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Hmmmmm! What Did I Let Myself In For?


HadEnoughofJuju

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Hi there All

My name is Steven Holroyd and I currently live in Pretoria. My wife and I decided to take the plunge on 08 February 2012 (rather late with the looming change in legislation on 1 July 2012). A seemingly tough decision made easier by the unstable economic and political climate, as well as the fact that I want to give my child the best possible future I can.

After reading the checklist sent to us by our agents, I nearly died, but after the near heart attack and a strong cup of coffee, I started reading through it again. I didn't then and still don't believe the hoops that DIAC are making us jump through, just watch us jump.

It has been a rather bumpy and emotional ride (and it's only been four weeks or so now). We have cried, mourned and accepted the fact that we will be eventually leaving behind family and some very close friends (who at the moment seem to be angry with us for making the decision to leave). I am slowly starting to accept that no matter what I leave behind here, I am pretty sure that there will be a better future for our little family on the other side, and we will more than likely be able to afford importing both friends and family for a holiday or two each year.

I have also second guessed our decision a couple of times now, but every time I do so, some small miracle comes along and makes me realise that I am making the right move, like having to get bank statements from an account closed more than 9 years ago and actually getting them. We have accomplished so much over the last four weeks that it scares me a little. I have definitely discovered what I am capable of when my child and families financial security, and ultimately future, is at stake.

To anyone out there wondering if you have made or are making the right decision to leave, think about all the things you can no longer do for the fear of your safety, what your child's future will be like with an expensive education but no job to use it in, how much debt you are in (or will be in) because you salary just doesn't keep up with rising petrol costs or inflation or how many times you check to see if the car is locked and the security gates are closed and locked before you go to bed, and so the list goes on.

South Africa will always be the place where I was born and where my roots are, but I do not want it to be the place where my child hates being because she can't ride her bike in the street or play safely in the park, or just sit in her house without having to look over her shoulder the whole time, or constantly have to check if her doors are locked and closed. I do not want to worry every time my wife has to go to school after hours for an evening function, parent teachers meeting or sports event, that she is going to make it home safely. I don't want to have to keep a close eye on my rear view mirror the whole time while driving to make sure there is no one following me.

All the above mentioned things may sound negative to some people, I am sure, unfortunately for me they are reality. I am really looking forward to this new adventurer we are embarking on as a family and I will work as hard as I have to, to make it work. There is nothing that DIAC can throw at me that I won't give a solid go at doing.

I wish each and every family out there the best of luck with their journey and decision to move to Australia and hope that all our hopes and dreams for a slightly brighter, happier and safer future are realised.

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Good luck with everything! We made the decision in 2008, got our visa in 2009 and we are leaving SA end of March 2012. It took a while, but due to family emergencies we couldn't leave earlier. Now we can not wait to go.

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Congratulations on your decision. With an attitude like yours, you'll make a great success of your new life here in Australia.

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Welcome and I agree, your attitude will take you far. Attitude is everything when settling here. I am not sure why you had to get bank statements going 9 years back. I did not use an agent, did it alone. In fact the only bank statements I needed were for state sponsorship and to prove I had enough funds in case I did not find a job quickly enough.

Sometimes reading the posts on this forum I think that the hoops are not DIAC hoops but agent hoops. Just my 2c worth of opinion.

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I think you are making the right decision. You cannot live your life in constant fear.

I too believe it is all in your attitude - in the beginning prepare yourself for a little setback - tears, financial worries - but that too passes, and things eventually fall into place.

For us - we simplified our lives - and 3,5 years on I would never swop our lifestyle here for all the money in the world.

Good luck with your plans,

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I enjoyed reading your post. With your frame of mind and attitude you will only succeed.

Put the emotional issues aside where you can and keep your eye on the prize of getting here.

Once you get here it is all worth it, I promise you.

Good luck!

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Thank you all for the kind words of encouragement and warm welcome to the forum that you have given my wife and I. In the beginning when she signed up (and told me it was for moral support and to find people with like minded attitudes and that had gone through, or are going through the same thing as us) I was slightly (OK allot) skeptical about it. I am not really a a forum or blogger kinda person, although I am in IT (ICT for those Auzzies out there).

Having read the responses to my first post has proved me wrong, is more than I expected and way more positive than anything I have experienced in the past on similar forums. This place rocks and is loaded with useful and apparently important information that no one tells you and that you are expected to sniff.

I only hope that I can eventually contribute something useful and positive to the new people here!

Thanks again for the warm and encouraging welcome and I look forward to chatting to all of you as time goes on.

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Reading your post just confirmed why we made the decision to come to Oz. We have been here for 6 weeks and we definitely had difficult moments where I just wanted to go back, but we have all the freedom and safety here. With my 2 year old riding bicycle or jogging is such a pleasure and there are so many things to do for children here that I cannot even think of going back.

