Sunday, December 23, 2012

Two Dates in Two Days

July 2012
My Interracial Site Profile Picture

My sister suggested I join an interracial dating site. I thought it was a fantastic idea and clicked away. The first man to contact me was an 82 year old man who lived in an assisted living facility (old age home). First a “flirt” then an email with his contact number. I emailed back. He had a long list of questions  for me; How long have you been in the country? Are you single? Would you like to stay in the country? Do you have a job?  Green card?  20 Questions anybody? I was like, the heck is up with this old man? Does he work for immigrations? FBI?  Also, it’s not like I had any intentions of dating a man that lived in a nursing home, nah thanks, I’m good.

No activity on the site for a while. Probably because I didn’t log on for a while, I was busy with more pressing issues. One day, I got an email from, let’s call him AR. Just a one-liner. I read his profile before responding. His header read: Text don’t call! I thought that was rather suspicious. He asked for my number, I gave it to him. WE talked for an hour. He seemed like an ok guy, he looked like what could have been a cross between Asian and Caucasian (white). He told me he was of Irish descent. He lived in Atlanta, Georgia and wanted me to move in with him. He made me write down a long list of places he was going to take me to like The Martin Luther King Museum, Disneyland and the Coca cola Museum.  His brother’s an Award Winning Broadway Actor who lives in Manhattan. He said he would introduce me to his brother , maybe he could help me with the whole acting thing.
I spotted this on the way back from one of my dates. Check out the hips!
I was overwhelmed. I don’t like it when people, especially who I haven’t even met, promise me the world. SSSllloowww Downnnn! He was on his way to New York, he told me if he knew a beautiful woman like me would give him the time of day, he would have gone via Connecticut and meet up with me. Well, that ain’t gonna happen now, will it? His profile states that he’s separated; RED FLAG! To me, that’s code for happily married but want to mess around on the side. Anyway, he was on his way to his father’s birthday in the East Coast, he texted me a few pictures of himself with his family at the party. Which was nice of him. I remember telling T about that guy and her telling me he seems serious, he might just have me move in with me in Georgia, that way I wouldn’t have to worry about looking for a place today OR a job for that matter. She was more enthusiastic about the guy than I was. I guess it’s the whole glass half full/half empty theory.
I didn’t hear from AR for a good two to three weeks when he texted me out of the blue. By the way, I did try to call him in the three  weeks of silence, he didn’t pick up, but texted me, hey what’s up? Which is another red flag, why couldn’t you pick up when I called Mr I’m Separated? Of course I didn’t say anything to him. This time, he texted me about how he was going to be in New York for the weekend. He wanted to take me out to dinner. I accepted but then raised the issue of transportation. How would I get back to Connecticut that late at night? He told me he had booked a nice hotel in the city, I could share the room with him. I told him I would’ve felt much more comfortable heading back to CT (Connecticut). I proposed lunch instead. He tried to entice me, telling me how fancy the hotel was and I would’ve really enjoyed it plus he thought I liked him. I told him it was not personal, but I would have felt much safer meeting a man from the internet in person in public and day light.  No response. That’s the last I heard from him. I guess I can forget about sightseeing in ATL.

Moving right along! I signed up on more dating sites. I got an email from a guy who lived 20 minutes or so from me, from one of the sites. It so happened that I didn’t even have a picture up on that site. Guy, who we shall call OC asked for my number. I obliged. He texted me, we played the texting game for a few days, I went over to T’s that Thursday, I remember he sent me pictures of his chest, which wasn’t much to write home about, but ok!  Of course I didn’t return the favour. I happen to know that MY chest IS much to write home about, ok? :P

I was hoping he wouldn’t send [pictures of his down-thereness. he didn’t. Yet. He wanted to see me the next day, which was Friday. Good because T was going to drop me home that day. He told me  bit about himself, he had an 11 year old son whom he lived with, he was divorced, a Football coach at a school and worked at Stop And Shop (pronounced Stap and shap for all my South African Friends. Trust me, if you say it any other way, the Americans don’t understand what in the world you’re talking about).  His work was in my neighbourhood, kinda.

T and I did our routine stuff Friday morning, we had lunch at the Chinese Buffet place, I know, I know, even though I was going on a date thereafter? Well, just as well! You’ll soon find out! He was to pick me up at the Shoprite Parking lot (yep, Shoprite is an international brand). He got there while I was still at the restaurant, T had to rush me home. I still had to freshen up. We went to the apartment, I freshened up, lipsticked it up, heels and we were out the door. She was nice enough to drop me at Shoprite. I introduced the two of them. I remember T was like, he’s cute! I was like, I know, he did look off-ish in his pictures. It was a bit of a relief. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, it was kinda like the blind date scenario. By the way I had to ask him to call me before we met. Otherwise, we never would have talked on the phone, he was happy to just text.

This is what OC's car looks like
I hopped on his car, it was hot, a Dodge Truck, automatic panty dropper, if you ask me! I had mentioned that I love the beach, so we headed over there. It was July, summer, hot! WE found a bench in the park where we sat and got to know each other more. No this is not euphemism for something else! Get your mind out of the gutter J. In all the dates I’ve been to, the guys always took me to eat or for drinks first or it would end there. Never had I been on a date where there was no breaking of bread so to speak. First time for everything, right? Right! We sat and talked until I was so thirsty. There as a live performance at the park, but it wasn’t that loud. I told him I was thirsty, I was ready to buy myself something to drink. WE went to a random store, there was no life in there, they sold everything from clothing to stationery and had a fridge by the front line. No, I am not talking about Walmart or Target or anything like that, this was random.  He got a coke, I grabbed a water (That’s me being American, A water!). 

We went walking along the beach, my idea. I love walking on the sand, it’s very soothing for the feet. I took off my heels, he carried them for me, we walked and talked some more. He told me about how his ex wife cheated on him, and his girlfriend and this person and the other. He seemed like a nice genuine guy who was looking for love. He told me about his son.  And how he fought for him, his mom, the works. Eventually, I told him I was ready for him to drop me off. I was talked out. No offence but there was just something off about the whole thing. Plus I was getting hungry. He took me to Shoprite parking where he dropped me off. He gave me a peck on the lips and drove off. I didn’t know how I felt about him. I went back to the apartment, took a shower, and chilled.

He sent me texts and told me how much he enjoyed out time together, meeting me, and how he missed me, and was tempted to come back and see me. We had a date scheduled for the next morning. I told him to rather wait until the next day. He picked me up bright and early and took me to a flea market not too far from where I lived. It started raining as we got out of the car. He had on what seemed like brand new sneakers, white socks, very short shorts with a hole or two and a greyish t-shirt, with tons of holes. He looked clean, he had even shaved but I am not sure about his get up! 
The Hat OC Bought me

WE ran under the shelter of the market and walked around. He has his favourite stalls, he bought a few Pirated DVD’s, a Superman school bag for his son and wanted to buy me Stripper Sandals. You know the very high high clear glassy platform sandals? Yup, those! I prayed they wouldn’t fit. Not that I have anything against them but I knew that if I let him buy them for me, I would have to wear them for him. They were more for him. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving! They didn’t fit! Yay! They didn’t have anything out of the ordinary at the market, it looked more like a giant Chinese Store. He really wanted to buy me something. I opted for nail polish. From how he was dressed, he didn’t look like he could afford to buy me anything. I would have rather he bought himself an outfit. Oh and he bought me a hat!
We ran back to the car. From there, he took me out for breakfast, thank gosh! It was a nice restaurant where he had  very interesting choice of meal: toast, bananas, caramel something and I don’t know what else. I had an omelette.
The Omelette, Those finely chopped thingies are Fries. Neat huh?
He had told me he wanted to spend all day with me, I was looking forward to it. I didn’t really have plans for the weekend or any other day for that matter. At breakfast, he wouldn’t stop looking at his cell phone! T had won a gift from some store and had asked me to collect it for her. The store was on our way back to the apartment, so I ask OC to take me there.
T's prize
From the store, he was like, what are you doing this afternoon.  I thought to myself, I should be asking you! He told me he was going to drop me off, he missed his son. He had to check on him. He would call me later, we could meet up if I was up for it. Uhm, what’s wrong with this picture. I said sure!
The Nail Polishes (is that a word?)
He dropped me off and tried to stuff his tongue down my throat. He got aroused in the process. I don’t know if he wanted us to do it right there in the car or what? What do I know! He left, I went upstairs to the apartment very confused. A couple of hours later, he texted. I miss you, you’re so attractive, blah blah blah. He later sent me pictures of his down-thereness. Great! The text got racier and racier. I couldn’t take it anymore, I told him I had to go. He had said he wanted to meet during the week after work, didn’t happen. I didn’t care. 

