Where in the world is safe and normal?

the world

I have lived in a few wonderful places. I grew up in New York and loved it. Then we moved to The Hague and it was fantastic for me while in high school. Then I moved back to the States and tried living in LA, which wasn’t really a fit for me at that point in my life (being under 21 and without a car, I felt so restricted after the freedom of Holland). Then it was back to the Netherlands to study in Maastricht, which was a wonderful student town. Then Joburg, which has its flaws but has been a fun  and wonderful place for me and Dean to start our lives together. But now South Africa is changing, and I’m not sure about the rest of the world, too.

I don’t like to talk politics here on the blog. It’s supposed to be about my thoughts about my family, my life, and all things geeky parenting. But I can’t help but think about how politics are impacting on those very things. Thanks to poor political management, the Rand has gotten so weak that buying games and books and whatever else has gone from a monthly norm to an expensive extra. And as we start to talk about emigrating and making a better life elsewhere, I have to consider the potential risks associated with any move.

I’m not talking about the fact that we will feel like we’re taking a step backwards. I can live with that – it’s part of moving to a new country and you have to make new friends, work your way back up with work, and generally just deal with a total lifestyle change. No, I’m more worried about the overarching safety and normality stuff.

The obvious choice for moving will be to the US of A. I’ve got citizenship there, which means I should be able to pass it on to Harley fairly easily, and Dean shouldn’t struggle too much to get a Green Card. But is America even the way I remember it? When I visited New York a couple years ago, it was familiar in the sense that I knew where I was and how to get around, but the actual stores, neighborhoods and vibe are so totally different from when I lived there growing up. Maybe Dean and I could be happy in California instead, or Boston, but the country just seems so different than I remember it – is it really so racially divided? Is there really so much conflict between men and women, between people of various races, between communities? And if Trump becomes President, will it even be safe to live there? Will Dean be seen as an immigrant stealing people’s jobs?

But it’s not like our usual other countries are in great shape, either. Germany is dealing with crazy issues around immigration and terrorism, as is the Netherlands. After the UK’s Brexit stuff, I’m not sure that’s too viable either. I’d mention Canada as the usual cliche option, but I’m not going to kid myself – Dean wouldn’t survive a Canadian winter.

There are parts of the USA I’m excited for. I think Dean and I will love all the gaming stuff, all the tech stuff, and being in the primary country for all that stuff. I will love living closer to my mom – we haven’t lived on the same continent in over 12 years. I want to have American Netflix without worrying about geofencing, I’m amped to be able to buy all the things online without dealing with international shipping, and I already have a giant bottle of Frank’s hot sauce waiting for me. Not to mention the fact that Harley will be able to go to a local school and have a ton of opportunities I can’t even imagine her getting here.

No place is perfect, I know that all too well. We have to leave South Africa to give Harley a better life, more opportunities and all the rest. But really, that doesn’t mean I won’t be worried about her, won’t be worried about the world we live in, won’t be worried about the potential for war, for terrorism, and for day to day violence no matter where we move. I suppose this is the new normal.

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  • Lizzard

    I like how you ask “normal” when even among ourselves we have the varying ideas of ‘normal”
    While uber cold why not your Norways and the like?

    • Zoe Hawkins

      Dean keeps saying he’d be happy moving to Iceland, but I’m honestly not sure how we would cope with the darkness for months on end…

      • Lizzard

        As I always tell wifey, we will learn together…. Maybe just do it, let be serious, moving around the world is also not such a big thing no more. If Deany don’t like it, go somewhere else. If I could I would claim ancestry into Norway and move tomorrow, If it don’t like that then go somewhere else. Harley is young, she wont even know.

        • Zoe Hawkins

          oh, we very serious. starting process of getting H’s passports and whatnot. planning to be overseas by this time next year (latest)

  • Naxie

    long ago….before i was remotely ready to have kids – i remember having long talks about just this – what kind of world would i be bringing a kid into and was anyplace going to be safe?….and yep, it’s plenty crazy right now but then again, i remember “bomb drills” when jfk was president – where we learned to dive under our desks if a bomb, coming from the soviet union, exploded while we were in our classroom!

    • Zoe Hawkins

      yeah, anything could be normal… it just seems so scary at the same time

  • Anything can seem normal quickly, so it’s more the safe that gets me. Let me know when you find a spot, and we’ll come find you at some point :p