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Visiting SA - The Duty Visit


MrsMupersan

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I need to vent. Friends and colleagues don't quite "get" why I'm feeling like this....

Well, I'm heading off to CT on Monday to visit my mom for two weeks... And I'm DREADING it! :(

I'm looking forward to taking a leisurely train trip from Canberra to Sydney. I'm looking forward to the flight from Sydney to Singapore and then on to CT. I'm also looking forward to seeing my mom and my in-laws. But the thought of stepping off that plane at Cape Town International to be met with those surly, belligerent faces; the dirt and grime; taxis; shouting; squatter camps..... :cry:

I have no interest in visiting old haunts. After 4 years away, I have very few people that I want to see - I can literally count them on one hand. I don't want to drive past that hideous stadium and pretend to like it. :wacko:

I don't want to be there! And neither does Mr Mupersan. Lucky bastard has cried a heavy work schedule and is staying home. :boxing:

We want to spend our holidays exploring Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Bali, Vanuatu, etc. A whole plethora of options are at our doorstep, but instead we feel OBLIGED to go to a place we absolutely loath in order to visit our families. :cry:

I just can't wait to fly HOME!

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I feel your pain, it has been 4 years for us out of RSA but the time is nearing where we will have to go and see some family members and I am dreading the day we have to go!

We have spent money in the past bringing people here rather than going there, but as folks get older it gets a bit harder!

Good luck!

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Hello Mrs M, I do understand how you feel. Its worth taking a trip to the new green point stadium, it really is a magnificent structure. Also look past the dirt, grime and belligerent faces and see the beauty of the country. I know it holds a lot of bad memories for you but when you go there now you know that Canberra is home and where you are coming back to so look at CT through the eyes of a tourist and marvel in what it has got that is not negative.

I know you and I know that you are not a negative person so find the positive in this trip! Will see you when you get back :ilikeit:

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I left RSA in 1996. I have returned once, in 2003 for a week just before my aunt passed away. I didn't enjoy it then, and I based on what I read it's got worse.

I am only prepared to make 4 more trips. To make those trips my brother, my nephew and my 2 friends will have to die.

Now days when I want to meet family or friends we actually time our visits to London for the same time, meet each other for an afternoon, or whatever, and then go our seperate ways. The next trip will be plannd around The Ashes series in 2013.

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Hello Mrs M, I do understand how you feel. Its worth taking a trip to the new green point stadium, it really is a magnificent structure. Also look past the dirt, grime and belligerent faces and see the beauty of the country. I know it holds a lot of bad memories for you but when you go there now you know that Canberra is home and where you are coming back to so look at CT through the eyes of a tourist and marvel in what it has got that is not negative.

I know you and I know that you are not a negative person so find the positive in this trip! Will see you when you get back :ilikeit:

We'll agree to disagree about that hideous stadium... :whome:

But thanks for the pep talk my friend. You're right, I am usually a positive person - maybe that's why I'm battling to ignore this feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. But I'll be giving myself a good pep talk before landing in CT. I'm sure I'll enjoy my stay, but I imagine that I'll be very excited to get on the plane to come home to Canberra! :ilikeit:

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I left RSA in 1996. I have returned once, in 2003 for a week just before my aunt passed away. I didn't enjoy it then, and I based on what I read it's got worse.

I am only prepared to make 4 more trips. To make those trips my brother, my nephew and my 2 friends will have to die.

Now days when I want to meet family or friends we actually time our visits to London for the same time, meet each other for an afternoon, or whatever, and then go our seperate ways. The next trip will be plannd around The Ashes series in 2013.

Now that's the way to do it!

My mom's just bought herself a puppy which is now the centre of her universe. She won't even leave it at home when she goes to the shops - she has to have a 'babysitter'. I'm definitely not complaining about that though - she seems 'lighter' since she got little Sparky - since losing my dad, it's the first time I've seen her look genuinely happy and laughing spontaneously again. But it also means that meeting up in some exotic location is probably going to be a bit of a logistical nightmare for her. But that is definitely the plan. We'll probably go along the lines of a cruise where she can choose her own cruise and we'll join her for a portion of it. I'm going to put that to her while I'm there this time.

Then hubby's dad & step mom have cats who they won't/can't leave. His mom just pleads poverty and hints for us to pay for her to have an all expenses paid Australian holiday (not an option!).