Cut to October, four months late. I was looking to buy a car. He knows a thing or six about cars and one of his friend’s dad owns  a chain car place. He had told me he would help should I need a car. I decided to take him up on his offer. I texted him. He was like who’s this? I’ve a feeling he was trying to spite me, but I didn’t care. I reminded him who I was. He said I know just the place but, you know what? I would never help you, you broke my heart. You used me. WHATTTTT? I used you? How? What are you talking about? He said, please don’t ever contact me again. I didn’t even respond to that, I was too tired, I went straight to bed. A few days later, he texted me, 'Brook I feel in love with you and you broke my heart, I still love you, please talk to me.' It was around 10 pm he asked what I was up to, I told him I was at work in New Jersey, tired and it was bedtime. He said he would text the next day. He texted me the next day around 10 pm again, hey what’s up? I ignored it and replied the next day. He did the same thing the next night around 11pm. I ignored him again.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Prostitute Much?

July 2012
Tuesday morning came. I was at the clinic bright and early. I was out in 2 hours or less. Amongst the tests I needed, was the TB Test. How they do it here is, they inject your arm with a jelly like substance. It’s clear in colour. You have to be back for results in 2 days or so. The Substance itches like nobody’s business. It will swell a bit, you don’t want it to swell too much because that’s how they check their results. The measure the most swollen part of your arm. It will look like a mosquito bite that went wrong. Very wrong! The swelling should be less than 10 millimetres for you to pass the test, 10 mm or more and you’ve failed. I think you then have to take TB medication for a while and redo the test in six months. I stand corrected.
I had to go somewhere else for results. Great! Just what I needed, another trip to New Haven to try and find yet another clinic. They gave me the map and phone number. I was up early that morning, I took the 7 o’clock bus to New Haven, a connection and was there before they even opened. By the Way, Americans don’t understand they way we pronounce Water. The second Clinic was on At Water Street. Nobody in the bus could understand where I said I was going, I had to twang it up and say it the American way UUuhhhhh!!! A’wat’r!
I prayed a never ending prayer as they got the ruler and were about to measure my swelling up. It was 9mm, 1 mm and I would have had to go though the entire process again. Hallelujah! It was a good day! They even faxed the results for me to the recruiting agency. I left with a huge smile on my face! Back to the library, job hunting time!

It must have been that afternoon or the next day when I got a call from T while I was in the library. I quickly stepped out to take the call. She didn’t sound happy. What now! She told me she had bad news. N had called her again and asked when I was going to move out. Oh no, not again! I tell you through all these eviction notices, I was more worried about T than myself. The fact that  I was putting her through all that stress. I quickly went on to couch surfing to see if anyone would have a couch for me. I was so stressed out. I was hoping to find a couch where I could crash for a few days, even if I would be back at T’s but just to be out for a bit. Night time came, no response from Couch surfing. After 9pm, I got a call from a guy  who sounded Indian, he told me he was home alone that night and was willing to let me crash on his couch. I told him I didn’t have transport, I asked if I could spend the weekend, he told me he would get back to me the next morning. Another one called not around 11pm to tell me exactly the same story AND he also sounded Indian. They were both students, there are a lot of Asians near I lived, which was right across the street from a university.
N never came home that night. I wasn’t really relieved because I didn’t know if and when she was going to be back. Here I was thinking we were cool, she and I. And yet I kept getting these messages that she didn’t want me there. Gees! I talked to T the next day and advised her about couch surfing, she seemed excited about that idea. That made me nervous. I called both guys the next day, they both didn’t pick up. I texted them, one responded that his roommates were back and he no longer had space for me.

There’s a man that lived downstairs, Let’s call him G. He was N’s friend. N was always trying to set him up. T told me she tried to set him up with her too. I met the guy while at the apartment, N brought him in to introduce us to each other. He was uhm, tall. That’s it! He is Ghanaian, and has been in the US for 2-3 years. Apparently he was ready to get married and was looking for his future wife. Sorry, not interested! Anyway, he wanted to take us out for dinner. N was expecting a “friend” from the internet. She asked G if her internet friend could tag along. G agreed and later cancelled the whole thing. I don’t blame him. Right?
I would see him at the parking lot ever now and again in the mornings when I was on the phone with my people from South Africa. I used to take my calls in the parking because N would still be sleeping plus I needed the privacy.  I saw him one morning in between mornings, we talked for a second, he told me the story of his life and how he has two cars blah. He asked  offered to take me to lunch some time. A few hours later, he texted me and asked how I was etc, he had just woken up. He was  doing the night shift so he slept during the day, which also explains why I always saw him in the morning pulling into the parking lot. I was busy with my job hunting and networking stuff, when he called. I didn’t pick up, I was on the phone with T. When I told her who was calling, she told me to pick up because I didn’t know if he could help me somehow with the living mess I had going on. That got me worried. Hearing her say that gave me something to talk about. She hung up, He called two more times, I was pondering when I heard the knock on the door. It was him. I felt so pressured to talk to him. I freaked out! When I didn’t open, he called me on the phone again, Gees dude, stalk much? I took the call. He was at the car and told me to meet me there in 2 minutes he was taking me to lunch. That in itself ruined my appetite. It just did!

I called T and told her what was going on, she said, what are you calling me for? Hurry! Get going! Man, I feel like I’m being pimped out. What are my rights in this situation? He had the door open for me, the car was filthy. Well you know what they say about the falling apples and their trees? Yeah! You could tell he hadn’t showered since the day before or before that or or or. It was so hot out. Smells and heat, not a grand combination but I had to do what I had to do. I wasn’t going to turn his offer down and stay at T’s apartment when she herself had told me to go out with the guy. I know what you’re thinking, ‘here’s an idea, Brook. Maybe you shouldn’t have told T about this guy’s offer to begin with’. You’re right! You’re right! In my defence, I was telling her as a friend not a pimp, ok?

He took me to the Chinese Buffet restaurant T always takes me every Friday. He was so proud to be taking me to this $6 eat as much as you want place, you could tell by how he walked so tall. He asked if I’d been there, almost convinced it was my first time. Alas, I had to burst his bubble. Table for? Two! He sat across from me. Did I mention we took a table for two? Small and he was sitting right there! In my face! His knees could’ve touched mine, he was so close! I may have mentioned that my appetite was gone, out the window. I had a winglet here and a fry there. I took my time playing around with them, moving them around the plate. He got some food, Ate, burped, ate, Belched, Ate, talked, ate, grossed me out, ate made me almost barf, ate ate ate uuuugghhhhhh, why don’t you just shoot me in the head once and for all? I felt so dirty just being out there with him, I could have taken a shower afterwards. He was on his phone half the time. When he was done on the phone, he got seconds. Great! We’ll never leave!

