Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tough times

A huge topic of discussion in our family and in our social circle at the moment is emigration. Grant and I have 4 couples that we are very close to, these are our “best friends”, our “inner circle”, people we can rely on in an emergency, people we love and confide in. Three of these couples are planning to emigrate to Australia.

This not only saddens me, and boy does it sadden me, but it scares me too. It is going to have a huge impact on our lives. How am I going to feel when one of my very best friends, someone I grew up with, the godfather to my children, gets on a plane with his wife, who has become so special to me, and my little godson and leaves us not knowing if, or when, we will ever see them again? What is Grant going to do without his cycling buddy, his confidant, his “mate”? How will we survive without the regular contact with these friends that we depend on now?

I also begin to wonder if our decision to stay in this country is the right one? We did make an aborted attempt at emigration a few years ago. It was a disaster, Grant ended up living in the UK for nearly 3 years and came home determined that South Africa was the only country he wanted to live in. We are South African through and through, we love this country, the outdoorsy life style and the people. This is home! The thing is, our friends all feel the same way; they are all being driven away by one thing and one thing only….crime.

Are we stupid to stay here? How will we feel if we stay and then fall victim to some horrendous crime? Because, let’s be honest, in this country life is cheap, you can be killed for a cell phone! Crime of this nature is getting closer to home – the girl who lives across the street was stabbed (fortunately, not very badly) in our road a few months ago, a couple of blocks away a couple were held at gunpoint in their driveway, a lady was repeatedly raped and beaten in her office down the road , I blogged about the couple killed in a hotel last week. You read about these types of crimes in the newspapers everyday, it screams at you from the radio and the T.V. It is probably only a matter of time before we are personally affected. I try to ignore it, I convince myself that “if it is your day, it’s your day”, I pray. So far we haven’t been affected and life is good, so we take our chances. Is it a chance worth taking?

The alternative seems too heart-wrenchingly hard. Imagine getting on a plane and leaving, saying good-bye to family and friends, to our dogs, to our home. Imagine leaving Impi, who feels like my own flesh and blood. Imagine starting all over again financially, at this stage of life. Our currency is not worth a lot, we would go from being fairly comfortably off, to being very poor, overnight – how do you explain that to your children? The days of having a part-time job and being around for my children would be over – how would I explain that to a twelve year old who has never known a day without her mom fetching her from school?

I don’t want to have to make these decisions, so I tuck the thoughts away inside my head and get up and face another day.


Patois said...

Such heart-wrenching decisions they are making, and that you appear to "toy" with making. My heart goes out to you and yours.

Regina said...

Wow Gill,
I'm sorry that you are so torn with what to do. I can feel the emotion in your post. Do know that what ever you do God is still God and there is nothing to great or small for Him. Let Him guide you, He has a purpose for everything.

Redness said...

Ohhhh Gill it would all be almost the same here in the land of milk and honey! Kids, family, school, cycling, part time jobs, they're all here, dogs to quarantine! I feel for you so much with such a heart wrenching decision hovering, but honestly this is the place, life would be the same except when you hear 'G'day Mate 'ow are ya??'

Jeanne said...

Oh Gill, I hear you!! I remember leaving South Africa (and that was not with the idea that this was for good - just an extended workign holiday in England!) and crying a river. The wrench is just inpossible to describe. You lose access to friends, relatives' kids grow up, parents pass away... and you aren't there. I can't go regularly to where my mom's ashes are scattered, I can never be surrounded by the people and culture that I know (and that know me) better than any other. I can't go to my best friend's kitchen table for tea and sympathy when I've had a bad day.

I often wonder what it might have been like to be born in a country where you never feel compelled to debate whether or not to emigrate for the sake of your family and future.

Mrs Coetser said...


I am in similar boat - we are thinking of emigrating - just going to work overseas for a while. Have lots of friends that are gone and now family too.