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Right and wrong...


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This post pretty much follows on from what HEOJJ posted in "Be careful, be very careful"

I can't relate, yet, but I have the fears that go with everything you're experiencing now HEOJJ.

One of the issues I have been struggling with lately is whether I am doing the right thing. I am a bit of an emotionally unattached person in general and I think a lot of it has to do with my past. Be that as it may, the reason I say this is because after many discussions and a lot of prayer and thought the decision was made to move and being the kind of person that I am I probably came to the decision a lot easier than many people might have.

And because of the above I have been by far the driving force behind the decision without really taking stock of the emotional upheaval. My wife has told me that she does not really want to go but agrees with the reasoning and she has committed to it and wants to support me because she trusts me. I think she struggles more with the decision because of the emotional side of things and the attachment to family which is very strong for her, much stronger than it is for me.

I'm not saying I'm callous or cold, it's just that I think I can pack up and go and be ok with it a lot quicker and easier than many and especially my wife because of how I cope with things, rightly or wrongly.

See my parents have both passed away while I've been relatively young and dependancy is not something I have much of. I'm very independant and can do my own thing quite easily. My extended family, although I will miss a lot of them, I will manage ok without seeing for a while. My brother will be tougher to leave behind as we've both shared a rather hectic rollercoaster ride of a life.

I worry that although I have the support of my family I might be making a mistake and that I will be resented for it but I worry also whether staying when I can go is not a bigger mistake. All I want is what's good for my family. I will do anything for them and sacrifice anything I have for them.

I have no idea what will happen in the future but how do I make sure that what I'm doing will not hurt more? Is there anyone that might be able to put themselves in my wife's shoes especially and tell me how they would like to be cared for or are there perhaps any steps I can take to assure her or myself for that matter?

There are many material, physiological and socio-economic reasons for making this move and on paper it all seems like a no-brainer. It's the "heart" stuff that I am not quite sure how to deal with that I'm worried about. I don't want my happy-go-lucky, go where the wind blows me demeanour to motivate me into doing something that might do more harm than good.

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I know the feeling, thank you for the honesty.

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Hi Mac777

I totally agree and know where you come from. I also don't have that emotional connection with my family. Probably see them once / or twice a year. And although I will miss them dearly I know that technology has evolved so much that I can skype and whatsapp just as much...My wife also has agreed with my decision and she wants to do this. But I know that her connection with her family is soooo much closer than me.

But as humans we are creators of comfort. I know when I go to Pick & Pay what to buy and what is a fair price. I know career wise what is the best route to follow locally...and after making the decision I continue to have this internal struggle on whether I am doing the right thing...I go have a braai with my mates and watch the bokke v NZ and think am I doing the right thing...

and I wont know until I do it....

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Mac777, my husband is probably in almost a identical position as the one you find yourself in. He had no attachments in RSA so it was easy for him to leave. For me, however, it was a lot more difficult. We left for our children's sake, like most people do, and I can honestly say, it was the best decision we ever made. They are now adults (and were at the time of our leaving) and they both still say it is the best thing we could ever have done for them.

As for me, the only thing that made me really settle is the fact that I lost my mother 10 days after we left the country, should she still have been alive, it would have been a lot harder for me. There were days when I felt really blue, but getting out there and working full time, I did not really have the opportunity to stress about it. When a loved one has a special occasion and I cannot be there it is still hard, but visits back and forth has made it a lot easier.

It will be 20 years in December, since we left, and I can quite honestly say, it is the best thing we ever did, absolutely no question about that.

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HI Mac777...I think many can relate to your position.

I find myself in a similar position than you. I was the driving force behind getting the visa and doing the whole emmigration thing. I did all the legwork, got all the docs, filled in all the forms. My hubby was very reluctant in the beginning but gradually came on board. But still, he is much closer to his family than I am, and he is leaving kids from a previous marriage behind, which is very difficult for him. This put a lot of strain on us, on our marriage, on everything.

The one thing I read over and over from everyone is that your marriage will take some strain so it has to be strong to begin with. This worried me a lot because you simply dont know how things will work out and how much more strain and stress you can take.

To be honest with you....I saw the anguish he went through and I gave him a choice. I said if he wants to stay, because of his other kids and parents, we can. I just wanted him to feel he has a choice. But he knows that for the sake of our little ones, we have to take them out of here. The head is logical, the heart complains. So now that he had the choice, and still chose to go forward, he seems much more accepting and positive.

This is one hell of a difficult journey, and I hope that everything works out, for all of us. good luck with everything

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Mac, I feel just the same.

My sister left for the UK in 1998, and there are 8 years between us so it took some time for me to reach the level where we could communicate and relate well. But it's been just about always a long-distance relationship.