I was just sitting there, trying not to throw up. Came time to pay, he emptied all his pockets  looking for change to pay the bill. He wasted his money buying me lunch, that’s for sure. We walked to the car, got in, he kept stopping himself from putting his hand on my thigh. Uhm, what is this? You almost buy me lunch, and automatically earn touching rights? Mhhh, can you say creepy? T had mentioned that I should hint to this guy that I had nowhere to stay maybe he could let me crash at his. He lived by himself. That’s one other reason that made me want to die the entire time I was out with him. I felt like he was the only person that had what I needed and he wanted something from me. Something I was in no position to give. I felt like a prostitute. I felt I had to bring the topic up. I had to tread lightly, G is N’s friend. I asked him if he knew of any cheap motels around. He freaked out and asked if N was kicking me out, offering to talk to N, we are home buddies, he have to look after one another, N shouldn’t do that, why would she do that. I was like, dude! I never said anyone’s kicking me out. I am looking for a place to stay, that’s all! He asked if it was T that was kicking me out. If so, he was going to ask N to let me stay with her, blah blah blah, gosh, this is not going as I’d hoped! You know when you really don’t want to do something, and then be places in a position where you have no other choice but to. As you’re doing it, you know it’s bound to go south, but you have to? That was me that fateful day!

G came up with an idea, I could stay with him! Ew! The smell in the car was killing me, I cringed to imagine what it must smell like in his apartment. The sheets! Bleh! I think I just threw up in my mouth. He told me he also had internet at his pace, to feel free to go over there anytime I needed to use it. I knew he had Wi-Fi , N used his Wi-Fi at the apartment, I didn’t want to intrude and ask for the password. Listen, if I really wanted to, I could’ve got the password, but I didn’t want to be that person. Plus the library was down the road, there was free Wi-Fi over there and utter peace, which I ached for.

G was working that night, he told me he would give me the key to his place just before he left for work, I could either sleep over there or just use the internet. I wasn’t comfortable taking him up with any of his offers. But I didn’t turn him down. I thanked him for lunch and ran up to the apartment. I called T with an update. She was like, “I knew it! I was wondering why you wanted to go out with that guy. I told you that guy is gross, N tried to set me up with him, I refused.” UUUUHHHHMMMM what’s wrong with this picture?

That evening, it so happened that I was outside on a call when G was leaving for work. He completely ignored me, ran to his car and drove off. I was right there! Sitting two cars from his car! I had a feeling he had talked to N. I never saw him again.

N kicked me out  one more time after that, this time to my face...

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Worst Day EVER.

My Trusted Sandals

July 2012
I had been looking for work as a Nursing Aide to no avail. I heard that I had to have some medical tests done for this kind of work.  I searched the internet for places where I could go get tested. I made a list of telephone numbers I got online and made a few (a heck of a lot) of phone calls. “come next Thursday, call back in two weeks time, building under renovation, call back, sorry we only work with children, call this number for women and children” That’s all I got, doors slamming in my face one after another.
I called the agency that wanted me to submit the test results and asked them to suggest where I could do the tests, they gave me an address and told me they did the tests Thursdays only. I found this out Thursday evening, too late. It was a free mobile clinic. I was willing to wait that long because when you’re new in a foreign country, where their currency is so much stronger than your own, you want to save as much as you possibly can, financially. This place was right next to the agency too, which was a plus.
I wondered how everybody else had their tests done. Some wouldn’t do it if you don’t have health insurance (Medical Aid), Which I didn’t, I just got here for goodness’ sake! Thursday morning, I went over to T’s as usual, laundry in tow. I always took the 7 o ‘clock but downtown, then another one to where she lives, that one took an hour. I’d usually be there around 10am, do my laundry, have branch. She always cooked for me. It’s always nice to have someone cook for you for a change, don’t you think? T had long breaks on Friday, starting at 11am. She told me to look up pharmacies or doctor’s rooms or such on the way from her place to where I lived. We could pop in and have the tests done. I made a few phone calls, one of the places booked me for an appointment. Score! I needed 2 tests done, I explained to them just as the recruiting agencies had. They told me I had called the right place, $50, cash or credit card. Perfect!
I punched the address in T’s GPS and we were on our way. It was cold and raining and miserable and and and. I felt bad that T had to go through all that trouble for me. I wanted to pay for gas, she would have no such thing. WE saw a few medical places on our way and stopped to ask if they did the tests just in case. No, no and The company that’s hiring you should let you fill in some form and you should bring that form here, Without that, I’m sorry, we can’t help you. Ok, thanks. Whew!
Finally, we arrived at the pharmacy, I filled my name in on the touch screen compute like gadget and waited my turn,There was only one other person before me. Alas, they didn’t do the test, whoever took the call must have misunderstood, good luck, have a nice day now! Great! Back to the road.
T told me she knew of a doctor that did this kind of a test somewhere in Connecticut. I asked how much, she told me it wouldn’t cost me more than $50 (R400). She promised to call me when she was back at work and she would give me the details. By that time I didn’t even know who to believe. I was going to believe it when I saw it. I had already gone through enough, or so I thought.
T was expecting her man that evening, I didn’t want to bother them, I waited for her to call at her convenience. It had been such a long, draining day, I dozed off early. Around 10, I was woken up by a call from T. She didn’t sound happy. She yelled at me about how I could be so chilled about this, how come I didn’t call her? I was quick to sleep whereas I had things to do. How could I sleep, blah. I had to keep my cool, I needed this person for so many things starting with the roof over my head. She told me the doctor was in some town in Connecticut, I forget the name, she had already told me this, so nothing new. I asked for the Doctor’s name, she didn’t know it, phone number, didn’t have it, address, didn’t know it! She told me she had been at the place 4 -5 years ago for something unrelated, she suspects that the doctor most probably will do the test I needed. Thought to self: Great, you woke me up for this?  She told me she knew how to get there, and went on to tell me which buses to take and where. It would take me no longer than an hour to get to this mysterious place. I asked if there was any way she could get me either the name of the doctor or their telephone number, she asked me why I wanted it! She seemed genuinely unaware why someone would want to call a doctor they just heard of from someone who hadn’t seen him in 5 years, who didn’t even know if the building was still there, let alone the practice itself. I tried to explain as best I could why. She still didn’t get it! I know how to get to this place and that’s all you need. You’re not listening to me, why would you want their phone number? Why would you want to make an appointment (The only question that was missing was, “Why would you want to use your common sense? How dare you ? How dare you?”). This all left a bad taste in my mouth. The whole thing! I was supposed to go there first thing Monday morning.
I spent the weekend looking for more places online. I also called the place whose number I got from the agency. It turned out their next date was weeks away. Oh noooo! I decided to go back online and look for similar clinics in my neighbourhood. I found one! I thought to myself, I would first go to this clinic in the morning, should it not working out, I would then go to T’s maybe doctor. Relief! At least I had options.

