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Therapeutic journalling


LuJVR
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I have been wanting to 'contribute' something of my own experience for quite a while - but it is not so easy to gather up my thoughts into words.

My biggest thought at the moment is: I'm a bit scared...

We will, hopefully (some things still have to fall into place) be leaving for Australia in August/September of this year. We (my husband and I) are fortunate to have an 175 PR visa.

Luckily for us, we have good friends over there who asked/invited/insisted we come stay with them for as long as we need to. They live in Goondiwindi, and are also quite lonely for some SAffer company. Goondiwindi is not far from Toowoomba, and about four (?) hours drive from Brisbane. Then we will look for work - for starters, anything will do as long as it brings in some dollars and experience.

Our intention is to move to Toowoomba at some stage and start studying again (the thought of which makes me feel like puking at the moment since I just finished one course), since I suspect my current qualification won't be worth much in Australia. And also, we want children, which I'm not how to fit in between all of this.

So thats the plan. We read the news. We stick to our decision. We know why we are going.

But... my dog is playing outside. The cat is trying to take over the keyboard. My tame goats are munching their supper in their pen. In the kitchen, I'm making preserves - or trying to. Everything is familiar. There is nothing wrong with my life right now. My parents are close enough to visit for the weekend. My sister-in-law is expecting a new baby in a week's time. I can go visit any of our good neighbours or friends without notice and just drop in for coffee.

Sometimes I feel like I'm losing perspective. Just remind me again, why have we decided to do this??? Oh, okay, actually I do know. It is just not easy for me to leave everything familiar behind and start over again. Because we won't be coming back. Our children will be Australian and will probably speak English better than Afrikaans. We got our PR in July, and at first everything was so exciting. Now its less exciting and more daunting.

Just my jumbled thoughts.

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Aaaah, LuJVR thank you for sharing your feelings ... that's why this Forum is so supportive, because us immigrants, to some degree, share the same emotional rollercoaster.

Right now, I'm here with my 'support group' - you on the Forum - because my first home now belongs to someone else. The clicking of the keypad echoes off the walls in this nearly bare room, stripped of all memories now sitting in boxes. The farewell suppers have begun, the last family reunion is this weekend, then my husband leaves on 6 February for Sydney. We started married life in this house, raised two cutie pies, and have so many memories here. Furniture flew out the door in a shopping spree by bargain hunters.

How's it that nearly 20 years of working life is reduced to a few boxes, and savings - well when divided by 6.91, looks so paltry?

Yet, we are so thankful for the opportunity to begin a new chapter in our lives. We are so excited and can't wait until we touch down on Australian soil at the end of March!

Writing is therapeutic, hey? I feel so much better.

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I had this urgent need to put your minds at rest.

Some of your feelings will always be near the surface, and you may often have to swallow twice, to stop the tears. You will have moments that your need for your family and things familiar are so daunting that you have no idea how you are able to carry on.

HOWEVER, believe me, I have realised after 16 years, that the peace and freedom we enjoy is priceless.

THEN the joy of watching your children make a complete success of their lives, with nothing standing in their way, goes nearly a 100% of the way to make up for the feelings I still have, from time to time.

Reading the forum, brings reality, there are many others in the same boat as you, having to look ahead and make a new life for themselves.

When these feelings of longing for my family and friends are ready to crush me, I am fortunate, I have a heavenly father who eases the pain.

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I'm sure there are many others in the same boat. So am I.

My kids have just started at a new school - and it's great. A great sense of community, a great suburb, and we've just sold our house, so we could probably move nice and close to the school if we wanted to.

The kids have friends in the school from our own circle of friends, and they walk to the car from school saying 'bye' to everyone. That means a lot to me.

My mom lives 10 minutes away, I have great girl friends whom I hang out with a lot - who really understands me, and our husbands get along well too!

My husband's career is sky rocketing and he has a bright future ahead of him where he is now.

I'm working half day, so I get to spend afternoons with my kids - a great benefit for me.

We are doing better financially right now than ever before.

BUT - i still wake up in the middle of the night hearing a noise, my heart pounding in my chest - wondering if this is going to be the worst night of my life, and if my daughters are going to be safe.

I don't sit out on my lovely patio at night - because I'm too scared.

We spend a lot of time in our house, because we can't enjoy any of the public facilities in the city we live in.

I despise going to the shops because of the crowded rudeness that goes along with living in SA.

I don't know what Univeristy I could possibly send my daughters to that I would be comfortable with - no fear of protests, burning tyres, breaking down classrooms etc.

So there are pros and cons to everyone's situation, be strong. It's the most difficult decision you'll ever make, and you'll have to be able to jusitfy it to yourself 10 months in once arrived in Aus, when the homesickness hits (that was my experience in NZ).

Fortunately you have friends there, we will have no one, and it's difficult to make new friends.

Believe me, if you're feeling daunted, that's because it IS daunting. We are not that excited about it because we felt that excitement before when we moved to NZ and was a bit 'enlightened' once the honeymoon period wore off. So now we kind of know what to expect - and we are more practical about it than emotional.

Best of luck and you're not alone!

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oops, want to post under my own name

Edited by Willem en Luzelle JvR
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It is so good to know I'm not unique... People in our small town keep asking me (the news that we are leaving for Oz has circulated very well) if we are very excited about our adventure. They look kind of dumbstruck when I reply that, no, we're not all that excited. And also, they ask: ''but what will you be doing over there?'' , like there is some monumental task waiting for us in Au. Then I just say that we are a little bit excited, but we also know that it is not going to be easy. And that we are just going to live and work like most other ordinary people. (huh? you are doing that here already, why leave??)

