Those of you who have been following my almost weekly Dear Migrant to the Great South Land letters, may have grown accustomed to the mostly positive vibe that I try to write my pieces in. I am a positive person. I usually have a half-full glass type of personality. I definitely subscribe to my mum’s motto of, “Gaan smeer jou bekkie rooi en drink ’n koppie tee, dan lyk dinge sommer beter.” And I know what my dad always used to say, “In die Tweede Wêreld Oorlog is meer mense dood,” is also true.
But, Dearest Migrant to the Great South Land,
I would be remiss if I were not to tell you that bad things do happen to good people here as well. For the second time in less than two years my husband’s position at work was made redundant, and though we are not despondent (see I can rhyme even when I have to talk about bad things!) we are aware that we are not the only ones.
Many of you here will now say, “Ja, but at least unemployment is not as high as it is in South Africa,” or you may say, “At least there is not affirmative action that will discriminate against him.” And I will say, “Yes, at least, but that is not the point.”
The point is – do not come to Australia thinking this is Utopia. Do not come here and base your expectations on what you have heard about this awesome, awesome country. If and when you come, you have to know that life happens here as well.
A friend’s son had an accident while riding out bush and he was only found the next day. Another friend of mine was diagnosed with a massive brain tumour, just this week.
Please, please do not think that life will not happen in Australia as well.
Emigrasie is nie vir sissies nie. In the same breath I want to add, to stay where you are, is also not for the weak at heart.
I have just finished a book titled, Die Eerste 1000 Dae van Migrasie (please send me your email and I will send you a digital copy free of charge when all of the final tweaking – not twerking! has been done or subscribe to my blog to be notified) and as I was reading through the 22 stories in this book I kept saying to my husband how incredibly humbled I am that I am part of them – part of a people who call themselves South African.
There were people who got off an aeroplane with only four suitcases and $250 in their pockets! Some knew no-one. Some have never been in Australia before. Everything was foreign. And they made it work. With hard work and determination they are still making it work. Some had to go back to South Africa, after things did not work out as they hoped and they are thriving there as well. I cried when I read those stories and I laughed with the writers as I remembered things we went through.
Dear, dear Migrant to the Great South Land,
when you come, come knowing that some days will be very taxing on you and your family. Know that some days you will wonder if you have made the biggest mistake of your life. Know that some days you may even think of booking that ticket back!
But… but, also know that you will find strength that you never knew was possible. Know that you will find a reserve of courage when you need it most. Know that you will discover that you are not alone. There have been others who have gone through what you have gone through.
If this is where you want to be, and where your path leads you, know that there will be challenges. Diamonds are after all formed by extreme pressure, are they not?
Cheers mate, you’ll be all right,