I’ve been reading Heather’s blog 2 summers for ever so when I finally met her at a press weekend I was so excited and even more taken aback by what a lovely person she is. Heather also works closely with the JCTA and is a master instagrammer!
The nicest thing about Joburg is…
the fact that nothing ever stays the same. This city is constantly changing, transforming, reinventing itself. Because of this, the people who live in and love Joburg tend to be tough, adaptable, and awesome. Living in Joburg and uncovering its awesomeness takes a little bit of work. But the effort is so worth it.
1.Who are you and where did you grow up?
I’m a writer/photographer/blogger from Baltimore, Maryland (near Washington D.C. in the United States). I moved to Joburg three years ago, in August 2010, to be with my South African boyfriend. I walked away from a very firmly established life in the U.S. (marriage, nine-to-five job, two-car garage, etc.), into a completely uncertain existence in South Africa. It’s been a crazy, sometimes extremely painful journey. But somehow it has worked out and I’ve found a real home for myself here.
2. What do you do?
I write about and take photos of my life in Joburg. I used to do a lot of non-profit work, but most of the work I do now is focused on showing the world what a great place Joburg is to live in and visit.
3. What was the hardest thing to get used to when you moved to SA/Joburg?
The most difficult adjustments I had to make when I came here actually had nothing to do with the place itself. I’m a pretty adaptable person on a practical level. But the hardest part was my internal struggle – coming to terms with who I am, why I came here, and how to create a life for myself in a world with no boundaries. I was also trying to build a relationship with a person who I passionately loved, but who suffered from a very serious addiction. Getting through that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
All that said, the most difficult thing for me to adjust to logistically was learning to drive on the left side of the road and driving a manual-transmission car. I also found it difficult to learn my way around Joburg’s confusing roads and to adapt to the sometimes-crazy traffic conditions. Driving was my greatest fear for a very long time! I’ve become completely fearless now though.
4. What is your blog called and what do you write about?
My blog is 2Summers.net. I write about anything and everything to do with my life in Joburg. Most of my posts are about quirky, interesting things to do in the city. But I also write about everyday life around my house in Melville, as well as deeper stuff about the crazy emotional journey I’ve been on since I moved across the world. When I travel to other places around South Africa or the world, I write about that too.
Photography is a huge part of my blog – I like to tell stories with a combination of words and pictures. Sometimes I take pictures with my DSLR camera and other times I use my iPhone and post Instagrams. “Photowalking” (or “Instawalking”) – walking around town with my camera or phone and taking pics, often with groups of like-minded photographers – is one of my favourite ways to collect stories for my blog.
I also have a regular guest-blogger on 2Summers: my cat, Smokey. Smokey occasionally highjacks my computer and writes posts of his own. He has a very loyal following.
5. If you could give one bit of advice to someone wanting to start their own blog what would it be?
Don’t get too bogged down in the details. Just find a blogging platform (I recommend WordPress), pick a free theme, and start posting. No one will see your posts until you start actively sharing them, so there’s no need to worry about making everything perfect. Just get started and the rest will take care of itself.
6. What’s your favourite local/undiscovered spot in Jozi?
I love wandering through the bustling weekend market on Mint Rd. in Fordsburg, eating Indian and Pakistani street food and drinking fresh sugar-cane juice. Fordsburg is such an underrated neighbourhood in Jozi – I never get tired of exploring there.
7. With the upcoming JHB City Festival is there anything in particular you are looking forward to doing/attending
I can’t wait to check out the Jozi Streetball Championships on Gandhi Square. Soccer in Gandhi Square sounds like such a cool idea. I’m also looking forward to the film festival at the Bioscope, Balcony TV at Randlords, and the food and drink specials at some of the new Braamfontein restaurants that I haven’t tried yet. More than anything, I just love the idea of a festival focused totally on the Jozi inner city. The CBD is such a great place to hang out and it deserves more love.