have visited have been gracious.

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