*sigh*

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Maybe its closure not that you needed it, pretend to be the queen or the queen mother. Do the royal wave, practice it in front of the mirror. I love CT being a jo'burger, born there. See what you are not missing and know that you made the right choice. In my experience the meetings you dread the most going usually turn out quite well if not fun :). In 20years I cant get my friend to come back to SA from Canada now Singapore to bring her Canadian husband out, I must live in a war zone. Sometimes. :ph34r:

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Shame, but it is only for 2 weeks.... VASBYT!!! And you'll be happy to see your loved ones - don't even drive past the hideous stadium :blush-anim-cl:

You'll probably appreciate Oz even more when you come back. Try to enjoy it and come back safely :ilikeit: :ilikeit: :ilikeit: :ilikeit:

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I haven't left SA permanently yet (though this is definitely the ultimate plan) but have travelled overseas to various countries for differing lengths of time (sometimes up to 3 months away). What I've found when returning is a full appreciation for the laughter and diversity of our cultures. Just hearing someone speaking Xhosa or Zulu when getting off the plane makes you feel like home. Well, it does for me given that SA is the only home I've known so far. And Cape Town is a magnificent city. Not the BEST city by any means, but still beautiful. Being in Sea Point or Franschhoek or the West Coast National Park or Cape Point, you're experiencing some of the best natural beauty our planet has to offer. Like one of the other posters said above, take it all in as a tourist and enjoy the many different aspects of life this city has to offer. Don't worry about whether it's better or not, because you've already made that decision, as have the rest of us. Just enjoy it for the lovely natural city that it is and leave with happy memories.

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Hi There

Can certainly relate, we get the "when are you coming to see us" question almost everytime we skype. My other half whilst not overly keen would probably go, but I've been pushing back, yes it would be great for our 4 year old to see his Gran again and meet cousins he never has, BUT, for the life of me I do not see how I can deliberately expose him to the very high levels of background stress, the gates, the fences, the steel security doors locking the bedrooms sections away from the rest of the house, etc,.etc and high probabiliy of being affected by crime in some way. As someone else said on this forum, I could never forgive myself if something happened to him or his mom whislt we were over there.

There is much that is incredible and unique about South Africa, and yes we miss our friends and family, but my responsibility is to my son and his mom, I'm much happier to contibute to bring Gran and even the cousins over here for a bit. They will get to experience why we are so reluctant to go back and maybe agree that Australia is just such a better place for their children to grow up.

If I had to go, and prob in the next few year we will make a trip, I will try to make the best of it, no sense in focusing on the negative, go, cherish the time you have with them and come back safely.

P.s please let us know your impression when you get back.

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I feel your pain! I keep putting 'the duty visit' off. Hubby went back in December January, luckily I had my nephews visiting from RSA so had a good excuse not to go. Every year we talk about it and put it off till next year. It helps having family come here because then we have just seen them so no reason to go back. I feel the same, dread the thought of stepping foot back on South African soil. Anyway, enjoy your trip, I am sure once you are there you will. Have a safe time there...

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Hey Mrs M,

Ive recently returned from my first duty visit to see my mom. Also only did 2 weeks on my own. I sounded just like you before I left. Even thought of cancelling the trip. New Caledonia sounded way more interesting than Durban !!

But at the end of the day it was great, seeing family after 3.5 years. Im sure you'll feel the same. And even tho you may not need to validate that you made the right decision to leave - you will realise that you are so fortunate to be able to board that plane and come HOME to Canberra.

As for the stadium and the people wearing rose tinted glasses - they will take great pleasure in telling you that crime is down and the country is doing so well since you left - just smile - you know better !!

Enjoy - two weeks goes by so quickly - and its warmer in Cape Town than Canberra.

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Enjoy your trip!

I know a friend who has been in Oz for 18+ years now and has never been back to SA. He just said that there is noting that he wants to see in SA. His brother / sister lives in OZ and NZ and his parents both passed long time ago.

Thus, I think the "nothing to see in SA" is rather a "nobody to see in SA" . You have loved ones you want to see and that should be your focus.

Heck, I am living in SA and I do not want to be here. After every visit to OZ I did not want to come back.

Focus on the family (real reason for your visit, isn't it?) and make the most of it!!!

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I went back to SA last month because my cousin got married. I had mixed feelings about going (last time I went back was in 2007 and stressed the whole time about the crazy drivers on the roads!)

I ended up having such a nice time - well and truly above and beyond all my expectations!

There was such a nice vibe there this time, a lot of the roads were being fixed up (lowveld/ Nelspruit area), service in shops etc mostly good. It was wonderful to browse in Woolies and loiter around in Exclusive Books. :ilikeit: :ilikeit: Wish I had brought a bigger suitcase!

Only downside was lack of organisation at O.R Thambo airport (both arriving and departing) and a really dodgy tire and even dodgier spare tire on our rental car from Avis. A few time when things went wrong, there were delays or lousy service or whatever, it was kind of easy to brush it off because I could just say to myself that this is not how I have to live day in and out anymore, so much easier not to stress the small stuff when you know it is only temporary :)

Hope you have a nice time there Mrs M. Go and check out the olive and argan oil handcream at Woolies, it is divine!

