simplymark Posted February 6, 2009 Report Share Posted February 6, 2009 Hi everyoneLet me state at the outset that I am not simplymark but simplymark's wife (or should I be saying "partner"?). I couldn't remember my log in details so just logged in as my better half. So let me stress that what I write tonight are my opinions and observations and my feelings alone... Okay, the next thing I want to say is that I seem only to write stuff on these forums when I have a problem or complaint that I need to get off my chest. This may give the impression that I am unhappy here when in fact, I am content living here and I am still pleased we made the move. I guess I am just the type who tends to share things when I am not having such a great time and this may give the wrong impression. So to all of you in SA who may read this, please understand one thing: I have lots of ups and downs over here. Three weeks ago I was so in love with Adelaide and Oz that I was positively gushing to folks back home. A few weeks later and I feel differently again. Next week, I will feel different again, I expect. I hope this is not a sign that I am going crazy, and that other immigrants also live on a similar emotional rollercoaster.The truth is that I was sort of prepared for the ups and downs in this past year. But we have been here for a year now and I must say that it feels much harder in many ways than it did in the beginning. In the beginning everything was a novelty. I almost feel ashamed to say that not much feels novel anymore and I am definitely not on a honeymoon right now. I don't miss South Africa, don't get me wrong. This isn't about being homesick as much as being "culture sick". Let me get to the point, because I really am labouring on saying nothing, aren't I?I work as a psychologist for a charity. I make home visits to my clients (amazing, yes, but true!). Most of my clients live in the poorer suburbs of Adelaide. Without going into specifics, I must say that I am often absolutely appalled at how people live here. The unspeakable filth inside their homes, not to mention the chaos in terms of family dynamics. I simply can't understand all this. I don't understand how there can be so much poverty in a rich, first world country. We hear so much about child abuse and indeed I am mandated to report any form of child neglect or abuse. But I come across parent abuse too!!!! Yes, 8 year olds abusing their parents, vandalising property, abusing animals. Now I am a shrink, right, so I do understand that this is about poverty, illiteracy and often mental health problems. I realise there is a context to it and to some extent I feel compassionate towards these families. But on the other hand, this political system that I was so enamoured with last year - yes, this one that has a govt that looks after its people with an abundance of social welfare provisions, has suddenly become very irksome to me. I guess I have taken off the rose tinted glasses and discovered the imperfections of this system. Instead of helping people, I am starting to realise that social welfare lets people off the hook from taking responsibility for their actions and their lives. While one of its virtues is that it probably keeps the crime rate low, its disadvantages are that it frequently serves to keep people unmotivated, unempowered, irresponsible, and socially impoverished. I work in an environment that I perceive as gone daft on political correctness and I know if I expressed any of these thoughts I would be perceived as another one of those white South Africans who is retarded about human rights and what it means to respect people. I don't think I exaggerate about this because to my mind, one doesn't have to earn respect here, one is automatically granted respect no matter who you are. Now I always thought I was liberal in my outlook but I realise this is a relative description because I am suddenly sounding more conservative. I feel like such a fake so much of the time when I am at work because of all the work I have to do to fit in. It is just as well no one at work asks me what I think of Oz, Ozzies, or how I am settling in, because I might find myself during one of my low moments, expressing some very unpopular sentiments. I think that what is making this a difficult phase for me is that I feel very removed from SA now. I have forgotten what it is like to live in fear (mind you, I feel quite afraid for my safety during some of my home visits!), to drive like a maniac because that is the only way to survive on the roads, to be imprisoned in my own home for safety reasons, to mistrust everyone I encounter etc etc etc. I feel like all that stuff that made me chose this move, is so far removed from my daily life now, that I have also forgotten what it feels like to be relieved to be here (which is how I felt last year everytime I reflected on our move during a difficult moment). I cry less more recently and I also laugh less.I guess I am becoming more realistic in my assessment of my new home. At least I hope that is what is happening. And I am wondering if others have gone through this phase too, or is this unique to me?I really miss the "toughness" of South Africans, their resilience, courage, strength, ambition, understanding, resourcefulness and sense of independence. I recall that when I arrived in Adelaide last Feb, I no longer felt very proud to be Zimbabwean/South African because I was so mortified about all the crime and brutality in SA. Funny how I find myself one year later feeling really proud to be South African. OMG, I really hope this is normal. One a more positive note, I don't regret this move at all. I still believe it was the right thing for us to do. I still love the fact that I have a sense of hope here whereas I had become very hopeless in SA. And most of all, I am still so very grateful for the sense of freedom of movement (if not of speech!!) that living here has given me.Okay, I would say that is enough nonsense from me for one evening.Cheers Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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