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Scared.....


Geite
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Hi Forum members,

 

We waited a year for our 190 VISA invite, now that we have it we are really scared to make the BIG move. I know that it would be best to leave SA, yet I am scared for the unknown and "starting over" at 38 years old in a new country.

 

Is there anybody else out there that left SA at my age and made a success? I would like to give my son(7 months old now) the best opportunity in life to achieve his dreams......

 

Thanks

 

G

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Geite,

 

I'd like to think we've made a success of it. My wife and I were 35 when we landed and our daughter was 2 and our son 4,5. We've been here just over 16-months, we're both employed, my son is a a wonderful school and my daughter in a loving daycare. We've even been able to buy a home in Sydney, 2kms from the City, it's an apartment, but plenty big enough for us as we tend to live our lives out in public spaces - parks, beaches etc.

 

We have a far better work-life balance and reducing our overheads by living small has taken off a lot of pressure which has helped, giving us more time to settle in without the rat race.

 

We've found a lovely Church who've become like family, host a weekly community group and I'm involved with several charities and community projects. We've made friends, largely through school/daycare/church, a few outside of that, love entertaining and have ourselves been entertained.

 

We've never once felt pangs or regrets of "What did we do!", we knew going into this that the pull of Australia was greater than the push from South Africa.

 

Cheers

 

Matt

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Geite,  I get what you want:  you want to know whether anyone can show that the bank balance and work achievements are good enough to be measured a success since arriving in Australia.   You've probably realized no one yet answered you accordingly.   I ask permission to give you our perspective.   Shortly after you've arrived,  you'll find that there is no such thing as pressure or hunting after 'success' here.   People work to live,  not live to work.   The post delivery man or shop shelf packer is just an honored member of society than the CEO of a prestigious company.   You'll never know if the guy behind you wearing his boardshorts and T-shirt is the local attorney.   Handymen,  Brickies,  Electricians,  Teachers,  doctors, all are equally respected.   The money they earn is not part of who they are as a person.   My husband had an interview once with a guy who was on holiday and invited him to meet at at coffee shop.   The guy arrived in his holiday attire,  with his dad with him.   Only after a while in this relaxed setting,  did my husband realize this is in fact the 2 CEO of the company !

 

Hubby and I were 43 and 41 at our arrival,  with four little ones with us.   Our life is much,  much,  much more peaceful,  joyful and fun.   We have much more time together as a family - and hubby is in the middle income range.   We eat much better than we ever did in SA.   We have more caring friendships around us now than ever.   Our children can take to the street with the other children living close by (we live in a nice,  silent suburb)  and they all have developed hugely on so many levels - socially,  language,  discernment.
 

We lived in Brackenfell,  had a huuuuuge house and since we applied for a OZ visa,  we decided to learn to live like Ozzies,  cleaning our house ourselves,  etc.   Now,  the whole family pull together each Friday,  cleaning the house in 1,5 hours top to bottom.   The children learned to help with washing clothes,  moving grass,  do dishes (we have a rental with a dishwasher,  yay !).   Our house has the same amount of rooms than in SA,  but is much smaller - and we LOVE it !   To survive mentally,  in SA,  we needed a big indoor space since the children could not play outside the yard and there was limited space for things like bikes.   Now,  our children are tanned,  fit,  smiling and enjoying themselves thoroughly.   We homeschool,  so four children in and out the house,  cause the house to look like it begs for a clean two days after cleaning day.   We only do the necessary till Friday to keep the house 'liveable' and it works very well for us.

 

So you'll find that priorities seriously change once you're here.   Life has different perspectives and looking back,  you'll one day find just how misplaced and warped South African mindset has become somehow.   Bank account and ambition has replaced quality of life in a very sad way.

 

We are here now 18 months,  VERY HAPPY and really,  really thankful for the opportunity of the change we've been granted to make.

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Hi Geite.  I am from Somerset West, but left a very long time ago, so I thought I would pipe up because we're from the same 'hood.  I still visit my old valley quite regularly, last time was for 5 weeks over the recent Dec/Jan break.  All I can tell you is that, although it is still in many respects a lovely part of the world, it scares the @#%$% out of me too.  It gives me the impression of a soap bubble blown up to its max, its gonna pop any time soon.  Run while you can! 

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Hi,

 

We are in the planning process to move back to Australia (and I am 40) so I think I can address some of your concerns.  We first went there in 2010 with our PR visas, but wasn't really serious about the move. We thought we would check things out over there but it never was a permanent decision at that stage.  At that stage my husband got a job unexpectedly from SA side and the company paid for our container...it was a no brainer to go (BUT also another thing that we just took for granted at that stage). The timing was crazy. I had a 2.5 yo son and our little girl was 5 months.  

