Day 1: A Decision to Migrate

photo (10)It was never my intention to migrate and leave the land of my birth. I had lived through the change in South Africa: through the tensions leading up to the release of Nelson Mandela; through the burning in the townships; through the mistrust among the various political parties. I had lived through the change – and had continued to live my life within the environment I had been born into.

And then something changed within my own life.

I married and had children. I became responsible not only for my own life, but also for the lives of the two girls I had brought into this world. I became protective of them and wished to give them the best that I possibly could. I had married a man who wished to do the best for his children as well. Our combined desire changed the path our own lives had been following. We talked about leaving the country in order to provide for our children in a safer environment; and even made an application. I knew the crime rate in South Africa was high. And yet, I had hope that things would improve for I wished to stay.

And then one evening in February we were startled by a discordant sound. The images flickering across the television screen were ignored as a group of young men appeared suddenly in our living room. My fear for my children overshadowed any thought as I cradled my daughter in my arms, hiding her eyes from the waving guns. To this day, I am thankful for the calm my husband exuded and the way in which he spoke to the volatile men. The end of the experience could have been a lot worse.

The next day, we made the final decision to move to another country.

photo (10)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was written for the FMF 31 day challenge hosted by Kate Motaung and the 31 day challenge hosted by The Nester. Today’s prompt is: move)

49 thoughts on “Day 1: A Decision to Migrate

  1. What a frightening experience, Colline, You did what was best for your precious family. Thankfully, we were never victims of violent crime, but in spite of all the safeguards we put in place at our homes, we still suffered many home invasions, usually when we were out, fortunately. One however, was in the middle of the night, but the sound of the alarm after they smashed the french door, must have scared them away. It was a long time before I could sleep easy after that. I have many friends who have suffered the same sort of thing, and some who have escaped death by a hairsbreadth. We stayed in South Africa much longer than we wanted to, because of family, but in the last few years, after our son moved to the USA, we decided the time was right to move across, and are so happy with our decision. I know that every country has problems with crime, but I definitely feel much safer here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Members of my family had some extremely unpleasant experiences – some worse than ours – and yet I always had the hope that the crime and the violence would abate. We held off as long as we could but concern for our young children moved us forward. How I wish that my mom could follow us, as you have followed your son, but alas that is not to happen. I am sure you will enjoy your time in your new American home. And I know you will enjoy the sense of freedom you will experience as you live without fear of attack.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks, Colline. I wish my mom could follow us too, but she’s too frail to travel now. My sister is close by though, and I know she is well cared for in the place where she stays. Our daughter and family may also move away, once the children are out of school.


  2. How frightening. Utterly unimaginable.

    One of our new neighbours enjoys standing out on the street for a smoke as she could no longer do that in London.

    Teenagers can go out at night without a worry. Women can walk on their own.

    Sure, there is crime but it’s not normally personal and with guns.

    Hateful experience, but I hope your new life has made up from leaving your birth country. Sad that people need to do that, for whatever reason.

    A very honest and moving post Colline.


    1. Thank you. My aim for this series of posts is to be as honest as I am able.
      It is sad that so many of is felt the need to leave South Africa as it is really a beautiful country with plenty of potential.


  3. I can’t imagine what it would be like to experience such a thing, Colline. Thank goodness you all came out of it okay, and that you were able to move to a place that offers you more security in life.


    1. Just the other day my husband was saying how safe he feels walking down the street here. We gave up a lot when we moved north but feel that it is worth it for the sense of security we have.


  4. Colline, So well written and a true reflection of what has sent so many young families running, making decisions about leaving their beloved country quite hurriedly, not rashly but sensibly with the family in mind.
    Two of my daughters did the same, at quite short notice.
    Good luck for your future as you grow to love your new home!
    I am loving mine. (left too) sniff sniff


    1. Our decision was definitely not rash and instead was taken over a long period of time. The home invasion, though, did push us to taking that final decision.
      We are learning to love our new home even though, at times, we also feel sad at having left.


  5. Oh, my dear friend! I’m so sorry you and your family had to go through that horrific experience. I can only imagine how terrified y’all must have been. I’m so happy for you all that you got out and now live in safety.


  6. Dear God! What a life changing moment, Colline!
    I started with your next post and thought ‘oh, how interesting’ because I’d always wondered. When I first started reading your blog I was quite confused in my head about where you lived. I found you quite hard to ‘place’ for some reason. Your decision could only be the right one, but still brave to take. I imagine that life in SA is much better these days, but all of Africa seems volatile, doesn’t it? I know Jude(Travel Words) misses it very much and would love to return, but you’ve made a place for yourselves now, haven’t you, and seem very happy with your place in the world. 🙂


    1. We have visited from time to time and things have not really improved. People are still living behind high walls, people are still being held at gun point in their homes while they are being robbed, and it is still not safe to wander about at night alone. We often toy with the idea of returning but the reason we left still exists.


  7. I am just now tuning in to your story. I have been curious about your reason for moving north and would never have imagined how difficult your situation had been. Perhaps this will appear in subsequent posts, but I am wondering why you chose Toronto…


    1. Toronto was the place where my cousin was – and it was also the Canadian city that had the most opportunity for employment. We looked at Vancouver but many people were losing their jobs at that time – and even though Montreal appealed, it was just too cold when we visited 🙂


  8. Is it sad the way people fight and create discord, usually for no good reason. Here in America, things are upside down, too, in so many ways. Just today, there’s been another school shooting, by a student, now dead himself. Protecting our children in today’s world is a challenge no matter where you live. I hope your move will be a godsend for you, and yours. Stay warm this winter, Dear. Canada is a little too cold for me, but to each, their own. The Canadian people are friendly though, so that is a BIG plus.


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