Like many of you reading this, I woke up a couple days ago to news of another mass shooting in America. It was, and still is, devastating. It’s horrible to read about the innocent people killed by this senseless act of violence. It’s particularly upsetting now that I live in the States again, and had even talked with Dean in recent days about making a trip there when his friend comes to visit. It’s also so hard because I’ve been to Vegas, walked that strip and seen those casinos. But there is so much more to the story.
In the wake of the incident, the news still isn’t reporting on what led the 60-something-year-old white man to shoot at a crowd of people. He’s reported as being nice, wealthy and a regular Las Vegas visitor. People can’t imagine what could have led him to do something so heinous. And while I could write about gun control or how we need to work to prevent mass shootings, I’d be willing to wager (so to speak) that this might have to do with a problem at the heart of Las Vegas itself, a problem that is far larger than anyone seems to talk about and impacts almost every family I’ve ever talked to.
This is a post that I’ve been working on for what seems like forever. I thought it would be fairly straightforward to write – I just needed to keep track of our expenses related to emigration, tally it all up and the post would write itself. I figured it would help other people looking to emigrate from South Africa to the US, or really from South Africa to anywhere or from anywhere to the US. It’s a whole lot harder than I anticipated, though.
First up, here is the easy bit. These are the various costs we had to pay before we got to the US and include our various consulate visits, as well as costs related to getting all the necessary documentation in place while in South Africa. It’s important to note that we were only able to file an i130 application because I was an American citizen living in South Africa – there are difficult rules in place if your circumstances are different.
Car seats haven’t been a topic for debate in our family. I was adamant about getting a fantastic car seat for Harley when she was an infant, and when it was time for her to get something bigger, I was lucky enough to get a Volvo Britax seat for her that lets her rear face until she is 4-6 years old. Harley has never been in a car without a car seat. It simply wasn’t an option. If we had to go somewhere, she was in her seat – if we didn’t have a car seat, she simply couldn’t go.
Moms often feel isolated with kids, like they can’t leave the house, let alone travel to cool places, with their tiny person. I always encourage parents to just keep living their lives, with little ones along for the ride, but sometimes this is an easier task than other times. It’s always easiest when we drive in our car. The car seat is installed, and it is quick and easy to just pop Harley in and out. Things get trickier when traveling, but it’s still totally doable. Here are the ways and means that can help you still see the world, even if you aren’t in your usual vehicle.
I started weaning Harley about two weeks ago now, and it’s actually going surprisingly well. After reading a ton of other moms’ experiences, and also knowing the parts of breastfeeding that I was truly tired of, I decided that I would still give her boob for sleep. It doesn’t bother me to nurse her in bed as a way to help her fall asleep. It’s sweet to spend those moments together, in between wakefulness and sleep, when she drifts off in the comfort of my love and boob. The first few days she’d ask for boob at other times, but pretty quickly she learned that boob was for sleep and only to be experienced in bed. Sometimes she still manipulates and says she tired and wants to sleep when all she wants is the boob, and then gets up and plays, but mostly, she’s pretty good with this first step towards weaning.
This was going to be a whole post about weaning Harley, about how the fact that I’m ready to wean her a bit means she has to be ready and I’m not going to feel guilty. But I’ve realized that it’s also all about my weaning. Sure, I’m doing without the hormones, without the bonding, but it also feels like with so much upheaval, I’m being involuntarily weaned off all the things that usually give me comfort.
I’m not a big fan of expressions. They seem to reinforce lazy writing and cliches. But there’s an expression about saying goodbye and don’t let the door hit you on the way out. It feels like the right visual to use when describing what happened when we left South Africa, and when I became an “undesirable”.
I’ve been having residency issues in South Africa pretty much forever. I arrived with a life partner visa, and had a wonderful lady help me with my first application. I think she even helped me when I did a renewal visa, but then she vanished. Like, stopped responding to emails, calls… just gone. I ended up having my residency lapse, and I had to pay a fine, but was able to resolve it with a new residency guy. But things got way worse.