Monday, 19 February 2018

Losses and Gains

Chad and I had many a conversation about the state of the nation whilst wallowing in self-pity on a dry barren plot in the deep South of Johannesburg. The fact that it was an Equestrian Estate with Mansions (the one we lived in was not a Mansion by any means) took nothing away from the fact that it was flat bang in the middle of the Midvaal - 10 Km's from Meyerton and 10Km's from Walkerville. Absolutely no beauty in that area except the Sunsets but then again - I just had to find something to make me feel like life mattered and tomorrow would bring something to look forward to.

Mark always spoke about his Cousin's dream house he was building in an Equestrian Estate with a lot of envy - let's just say someone's dream was another person's nightmare in this case and we stayed in this horrible cottage with drywalling between us and his cousin's half of the house. Thankfully, his cousin worked in Angola and it was just his girlfriend and her son living there until the last two months then hell set in when the dreamhouse cousin came back to South Africa.

We lived in the middle of nowhere and to save petrol and money we shopped once a week and left our bubble only when we had important stuff to do. There was plenty of time for conversations as we either sat in our little hovel or walked around the deserted mansions - where owners disappeared at the crack of dawn, fighting 30 to 40 km stretches of traffic until the dark hours of evening, to earn money to pay for their mansions that their staff members toiled in. People who wore black to protest farm murders whilst their unregistered illegal Malawian gardeners were left to toil the land at R80.00 a day, seven days a week, not being able to leave the premises except on a Sunday, after morning chores and be back before evening chores.

The one constant conversation was that the day we leave South Africa, Mr. Rhamaphosa would become President of South Africa and South Africa would become the real land of milk and honey. We knew that was just our luck - so people of South Africa - applaud us as we take a bow for giving you a future of hope. I have wanted Mr. Rhamaposa to become President of South Africa for years and years - even when he left Politics for whatever reason so as the Universe works - we leave South Africa and there is now hope for a country that was losing hope daily.

I hated the fact that I got caught up in the whole negativity of the country "going to the dogs...." I have never gotten that idiom - going to the dogs just PS. I have enough negativity in my own life to be sucked into a vortex that I cannot control but I did. Mark associates with far too many low-class benefits of apartheid and got caught up in this whole crime, civil war. no future crap and on a whim decided to move to New Zealand. I was not keen at all and my dream of working in Botswana came to an end. Chad was in two minds about it, but his whole life he heard that there was no future for white youngsters in South Africa. Uhm has anyone seen the fancy gas guzzlers at the predominantly white schools, especially Afrikaans schools at lunchtime - let alone during morning drop off. Yea, right no future. Clients used to stand in reception filling Mark with all this drivel whilst dropping off their fancy vehicles for repairs - thank you, you gave us a good life in South Africa but you were a bunch of douche bags with your negativity and arrogance. Then it was on to  Facebook for Mark and even more douche bags filling his head with crap (the reason why I don't have Facebook - I can't deal with the whole you may know this low-class douche bag).

Anyway, we are here in New Zealand and to be honest I could have been more vocal and put a stop to giving up our good lives and our beautiful home but the thought of never bumping into Mark's mother or any of her evil spawn again whilst out shopping for bread and milk or just filling up with fuel was the deciding factor for me. The evil spawn did originally fill Mark's head with the whole New Zealand thing and then when they were no longer moving over - it was just a thought in between drinks in a pub - I got caught up in the whole idea but have had cold feet - A LOT!!!

We have lost a lot coming here and I don't mean materialistic or financial - but that too. Today, I decided to purge my head of all these thoughts again here on this old blog of mine. I may start tapping away more regularly - again, but probably with no images or very few as that takes a lot of time - and I do need to get these thoughts out of my head although Chad is still a cushion for honest thoughts. I am uncertain whether I will ever mention my animals again - yes this has cost us a lot, but I do feel the need to purge my mind - with no frills attached.

Moving to New Zealand is not easy - in fact, Immigration is tough - especially coming from a country with the blessings and privilege of cheap labour to a country where there is no cheap labour and where there are more benefits for not working than for earning the minimum wage. I now truly understand what white privilege is and we are all guilty of it in South Africa even though we like to believe we are not.  Although now it is starting to venture into suburban privilege if we really stretch the honesty of our thoughts and actions. You will always hear people saying South Africans work hard - oh no we don't. You will always hear people who have immigrated saying it is the best decision they have made - oh no it isn't. Push a little bit harder and the truth will come out. The tales of milk and honey are only to save face with the I told you so's. Immigration Facebook groups delete any negative comments because either it is ruining their milk and honey lies or they are run by immigration agents or other benefits of immigration.

