A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my strongest memories of the American International School of Vienna. Today, I thought I’d go back even further in time and tell you all about what I remember from the American International School of Johannesburg in South Africa or AISJ.
I moved there when I was really small in elementary school. And the thing I remember most is how everything seemed to be outdoors. The school I mean! The hallways were outdoors. You would walk from class to class on the red-orangy tiles, while seeing grass and blue sky. Now looking back, it seems so strange that we spent so much time outside even though we were in school. Since the climate was good there, it was never an issue. As a Third Culture Kid, you’re so used to adapting quickly to a new environment that you adjust very effectively to a new setting. This means that things are not much of a surprise for very long.
I remember these red tables on a hill outside where everyone would have their lunch. There was a cafeteria, but on the majority of the days we’d eat outside under those red umbrellas. It was so nice. And it just felt like it was always sunny.
Something else that was amazing was the pool. There was an outdoors pool where we would have swimming and life-guard lessons. And whenever there was a fair or what they used to call ‘Sports Day’ we would very often end up in the pool, splashing around for hours.
For someone who loves running around and playing sports, ‘Sports Day’ at this international school was a dream. You would be put on a team and play football on one of the huge football fields we had on the playground. You would play competitive team sports until you were sun-burnt and aching from running around all day. These are memories that will never fade away.
The playground was huge, just space, grass, and some trees. That’s the thing about South Africa, just so much more space than you would find, say in Europe, so these kinds of things made sense over there. I remember playing football, very often the only girl, on lunch breaks with the boys. It was a blast. Sun was expected. Living in London, let’s just say, that’s not the case.
And a strange thing I remember is the sunscreen. We always had bottles and bottles of sunscreen that the teachers would give out at lunch breaks. We were constantly being taught how to apply it. You can’t just spread it on! You’re meant to rub your hands with it first and only then when it’s activated, start applying it. Of course, looking back, they had to do this, for skin cancer. But as a kid, you wonder why they’re telling you this so often.
And there are millions of other things I can remember, but for now, that’s it. I will always feel nostalgic when it comes to Johannesburg. And that’s most likely because 1. it was absolutely gorgeous and 2. because I spent six and a half years of my childhood there, the longest time I spent anywhere in my life. There’s so much more to say about Jo’burg, but that’s for another post!
This is a picture of the beautiful golf course they have at Sun City. Does anyone recognize it?