Monday morning, I got up, took a shower, put on my sandals, very long black pants, and a vest (tank top), I didn’t have breakfast just in case the tests were to be done on an empty stomach. I checked out the place on my google maps mobile application, it didn’t seem that complicate to find. I took the bus, got off where I thought I should. As I got off the bus it started raining. No pouring! Remember the outfit I have on? I was clearly dressed for the weather. NOT. I walked to the address on my piece of paper. It turned out to be a branch of Yale University and they didn’t deal with public. No man, what!  I had plan B, I quickly rushed there. I needed to know if all this was going to materialise early enough for me to be able to head off to T’s place. I had an hour before the next bus to T’s place. It left hourly. I walked to plan B, My piece of paper with directions was getting wet, I was soaking wet, I tried not to let any of this get to me. I had my sister on BBM, she was nice enough to let me vent and get everything out of my system. I got to the second place, they no longer had the clinic over there. Altogether! I had 20 minutes to run back to the bus stop. Security at Plan B told me to hang out, he might be able to help me. I asked how, she told me to just hold on. Oi! I had to be patient, he was trying to help ME not the other way around.
I kept looking at the time, he soon came back to tell me he won’t be long and then disappeared into a long hallway. Lordy! I knew I had missed the bus. I had another hour to get to this place. That was the bright side. He came back with a list of 3 mobile clinics. And clear details of where and when to catch them. One was in the neighbourhood, near plan A. I had to rush back there IN THE RAIN. It was pitch dark outside! I took what seemed like short cuts there, New Haven down town isn’t that big, I had been to most parts of it and would figure out my way back if I got lost. WRONG! I found myself back where I started! Just what I needed. Time! Time! I didn’t have time to be walking around in Circles in the rain! The streets were getting flooded. I had to walk through water, literally! Not much of a choice there! I asked a kind gentleman for directions. He went down on his knees, literally and drew a little map for me. The place was a few streets away, maybe 3. I had to get there by 10:30 am. That’s when the van would leave. I rushed there. The address the guy gave me ended me up in a dead end street. I had to walk back and ask for directions. By then I was drenched in water, I had to wipe it off my face to see in front of me. I was facing the direction of the rain, which didn’t help. It turned out was around the corner from the street I was going to. Whew! For some reason, I wasn’t excited yet. I told my sister on the phone that with my luck, I probably would get there just after the van had left and have to walk to their next location.  I was early though. I finally arrived! No van in sight! The area looked familiar, I looked around. Oh my Gosh! This is around the corner from where I live! I took a bus that morning and ended up walking all the way back, I felt like such a fool.
 I ran across the street to ask the only other person in the street. It was so dark, it looked like night time. Just as I got to him, he took a call on his cell. Great! I stood there like a nosey weirdo while he talked on the phone.  When he was done, he told me the van was there but for some reason, they left early that day. He didn’t think they were going to be back there that day. I asked for directions to the next stop. He told me it wasn’t too far but he thought I should take the bus. I had to call the bus people to find out what time the next bus would be there, and then get directions from the bus people. I wasn’t about to do that. It was raining, I had to keep moving. Plus I had already taken a bus from around there to where I was going that morning! I had to walk 2 or 3 long streets then I was there! I was so early, I had to wait. My phone battery died while I was waiting, the rain stopped. I waited until I dried out. I was that early! Finally, they arrived. WWWWWhhhheeeeeewwww!
There must have been 4 people before me. I waited my turn. Finally, the guy called me into his little room. He asked me how he could help me, I told him what I needed and asked if they do do those kinds of tests. He asked if I was taking any drugs or recovering from any addiction, I was like no (God forbid!). “I’m sorry, we only work with addicts”. Are you kidding me! So there’s no way you could help me? No mam, sorry about that, have a nice day! Thanks, you too. I guess I asked him if he knew where I could go he gave me a piece of paper with details of one that was in my area. I was too exhausted to go to T’s place, I had gone through enough to venture into more unknown territory. I rushed back to West Haven (where I lived) to see if I could make it in time for that clinic. They closed at 2. It was around 1. I ran to the bus station. I wasn’t sure which bus to take, so I called the bus services. They picked up just as my bus pulled off. Awesome! Talk about Murphy’s Law! Everything that could go wrong, went wrong that day! They gave me other bus numbers that I could take. The next one was 20 minutes away. There goes my time! I stood there like an utter fool killing time. My phone was dead, I may have spent that time picking my nose, I don’t know.
My bus finally arrived, I told the driver where I was going, he wasn’t sure where I had to get off. I sat next to a nice woman, who knew exactly where I was going. She told the driver where to drop me off where I would have to take a connecting bus to Washington street. He did. It wasn’t the right place. Too far! I had to walk another ten minutes or so towards the same direction as the bus. Imagine how I felt. It was nice and sunny, you would swear it didn’t pour all morning. My sandals survived. I was waiting for them to break, I could see myself walking around barefoot, Murphy’s law anybody? Luckily, I got there just as the bus did. I told the driver where I was going. She knew exactly where that was. She was a Godsend. However, the bus was still going to pick up people. I was standing on the wrong side of the road. I was supposed to catch the bus on its way back. Oh noooo! Time! I had to be nice, she was only trying to help. WE drove around West Haven with me trying not to die of impatience and utter frustration.  We eventually headed the direction I needed to go. The driver, was so nice, she gave me useful information for someone who is new in the area. We finally arrived in Washington Street. She dropped me off a few buildings from the actual street number I had to be, I looked all over for that very number, it was nowhere to be found, I thought I was dreaming. Seriously, what are the chances of that? I was looking for 640, they had 638 and 642, but not 640! I asked a very nice lady, if she knew what was happening, she had no idea where the clinic was. I broke down and jjjjuuuusssssttttt cuhried! I lost it! She freaked out, hugged me, told me how everything was going to be ok, she talked about God and everything, she was nice. WE asked around. She stopped a police car and asked the cop for help.  He didn’t know either. He punched the address into his computer in the car, turns out there are two Washington Streets. I was at the wrong one. I had to wait about 20 minutes for the bus, because I had just missed it. Of Course! I had to head back to West Haven because I was back in New haven.
I finally arrived at the clinic. Just after closing time. I knew they had already closed but I didn’t care, I was going to get there if it was the last thing I did that day!  A very nice lady opened for me when I knocked on the door. The whole thing felt like a dream! I was ready to wake up. She told me I just missed the clinic, to be back the next morning at 8. I asked if they definitely were going to test me, she said, yeah that’s what we do here, it’s all we do!
I went to Burger king, enjoyed a delicious burger and sweet potato Fries. I took the bus back to the apartment, took off my shoes, dove into bed and slept!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Homeless in America

Living room and Bedroom in the background 

July 2012
I had only been in the US for two weeks; living in T’s apartment with her roommate. N worked till late and she left the house early because of the long commute to work. I would either still be in bed when she left or still around the apartment getting ready. She didn’t know what I did during the day because she was never there. Except of course when she was day off, in which case, she always a house guest, usually a guy she met online, that she was going to “hang out” with.
It was a one bedroom apartment. N lived in the bedroom, T had half of the living room. There was a big chest of drawers partitioning the living room and N’s bedroom but you could see everything that was going on in the living room. Whenever N had her online conquests over, it was always a bit of a challenge for me. She spent more time with them in the living room, just chilling, “hanging out” or watching a movie.When I was home, dying of heat, i would either be on my computer phone or reading a magazine.
Microwaved Chicken and salad. My daily lunch in Connecticut

Whenever N had free time, between hanging out with internet guys and working, she would be bashing T, which put me in a very uncomfortable position as T was my only friend around and she was helping me out with a lot. N would tell me how T is not to be trusted, she is a back stabber, a liar, a gossip, and she has a tendency to pretend like she’s having a serious conversation over the phone, meanwhile, it’s a conference call, and there’s someone else listening in; the list was endless. I couldn’t go back to T with this news. I didn’t know her that well either I wondered what N stood to gain from bashing her roommate and friend of  5 years to someone she had only known for, gees, I don’t know, a few days?
One morning said good bye and left for work. She wished me a good day as she always did, I wished her a good day too and she was out there door. A few minutes later, I got a call from T. She told me she had bad news. My heart sank. Something told me it had something to do with N because just after she bade me good bye, I heard her open the door. I had shivers, looked behind me, and she was still standing at the door staring at me in a very scary look that got me hospitalised if looks could kill. T told me that N had called her, T didn’t pick up. She said she had nothing to talk to N about. They had a very tricky relationship. N then left T a voicemail saying, (I can quote it because T forwarded me the voicemail and I still have it) “hello sisi, kunjani? Uuuuu—ngubani konje igama lale ntombazana? uBabalwa, andimfuni laphaya endlini. Ngicela umfunele enye indawo, angiyfuni leya ntombazana kuleya ndlu. Ok Bye” (translation: I don’t want Babalwa (ME) in that apartment. Please find her somewhere else to stay, I DON’T WANT HERE THERE!”
Wow! What am I going to do! I went through all kind of emotions at once! I felt bad that T had to go through this unnecessary drama because of me. I wasn’t sure why N was kicking me out. I hardly ever said anything to her, i hardly ever was in her space, I did my own thing and minded my own business AND listened to her when she wanted to talk about her internet guys and how sexy she is and how great she is in bed. What could it be? Most of all, what am i going to do? I couldn’t help thinking back on a few weeks prior when i was still in Johannesburg living with ZS. The drama I went through with P when she indirectly implied that she couldn’t live with me. The news really made me think. T told me not to worry, that was her apartment too and I was allowed to stay there until i was on my feet. That was good to hear but the apartment is in N’s name and that’s the person i lived with daily. I only got to see T once or twice a week. N didn’t say why, she just wanted me out. Again, WOW!
That's me outside T's work, i just walked 30 mins to get there with a bag of laundry on my shoulder and a handbag on another

Things sure were going to be awkward that night when N got home from work. I was thinking to myself, should I pretend I am sound asleep the entire time she was home? I called my family and friends back in South Africa and told them the latest. Everybody was shocked, alas, there was nothing they could do. I spend the entire day at the library as usual, desperately looking for specifically a live in job. For obvious reasons. I saw N the next morning before she left for work She greeted me like she usually did, I did the same. How you dzoing elephant in the room?

