Tonight I cried for the first of what will undoubtedly be many times until we leave in January 2018. I cried because I missed my best friend who left South Africa for Qatar more than a year ago. I cried because I was listening to music with her but we’re on opposite sides of the world. I cried because people were bemoaning the high levels of crime in the country. I cried because a friend experienced a random act of kindness when a stranger paid for her groceries. I cried because I don’t see my friends as often as I should and I don’t always know what’s happening in their lives. I cried because we have to find new homes for our dogs and we’re their people – we’re their people! I cried because I know my daughter is having so many feelings about leaving that she doesn’t know how to deal with. I cried for all of these reasons. But the main reason I cried was because I’m scared.
I’m scared of leaving all the familiar things. I’m scared of leaving the comfortable life we’ve worked so hard to build. I’m scared I won’t have this life and these comforts in a new country. I’m scared of flying to a country I’ve never been to, to start a whole new life without the security of a job. I’m scared because the support system we have here, though small, will not be coming with us. And, as much as I tell myself I’m not scared – it’s all a lie. I’m very scared.
But I know this new adventure is the right step for us. It’s the best path for our little family. This new adventure will give my family so many new opportunities. This adventure will give us so many exciting experiences. I know it’s the right decision. But I’m still scared and I’m still crying.
We’re moving to Canada. For real. There – that’s the first time I’ve made the announcement for all the world to see. We haven’t exactly been hiding the fact that we’re emigrating, but we wanted things to fall into place before we started making public declarations. Those things have fallen into place. So this is the public declaration.
We began this process to apply for permanent residence about sixteen months ago. And, after some milestones and phases, we are in the final stretch. We have our passports back with our permanent residence stickers in them. Why did we decide to move to Canada? I mean, you don’t get a country that’s more a polar opposite of South Africa than Canada, do you? There are so many reasons why.
The Northern Lights as seen from the Yukon (Florian Schultz Photography)
Canada is such a family oriented country. It seems as if there are so many different ways the government is trying to make life for families richer and fuller. For example, the Canadian Education Savings Grant contributes 20c for every dollar you contribute to your Registered Education Savings Grant. So when Holly and Eli reach university, they’ll both have savings accounts we set up and that the government has helped us build! Also, children’s clothes are not taxed. Another thing, when you have a baby you get up to 18 months parental leave. Once the mother has taken just about four months, the rest of the time can be shared between mom and dad (not that we’re having any more children! This is just to illustrate my point).
We’ve sold our house and the paperwork is being prepared. We’ve begun to sell our belongings as we’re not planning on taking much with us at all. Except the kids’ toys – we need them to have some familiarity on the other side! And while all this is going on, we continue to search for the best (not perfect, that’ll come later) place to live. The best place for our little family to live. Because that’s what this is all about: doing the best we can for our family.
I hope you’ll keep reading my blog. I plan to chronicle our adventures both as a way to keep in touch with friends and family, and as a way to process this massive decision we’ve taken.
Banff National Park (Photo from Banffadventures.com)