For weeks {months} people have been talking about the new mall opening in Ndola. It’s been under construction since before my arrival and has slowly, slowly, slowly materialized before my eyes. In expat circles, the conversations are almost always tempered with an undertone of “let’s not get too excited just yet.”


This is on the heels of the “a cinema is opening in the next few months” rumor that has been circulating since September. {FYI – there is a structure that seems to have the appearance of a movie theater complete with escalators leading to it. There is some skepticism about the safety of the structure. There have also been months of newcomers to the world of escalators gleefully and hesitantly testing them out.} Oh the stories the more weathered residents of this town could, and do, tell you about the hopes of new stores, new restaurants, new… whatever opening in town.


People talk about the new around here with such incredible anticipation.


I got sucked into it all. I latched onto the idea of Mugg and Bean and started daydreaming about afternoons at a new cafe. As opening day was announced, I had to reign in my excitement and speak with a little more trepidation. I brought up possibilities with greater hesitation and impolitely shushed as others hoped and dreamed.


When it opened last week, I walked in with a few friends to a massive crowd and open, gleaming hallways. But no Mugg. And no other new coffee shop. {But there are still a few open shops so my hope lives!} And it is what is promised to be – there are hotdogs to be bought in the grocery store and more clothing stores than currently combined throughout the rest of town.


But my favorite part is the reaction of locals – there were acrobat performs for the crowds amassing and men gathering with cameras and miniature printers for instant picture development. The grand opening permeated the city with an ongoing conversation buzz and an excitement that only new options for activities can bring.


As a kid, I still remember the excitement of going into the “city” for some time at the mall or a restaurant. It was a big deal for my family. My friend, Ashley, spent more time in cities than anyone else I knew, and I was continuously envious of the plans she would elaborately relate.


Twentyish years later and malls, escalators, developed pictures of myself, these aren’t really new things to me. But that’s what these grand openings bring me back around to – the childhood excitement of all things being new and exciting and feeling like life and the things around you are moving forward at a quick and uncontrollable pace. Here, excitement is pervasive. It isn’t reserved for the young. Sometimes it gets out of hand and sometimes it seems a bit ridiculous.


It’s a nice change of pace.




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