Attitude is everything and you will definitely make a success of your new adventure.

Good luck

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Baie sterkte!!!! Ons was nog nie een oomblik spyt nie - ons en ons kinders blom behoorlik hier :ilikeit:

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Welcome.

It was nice reading your post, it reminded me again why we decided to make the big move. I am not sure if it is the same for everyone, but unforunatly we are still going through those emotions every day. And good luck with the family, hopefully they will come around soon. Ours haven’t yet.

What visa are you applying for?

And good luck with all the hoops

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Hi Yolred

Thanks for the well wishes. The family isn't as much of an issue as the friends, they are more upset about the move than anyone else. Makes you think doesn't it, should family not be more important and have stronger feelings than friends. Well that is a discussion for another day.

The visa we are applying for is a 176 sponsored visa, not sure what state it is going to be in though. I will post that info as it becomes available.

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I must admit, I am truly surprised and encouraged by all the people on this forum who are so supportive. I guess we did find like minded people after all. It's nice to have a place where even though I have not been here for very long, I already feel like it's a virtual home (safe house where I can share how I really feel and how I am really doing).

It is difficult for us at the moment as the only people who know that we have made the decision, are those close to us. At the moment they are going through the denial and anger phases, so needless to say they are not being very supportive.

I will learn, and so will they, to get over it and accept that life sometimes has a different path for each of us and at times those paths cross and and other times they separate. We will always be able to communicate and have the occasional visit or two, the world is no longer as small as it used to be.

Anyway enough of my philosophical nonsense, and now I will leave you all to ponder your thoughts for the day.

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Hi there- been here 11 years and the only regret was that we should have done it sooner.

I don't know how many South Africans there are in Ozz, but take this to heart: We are just normal people, with a burning desire to live a normal life. If we can do it- so can you.

Also understand that what a South African accepts as normal, security,locked car doors,personal fear- is not experienced here.

This is NOT Nirvana, but just so much easier. Crime happens, mostly opportunistic, but the big difference is the level of violence that accompanies crime in South Africa is unknown here.

Headlines news: Mother leaves her 5,3,1 year old in the car whist visiting the laundromat. She leaves the keys in the car. A car jacker takes the opportunity and drives away with the car. Notices he has three children in car. Turns around, walks all three back to a main road close to the laundromat whilst apologising to the eldest. Runs away.

This is just one example of what I am talking about.

You will jog at night, your wife can safely drive anywhere at night. None of this not stopping at traffic lights, phoning when you leave , when you get home, open the security gates, check for loiterers.Rush into the house with panic button ready. This just is not neccessary here..

Australia is an expensive country. I find that many South Africans struggle to replicate their lifestyles that they had in South Africa. And this is where one needs a reality check.

You dont want such a big house: You have to clean it

Great public transport- maybe one car is sufficient

Just the security to know that when you are a citizen , you will not need to have saved up for your childs University/Trade education. You child can access HELP/HECS and finance their own degree at a pittance. Your child will also be eligible to receive the Youth Allowance to assist with books, and Uni accommodation.

The frantic saving for your childs future will be a thing of the past.

And loss of family? It is sad. but remember - we are all in the same boat. And here you build a new "family" . My sister from another mother takes on REAL meaning. We look out for each other.

Dont be scared- GET EXCITED! A life changing experience is coming your way.

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Steven, I really enjoyed your post - very nice style of writing :) - but also the way you look at things and express them.

I can only agree with Queensland Girl and so many others - this IS the better life, no matter HOW you look at it. :ilikeit:

I power-walk and sometimes my day only allows me to go for my walk very late at night. I walk an average of 8-10kms which takes me a looooong way from home, all on my own, and in the dark. I have my ipod in my ears on full-blast, so won't even hear if someone is creeping up on me, or a car idling behind me. Could something happen to me? Yes, I'd be silly to think I'm exempt from it. The difference is that I don't walk with that constant fear of something happening. To live in a self-imposed prison (literally and emotionally) 24/7 because you never know when you'll be the next target is so much different from being aware and alert and not doing stupid things like finding yourself drunk and alone in some dark alley at 3am. The rest is up to fate or faith or maybe even luck (or the lack of it)... I have NO fear! Caution, yes - but no fear and THAT is the difference!

Australia is a wonderful place to live! It is also what you make it. More than anything, a serious attitude adjustment will form part of your journey at some time. You sure sound very positive, and that is already half the war won, but the most challenging part is not DIAC or the migration agent, it is making a new life in Australia. So many people make the mistake of trying to replicate their lives - it does not work! Australia is not South Africa with kangaroos. You will have to open your mind and your heart, shed the snobishness, and competitiveness which usually comes with life in South Africa and learn to appreciate the Australian cluture, which is very different from the South African culture.

