Tag Archives: Emigration

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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How to tell your friends (and deal with their reactions) when you’re moving away

moving

I’ve been talking a lot about emigration. I’ve talked about how we came to the decision to do it, how we got through doing it, and all the flurry of activity. But there’s one thing I haven’t talked about yet, and it’s probably one of the more difficult things people can go through. Whether you’re moving to another city, or another part of the world, you will be leaving people behind. Friends and family will need to be informed, and it isn’t always easy, especially when they have complicated reactions. I’ve done this so many times in my life now, I have a bit of advice for those of you who are moving and wondering how to break the news to those you care about – or deal with it when they don’t respond as you’d like.

It’s important to remember that no one wants to be left behind. Even your most enthusiastic supporters will feel sad. Not because they don’t want you to be happy, but because they will feel your loss more than you will feel theirs. No, I’m not saying that people who move away don’t miss their friends; when you move, everything and everyone is new, it’s a completely fresh experience while those who are left behind still live their normal life, but without you in it. It’s hard and sad for them, and it’s almost like they need to grieve the “normal” friendship you once had. And their reactions may be very similar to the stages of grief as we know them, but first – how do you tell those you care about that you are leaving? Continue Reading

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It always seems impossible until it’s done – an update on my 2017 goals

update on my 2017 goals

Today is Mandela Day here in South Africa, a celebration of one of the most iconic leaders of the modern world. One of my favorite quotes from Nelson Mandela is “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Any task can appear insurmountable, and then you chip away, take baby steps and all of a sudden it’s done. It’s sort of the basis of goals or resolutions – you aspire to something, but then need to figure out what exactly you will do in order to get there. I made three main goals for 2017, with a series of sub-goals along the way. So here is an update on my 2017 goals – how successful am I after half a year of striving?

To be honest, I think I’m actually doing better than I give myself credit for. So much of life is filled with mom guilt, with feeling inadequate or like I’m spinning my wheels, but actually I’ve made some pretty huge strides. I knew that I had these goals at the start of the year, but I didn’t make a vision board or anything, so they weren’t always at the front of my mind. Instead, I was focusing on all the little steps I had vowed to take to get there. Looking back now, I can see just how far I’ve come… at least on some of these goals. So here’s a reminder, and then an assessment. 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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