I came up to Wits from natal after matric to study, leaving my parents and brother behind. My brother went to a boarding school through most of high-school, so while there are only 18months between us, that had also mostly changed to only seeing him during holidays, and I was used to that. then moving to wits buffered the separation from my folks. I met my hubby through a friend at wits and here we are now. I stayed in joburg and seeing my parents became a holidays-only thing as well.

My dad passed away in 2011, and my brother bought my folks house so my mom could stay there. However they had to follow work opportunities and sold the house and my mom has been moving between my brother, my aunt and our place. We were planning to build a flat for her but since my hubby finally said yes to the LSD, I'm not sure whether we should get her settled with us if we're going to be moving soon.

wow what a sidetrack - my point is, my family is quite scattered. My aunts/uncles and cousins are scattered as well -only my mom's family are still here, and one or 2 cousins in the cape on my dad's side. the rest (quite a number as these were families with 4/5 kids each who are all now married with at least 3 kids each as well) are either in the UK, or in Australia. I don't have really big family ties here - that sounds awful when I say it, but it's just mostly long distance, texts and skypes and emails...

I have a kind of sensory disorder that makes it hard for me to make friends - in person I'm usually extremely quiet and will stutter and/or speak in a way that ends up nonsensical if I'm very nervous, which is really embarrassing, which is why I usually just keep quiet - unless or untill I know you. I've found it very hard to make friends always, and usually only had 1 at a time. I lost most of them along the way through kids moving away during school, so my only really close friend lives in New york now. So I'm not going to be leaving a big circle of friends here either.

My hubby, on the other hand... he works with his brother, who is his only sibling. we trek round to the outlaws-um inlaws every Sunday. He calls his mom every week or so just to chat (used to be every few days when I met him...). There is only 1 uncle on his side of the family who moved to Aus - and they came back. He grew up with his cousins as his friends, and otherwise just has one really good friend who we also see every couple of weeks. So there are way more ties here for him than for me.

He dug his heels in for years, and it's taken me roughly 7 years to get him to say no, this isn't a nice place to raise kids, and yes, we can go see what it's like over there. It may seem small, but wow what a huge breakthrough for us.

But, if we do get to the actual immigration stage, I'm going to be in your shoes. I don't know how I'm going to help him with all of that, and it will also need to be his choice and decision as much as mine - as Toitjie says. I don't think it's good or fair that 1 person feels like they're taking all the responsibility, or someone feels like they've been painted into a corner and left with no choice. It took me having to say that in not considering going somewhere else, he is leaving ME with no choice but to live in a place that has a high risk of huge personal harm... It goes both ways. For one to refuse to go is to force the other to stay.

It's hard...

In the end I guess it's just best to be honest and talk about all this. If it's at all possible, also maybe look at booking flights back to visit after 6 months, or for the next Christmas? it'll give you a chance to visit and also remind you of all the reasons you left (most probably)...?

Wow... sorry. Don't speak in person and don't shut up in text. Stopping now.

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HI Mc Cabes

considering the enormity of the decision it is something that a couple sit down and discuss and come to agreement. Very hard though....

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While reading this post it felt like I was reading a page from our story of immigration. I sometimes wonder if this was the right thing to do and it bugs me that there are some questions (like this one) that we will never know the answer to.

I just have to look at the progress my daughter has made in school compared to what she was doing in South Africa, or watch her as she runs around and plays on the jungle gyms in an one of the parks we have free access to. I look at our financial situation compared to where we were and I know I am far better off here than I was in South Africa.

One of our friends had a go at us and said we should be praying for the countries healing instead of running, my response to that is would you willingly stand in front of a train with no breaks and pray that it does not kill you?

I have recently hit the downhill part of the journey simply because it caught me by surprise. I have lost count of the many opportunities I missed out on in South Africa because of the political and economic situation and have had to start rebuilding my career more times than I care to remember, I guess this was one too many times.

Do I regret having moved 11500 km's across this planet to make a better life for my family, absolutely not! Am I struggling to adjust, yes most definitely, BUT I made the decision to make this work no matter what because the future we had in South Africa wasn't much to look forward to at all and the uncertainty of my families safety and my child's future was more that enough reason for me to leave.

As my wife said the other day, for the first time in the 13 years that we have been married, we can breath, financially and safety wise.

I sincerely hope that you make piece with the decision you make (whatever it may be) because you and your family will have to live with it for the rest of your lives and there is nothing worse that wishing you had done something and succeeded than not taking this chance and wondering where you would have been had you done it. As I have often said, rather have the visa and not need it than desperately need it and not be able to get it.

Immigration is not for the week or faint hearted and it takes courage, stamina and serious b@lls to pull this off and survive.

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@McCabes - It's actually quite breathtaking when you flip the perspective like that, as in when one doesn't want to go you're forcing the other to stay in a potentially dangerous situation.