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Online Dating

A picture I never sent anybody I met online
The few people I knew, suggested a few websites that I could register on and look for a guy. The sites came highly recommended, just about anyone and their grandmother are on these sites. I was like what the heck, let’s do it. Two of them are free sites, well, you can upgrade to paying membership but it’s not really necessary. I posted a few pictures of myself and was ready to go.
I got a few winks here and there, a few messages, everyone wants the cell number, they don’t want to call though, NO NO NO! They just want to text. At this age of smart phones where everyone has their emails pushed though to their phones, you’d think people would be ok with your email addresses especially if they don’t intend to call you. Nope, not these suitors! Back and forth texting until the fingers can’t take it anymore, and trust me I’m a texter, if my fingers got tired from it, you know it was a heck of a lot! Of course, I didn’t give everybody my number, also I have a block feature on my phone, so I felt it safe to give some strangers my number. I could just block them whenever necessary. It’s the same thing over and over, hi how are you? Actually, no! No hi! Just: what are you up to? Or Do you wanna hang out sometime? Meaning would you like to have sex with me sometime? That’s all they wanted, “hanging out”. Alas, that’s not what I was after. I was new in a foreign land, I was not trying to be the town slore (slut+whore), I really just wanted friends, more than anything.
Just abnout everybody who asked for my number, made it a opint to send me a oicture of their erect genitals. And the length and girth thereof. Yup! They have all that information handy! Block! Block! And block! I lost faith, I didn’t know how the other girls did it, why they would recommend a site lilke this to me. I almost felt like a prude! I went back to them and tokd them of my experience on the site, they told me to be patient, however if i liked someone, to go ahead and hang out with them, it’s ok, that’s how they do things here in America. It’s normal. Also, to pay either half the bill at the restaurant (go Dutch) or to pay period. Because that’s how the brothers roll. I told them well, I am not looking for a brother, I asked if the rules also applied to non-brothers? “hehehe! uBrook unjani na? Ewe! EAmerica Brook, umntu uyazibhatalela erestyu! Akho loo nto yokhutshwa apha, bufunuphuma funekuyazba uzawbhatala!” (trans: In America, you pay for your own restaurant bill, if you want to go out, you need to know that you are going to pay! ). That didn’t sit well with me.
Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t no gold-digger! Also, I’m cheap, but not that cheap. I don’t expect people to feed me, even as a fresh off the boat South African, I could afford a plate of food. The issue was the lack of chivalry that that statement implied. I refused to accept that that’s what my dating life was going to be like.
As time went by, I realised that, as a matter of fact, nobody even asks you out on dates, they just want to hang out. After a few weeks on that site, I made a conclusion; the site was not for me. There must be other sites out there for regular, old fashioned girls like me.
Ice Creaming at T's
I kept my profile up, but didn’t log on as much.
Until I got an email from, let’s call him Matt. He seemed nice and genuine, tall with blue eyes, independent, what else could a girl ask for right? Especially from a site like that! I emailed back, he asked for my number, he was new to the site, and was working long hours, he wasn’t going to be able to email back and forth. He wanted to call. HE WANTED TO CALL ME! Someone from that site, actually wanted to give me a call! Score! I gave him my number and jokingly asked him not to abuse it, He called me that very afternoon. I remember, I was at the library when the call came through. I assumed it was a recruiter as i was job hunting, left, right and centre. I quickly stepped out and took the call. It was him! Matt! He had a nice, soft voice, he was so polite, He worked at a school as a Janitor (caretaker). I was excited about meeting him and just getting to know him. I had to add more people to the list or lack thereof of people I knew in the US.
Turned out, that was not his phone, he was using a friend’s phone, he didn’t have a cellphone, he couldn’t afford it, he lived with 3room-mates, had a 5 year old son he loved very much (good for him and him {Matt and the son}). A red flag went up when he told me he couldn’t afford a cellphone. He had a job and room mates and couldn’t afford a cellphone! Interesting. He was on a mountain top somewhere with his friends hiking when he called. Hiking was one of his hobbies. He wanted us to meet up soon. He told me he couldn’t believe that there was someone as beautiful and real as I am on that website. We set a date.
The next few days, we chatted via email, I asked him to send me a full length picture of himself as he only had a half length picture on the site. Just one and I had so many. Only fair, right? He wouldn’t budge! I didn’t hear from him the night before our proposed date. I knew there and then that it wasn’t going to happen. Red flag!  The last message I had sent him was confirming the time of the date.
I got an email from him telling me that he had to take his mother shopping, it was his only day off in a very long time, he needed to spend some time with his mother, when they were done, he would then pick me up for our date if I still wanted to meet up. We had set a date with this guy, and on the said date, he is going to tell me,  IF YOU STILL WANNA MEET UP! What’s wrong with this picture? I messaged back, “you have my number, keep me posted!” No word from him ever since!  A few weeks later, I went on his profile. He had updated his pictures. He looked nothing like the picture I had seen. The one I saw was easily taken ten years prior! That kind of answered some of the questions I had about why he suddenly had cold feet. He wasn’t who he said he was!
There’s another gentleman I met on the same site, Al. He would send a text, I would return it, then I wouldn’t hear from him for a good 2-3days before he would text me, something along the lines of “it’s a beautiful day out, what are you up to?” Uhm hello! What about the text I sent you 3days ago? I wouldn’t confront him though, it was nothing, I wasn’t interested in him. It was nice to have someone to talk to every now and again, Whenever it suited him. 2 moths passed without a word from Al, out of the blue, while in New Jersey, I got a call from him
Al:  “Heeeyyyyyy! How is my friend doing today? How’s Connecticut?”
Me:  uhm, I left Connecticut 2 months ago!
Al: Really, where are you based?
Me: NJ
Al: Oh did you find a job there?
Me: Yeah
Al: How do you like The States now that you’ve been here for a good few months?
(I was almost impressed he remembered a few things about me)
Me: It’s – ( I rolled my eyes and hung up)
I didn’t see any point in faking interest. This guy was clearly an utter waste of time, I wasn’t interested in him and didn’t have anything to say to him, so I did what any self respecting human being would do and hung up on him. He didn’t even bother to call back. I didn’t care.
A month later, i got a email  from him on the site:
Al: Long time! So are you still looking for someone?
Me: Sorry, please stop contacting me. I’m not interested
Al: Why not?
Me: You’re not my type.
I subsequently blocked him on the site
2weeks later, a text from him:
Al: Heeyyyyyyy!
Me: Hi who’s this?
( I knew who it was)
Al: Your friend Al, remember me from the website?
Me: Not really, refresh my memory
Al: I’m from Connecticut
( I didn’t even know he was Connecticut, the entire time, I assumed he was from New York)
Me: Hey what’s up?
Al: Nothing much, how’s New Jersey?1
I blocked his number. Thank Goodness from the block feature, no more Al. Whew!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Getting to know me: I answer 50 Questions. Please do too!

Yes, Sister Canissia 

July 2012.

It's ok.

Sea Food


I'd adopt me

Yes. I work in a dark and stressful job and sometimes it helps to let off steam.

