We have all done it, and many of us will continue to do it.
We have tried to sell Australia.
We say, “Come, it is the best thing you can ever do. Your kids will thank you. You will be a fool if you do not take the opportunity. This is the land of milk and honey. Yes, you will get a job. Yes, you will be able to make a living.”
When people ask what you think about living here, you almost want to force them to make the decision to come. We tell them that there is no loadshedding, there is very little crime, that the beaches are clean, that they can take a walk late at night with minimum risk. We want them to come and experience freedom as we have grown accustomed to.
It is difficult to be anything less than absolutely elatedly positive about life in Australia, isn’t it?
And then one day, there is a post on a page, by another South African who says that she just can’t seem to shake the feeling that she does not belong here. She does not know whether she belongs any where but on the shores of South Africa. She says she has tried for longer than a decade to get to a place where she can see this Great South Land as home, but that she can’t. Her heart yearns for the sounds, smells and rhythms of her country.
The comments following her post are as diverse as the people. They try and sell the country, they try and convince her that it is better here. They tell her they have never doubted for a moment that this is the right thing to do. But, one by one, you get comments echoing her sentiment. Comments saying that they miss home. They miss their families. Comments saying that they feel they had no choice, that the choice was made for them, by husbands, by wives, by an incompetent government, by a bunch of criminals. It happens… as it always does, that some commentators want to tell other commentators that what they are feeling is wrong. That they are not entitled to doubt whether they did the right thing. They are not allowed to wonder if this feeling of displacement will ever go away.
Sometimes it does, sometimes it does not and people go back…Home… for home is where the heart is. And some have left their heart behind. And it is not wrong… and it is not right… it is what it is. It is after all their life, and they have to live it true to who they are.
Dear Migrant to the Great South Land,
you can ask as many people as you like, get as many opinions as you want, but you can not, absolutely can not, make your decision just because someone said that living in Australia is like going back in time about 30 years ago, or because they love the beaches, or because they can go walking late at night.
Should you arrive on these shores and you find that it is not exactly the way they described it, and you feel cheated, you can not blame them. They told you what they thought you wanted to know.
I knew nothing about Australia before we came, except that they are not too shabby in cricket and rugby. We did not do a LSD visit before we arrived. We thought we would be going back to South Africa when our four years lapsed. We thought wrong. We loved it and we stayed. I did not ask people how they find Australia, except for one lady – and that was more budgetary advice that I sought, and some insight about the area we would live in. I knew that I could not build on their experiences. We knew that this was an adventure, an opportunity to learn new things, about ourselves and about the world we live in.
When you decide to come, YOU have to decide. Based on solid research done. Crime statistics are available on line for each area you are thinking of living in, the areas where you want to live have websites of their own, most shops have websites that you can look at for info, there are rental websites where you can look at the houses that are available in the areas you are interested in, schools have a grading system that you can gauge online, to see whether or not it is a school you would like your child to attend. You can and should look at the hard facts when you start thinking of making the move. Initially the thought of migration is emotional, but as you start making it more formal, ensure that you have facts that you look at, and not only opinions.
Should you arrive here and you think you have made the biggest mistake of your life, my motto is, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. You may just find that the more you try, the better it becomes. Or it may not…and then you take it from there.
The heart is a strange thing, it feels what it feels. And it has its beat… and sometimes the drum roll of Africa pulls you back… and sometimes the haunted calling of the didgeridoo pulls the strings tight.
All the best in this decision you have to make. It is not an easy one. It is an adventure though, and I just love adventures.
For crime statistics – http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/facts/1-20/2013/1_recorded.html
In a specific area – google crime statistics in your area. The police have all the statistics on their websites.
http://www.myschool.edu.au to investigate the schools in the area.
Read about Australian news at http://www.news.com.au
http://www.realestate.com.au for information on rentals and sales. Also look at the google streetview, it helps, but is not always accurate.
(This list is NOT exhausted and serves as a starting point.)