 

When we got there the shock was even bigger.  It took me 3x to get my Aussie drivers licence, yes some Saturdays I cried because I had to mop the floors, in a house where my two babies messed up even before I was finished mopping, and some nights I returned from a Thursday late night shopping outing crying because even the bloody eyeliners are so expensive that I can't buy a new one, and I cried about missing my family, and I cried because my house was never as neat as the other South African family's houses (seriously do some of them have to prove a point about neatness and doing it yourself?)...but you get the idea.  So obviously when things got to that stage, we began talks about moving back to SA, because...."we knew service delivery is bad, but you don't go to the municipality every single day...you don't go to the post office every day...in Pretoria the kids can still go to decent schools....."

 

A few mistakes that we made this first time around:

 

  • Never make the announcement that you are leaving on facebook like we did, even to our family...for real!!!  That did not go down well....
  • We did not give ourselves and our family enough time to work through this move and to go into discussion about this, so it was big time depression times...This time, we talk about it and process the feelings before hand. It's like there's a huge elephant in the house when you announce the move and as you work through it, hopefully on this side, that huge elephant, becomes a little elephant that you keep in your pocket.
  • We took so many things for granted over there and we used to laugh at some of the ridiculous (SA) people who was so scared even to get a parking ticket, because just maybe that ticket might come up during their Citizenship interview...that visa is a true blessing and not something that everyone can just get. Always be grateful for that.
  • Just stick it out through the tough times.  I will never be sorry that we came back, but I do think that it is better to decide to stick it out.

So, by the grace of God, my husband got a job in SA just after we qualified for our citizenship and we started packing for Pretoria.  Now, 2 years down the line, we want to go back!

  • Were we happy there before we came back? Most definately Yes
  • Did we make friends? Yes - but almost never the kind of friends that you would have made in SA. But another kind of quality friends that become your adopted family over there.
  • How did we do financially (with a single income for the first time)? We weren't as comfortable as in SA but we always had enough food on the table? For the first time I actually had to budget for things and stick to it.
  • Were the kids fine? Yes
  • Was it easy? Not always, especially in the beginning.

 

For the first time I totally get it. It's not about us, its about the kids and giving them something better that is within your reach. I will always nurture a hope in me that God can turn SA around, and I'll keep on praying for that, BUT, He made a new hope possible for us in another country (that also has mistakes btw). And once you have that hope, I see it as...like you have private medical, and you get sick, and then choose to go to a state hospital, it just doesn't make any sense.

 

All the best with all the decisions that lies ahead.

 

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Yes, its hard to be here with kids. There are no grandparents to drop the kids off with. I go out to movies with mates while my wife watches the kids and vice versa. Oh and daycare fees are just extortion. Another other hard part is your career. Companies don't give the good jobs to foreigners fresh off the plane. They claim its too risky as they go back home, struggle to fit into the work culture, etc.. But really, the local staff don't like a recent migrant taking their promotion.

 

Then think of the costs of retiring in Aussie. Salaries are 2x South African ones. So, if you have been working here since university, your retirement savings are much larger than a South African's.  Finally, buying a house is very hard in a big city. Especially if you don't want a > 1 hour commute... We have heard many stories of local Aussies loaning money from their family. You are also competing with foreigners, mostly cashed up Chinese and wealthy locals buying their 3rd property to claim a tax loss.

 

But... would we go back? No. We know our future is secure here. And lets be honest, I could come up with way more than two paragraphs about why our lives in RSA sucked ;).

 

I pointed out the bad things, so you can see its not actually all that bad here B)

 

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Moved over at 37 and now at 39, so we`ve only been here two years.  All I can say there`s a lot more opportunities and much better salaries in my line of work. Only negative is missing family and friends. 

 

Wish we did it 10 years earlier! 

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5 hours ago, Geite said:

Hi Forum members,

 

We waited a year for our 190 VISA invite, now that we have it we are really scared to make the BIG move. I know that it would be best to leave SA, yet I am scared for the unknown and "starting over" at 38 years old in a new country.

 

Is there anybody else out there that left SA at my age and made a success? I would like to give my son(7 months old now) the best opportunity in life to achieve his dreams......

 

Thanks

 

G

 

 

You waited a YEAR? O.O Does it take that long normally?

 

Made a success? Like found a job and didn't go back?

 

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Hi @Geite.

 

Congratulations on receiving you VISA, at least you have the option of moving if you want to :D. I wish I could give you this profound insight into how it would be better for you here in SA or in Aus since we have also struggled with this very topic to some extent. Unfortunately, we have come to realise that is not how this whole process works. All the facts possible point to Aus being a better place than SA in most measurable instances such as crime, health, economy, purchasing power, stability etc. These are a few of the links I have previously shared to really try and get a feel for the numbers underlying this type of decision. Almost all of them show Australia as a more prosperous place (by far) at present when compared to SA!

http://www.ifitweremyhome.com/compare/ZA/AU
http://prosperity.com/#!/

http://peoplemov.in/#f_ZA
http://www.goodcountry.org/overall
http://www.heritage.org/index/heatmap?cnts=world
http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/as.html

 

Unfortunately, no amount of measurement can quantify the lack of family, the fear of starting over close to 40, the fear of not being given a fair shot since you will be seen as an immigrant. Fear of what stuff will cost ( I just did my first transfer of money over yesterday... wow, that really, really sucked) All of these fears exist and despite what anyone else might say, are probably quite realistic in any of our situations who have not moved over yet. Because lets face it, sometimes it does not work out for people who make the move and right now, we are insanely comfortable despite the amount of bad news in SA! Moving over is daunting!