The Aussies achieved a lot in a very short timeframe (it's only been just over 200 years since colonisation), and today it is one of the world powers and leaders in revolutionary discoveries & inventions in many fields. But mostly, Australia is a country at peace. We've never had a war, don't have any enemies, basically skipped the global financial crisis and we still have freedom of speech, freedom of the media, and can hold our government accountable by speaking out without fear. We must be doing something right. Like others have said, it is surely not utopia or nervana, and people who know me, know how some things here just rub me up the wrong way - so I'm the last person who would say we are perfect. But we come damn close to it! :grads:

For you, it is stil early days, and you may have quite a few more hoops or hurdles to overcome, but know that the reward is SO worth it!

Good luck!

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Hi Yolred

Thanks for the well wishes. The family isn't as much of an issue as the friends, they are more upset about the move than anyone else. Makes you think doesn't it, should family not be more important and have stronger feelings than friends. Well that is a discussion for another day.

The visa we are applying for is a 176 sponsored visa, not sure what state it is going to be in though. I will post that info as it becomes available.

I must say we have a few friends that don’t understand, but likely most of them are supportive. They will come around.

I have noticed as well that some people that don’t really know you can be more judgemental. We had a few instances where people asked us about the move and they just went crazy. I really don't understand why we have to answer to them.

So we have learned not to elaborate, if someone asks we just say we have decided it is the best option for us.

Good luck with everything.

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Hi Queensland Girl and Riekie

Thanks for the encouragement and positive feedback. It's nice to have people on our side.

I truly do not expect to have more than I have here in SA. My wife and I both work for a school, she is a teacher and I am the IT technician here and believe it or not she earns more than I do and if you know what teachers earn here then well you will understand. What I do expect though is to live a very different lifestyle that what we do here. One where I, as you say Riekie, do not have to consciously and consistently worry about my safety and that of my family. Yes I also do believe that it is naive to think that I am free from the responsibility of looking after myself and my family. I will always be the daddy of a little girl and always watch out for her and my wife. The difference is, there is not that constant fear of when and not if something is going to happen.

I fully expect to have challenges and obstacles to overcome, and have always believed (but, if you ask my wife I don't always seem to live this out) that failure is not the end, but the beginning of a new opportunity to achieve the same outcome using a different approach. The only way to find out if something is going to work is to attempt it, if we don't, we will always wonder what could have been. I have had too many of those lessons in my life to let this turn into one as well.

A friend once called it character building, I think that I have built enough character, in my short life on earth, to carry me through anything.

I am sure that when all is said and done, I will sit on my new porch with my wife, with a glass/cup of whatever and enjoy life while my child plays in the garden and enjoys her life, without us having to worry about, who's watching her, will we be able to afford her education and what she will do one day when she is all grown up. I understand (from all the things that I have read and that people have told me about Australia) that life there will be very different, I don't expect it to be like SA at all, nothing comes close to this place and it's people. We as a family are looking forward to the opportunities and lifestyle that we will have there.

Thanks again for the kind words and encouragement!

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I just wanted to congratulate you on your bold decision. We've been in Perth for about 6 years and literally never looked back. Yes we miss our family and those special friends we all have spent lifetimes learning to know. But we made the decision even before our little chap came along that there was No Way we could raise a family in the completely abnormal environment that is the South Africa of today. Almost weekly I see examples from both South Africa and Australia that just confirm for me that we made not only the correct choice for us, but actually I would even say the only choice.

Our future in Australia is full of potential and whilst you obviously get crime here and the usual political issues come up, I know my wife can safely get up and ride her bike to work and play in the park with our son till late in the afternoon/evening. I know my garden doesn't need a fence never mind a gate. I know and like my neighbours and I love the idea that our son can grow up to reach his full potential in a peacefull and stimulating environment.

The road ahead of you is tedious at times, but just stick to your guns, I believe as parents our priority is our children and if we have the opportunity to leave South Africa, then we must take it and make it work (what ever that means).

Peace my friends

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Hi Joeemm

Thanks for the wishes, and yes I agree that as parents, we have had most of the opportunities to build a life, it is now our responsibility, as we chose it, to have and raise children. Growing up for me was similar to what I have heard people speak of in Australia, unfortunately the days of camping at the age of 10 in my front garden (which had no fence or gate) are gone. That's what I want for my child, and will do almost anything to get it.

Yes there will always be those that want to come back, not all of us have sticking power in stressful situations, but for me, once I've decide something, that's it, I will do it no matter what.

