My New Life in Zambia

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“I’ve been wanting to write this for a while, but I keep trying to wait for the most scenic photo to tag along with the post… but then this happened, and I think it’s the most accurate photo I have.

Alison Augustyn

Just before South Africa went into lockdown, I got on a very rushed flight to Zambia. I remember my parents firmly saying in the kitchen that if I wanted to go, I need to go NOW. Not an easy thing for a parent to do… you guys are amazing.

I have given up more things than I care to admit, but I have gained so much more.

Here are some fun things I have learnt in my few months being in Zambia as a South African ex-pat:

1. It’s an obscenely beautiful country. The people, the environment, the wildlife – photos do not do it justice.

2. Everyone is always busy, I am not entirely sure with what, but you’re always doing something. Most days I can’t recall what I did, but I also don’t recall sitting down for very long.

3. The city social scene has NOTHING on the Copperbelt. There is something happening EVERY weekend… and some weeknights too.

4. Prepare your liver. Seriously.

5. The vegetables are huge here. Specifically the avos. Imagine an avo the size of your face. Then imagine that avo falling on the roof at 2am… you will think the world is ending.

6. The world won’t end if you get load-shedding. Stop complaining about 4 hours every now and then.

7. Winter is not a thing. It does get colder here, but 10 degrees in the morning and then 27 in the afternoon. There are one or two colder weeks in between where you need to wear a hoodie.

8. You will start finding 10 degrees absolutely freezing and unreasonable.

9. You will get to eat a lot of Indian take out. If you don’t like Indian takeout, you will still eat it often.

10. Road signs are a suggestion.

11. Road directions are a suggestion.

12. The China Mall has everything.

13. Our Shoprites are better stocked than SA Spars.

14. Mosquitoes don’t die here.

15. Malaria makes you feel like you’re dying at different intervals throughout the day.

16. Peaceful Sleep will be your new favorite deodorant.

17. The mossies (little birds) come in purple here. It’s not important but I thought someone may find a purple bird as fascinating as me… also green, and blue, and yellow.

18. Where there is water there are crocodiles.

19. Hippo’s are huge and not as lazy as crocodiles, don’t try hang out with them.

20. There is no smile brighter and happier than a Zambian smile.

21. You don’t get potholes here, you get moon craters.

22. Wear sunblock even if you are not a sunblock person. THE SUN IS A DIFFERENT KIND OF HOT HERE.

23. You cannot deny an African beat when it plays, your hips will move in ways you had no idea they could.

24. Noah built an ark for Zambian rain.

25. This place will steal your heart every day, over and over again.

My life is a bit chaotic and fuzzy, much like the picture that goes with this. But my smile has never felt more true and my heart has never been so full.

Sometimes you need to strip everything away to make sure you’re only left with what actually brings you joy and actually brings love into your life.

I’ve found myself here thanks to the incredible people that surround me here and the incredible support I have back in SA, and I cannot wait for the ventures that await in life.

To my partner Ross, you have been amazing through this all, and I am so grateful you showed me your world.”

Alison Augustyn is a South African Expat living in Zambia. If you enjoyed reading this and are interested in following her journey and adventures in Zambia, please visit her blog and give it a follow!

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