Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Why don’t you ask 

The things you notice when you emigrate are the social norms that no longer apply. As a Pom, my senses of obligation and politeness are fairly well developed. That’s not to say that I always follow my conscience, but at least I am aware of when I am ignoring it.

Example: if someone invites me round for dinner, then I will probably invite them back. I can’t help it – unless it was a complete disaster, I am compelled by some force of nurture to have them round. If they are English too, then it can take years of increasing gaps between dinners to break the cycle. I am still dreading the phone call from the couple from Norwich that we met on honeymoon in 1997.

Not so Cape Town. Capetonians are notoriously insular, at least according to those of us who live here but didn’t go to school here. The outsiders include South Africans who have moved down here from Joburg or Durban. I think it’s a grand version of the grudging dislike that resort residents feel for the tourists who descend on them annually to clog their streets and make their restaurants viable. In the past couple of months, we have made dinner for half a dozen Capetonian couples and one or two Joburg ones, with only one return invitation – from the couple who spent 5 years in London being house-trained. Maybe it’s my cooking. I blame Jamie Oliver.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?