Yes, Sister Canissia
July 2012. I was getting kicked out of the apartment by someone who didn’t even know me.
It’s ok. It changes a lot. Good thing nobody writes anymore.
All Mea! Sea Food.
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS and How old are they?
I would be my best friend. I am my best friend.
All the time.
Yes, even though They troubled me a lot as a kid and started again recently.
I’d love to.
Oats aka Oatmeal (Yuck, I know)
I know I am. Physically and emotionally.
Vanilla with choc chips, fudge, caramel and choc chips with peanut butter. How can you not like that?
Teeth and eyes. Or their ass, depends.
My weight
My brother who passed away in 2005. R.I.P B.I.G.
Assessing if I’m really hungry or it’s something else. Then dealing with the emotional cravings and using the tapping technique.
Teal boots.
Halls Cough Drops, otherwise Ribs for lunch
Julio If you go Away
Baby Pink
Oh my Word, not a fair question. 90 % of nice scents out there I love if not more
Terry, from California
Definitely a Beach House.
Dance, Swimming, Gymnastics
Black, I can’t wait to be blonde or light brown again though
Dark Brown
Not yet.
Happy endings
Royal Blue
Summer  PLEASE
Cake or White chocolate milkshake
Computer to watch Television show. Go figure!
Nothing, I will start tomorrow, promise!
Don’t use a mouse
Rolling Stones
USA, right now. But then again, I’m always far from home.
Yeah tons.
Uitenhage, South Africa
New Jersey (United States). Not for long though, watch this space!
It was ok,  I will find better ones next time.



Not a big cereal eater, but when I was a kid I got Cap’n Crunch for Christmas or birthday.

depends on the shoes

Physically not so much any more. Emotionally I’m a Rock in trying times.

Soft serve Vanilla with sprinkles

Teeth and eyes

Green hehehe Pink I suppose.

My C-section belly

My mother who died 7 months after my daughter was born following complications from Gastric bypass.

Assessing if I’m really hungry or it’s something else. Then dealing with the emotional cravings and using the tapping technique.

Brown boots.

A bag of microwave popcorn

Drop Dead Diva on my phone while I work on notes.


yankee candle balsam cedar & sage and citrus


Beach House all the way!

tennis occasionally otherwise no interest

Dark dark brown

Dark Brown

In the summer so I can wear sunglasses

Mexican and Italian

Happy endings



Summer all the way.

Hugs and kisses from my kiddos



TV for vegging out. Computer for connecting with people.

Just Finished Terry Pratchet’s The Color of Magic.

Speedy Gonzalez (cartoon mouse)

the quiet on morning weekends.



making others smile

New York City

Upstate NY (United States)

Green (My husband just painted the house this summer)



Thursday, October 18, 2012

My First Job in the US

End of June 2012.
I spent hours and hours in the library applying for jobs and downloading music. It really is how I spent my days when I first arrived in The US. Thursdays, I’d leave first thing in the morning, laundry in tow and go to T’s. She’d cook us very yum  food.  From Corn on the cob to dumplings, paap etc. Fun times all round!

She even let me drive her car one day, to the store. It was really nice. If you know me, I love to drive, this was different because it was a left hand drive, driving on the right side of the road, at 25miles/hour (60km/hr)  25 just seemed so much slower, you know? In my head, I felt like I was driving at 25 km/hr.

I’d sleep over Thursday nights and when she had her long breaks, we’d go to West Haven together, have lunch at the Chinese Buffet place, she’d run her errands with me tagging along, and then drop me off on her way back to her work, which is where she lives. I lived at her place (which her roommate) while she lived at work (sleep in, so to speak).

One evening, I got a call from T’s friend, she told me her friend needed someone to fill in for her for the night. Oh my word, I didn’t even hesitate, I WAS IN! I had to wait for the lady to call me to finalise everything. I was so anxious! I called T, she was so happy for me. I sat there impatiently waiting for the call.... Finally, she called! Let’s call her Pinky. She told me she’d pick me up around 8pm, drop me off at the house, I was to look after the elderly lady she looks after, for the night. She’d be back 24 hours later and take me home. I was so excited just to have something to do. Something different, you know?
She picked me up as promised, I had an overnight bag ready, a change of clothes and my laptop, something to keep me occupied. She’s a very nice lady, very bubbly. It was such a pleasure to meet her. She’s from the Eastern and the Western Capes n South Africa. So off the bat, we had things in common.  We arrived at the house, it smelled like medication, I tried not to freak out.  I met the lady, she was ready to sleep. Pinky left. I called T to update her. Turned out she knows Pinky, she said not to tell Pinky that we’re friends, that could ruin my new friendship with Pinky. I found that interesting. That made me really want to tell Pinky. Just so I could find out what she was hiding. Wouldn’t you?

There was no cellphone network in the entire house, I found a tiny little spot in the garage, where I had to have the phone on speaker, to maintain signal. That’s how I managed to talk to T, halfway through the conversation, she asked someone else something in our conversation. Turns out, we were on a 3way call the entire time! Interesting! I watched some telly, had some nuts and went to sleep. I got up, bathed and got the old lady ready for the day. When we got to the bottom, she looked me deep in the eye and went, “oh Brook, right there!  That feels so good Brook!” I was like, uhm, I think that’s enough, it’s clean now. AWKWARD! She complained and complained about how she didn’t like Pinky and wanted me to replace her. I told her I was flattered but couldn’t do that to my friend and if Pinky’d been there for a year, she must have been doing something right. She kept me running around all day, I was literally sweating ALL DAY! Did I mention I was running around all day? ALL DAY! Pick this up, take this there, I wanna bathe, I wanna bathe again. Put me here, take me there, bring me the phone, not this one, the one in the dining room. Don’t tell Pinky I made you do this. By the way, do you like me? What do you say to someone who asks you such a question? This was before she drove me up the wall. I honestly thought she was a nice old lady then.  She asked me to tell Pinky when she got home what I thought of her because Pinky tells her everybody thinks she’s mean and they don’t want to help Pinky when she needs someone to fill in for her. I told her I’d tell Pinky if she asked what I thought of her.

After that she became an absolute monster! She told me to bathe her again. Just the private parts. She got up and wanted me to rub her with the wash cloth there. When I stopped, she was like, do it some more Brook. I was like, I think it’s clean now (Good Lord! She said, “never mind, give me the wash cloth!” She went to town with it, while I was standing there in utter shock.
I couldn’t wait for Pinky to get home and get me out of that misery. The excitement of it all wore off so quickly! I literally didn’t even have time to shower. When the old lady dozed off, I was breathed a sigh of relief. Quietly, God forbid she heard me and woke up! The phone rang while I was in the shower, she yelled for me to bring it to her. She had a phone right next to her, she wanted me to bring her the one that was in the dining room. I had to get out of the shower, wet as I was and get her the phone. My, oh my! Eight PM came and went. Pink got home at exactly the same time she left, 24hours prior. I could have kissed her, I was so relieved! She asked me if the lady behaved. I was like, Girl, I’m ready to go home! She asked me if she didn’t ask me to do that thing that she made me do to her genitals, I was both relieved and grossed out. Relieved that I wasn’t imagining it, grossed out for obvious reasons. She also asked me what I thought of her in general, I gave her my honest opinion. She told me the old lady doesn’t believe that she’s mean. Well...