Mark works damn hard here, harder than he did back in South Africa or any of his staff did. We come from a country where there is always a person to do something for you. We personally, were blessed with a full-time cleaning lady and a twice-weekly gardener. I arrived in the country and unpacked and cleaned and sorted and a month later had to do it again. Cleaned two houses top to bottom - the one we moved out of, which I had just scrubbed and cleaned from top to bottom. In South Africa we had at least 20 people packing up our house - granted they had to pack and box everything but on the last day when all we had was two beds and a couple of odds and ends to go to the container - we had at least 8 staff from the removal company loading  and two people cleaning the house. In New Zealand, the owner of the removal company and two young guys moved our entire household contents and the owner does not sit in his cushy airconditioned office sending quotes - he drives and carries.

Moving to New Zealand has been a very moving experience and our stuff has moved the length and breadth of this country. Mark and his ex-housemates, a man and his girlfriend also moved our whole house contents, which were all still packaged, plus odds and ends he had bought. Basically, just the two of them moved our stuff from Masterton to the garage where he stayed in Taupo. Mark who did barely anything in South Africa, because he always had someone on speed dial did this and cleaned the house he was staying in whilst his housemates watched - he paid them only to help carry heavy stuff.

I have met an elderly lady who is a beef and sheep farmer, plus a nursery school teacher in the mornings who has not a single soul helping her unless it is school holidays and her 9-year-old granddaughter helps her. She uses a quad bike and no fancy equipment. Her daughter and her husband own a 750 head of cattle dairy farm and have two Sri Lankan men working for them and the dairy farm next to where we stayed has 350 dairy cattle and one Indian migrant worker ONLY. They milk twice a day for the biggest dairy - in the world I think. Milk is collected daily. There is no day off.

If you get exasperated with African time - don't even try New Zealand time. If you get to a meeting 5 minutes before your scheduled appointment - the comment is "you are nice an' early". I will be back in the minute or I will see you in a bit is something like our (South Africa's) just now. It could be now or never or maybe next week.

Any council or government department is brilliant and it is something South Africa has never had in my lifetime - Private services and Telecommunications are dismal. The whole concept of the honesty box is just that a concept that probably worked a very long time ago like in the 1800's when most people were honest. There is crime here - not of the everyday violent type. Signs on Medical Practioner doors vary from no money on premises, no money and or drugs kept on premises. There is a liquor ban from a Thursday night to Monday morning in certain high traffic areas and very few adhere to it - and that is people of all ages even people in their 70.s break the rule by drinking in the liquor ban area. Never see a cop insight - don't believe everything you see on TV.

We live in a lovely area. if I had to compare I would say it is like Ballito, same touristy vibe, but without the sea, just beautiful Lake Taupo - with waves at times but no scary sharks or fish. Traffic incidents - there are aplenty - in comparison to the number of people in New Zealand it is very high. Little children do play in the streets but then there is also what is known as boy racers and even girl races - they love drag racing and doing burnouts late at night - usually in the more rural areas. They say there is nothing for kids to do in New Zealand - guess they have never tried finding safe things for kids to do in South Africa. Every town has a free park. a skate park, bicycle park - if you can add park to the end of a word then there is a park. Our Town is bubbling with nightlife even a cinema and lots more to do.

The lake may have no dangerous sharks but has been known to be full of Ecoli due to sewerage covers not being closed properly - here's looking at you, Harties, with different eyes. You may get told by many that there are no dangerous spiders in New Zealand except the whitetail which comes from Australia - well the reason why I believe they are so hellbent on saying that is because New Zealand is covered in spiderwebs - it looks like Christmas snow everywhere, so the emphasis on no dangerous spiders is so that they don't frighten people away.

We had a power outage after a storm for over 30 hours - no throwing your toys out the cot blaming the "useless ANC" like we can do in South Africa. You wait and wait until it is turned on.

However, saying all of the above, I love Lake Taupo, I love our current rental, even though it is hard work. It is a duplex house with a slight view of the lake - 3 bedrooms and two bathrooms upstairs and another two bedrooms downstairs - one is more an office, a bathroom and an open plan lounge and dining area and a laundry, plus a double garage and an itsy bitsy kitchen - weird hey especially seeing that New Zealand people are generally parsimonious and don't believe in spending money buying lunches and take out. The garden is tiny and mostly paved and our front door is basically on the front pavement - that takes some getting used to - but more of that another day....

So as South Africa rode out the Political Storm and waited with baited breath for a leader with integrity - we are waiting out the appearance of Cyclone Gita. The unknown is scary and for the past few days we have had brilliant weather - the calm before the storm. The worst part is Chad flies back to South Africa on Wednesday and I don't know which storm we are more frightened of - Gita or the Criminal Aspect of South Africa. Living there with Chad is one thing but this feels like feeding him to the Lions - he might be 20 but for me he might as well be 5.

So who knows if you never hear from me again if Gita was the cause or apathy or something else, but I, in the event of smooth sailing, would like to purge my mind here again. The last post I did not even finish before disappearing and it was months ago not the 19 February 2018 that I started it - at least this one I did finish.

If you want to read more of my drivel and don't want to do the password thing because yes it is a pain - sign up here and get emails instead - no password required. See you on the flipside of Gita who is playing tricks with our blue then black then blue then thunderous looking sky

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