Nothing mind-blowingly scary has happened to us to drive our decision. (not yet). We will probably be financially better off, for now, staying on the farm than going to Goondiwindi. I have stopped trying to explain why we are going over. Now my answer is either: I smile and say that we read too much news; or I invite them for coffee to chat about it if they really want to know. Because how can I justify a decision that took us a year to make in just 2minutes? It is impossible.

The other day, in our local supermarket, an 'omie' had what I would call a 'gemoedsbek@kking' when somebody yet again asked me when we are leaving, and he overheard it. There gathered a circle of spectators around us while he was letting off steam. 'Our ancestors fought for this land'; 'all the criminals were shipped over there', 'the people that are running away are coming back in hordes'.... Me, I just 'smile and nod'. And walk away - I'm no good at engaging in a battle of words. The witty or true comments and justifications that I could have made only make their way to my brain about 30minutes later!

A toast to all of us gathering up the courage for the life-altering decision that we are making or have made and need to stick to. Nobody said it would be easy... But, as Mara said, it will in the end be worth it.

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I am in the same boat as others.

I am such a home body. I am an absolute creature of comfort and hate change. I like routine, going to the same shops, having friends nearby etc. So actually there are times when the idea of going to Australia makes me sick to the pit of my tummy. It will be all fun, i will be dreaming about living by the sea and all the outdoors things we can do in the new safe environment and then for just one second i will realise what this entails and i will get that familiar ill, ill feeling. We have so much to lose. But the uncertainty is just too much for me. I know that i cannot risk it for the kids but i sometimes feel like such a victim of circumstance.

Then i was speaking to a close colleague the other day who is the only one i can share with and he said to me: "I know you love home but remember home is not a place, it is your family." It made sense to me and soon i realised that i will have my house again with all my special things in their place, with the cat on the couch and the photos up. My books will be on the shelves, my pots will be on the shelf. I can plant my plants and soon it will be my space again, with the bright colours on the walls and the toys everywhere. The kids will be school, they will make new friends, i will find someone to have tea with. I will visit the library and after a couple of months, years, that will be home. I did tell hubby that if we need to buy a house as soon as possible, near the ocean and i am never ever, ever, ever moving again. If he brings a box near me i might assault him!!!!!

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  • 4 months later...

So... Our plans have changed. We are still leaving for oz, but sooner than we thought we would. All of this due to me falling pregnant unexpectedly. (oops) (yay!!!) We hope to have our baby born in oz and will be going over in Oct for the birth in Dec. Exciting times ahead!

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Well said everyone. I try not to think about it too much... I try and picture my kids there, and my teenager being able to go places freely, decent, safe, public transport, "free" university, many options in each city, and a degree worth something....

The potential risks in her life now scare me.

Not to mention a passport that allows a gap year in europe in the future......

Women are strong, we can accomplish anything, and I'm sure you all will too.

hugs to you all

J

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Congratulations on your wonderful news LuJVR! Such an exciting time in your life!

I somehow missed these posts when they were put up a few months ago, but reading them really touched me. That dread and fear of the unknown is something that I'm sure many of us can relate to, but the thing is, if you're a homebuilder by nature, you'll be just as much of one here! If you're a career woman, you'll be one here! What wise person said is true - home isn't a pile of bricks and mortar - it's family and building memories. You'll always have your past and your achievements, nobody can take those away from you. But now you'll be able to look forward to a bright future too, filled with possibilities and options that you wouldn't even have imagined. I know, I've been there!

My husband and I went to some friends for dinner last night, and our sons (15 and 17) predictably didn't want to come along. So the 17 year old phoned a couple of mates and then announced that he was going to walk to the mall (about 8km away) and have dinner and watch a movie with friends - all funded by his own income that he gets from his casual job (around $450 a month). My younger son had a friend over already so we left them money for a pizza and a video and headed out down the road to see our friends. We walked (about 4km) because we wanted to have a few glasses of wine :-), and we got home at about midnight. The younger boys were asleep in bed and my 17 yr old still wasn't home, so I gave him a call and he told me he was on his way but was just walking one of his friends home first. I unlocked the door for him and hopped into bed, secure in the knowledge that everyone was accounted for.

This is the life that we all deserve! One where you can be a full participant in life without fear for your personal safety and that of your loved ones. Back in SA, I never let my kids out of my sight! I drove them to school and any other activities they had and collected them afterwards. The idea of them walking anywhere was ludicrous in daytime never

mind at night! It is sondramatically different here for all of us.

Congratulations again and to everyone else, good luck!

Ajay

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  • 2 months later...

Yet another change of plans were in stall for us... we had the unexpected opportunity to leave earlier and are now going to Oz in 3 days!!!! I'm packing up and cleaning like mad, saying the goodbyes etc etc etc. What a deurmekaar time. At least everything is organized etc. The house is so empty.

So we're flying on Monday, and I will be about 24 weeks pregnant. Much easier on me than flying in October would've been. Everybody, keep your thumbs crossed for us, we've a hectic few days ahead!!!!

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Hi All,

Good luck with the quick move and congratulations with the baby!

Just something that I need to say - we really do live an unreal life in South Africa! There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY that I will allow my children to walk to a mall or shop, and I have twins of 18 year old, not ever after dark! The bad thing is that we cannot even imagine living like that anymore - we are always concentrating on security and safety - it is now 18h00 and although it is a beautul spring evening and only starting to get dark and I would love to take a walk there is no way that I will do it on my own - not even in our neighbourhood. This is what make me feel better about the uncertainty of giving up your "perfect" life in South Africa to a life that you don't really know what is in stall for you. I try to convince myself every day that we will get the "perfect" life in Australia as well - sometimes I feel that the sooner we can get on that plane the better it will be. At least you don't have to struggle with the thoughts anymore - is this the right thing that we are doing?

So again - good luck and we will think of you!

Regards

Daleen

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