If you came here to read about how fun migrating is, you will be severely disappointed.
Holy hell, I knew it would be tough but I had no idea about exactly what that would mean.Life itself is simple...it's just not easy. ― Steve Maraboli Click To Tweet
We decided in April this year to move across the world and after doing A LOT of research, including seeing a migration agent, we decided that New Zealand was the absolute right fit for us. It happened to fit a lot of our requirements but a big one was that the place we moved to had to be English-speaking because I truly and honestly suck at languages and I knew it would be hard for me starting over without having to learn a whole new language… seriously, 11 years of French at school and I still can’t speak the language.
So the language thing limited where we could go and then lifestyle and quality of life was REALLY high up on our list of places we want to live and New Zealand just ticked all the right boxes!
So right, once we knew WHERE we wanted to go we had to figure out HOW and that was the easy part. One of the boxes that we needed to tick on our list of where to go was that it had to offer a decent PhD programme for my husband who is a lifetime academic and wanted to take the next step in his academic career… the great doctorate. New Zealand just so happened to already be on our radar because YEARS ago he had seen a course at a university in New Zealand that fit into his idea of where he wanted to go with his research so that worked out well.
On top of that, we needed to go somewhere that my career was a real possibility. Unfortunately in South Africa, someone who works in my field (Social Development) isn’t really that appreciated which is kinda ironic since my whole field is about the eradication of poverty and inequality. Anyhow, it just so happened that New Zealand is really big on community development and people with my experience and qualifications are on the skills list AND the migration agent thought that I had a pretty high chance of finding a job within three months.
A couple of years back, before I had Oden, I was unhappy in my job and needed a change and I job hunted for MONTHS and couldn’t get a foot in the door. Eventually I got an interview at an NGO closer to home and I got that job which turned out to not be that suited for me anyway and I left to pursue my own interests. So, a career is HUGELY important to me and hopefully that will be a possibility there.
“Follow your dreams. I am not saying it’s going to be easy, but I am saying it’s going to be worth it. – Moffat Machingura”
― Moffat Machingura
Paperwork is one hell of a huge thing
There are a million things I was super worried about – for example, I needed my birth certificate and since I was born in Swaziland, that seemed like something that would be IMPOSSIBLE to get my hands on. Luckily it turns out that as a South African citizen I am entitled to a birth certificate and so I’m currently waiting for that to be ready for collection. YAY!
I also needed a new passport and so did Oden. That was actually a pretty pleasant experience. In and out of Home Affairs in an hour, passports were ready a week later and took SIX minutes to pick them up when they were ready. I wasn’t expecting such a swift experience at Home Affairs.
The cost of moving
Migrating anywhere is definitely not cheap. I am WELL aware of how fortunate and privileged we are to be able to do so at all. It is costing a fortune. I have also said I’d never re-home or leave my dogs behind and I can see why people do when they leave. It’s really not cheap to take pets and we have FOUR but they are a part of our family and even though many well-meaning people have suggested leaving them behind, that’s just not an option for us. Instead we will cut costs elsewhere. Like on how much of our home content we take over with us. We are being quite ruthless about what we do and don’t take with.
Which means selling and getting rid of what we can’t take
WHEW!! Another exhausting process. I have literally had to go through every single item in my home and decide how much I love it and how much value it brings to me. The good thing about that is that I sorted through a HUGE pile of clothing that no longer fits me or makes me happy and I sold a lot of it and made some money to buy clothing to go with that actually fits me and I can wear instead of just look at in my closet.
I think though, that by far the hardest part of choosing to emigrate has been deciding to leave behind everyone we know and love and move to a country where we don’t know anyone at all. We will be completely alone in a new place, just three of us. We will basically be walking blindly into our new lives and it truly terrifies me.
However, I try to remind myself that I did this when I was just about to turn 19. I moved from, Swaziland, the country I had lived in my whole life and started over in South Africa, by myself. And if I could do it then, as a child, I can do it now with my best friend at my side.
It definitely won’t be easy saying goodbye to some of the most incredible friends I’ve ever had, to the family I’ve joined and to the family I was born in and not know when we will see anyone again. It’s a huge sacrifice and not one we take lightly either.
It hasn’t been easy telling people that we are going to leave. We have been dealing with a lot of emotional black mail and guilt tripping but in the long run, we get that it comes from a place of love. They don’t want us to go, but sadly, we are all going to have to learn to adapt. Thankfully Skype makes the distance slightly smaller.
And you know what, to those that keep asking us what if it doesn’t work out, well then, it doesn’t… but that’s sure not reason enough to not even try!
Anyway this isn’t all-inclusive about the adventure that is our life at the moment but this is just a small peak into what’s going on in our migration life (because that’s literally the only life we have at the moment).
Have you moved? Would you do it again? Any regrets or advice?
I’d love to hear about your experience!
In the meantime, I’ll be drinking all the wine trying to deal with the stress of moving!