Jacaranda season is upon us again here in South Africa (the trees bloom any time from September through to November – it varies slightly from year to year). These stunning trees blossom a stunning shade of purple bringing a smile to many.
It struck me that the jacaranda trees and expats have a few things in common. Here are 5 ways that jacarandas and expats are alike.
1. Neither jacarandas nor expats are indigenous to South Africa.
Jacarandas originate from Central and South America and are also found naturally in Cuba, The Bahamas and Jamaica. Because of their gorgeous burst of purple blue blossom they have been transposed to many parts of Asia and also Zimbabwe and … South Africa.
2. Jacarandas and Expats must have special permission to come to South Africa.
Jacaranda trees are now considered as an invasive species in South Africa. They suck up a phenomenal amount of water and are detrimental to indigenous plants. Currently no more planting is permitted, unless special permission is granted.
The expat visa process has become far more stringent in recent years in the interest of protecting local jobs. Nevertheless, there are certain business and skills that are needed in South Africa so some new expats with desirable expertise will still be given permission to come and work.
3. Jacarandas and Expats flourish in South Africa
Jacarandas flourish here. So do many expats who appreciate the weather, the travel and of course the people.
4. Jacarandas and Expats bloom for a reason.
The jacaranda is beautiful. The jacaranda offers shade. Tourists come to see the jacaranda blossoms. The wood of jacaranda trees is used for making furniture. There are supposed antimicrobial medicinal properties which are untapped, but could be of use in the future? Jacarandas in bloom are stunning.
Expats come with business expertise, technical knowledge and a positive mental attitude.
5. Jacarandas and Expats can only bloom for a season.
If a jacaranda blossom falls on a students’ head, it is taken as a lucky sign that they will pass all their upcoming exams. However, should the first jacaranda blossom fall before they have started studying they are probably in trouble and haven’t left enough time to study before the exams.
Regardless of whether or not the students pass or fail, the blooms WILL fall.
Jacarandas are in bloom for a relatively short time. There is perhaps a 6 week window every year. They can start blooming as early as mid September and are normally all gone by the middle of November.
Expats, like the Jacaranda blossoms are only a temporary and transient feature of the South African landscape. So just as we must all enjoy the jacaranda while they are in bloom, we expats, as transient guests must make the most positive contribution that we can and enjoy and respect the hospitality of our beautiful host nation for the relatively short time that we stay here.
If you want to find out why why expat partners are like Dung Beetles, click HERE.
If you want to see some more of South Africa’s Awesome Blossoms, click HERE.