Over the last month or two – basically since Jeanne and I got home from our holiday in Scotland – we have made the difficult but exciting decision to leave South Africa for a new and exciting adventure.
This is a decision that has been mulling around for a while now, but our two-year plan suddenly became a two-month plan and now we are selling every possession we own and packing the little sentimental items we want to keep (wedding things, etc) and sending them on to Scotland ahead of us.
But why such a hasty decision? You’re probably wondering. Well, there are numerous factors that have contributed to the decision being made faster than we intended, and I will explain them all below:
- Crime. Our neighbours were recently broken into, woken up, held at knifepoint and stripped of their jewellery while their kids slept in the bedroom next door. The bottom line is that we just don’t feel safe, and that’s hindering my mental health more and more and making it harder to sleep and continue daily life with some sort of normality.
- Family. Not only do we live very far away from all of our family (they live in Joburg, Botswana and Scotland), but Jeanne and I want to start our own family. However, we have been very hesitant due to how much it costs to send your child to a good school, as well as the crime factor. In all honesty we don’t want to start our family somewhere we don’t even feel safe.
- Quality of life. Let’s face it, the quality of life in SA is great – if you can afford to make ends meet and have some extra left over to do something fun once in a while. Jeanne and I have found it really hard to make ends meet recently due to instability in the job place (on Jean’s side), meaning we have had the extra stress of worrying about making enough money for the basics in life, with no wiggle room to even enjoy some of the finer things in life or contribute to important things like a pension. A private pension everyone needs – especially here in SA – but we have never had the extra funds to be able to pump into it and that will impact our future negatively if we had to stay.
The next question, why Scotland?
We have a support system in Scotland already, and it has always been a strong contender considering how much Jeanne loved it from the moment we touched down for her very first visit. Also, it will give me more time to spend with my family – including my grandparents.
I addition to the things above, things also ‘work’ better there. We don’t have to worry about extra expenses like medical aid, the power or water going out unexpectedly, we will be earning pounds which will allow us to travel – something we have never had the opportunity to do much of, even if it’s just around Europe – and we can qualify to buy a house quite quickly (again, something we have could never do in our seven years of living in South Africa).
The finer details
So unfortunately, emigrating is not as easy as hopping on a plane and jetting off into the sunset, as there is certain criteria we need to meet and things we need to do in order to get Jeanne to the UK.
In short (I’ll do a whole blog post on the process soon as it’s a lot of information to process) the first step entails me getting bum to Scotland to find a job that pays a certain about of money (£18 600 a year, to be exact). I will then need to work in this job role for six months before Jeanne can apply for her spousal visa from South Africa.
Yup, that means we are going to be apart for at least 6 – 10 months. Which, in hindsight, is nothing compared to the four years apart we endured when I studied in the UK.
It will be tough, as I know how hard it is to leave each other behind at the airport knowing you won’t be seeing each other for a very long time but, at the end of the day, it’s a decision we have chosen to made so we can have a family and make a better life for ourselves.
For those thinking about making the big move to the UK, I have found the following Facebook pages incredibly helpful (as we are taking out pets with us):
- South Africans Immigrating to the UK & Ireland
- South Africans Emigrating with Pets – The pet page is not specifically for people moving to the UK, so if you are thinking about emigrating somewhere else, you can find all the information you might need there, too.
Have any of your friends or family recently emigrated? Are you thinking about emigrating? Let me know in the comment section below.