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My dad turns 60 in jan 2014 and I said we will try make the trip, number 1 I don't think we will have the money as we will have just bought a house and number 2, I'm pretty scared to go back to all that crime!!!

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Never been back, never will be...

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you can buy me a ticket and i am happy to visit your mom

i would also never go back if it wasnt for my family

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I felt and still feel exactly the same way! I have been back to SA twice in the last 5 years (once for a family emergency and once for work). We won't ever go back there on holiday.

I must be honest though, I did enjoy being there knowing that it wasn't home anymore - it took the edge off it completely.

It really made me thankful for all we have in Ozz and grateful to live in such an unstressed society. It is amazing what nonsense South Africans have to put up with EVERY DAY.

Anyway, despite how you feel now, I am sure you'll enjoy your trip-you'll be back in no time!!

Bon voyage,

Saffer Blue

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Yup, just remind yourself it's only two weeks out of your whole life.... and it's CT !! Cape Town still has a completely different feel in the suburbs generally than the rest of the country. I had to make a trip with my youngest (16 months) to Bloemfontein because my dad died. I dreaded the thought leaving CT for ANY place in the rest of the country !! :glare: I had to work through fear of just driving through the inner city of Bloemfontein, which nowadays looks like third world somewhere up in Africa. The northern suburbs, to my great relief, looked way, way better, even made me have a tinge of longing back to living there ! Back in CT I realised that CT feels more 'international', feels more 'sophisticated', but, but, but ... the people of Bloemfontein has a warmth about them that makes me LONG for them. CT's people are much more reserved. but well, that's just me. The West Coast, where we often visit inlaws, have those warm-hearted people also. Lovely.

Hey, I'm not making it easier on you, am I ? Oops, sorry. Anyways, Enjoy what's to be enjoyed, see the rest as not part of your life anymore.

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Thanks so much everyone for your encouraging words (and sympathy). At this very moment I am sitting on the train at Canberra station waiting to head off to Sydney. I enjoy travelling, so I'm feeling good. I'm starting to get excited about seeing my mom and especially my 94 year old grandfather and 89 year old step gran who are all going to be at the airport when I arrive. :-)

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Hey Mrs M. I go back every year if i can, and will be going for my first Xmas in 5 years with my family. Its going to be a big one for me, as i mis them so much. I don't have any family in Australia as my hubby is Australian, and only have my mom, brother and stepdad, so a small but very tight family :). I go back as much as possible so i can spend quality time with my family and parents as they are getting closer to 70 and there time is running out on this earth. I don't ever want to look back on my life and my efforts towards my family and have any regrets because i have hard feeling toward the country. I just feel my family deserve better from me if i can make the trip. One day when my Mom and Stepdad is not longer and my Brother is close to me, SA will not see me again. For now i take my hubby on hols and we pretend to be Aussie tourists and have heaps of fun with it. Just try to enjoy what time you have with your family, as you know anything can happen on a daily basis in SA and its best not to end up with any regrets. Good Luck and go be a tourist and have fun and shop till you drop :)

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Mrs Superman,

I just spent nine weeks in South Africa, not under the most pleasant circumstances, but I must admit I realised one thing. I am an african by birth and it will always be in my blood. I absolutely loved every minute I spent in Port Elizabeth, even though I left the place 15 years ago! One thing that kept coming to mind was how incredibly sad it is that my children will never have an extended family in terms of their cousins, aunts and uncles, granny or oupa living in the same country as they do! Enjoy the time spent with your family and allow yourself to have some fun xx

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CT is awesome - think it was rated number 1 on TripAdvisor - the DA must be doing something right...

Enjoy the time with family and try not to dwell on the problems, crime, corruption etc.

Remember family left behind usually don't have the opportunity to move to there countries so they need us to be positive!!

Let us all know how it goes.

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Hope the trip surprises you and ends up being a pleasant one!

Keglin

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I must admit I must be one of those few people who really couldn't be bothered with the whole beauty of cape town thingy. I find a lot of the people arrogant and rude and so focussed on the friggin "mountain". Sorry not wanting to offend it's just MY opinion. I'd rather go to Natal where I can spend all day on the beach without having my costume just about blown off me and having sand burn from the wind blowing all the time. Anyway that aside, you are going back to see family and that's about it. Don't focus on anything else but the joy of seeing loved one's. Must admit you have to visit Woolies. I'm not in Oz yet but I am already missing Woolies food as from what I hear there is nothing like that over there (a bunch of us need to club in together and see if we can get one going LOL). Don't be overly paranoid. Even though you have been away your family hasn't and will probably automatically think for you whereever you go so you will probably find you are still relaxed because they will do all the driving and deal with all the idiot taxis etc on the roads and drive only in the "safe areas' and so on and so forth. 2w will fly by and you'll be back home before you know it.

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