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The family isn't as much of an issue as the friends, they are more upset about the move than anyone else. Makes you think doesn't it, should family not be more important and have stronger feelings than friends. Well that is a discussion for another day.

I've been having the same problem. My family is very supportive since they want what is best for me - whereas for friends, when you decide to leave you are yet another person that is forcing them to question whether it isn't maybe also time for them to also make a move. People get very funny about this, especially the eternally optimistic LeadSA set (who, even in the face of clear and persuasive evidence of a failing country, STILL consider this country one of endless opportunity). I've deleted so many people off Facebook for their disparaging comments about my choice.

If people don't support you, stuff them.

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I really enjoyed reading your post. If I ever feel an ounce of doubt creeping inside me I will always remember your post. You have really inspired me and please maintain the same attitude and momentum. You will definitely make it in OZ. We leave next week and are so looking forward to our new life ahead.

Initiallly we were convinced that we are doing this for our kids but lately we just realised that we are also doing this for ourselves. Reading the paper and watching the news on a daily basis makes it so much easier.

Now...About negative people..Most of us have experienced that. It comes with the territory. But don't let anyone derail you from your goal. Stay focused and do what you need to do. As long as you and your wife are in agreement. It's your lives after all.

I wish you all the best and looking forward to hearing the good news.

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@LynG

Congratulations are in order. The next couple of days will go quickly and the next few months in Oz will go just as quickly. All you have to remember when times get tough is that there is a not so small, very supportive and encouraging group of people here in cyber-land that will, I am sure, help you remember why you made the move. We will be thinking of you over the next few weeks, hoping that all will go smoothly!

Thank you for the kind words. I am known by some of my friends as a bull dog, once I latch onto something, it takes an army of people and lots of force to stop me. My wife and I are in full agreement about this move and we also feel the same way about our future as a family. Incidentally, I no longer read the newspaper or watch the news on TV, every time I do, my blood pressure just goes through the roof.

@Donovan83

If your friends were that desperate to get to Oz, believe me they would already have made a plan. As for those LeadSA people, there is not much you can do to change their attitudes. I think they are working for a noble (but unfortunately lost cause) if you look at the history of the African continent as a whole. I have also reached that stage (even if it's only been four weeks now) of, stuff those people who don't like what we are doing. They will get over it eventually and if they don't, well then that's just their problem. I am doing this for my family, a far more important relationship than that of people who don't even share the same DNA as me.

As for the family, I figure that I will be able to import my mom and my wife's gran - if we can convince her to tear herself away from the farm for a few weeks - to Australia for a visit every now and then. The rest of our family will probably hit the roof when they find out, but again, it's their choice to stay in this place. It's going to be tough to leave them behind, I am sure, but we are doing this for our futures, not their happiness.

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Headlines news: Mother leaves her 5,3,1 year old in the car whist visiting the laundromat. She leaves the keys in the car. A car jacker takes the opportunity and drives away with the car. Notices he has three children in car. Turns around, walks all three back to a main road close to the laundromat whilst apologising to the eldest. Runs away.

Let's africanise this headline news - "Mother with three children in the car stops at a red light after 8pm at night and is hijacked. Hijackers drive off with children, rape the eldest and assault the others. Eventually abandon car and children, stealing only a cellphone. The police are still searching for suspects."

Also - I don't know why people are so intent on replicating what they had in SA when the move to Australia. My dad has that kind of mentality - you MUST have a 4 bedroomed house with a huge garden, double garage, pool, lapa, etc. I've never wanted any of that, in fact, even here I live in a flat and I am very happy not to have to deal with gardens and pools and chores etc. I'd like to have something similar in Aus...

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@Donovan83

The last thing I want to do in Oz is replicate my life here in SA. At this stage, just having the knowledge that we will have a better and brighter future is enough. Stick you guns, if your dad wants a big house with pool and lapa and and and, he can have it as long as you don't have to maintain it.

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I think the reason we have so much in SA is that we tend to live in our houses in SA these days. You are too afraid to go out, or it costs so much that you arather have friends over and have a braai, and have space for the kids to run around. I can't remember when last we went out at night. Our lives revolve around our houses. From everything I have heard, in Oz your house is a place to stay, but your life is outside where you can enjoy it and your kids. Friends of mine are never home.

Can't wait to actually be able to go out riding bikes with my kids, taking them to the beach and just enjoying my life instead of being cooped up in my house letting the world go by around me because it's too much of a worry to go out with my kids at night.

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I agree with miraclebabycaw, the one thing that I am looking forward to doing in Australia - wait for it: taking my children to a playpark! They have never been to one and think that it is something that only exists on TV. Sad but true. We are only seeking the simple things, safety, security & equal opportunity.

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