 

But have other people made the move and succeeded? Heck yes, there is even a very nice book about some of them: http://marlizeventer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Die1ste1000WEB.pdf

and lets not forget the wonderful forum people who provide advice and support with all our tons of questions about very many things. Will we make it when we move? No one can assure me of that at all. But then, no one can assure me we will keep on being successful in South Africa either!

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1 hour ago, CyberJoe said:

even a very nice book about some of them

 

Thank you for sharing. What an interesting read with so many different experiences from different people - all condensed. Was also able to brush up my Afrikaans eg wipwarit

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3 hours ago, CyberJoe said:

I just did my first transfer of money over yesterday.

 

Cyberjoe - a bit of topic - but what rate did you get? I also did a transfer Monday afternoon SA time and got R11.25 all in. 

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14 hours ago, Dora said:

 

  • We did not give ourselves and our family enough time to work through this move and to go into discussion about this, so it was big time depression times...This time, we talk about it and process the feelings before hand. It's like there's a huge elephant in the house when you announce the move and as you work through it, hopefully on this side, that huge elephant, becomes a little elephant that you keep in your pocket.

Wow, you said this so well and this so so true.:( It's a painful process for all concerned and you have to let the relatives remaining behind work through things too. It's important to be sensitive to their feelings too and not get immersed in all your own move. Once you have worked through it, it works out fine because, well you are family after all?

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We were 39 & 38 and our kids were 11 & 18.  Haven't looked back! :)

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I came out here after 10 years in the UK, at the age of 45, started in a whole new career and have never looked back. Age doesn't have to be a problem unless you make it one. Retrain if you have to and get the job you want. I've done it a few times since I left the sunny SA 15 years ago and I'm prepared to do it again if I have to.

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@Tiermelk I was not as lucky, got 11.64 from FNB and transfer fees worked out to R245. Should mention that this was just a transfer to double check that everything was working so it was for a small amount. Who did you use to give you such a good rate?

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I transferred with ABSA to Westpac = they charged 1% - but its better through 1stcontact I believe. 

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11 hours ago, CyberJoe said:

@Tiermelk I was not as lucky, got 11.64 from FNB and transfer fees worked out to R245. Should mention that this was just a transfer to double check that everything was working so it was for a small amount. Who did you use to give you such a good rate?

 

I use Exchange4Free.  Maybe I was just lucky with the rate, but 11.64 sounds to high. If I look at the rough chart for the rates over the last couple of days the rate did not go over 11.34 so they charged you 30ZAR cents per AUD and fees of R245.   I have done about 10 transactions with them over the last 2 years and everything went smoothly. 

 

This time I did it a bit differently - Usually I would phone them and they will phone me back with a rate that`s about 10-12ZAR cents more than the rate showed on XE.com.  This time I had a look at the rate on Xe.com and it was around ZAR11.25 so I told them to exchange X amount if and when they can get me a rate of 11.25. The thinking is that the exchange rate fluctuate all the time AND they might take a cut in their profit just to make the deal.

 

(Currently ZAR is sitting at 11.13)

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Yeah Ive heard that excuse about leaving a lot. Like yes we want safety but we like the lifestyle - and upon further enquiry its about the 'help'. 

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On 4/12/2016 at 6:53 PM, Dora said:

even the bloody eyeliners are so expensive that I can't buy a new one

Dora, I wanted to let you know that Coles has half off all "covergirl" make up this week. It was Maybelline last week. You can get stuff at reasonable prices, it's about stocking up on non-perishables and non-essentials. I am a little anal about not paying full price for non-essentials. 

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Ha-Ha Shellfish, thanx - off cause the eyeliner that night was just the last piece of straw that triggered the crying for many more reasons at that time, but I get you :D. My husband and I still think back to that night and just laugh.  

 

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22 hours ago, Sassyninja said:

Yeah Ive heard that excuse about leaving a lot. Like yes we want safety but we like the lifestyle - and upon further enquiry its about the 'help'. 

 

 

I have had many discussions with people about this too. Very often people mention how great the lifestyle in SA is.... but when it really comes down to it, the differentiating factor is purely having a full time maid. What I mean is the lifestyle everywhere is what you make of it. Most countries in the world have something that can be fantastic, and there are many fantastic things about South Africa, but this whole lifestyle issue is about having staff to do menial labour than anything else.

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Which is fine - for some BUT when you're choosing that over your children's safety then its a bit of an iffy excuse. 

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To each their own, what I always found most interesting about it was that while I lived in the UK everyone I knew had someone come in a clean. Not as often as in SA but still. I willing to bet that if you so choose one could have someone come in and clean 1 a week or fortnight in Australia as well.

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