Tag Archives: Emigrating

Things I wish I knew before we emigrated

Things I wish I knew before we emigrated from South Africa to the USA

I am finally in a really good place. I mean that literally and figuratively, it seems. After some rough months, I’ve been feeling more and more settled. I didn’t realize just how settled I was until Dean’s parents came to visit and I was able to confidently show them around… and even feel disrupted by sharing space (in the best possible way). That’s gotta be proof that we had a routine and were used to our space if I actually felt like things were different from normal, right? I mean, just to have a “normal” is awesome after having emigrated and changed our whole lives.

I am happy and things are going well. It still isn’t even a year since we moved, so I figure we’re on a good trajectory. I’m sure there will be hard days again, and even better days, but for now, I’m pleased with how things are going. We still need to meet people and make friends, but that always takes time. It will come. There are some things I wish I knew before we emigrated, though. Continue Reading

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Starting over

starting over in new home

There’s this research that was done back in the 60s all about the amount of stress people go through with various life events. Holmes-Rahe is often mentioned, even by those who don’t know the details of it, to talk about how death, marriage, divorce, pregnancy, and birth can all be so stressful and life-altering that they put a serious toll on the person or people involved. I looked up the stress inventory, as it’s called, and moving or changing residence is towards the bottom of the list. Clearly, these researchers had no idea what they were talking about – starting over in a new country has been one of the most tumultuous things I’ve ever done.

It’s not just the physical moving that’s been difficult, although of course, that has as well. Moving day was a nightmare, one that was compounded by the fact that we were getting on a plane at the end of it. But it’s so, so much more than that. There was all the stress of leaving, the stress of getting things done when we arrived, and only now that we are slowly settling in am I finally unpacking it all – literally and figuratively. Continue Reading

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Emigration: we have arrived

arrived

I keep starting and closing or deleting this post, I think because I don’t know quite how to write it all. Or even how to just get started. I’m writing this on an ancient laptop that will be my machine for the next few weeks or months. I am writing this from my mom’s dining room table, which will be my desk for the next few weeks or months. I suppose you could say that we’ve arrived at our new home, but that doesn’t quite feel accurate.

After a ridiculously long journey (and let’s not even talk about moving day) from Joburg to Phoenix, Dean, Harley and I have arrived at my mom’s place. The flights themselves weren’t so bad. Harley slept a lot and was generally just a trooper. The first flight was pretty nice, but the second one was a much older plane and less comfy. Regardless, eventually we made it and have started our new life here. But it all just feels a bit surreal still, and I feel so totally out of place. Continue Reading

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After (almost) 10 years, one week left

one week left

October would have been ten years of me living in South Africa. Almost a decade of my life spent in this amazing, complicated, beautiful, bizarre country. I have lived here longer than I lived in The Netherlands, which was a huge part of my formative years, and despite the fact that South African Home Affairs never resolved the issues with my residency, I truly feel like South Africa has been my home for a decade. It’s hard to believe that in just a week, Dean, Harley and I will be getting on a plane and moving away.

On the 15th of August, we fly to the US to start our new life. It’s something we’ve been working towards for months now, something that seemed to take forever and then all of a sudden is happening so fast. We only have one week left to sort everything out. One week left to finish packing, one week left to finalize all our arrangements, one week left to say all our farewells. It’s emotional and stressful and chaotic, I’m feeling so many mixed emotions that I thought I’d try to blog them all out, but apologies if a todo list sneaks its way in – that seems to be how I think these days. Also, huge apologies for the infrequent blogging at this point; there just aren’t enough hours in the day for all the things. Continue Reading

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Emigration: From concept to hearing “congratulations”

emigration

I’ve written about our emigration process before. I talked about when we first started thinking about emigrating, how it was officially a goal for this year and even my ambivalence about really making the decision and feeling sad about leaving our wonderful life behind. I’ve bemoaned how long the admin was taking us and made a bit of a list of logistics I needed to put down so that they wouldn’t keep rattling around in my head. But we’ve hit a major milestone – we heard “Congratulations” at the consulate, and so I wanted to take you with me from start to finish.

Getting Dean’s Green Card has not been easy, and we still aren’t totally done. But I’m taking this milestone as an opportunity to reflect back on the process and talk about some of the big things we’ve gone through. If you’re planning to emigrate in general, or get a Green Card in particular, let me tell you that it is not easy, not for the faint of heart, but hopefully totally worth it. I did a Facebook Live about this as well, if you’re keen to watch me talk about this through Facebook or YouTube. Continue Reading

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