Living in SA from USA

Hi Everyone! I've been living in SA for 5 years now. Each year I have been fortunate enough to go home and live in New Hampshire, in USA for 4-5 months during winter (american summers). This year I have not been back home in 10 months and I'm really missing family, friends and much of the American conveniences.

The distance is a really difficult thing to get used to. Unfortunately a trip home is not in the cards right now. I'm reaching out to any other Americans living in SA to see how they cope with this heartache, how they have created new support systems here and how they are managing.

Thanks so much. This little New Yorker.

Hi New Yorker,

I'm from London, UK and like you have been here nearly 6 years, visiting London for a couple of months at the end of the year. There is a substantial American and UK community here in SA but finding them can be a bit hit and miss. Internations, the social network (google them) is probably your best bet as they are very active here in SA and tend to cater for your age group. Also, try the US Embassy in Pretoria as I believe they have a Community Liaison Officer/Newsletter. All the best, Paul

Is there any restrictions to register at internations? It seems they un approve me.


Hi Allison:

It is my pleasure to make your acquaintance. I have just recently arrived to Cape Town and living in the Carradale apartments. I am an American Structural Engineer and spent the prior 1-1/2 years working in Mongolia.

I am originally from California, USA, however, have spent little time in the States over the past 16 years. I take little hops back and forth during the holidays to see family when applicable, however, am dedicated to a career path that has me hopping the globe. As a structural engineer, have found that many foreign developers will pay 3x – 4x for my services compared to what I would earn domestically. It is a sacrifice that I am making now, that in another nine years I can return to the States and retire permanently.  I have gained a close relationship with international mining corporates who keep me busy.

I have always been semi-social, and able to effectively commune with a variety of people from diverse backgrounds. If you check my “Expat Path”, you will see I have been all over the place. Every country I have been, I have always surrounded myself with a small circle of work compatriots, locals of similar interests, and intermittent romance. I have never allowed myself to become overly attached romantically, as my lifestyle would be very difficult on a family. It does create a quandary for me, as I have always wanted to be a husband and father (3 kids ;) If I wait much longer, I will be too old. Believe me, I wrestle with this often.

Getting back to your more immediate question, I try to immerse myself into my work as much as possible. My job is very challenging, both on an intellectual and time management level. I balance this with meeting up with friends/close acquaintances to share conversation at local coffee houses, or pubs (not much of a club guy), trying different restaurants, etc. I am also an adventurer, I like to always see something new, therefore go for long walks, wine tasting, people watching, etc.  I also belong to a local health club as I have a vigorous cardio and strength training routine I practice religiously. Next month, along with a few of my work mates, we have booked a flight to Kruger National Park to go on a “Big 5” safari – can’t wait, and another line item I can scratch from my bucket list. In other words, I constantly keep my brain active, my body moving. I am not much of a couch potato or social media type – I prefer to live life opposed to experience it from another’s perspective via computer monitor. In short, I believe this routine maintains a healthy distraction which offsets the loneliness.

I am unsure if my 2-cents worth is of any solace to you, but hope it helps. You are more than welcome to contact me anytime if you ever need someone to chat with!

Wishing you the best!


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