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Nomad: On board


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Just came across this discussion forum recently and enjoyed reading some of the posts. We've been living in Australia and the UK on and off since May 1997 (5 years in each to be precise) and are happy to help out with any advice that you okes might be looking for.

In Australia specifically we have lived in Brisbane and Canberra and are currently residing in Sydney. Our kids are 6 and 9 years old and have basically been bouncing around the globe with us for the past 10 years. I'm a Vrystaat boytjie myself but lived in Cape Town for the last 6 years prior to leaving SA. I met my (New Zealand) wife on a jol in Russia (of all places) and the rest is history.

Moving country can be a real test of character (and relationships), but the more you do it the easier it gets. Australia is a great place to live but you must come in with the right attitude. Remember why you are leaving or have left SA and for get about the lifestyle you had there, good or bad. They're a good sort over here and if you think Aussie you will adjust to life in Australia very quickly.

Good luck!

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Great to hear from someone that's been there! My husband is also from the Free State (Odendaalsrus). We met and are still still living in Pretoria - story not quite as exciting as yours! But we will get there!! Thanks for sharing! When you start this process, it seems that there is SOOOOO much to do! But I would like more of the not-on-the-internet-info about OZ :P . For example, I know the houses all have a separate laundry (well, most), that the main bedrooms are in the front and the rest at the back and that you have to help yourself at the petrol station, etc. But is there anything about daily life, that you think if we knew some of it, that it would make the settling easier? We have two little girls of 4 and 6 and I would like to prepare them (and us) a little.



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But is there anything about daily life, that you think if we knew some of it, that it would make the settling easier? We have two little girls of 4 and 6 and I would like to prepare them (and us) a little.

Hi Erna,

I thought about your question for a while, and forced myself to remember what I had felt like when we first came over here ten years ago. We were very much in itchy-feet mode at the time and threw caution to the wind when it came to considering all the emigration factors that may affect our lives. Mind you, we've made several overseas moves since and still don't sit down long enough to consider the consequences of our move :thumbdown: Maybe one day we'll get it right.

But the one overriding factor that will make your life easier in a new adopted country (wherever you go) is to do just that, adapt. Contrary to popular opinion, Australia is not like South Africa in many ways and getting used to your new country goes beyond the S14 and sunny weather :holy: Its the old 'When in Rome' adage all over again. To be successful in Australia you must commit to making a go of it over here and forget about the life you had in SA. If not you may soon be overwhelmed by the culture shock and a negative attitude is just a hop, skip and jump away.

This is a bit contrary to our nature of course. You tend to hanker for your sense of belonging as soon as it is stripped from you, which is pretty much what happens when you emigrate. Many English people would give their left arm to live in Australia as they imagine a life of sunshine and minimal social problems, only to return to the UK again because they missed the banter at their local pub and the quality of their BBC broadcasts. We're quite fickle that way. Don't base your move on the macro-statistics of either SA or Oz, such as the murder rate per capita or the standings in the international corruption index tables. The things you enjoy in SA now will not be that different from the things you will look for again in Australia. Importantly, never lose sight of what made you think of leaving SA in the first place, and certainly give emigration a go if it is something you might regret not having done later. If Oz does not work out for you then notch it up to experience and move on (despite the hassle and cost). If you don't try then you will never know.

There were plenty of things in SA that I missed when I first came to Oz. It was hard to accept the locals calling their land 'God's own country' when they hadn't yet seen the views from Signal hill, or even gotten to know the joy of a Spur Burger :D In many ways you have to pack your pride your back pocket as well. These were to me the real tests of adapting to a new country. Its more a challenge to your mindset than it is to the improvements in your living standards. And the sooner you accept that Australia did not invite you here and does not care about the mansion or car you owned in SA, the better. And once your attitude is correct, absolutely everything else falls into place, including the lives of your kids. And that's when you really start to enjoy your new home.

I hasten to add though that I did not grow up in SA with the big house and car and domestic help that appears to be the norm amongst so many other SA'ns, even today, and so can't really comment on whether that played a role in the ease with which we were able to adapt to our lives in Australia, where 'hard yakka' (digging in) is a way of life here and getting others to do your dirty work is generally scorned upon.

But now I'm rambling on a bit and I'm not sure whether I've answered you question? I guess all I'm trying to say is that if you are committed to making a go of it here in Oz, and prepared to replace your South African mantle for an Australian one, then you and your family are about as prepared as you will ever be for the move. We have returned to Australia three times now and each time we have arranged accommodation, car, schools, medical cover, insurances and all those other necessary evils within a week or two of getting here. The kids are the least of your worries as they are able to adapt a whole lot quicker than you do, and at 4 and 6 are not likely to miss anything in SA other than family.

Best of luck :(

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