Pinky asked if I didn’t want to spend the night, she would take me home the next day, I was like girl, I think I’m good, take me home, please NOW! Old lady wanted to see me before I left. She asked if there were something I wanted to tell Pinky. I was like, “like what?” She went, like how you feel about me, the fact that you think I am a nice person. I was like, Oh no, that was before you were so mean to me all day. Telling me how you don’t like black people, you think they are lazy, blah blah bah. I told her exactly what I thought of her. She asked!
Pinky dropped me off and I was glad to have made some money! My very first week in the US. It was a good sign, don’t you think? Oh and no, I didn’t tell Pinky I knew T... yet!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

First day in The US

Sunday, June 24th
The Apartment

24 June 2012
T’s bedroom is so cosy and the bed so high. Bedding by Ralph Lauren all the way to the scatter cushions. Fancy! I almost didn’t want to mess it up. It was so so hot! You wouldn’t believe the weather here! When i walked into the apartment the night before, it felt like walking into an oven!
I must have slept for 6 hours, far less than I’d anticipated. I was up around 8am. I felt lost without my phone, I couldn’t reach anybody. I took a shower and got ready to go to Mc Donald’s for internet. I saw one down the road from the apartment the night before. As I was about to open the door to leave, I heard a knock. WHO COULD THAT BE! I was hesitant to open the door, only for a split second though, thereafter I ran to get it! “Hi, Bar...ber...Bhabhalwe?” Errr, yeah, that’s me? “T Sent me here, she said you don’t have a phone, she will call you on my phone in a minute”   HALLELUJAH!  ‘Oh, are you her boyfriend?’. “Yes, sorry, I’m Dick”. Nice to meet you Dick.........
T called and told me Vic would take me to the supermarket, and anywhere else I needed to go, for example, the cell phone shop to get a new SIM Card. I couldn’t be more grateful. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Had  he arrived a minute later, he would’ve missed me and I don’t know where he would’ve found me because I wouldn’t have left a note on the door, I wasn’t expecting anyone. He was surprised that I figured out my own way to get to Connecticut from New York. Well, when you haven’t got much of a choice, you do what you’ve got to, don’t you?

He took me to Shoprite , just down the road from the apartment, I got groceries for the week, back to the house, to the mall, which was a bit further than Shoprite but not much, I got a new SIM Card, they activated it immediately, the messages came flocking thereafter, one from T, from Facebook, explaining how she couldn’t pick me up from the airport and  how I should take the trains to Connecticut because they run  24/7. I wish she had sent me a text instead as I didn’t have Facebook access and I’d told her that and it never would’ve cost her a thing to send me a text. Anyway, what’s done was done. I was able to text my  loved ones and tell them I’d arrived safely.
We had fast food for lunch, I asked him to take me to KFC, I was still on my KFC Trip, I wanted to try the grilled chicken. It was nice, it tasted just like regular KFC. I paid, yeah, I had some $, what do you take me for? ;)
Lauren by Ralph Lauren

He dropped me off at the apartment and left. I spent most of the afternoon chatting, and trying not to fall asleep, what with jetlag and all. I fiddled with the television and managed to turn it on, all I wanted to see was what’s currently playing over here, then I switched it off. I didn’t want the roommate to get home and find me watching her TV. Another knock on the door.  Oh, it’s T. It was nice to see her. She didn’t say she was coming. She said she did, but oh well. She stopped by for a minute and had to rush back for work.
N, the roommate came home Monday night. It must have been around 10pm. She was from work. She told me just about everything about herself, her amazing life, her bubbly personality, how much men love her and how she plays them, etc and etc. After 1am, I had to excuse myself and go to bed.  Not the worst first two days in The US of A.

From South Africa to America via England

Friday, June 22nd 
luggage, check in, carry on
My baggage. It's bigger than it looks

I stalked the Embassy’s website tracking my visa until it was time to pick it  up. It was ready for collection on Wednesday, June 13th. I got my flight ticket confirmation that same day as well. I got the actual ticket on Thursday. I also did some finishing touches before my departure for The States Friday evening. 
My departure day, Friday the 22nd of June 2012, I donated some clothes to the Catholic church in Bryanston, posted some to my mom, she sells clothes, I also sent some that I wasn’t ready to part with, for her to keep for me. I didn’t realise that in the 4 months Id been in Johannesburg, I had accumulated so much stuff! Especially shoes! I think the fact that I got 6 pairs of shoes at, once at some point, from Cape Town didn’t help my situation. Unfortunately, the shoes were all heavy wedges that I couldn’t take with me, as I was trying to stick to my 22kg limit.
My friend in the US, let’s call her T she wanted biltong, and some stuff for hear dreads. I got that, her brother dropped some of stuff for her over as well. Her Roommate, let’s call her N, wanted Umthombo, (King Corn); I drove around looking for King Corn in Fourways. Not easy to find! Try it sometimeJ.  I was craving KFC for days; I thought that was the perfect moment to indulge! I got really big thighs and side breasts! It was DELICIOUS! I took some home for everybody else. ZS called, offering to take me to the Airport. I’d planned to take the Gautrain, but with all that luggage, she saved me time and trouble with her offer. I was on the phone for the last time with T and it was all so surreal! My flight was at 5/5:30pm CAT. We made it in time! As we arrived at O.R. Tambo airport, we saw the time changes, noooooo! My sister, nephew and niece were also meeting me at the airport, one last time. 
family, sisters, airport pics
Left to Right: My niece, Sis and I at Mugg and Bean in O.R. Tambo Airport

I checked in, they told me that there was a delay and that my flight would leave in 3 hours, at 8:30pm which sucked. The bright side was that I could spend more time with my favourite people. We sat and talked and talked and talked until ZS had to leave. She had her daughter with her and the daughter was expecting friends for a sleep over. We let them go; I spent the rest of the time there with the fam.  An hour before boarding, we approached the desk and were greeted by a notice that the flight was delayed by 2 more hours. NOOOOOO!  We were to leave at 10pm. The family couldn’t wait with me any longer, my sister, bless her soul, was dozing off and she was the designated driver.  My niece is not that experienced to be driving that late. I let them go and took a nap in the waiting room.
If we had left on schedule, I would have arrived in the US at midnight, which would’ve been great! I could get to see New York!  The changes were messing up my schedule! Just before ten, my alarm went off..... Just as it did, I heard an announcement, there was another delay! This time it was INDEFINITE! WOW! Just what I needed! I was so frustrated, I could cry! I fought and paid so much money for an early ticket only to get stuck at the airport and end up leaving the next day! What the heck was going on? People were frustrated, I called and updated family. Of course my mom talked until I had only R10 ($1.20) left in my account. I had called my cell phone service provider earlier in the day, and they told me not to worry about running out of network, I’d be able to top up and send and receive sms-es  (texts) abroad.  My cell phone battery was dying. I didn’t worry much about that because my laptop was fully charged and I had the USB charger with my for my blackberry. My friend had offered me her laptop charger from the UK in case that would be easier to find an adapter for that than my South African. I called T, and she told me I didn’t have to worry about any of that. This is the US , they have adapters for different chargers from all over the world.
nephew, lil bro, brother, OR Tambo
My very funny Nephew

As the night progressed, I kept looking at an aeroplane that was right in front of our gate, I couldn’t help but wonder if that wasn’t the plane we were waiting for all night. IT WAS! It had been there the entire time! At midnight, they announced that we could board. Apparently there had been some technical problem with their GPS or whatever and without that, they couldn’t fly. Virgin Airline flights were delayed. We got on and fell asleep as we got on the plane. It was around 1:20am on Saturday the 23rd when we finally left. Shocking!
Remember, we now have no idea what time we were going to catch our connecting flights! I was going to connect in Heathrow, London. Originally, I only had a 2 hour delay. Which would’ve been perfect. We arrived in London at midday UK time. I think they’re behind us by an hour, making it 11am CAT (South African time). People shot out of the plane like you won’t believe! My connecting flight, after the first delay, in Johannesburg was shifted to 12:30pm in London. I had 30 minutes to get to my plane. It was also Virgin Atlantic, we hoped that they had communicated with our connecting flights and advised them we’d be late. We ran and ran and ran. Not everybody was going to The US, some were going to Canada, etc. Somewhere in the midst of checking in and out, we had to queue, the machine chose me for a random check up, I had to strip and be searched. Great! There goes my flight! As soon as they were done, I sped off following the signage to my gate. You know how big Heathrow is, I think it’s the largest in the world. As I got closer to my terminal, the lights flashed in red – CLOSED! CLOSED! CLOSED! What now!
I had to find someone who could tell me what to do with myself. I didn’t even know which way I came from as I was so all over the place when I arrived. I still had to rush because I didn’t know if there was another flight that was going to depart soon, that I could get on. You never know! I fumbled and fumbled until I saw the lady that was sitting next to me on the flight from South Africa, Wendy Knowler, the consumer watch Journalist from East Coast Radio, KZN. They called me over and filled me in on what was happening. Everybody from all the different Virgin Atlantic flights who had been delayed (that includes everybody who flew Virgin that day) had to queue up and have the guys at the desk book us new seats. I was in the line for a little more than 5 hours and in Heathrow for 9. NINE HOURS!  There were times when I wondered if I would make it to my final destination.
shoes, shoefie, family
Left to Right: Nephew, Me, Sister and Niece

