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Another Saffir in Sydney.


Ladyfingers
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Hi there and happy New Year!

I just discovered this forum, and thought it would be a good idea to join and lend a voice and another perspective to what it's like to leave SA for Australia.

I've been in Sydney since February 2008 and was in Melbourne from late February to early April on an abortive job opportunity.

I'm from Newlands in Cape Town, I'm young, single, an unrepentant Soutie (jammer ouens, my ouma was 'n egte Boer, maar ek is so engels soos Lord Kitchener). I arrived with a permanent residence visa (skills), some small savings and the shirt on my back. I was never very successful in SA, and I'm not a professionally ambitious type. I actually started the emigration process in 2002 but never had enough money to finish, so I took some time longer than the actual formal process required. It's a bugger of a process, by the way. Nervewracking, expensive, time consuming, full of paperwork. At times it was even mildly degrading: paying thousands of rand and doing four hours of testing to prove I spoke English was an insult and a chore.

My reasons were the usual ones. Crime, poor job security, weak currency, disintegrating service network, no political voice and a growing feeling of being Unwelcome In Africa. What I think is unusual about my case in that most of my peers and age group tend to move to the UK. Australia is generally the destination of young families. What motivated me to move here was the fact that I had relatives in Sydney, and my oldest friend and ex-business partner moved here himself a few years ago. His mother an Australian, conferrring him automatic citizenship.

I've been unable to post for some time and so I've been reading the threads of a lot of people here, and I've even learned a few things about myself. The PTSD is real, and you have to seriously learn to unwind and lose your South African sense of permanent , barely restrained rage to become normal. I think that some things simply do not apply to me, because I do not share much of the usual South African identity: no interest in braais in the blazing sun and sports and whatnot, and I have no family or children to support or anything like that typical of other South African Australian immigrants. I'm your typical pampered, soft, southern suburbs Big 3-schooled (SACS, but it's not important) head-in-the-clouds, bookish anglophile geek, and in that respect, quite at home here in Australia with all its global culture, technology and amazing hobby shops.

What has been a tremendous help is having a support network of people willing to help with cheap or free temporary accommodation until I found regular employment. Sydney is farking expensive, so having a little assisted buffer time helps immensely if you're arriving blind and barely solvent like I did. But that said, it can be done and I heartily recommend it. Advice: if you're under thirty, apply now because you get five extra points for being under thirty.

I have a long letter that I wrote to everyone once I had established myself, so I'll post that next, and if you are a single South African and are considering leaving, please ask me anything you would like to know. Anything. It's the little differences that can make a big difference, and it's a helluvan emotional thing to uproot yourself.

Again, I give the move my heartiest endorsement. Since the homesickness has now more or less abated, I now have literally now desire to return to South Africa at all. Not at all. I keep an eye on news from the Old Country and my gosh, you need to get out for a while to detox your brain to see just how crazy it really is.

Edited by Ladyfingers
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Hi Ladyfingers, thank you for the post, we enjoyed reading it and can relate to a lot of it. We can't wait to get our visa and get there :rolleyes:

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Hi there fellow Capetonian - and thanks for your great post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

(from someone from your ex sister-school - Sans Souci!).

Sounds like you're well settled in Sydney - awesome. My boyfriend and I are also gunning for Sidders. We haven't yet done the application for our 175, but have been applying for jobs in the mean time as well.

Oh - and welcome to the forum! I'm sure you'll have invaluable advice for the single emigrants out there!

Leigh

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Hi Ladyfingers, thank you for the post, we enjoyed reading it and can relate to a lot of it. We can't wait to get our visa and get there :rolleyes:

Thanks, and good luck.

If I can share one piece of advice, it's this: be humble. Be sure to tell Australians you like their country, say you're new in town, be self-effacing and ask questions to staff (they are usually very friendly and seem to care), do some dinky-di Australian stuff and learn to assimilate. Nobody is special here, and there's an arrogance, stubbornness, greediness and insularity to some South Africans that's actually embarrassing to witness and hear about. Aussies are practical and down to earth for the most part (maybe less so in blingtastic Sydney), and if you bring your sour attitude and problems to the table you won't be welcome. Be polite, say "g'day" and "thanks" to the cashiers and bus drivers, and all will be well. You come to enjoy the mindless pleasantness and appreciate that it's its own reward.

You will find that the working class Aussies are a breed unto themselves, and you'll want to stay away from the rougher social events, but mostly this place is thoroughly civilised. A real pleasure.

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Hi there fellow Capetonian - and thanks for your great post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

(from someone from your ex sister-school - Sans Souci!).

Sounds like you're well settled in Sydney - awesome. My boyfriend and I are also gunning for Sidders. We haven't yet done the application for our 175, but have been applying for jobs in the mean time as well.

Oh - and welcome to the forum! I'm sure you'll have invaluable advice for the single emigrants out there!

Leigh

Hi Leigh!

Matric 95, you?

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LOL - oh god, I wish, my friend!

Matric '87....

Hmm, I wonder if you knew my cousin, (edited for anonymity).

Edited by Ladyfingers
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That name does ring a small bell, actually... but it's all a bit of a blur now, to be honest!

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That name does ring a small bell, actually... but it's all a bit of a blur now, to be honest!

Ah well, worth asking. The Southern Suburbs are the world's biggest small town. Everyone there is one degree of separation from everyone else.

Best of luck with getting here. A shock to the system after the honeymoon period, but more than worth all the effort.

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Hi Ladyfingers!

Welcome!

I'm also a single girl busy with the BIG process! Heading to Sydney, hoping to be there in mid-Feb! Have a job, so just busy with the 457 and almost done, thank goodness!

So glad to hear there is at least 'one of our kind' that has made it :rolleyes:

Just a quick qestion, where in Sydney do you live? Going to the south-east so just want to know whats it's like there.

Happy Happy New Year!!!!

Ingrid.

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Hi Ladyfingers!

Welcome!

I'm also a single girl busy with the BIG process! Heading to Sydney, hoping to be there in mid-Feb! Have a job, so just busy with the 457 and almost done, thank goodness!

So glad to hear there is at least 'one of our kind' that has made it :rolleyes:

Just a quick qestion, where in Sydney do you live? Going to the south-east so just want to know whats it's like there.

Happy Happy New Year!!!!

Ingrid.

Hello there! If you have no contacts here, be sure to let me know and I will give you some help and some weekend walkabouts.

I'm in the Lane Cove area. Near north-east.

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