I have to be honest, I do not really WANT to go myself. We are doing well enough financially and our careers are only starting to grow now. We are one of very few privileged families in SA, and I worked damn hard to get it mind you, no help from anyone but our good Lord...before anyone says anything, but my point is that right here and now we are sheltered from a lot that is happening and there is no immediate need to go anywhere.

The safety of my family is the only real risk right at this moment and although so far we have for the most part not been affected by violent crime, the risk is still there that that could change today or tomorrow and it's a very real and rather high risk, one that should be worth moving for more than anything else actually.

Will our financial status stay this way? I don't know but if I'm reading things properly I can see things changing in a hurry and I am already under pressure in terms of work due to selective employment that should I lose my job tomorrow for whatever reason I do not know whether I will be able to bounce back. The odds are definitely not in my favour.

What I'm getting at is that this is very much a decision made to secure a better future than the one we are currently facing because let's face it. If things are tough for me now, what will they be like for my daughter? I can't predict that and right now it doesn't look good so I say let's not take a chance. It's the emotional and relational repercussions of the decision that I'm most worried about right now. I sincerely hope things work out well for us...

@HEOJJ - I have made peace with the decision, because of WHY we are doing it. It's not some whim and it is for the future of my family so I can't really feel bad about anything that would make things better for us. It has to be a complete disaster before I can regret it. The Lord has always looked after me and my own so why would he stop now just because we're in a different place. As for your friend that said we are running, well of course we're flippin running duh, and you can pray for the country from anywhere in the world. God doesn't care where you are when you talk to him...

I feel very much like you in the sense that the decision is made and now I must make it work come hell or high water, and that I will do, if not for me than for the ones I love because I will not fail them, no matter what.

My wife said the same thing about the visa, or should I say the citizenship actually. She says we must get our citizenship and then we can decide from there becuase even if we come back we have something to fall back on. She's still leaving a back door open and that can cause commitment issues but if it feels better then why not.

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I remember being 12 years old (1993) and my step father (born British) seriously considered packing us all up and heading to the UK to get away from all the problems RSA was about to experience with a pending new government. That time came and went, and we didn't so much as set foot outside the Western Cape. Our ancestral passports were never borne to my brother and I, and today as adults we feel that both my parents failed us, in that we weren't educated on hopping from one continent to another and what it would entail, we didn't have free reign to travel, or make better lives for ourselves, and ultimately our children.

My husband's mother gave up her Flemish passport/citizenship as well, so on both sides there really was no option but RSA.

We sat just this past Heritage Day at a braai after enjoying a beautiful day in the mountains, questioning whether everything we have done thus far has been worth it, and debated that if we had in fact had the option of an additional passport, that Aus wouldn't have been such a hard and fast decision; that we wouldn't have been forced to embark on this journey for the sake of our children, and that if the "beep" did really ever hit the fan, that at least we would have had an alternative, some kind of choice....rather than settling for our lives here and making the best of a bad situation.

I have also been the driving force behind hubby, and at times, probably pushed too hard as well, for the simple fact that I want my kids to have options!

My motto (1 of 100 that I have embraced on this journey) is rather to have tried, failed, got up and started over, than to not have done anything at all. For some of us, Aus may not become a reality, and it may also not be the green pastures we envisioned, but at least we can say without a shadow of a doubt that we tried!

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Mac - ditto on every point. Lol if only both our other halves felt the same! ;)

Well, I guess it's worse from a woman's perspective - I've often thought that for a guy I could compare living here for a woman to a guy going to prison... chances of physical harm are probably about the same. What's the rape rate in SA? 1 in 3 isn't it? :(

I'll just share what a friend in melbourne told me - she mentioned once that even if you do decide to go and "just" get your citizenship, and then relook the situation, don't say that out loud, even to friends/family. Keep it within your relationship - it will affect how you talk about things and approach things while you're there, and even if you don't say it outright, people may get the impression that you're not in for the long haul by things you imply if not state explicitely.

While we will probably, initially, maybe go with the same idea in mind, I'm planning to shelve it once we get there and just let things be what they are. Maybe I'll take it down and dust it off after we have citizenship, but I'm guessing that it'll probably be a no-brainer at that point as to whether we stay or not. ;)

I do think though, that it's handy to have a set point to work towards. I want to give it at LEAST four years to really test every available possibility of happiness (if we battle with that) there before even starting to think about coming back.

Plus, I'm pretty sure that in 4 years the future of SA will be apparent to all and sundry.

TQO - I so remember those days. I'm not sure what sparked the fear but around that time my parents stockpiled tinned foods and prepped like nothing on earth. It was pretty scary because there was this undercurrent of something coming/something bad maybe going to happen and I had no idea what was going on.

And yes, the options thing is a big one for me as well... not much in the way of prospects here going forward, for our kids, even if crime/safety wasn't an issue.

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