Some people couldn’t get flights that night, Virgin booked them hotel rooms, got them temp passes to London for the duration they were there etc. I just wanted to leave! I had always hoped to have a layover in Heathrow so I could explore, but  not like that! It was so hot in the queue, people were tired and miserable and and and. Mind you some people were on 3day vacations, they had to spend their first day stuck in an airport somewhere. As soon as I got my ticket, I went searching for wi-fi, I got nothing! The largest airport in the world and there was no free wi-fi! I went to an ATM to buy airtime as Vodacom (my service provider) had promised I could – nope! I couldn’t buy airtime! The stress was building up! I wasn’t able to tell what time I’d be at JFK Airport. Great, she had offered to pick me up, I told her, I would manage, but she insisted, which was nice of her especially because my arrival time had moved from midday to midnight. I asked my sister to add T on BBM, I sent text to my sister and asked her to pass the messages over to T. That worked, thank goodness.  Bear in mind, I only had R10 airtime on my phone! I was only able to send a few texts and I had to save 2 for when I arrived in the US.
A very kind English gentleman offered me 3 pounds to use the internet cafe. Just as I was about to take it, some strange, very forward French girl said, oh no, 2 pounds will be more than enough. He took one pound back. And he had just told me he needed to get rid of his pounds. Great! When I got to the internet cafe, the key boards were like 6 inches (15cm) wide or something, I couldn’t find the keys, I don’t know what they’d done with them and trust me, I’m computer literate! But I battled with those. You got 10 minutes per pound however the minutes ran so fast, I’m sure they meant seconds. I quickly logged onto Facebook to leave a message for T, when I was about to hit SEND, Facebook froze and the computer shut down. I thought I was dreaming. I waited for it to get back on, by then my time had run out. I topped up with my 2nd pound, quickly logged onto my email and sent my sister a long email and asked her to relay a message to T. She did so. My time ran out. I felt slightly relieved. I tried to book transport from the Airport but that proved impossible with the given circumstances.
The French chick was also flying to New York, She told me to ask the guys on iPads if they could let me use their internet. I told her I wasn’t sure that was such a grand idea. I thought I’d be a great spot and do it! The two guys I asked, freaked out and were literally shaking when they told me they were not on the internet. They were on Facebook. They just didn’t want to let me use it. I went back to my seat glad to have been right J
Before 7, we headed towards our gate for checking. The French girl wouldn’t stop talking about how she got to America, lived there illegally, and married a businessman to get his citizenship. The husband’s also French, his citizenship is on condition he still ran the business, which he no longer was, therefore they were both living there under false pretence. I was like, dear Lord make her shut up! People are going to think we’re together in this. I don’t know this woman!
Lo and behold, she was going to sit right next to mine. I must’ve been more tired than I thought because before the plane took off, I was fast asleep and snoring. So embarrassing because there was a really cute guy sitting between Miss Crazy and I. He had a nice smile too! Score! Not! I slept all the way to New York! I woke up when the flight attendants made the landing announcements. I hadn’t filled in the i94 form and the whatever else form I was supposed to hand to the flight attendants. My other option was to do it quickly and take it with me to the Port of Entry. I was dying to use the bathroom, great! If I didn’t know better I’d say French snuck out of me. I blinked and she was goooonnneee!
I couldn’t believe that I had arrived in The US, finally! We landed at 11pm. It was a 7 hour flight from London. Of course, we had to queue at immigration/s. A rather hot, bald headed immigration officer interviewed me. I couldn’t help but smile my way throughout the entire interview J J J . Thereafter, I got my luggage, heaviest suitcase EVER! Still not as bad as when I went to Georgia though, I learnt my lesson – ish. As soon as I turned my phone on, I got a text from T asking where I was. I texted back that I’d just landed. According to the message I sent her via my sister, I was going to arrive at 10 but of course that flight was delayed too, so we got here an hour late. I was freaking out that she’d been waiting for me an entire hour after driving 2hours to pick me up at the airport at that hour of the night. I went through the same thing with internet and wi-fi as I did in London. The computers freeze when one’s on FB. I did manage to send my message through for T though, it shut down just before I sent my sister one. I couldn’t be bothered anymore. It was late and I was frustrated and tired, and sticky.
sad goodbye
Last goodbye to ZS and her daughter.

I have to mention that I’d always told myself that when I arrived in New York, I’d do it in style. I slapped on some   red lipstick on, my fancy hat that I was complimented on at OR Tambo, Heathrow as well as JFK airports. I had to make a statement: Brook has arrived B!tches, I hope you’re ready for thisJ. I looked around for T, there was this random, almost scary looking man following me around. I called T from a public phone – voicemail. Great! Scary dude offered me the use of his mobile phone for a dollar. I took him up on it, called T again, she didn’t pick up. I gave the guy his phone back and headed for the ATM to see if I could by airtime – nope, couldn’t! All in All Vodacom misled me L .
While I was at the ATM that scary guy followed me and was whispering that my friend was on the phone. I was like, how do you know it’s her? He said give me a dollar and I will let you talk to your friend. I grabbed his phone and lo and behold T was on the other side. She was in Connecticut! Never went to the airport, she wanted to tell me she wouldn’t be able to pick me up!  I gave the guy his dollar and went to information desk. It was approaching midnight by then and by the looks of things I was going to end up sleeping at the airport. They showed me over to some type of switchboard/vending machine  - machine where I could speed dial shuttle services. The first one I dialled was the one that ended up taking picking me up 10 minutes after I called them. I remember wanting a drink of water so badly, I had to let the driver keep an eye on my luggage while I went to the tap, that wasn’t too far from my luggage. I was panicking that even though I could see him, if he decided to grab something and run, I still couldn’t catch him. Dear Lord!
Fortunately, the guy dropped me home safely. We did pick up two or 3 people on our way. I was the last one to get off. The driver was a nice guy from Morocco. When we got to the apartment, I had to find the key which was under a rock somewhere. Seriously! I ran to where I’d been told I’d find the rock, flipped it over and found the key wrapped up in toilet paper which had got wet and dry from the rain a few days prior. I was so happy to find that key! You have no idea! I ran back to the shuttle with a huge smile on my face, “I found it!” I paid and gave him a tip, not knowing how much was acceptable and how much was considered an insult tip-wise made it slightly awkward for me. He seemed to appreciate it a lot though. I got in, looked around for the apartment. Apparently, I had used a different entrance to the one in the directions. Fortunately, it’s a small apartment block; it wasn’t hard to find the unit.
I tell you when I got in, I was like, Am I really here? Whew! It was 2am American and 8am (Sunday) South African Time, I was scheduled to leave South Africa Friday afternoon at 4 and arrive in the US Saturday 6pm South African time. You do the math, don’t forget the time difference) I wanted to tell my sis, I’d arrived safely, but didn’t have airtime or anything. I tried sending her a call back, thankfully, it went through. She was so surprised to get a Please Call Arived In Bed. Pleasantly so. I couldn’t do the same for T; she’s on an American Network. I don’t know if sis told her. I didn’t know if roommate was in or not, but her door was left ajar. I took a shower and went straight to sleep.