Day 2: Saying Goodbye and Hello

The day had arrived for our departure and my extended family gathered at the airport to wish us well. We had a last drink together and hugged one another goodbye. The last view I had of them as we walked though the departure doors will remain forever in my mind: waving hands and tears predominated. My last glimpse of Johannesburg as we flew out of the airport was barely noticed as I dealt with my toddlers who were 2 and 3 years old at the time.

Migrating north took two days: we flew a plane from Jan Smuts airport ( the name of the airport at that time) in Johannesburg to Schiphol airport in Amsterdam; and then waited for three hours until we boarded the aircraft that took us to Pearson International airport in Toronto.

My first view of our new hometown passed in a blur. I remember feeling exhausted as I had not slept for over 24 hours. Every time I nodded off on the plane, one of my little ones would demand my attention. How I wished they would sleep at the same time! I remember feeling nervous as I entered the unknown place. There was a lot of paperwork to fill – and a lot of waiting. All I craved was sleep and yet we had to go through the process, find our bags, and comfort two exhausted children who had no understanding of what was happening.

The sight of my cousin as we exited customs was a blessing. At long last someone I knew.

And so I said hello to Toronto, and to the city I have lived in for the last ten years.

photo (10)If you have missed any of my Migrating North posts, head on over here

© 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: view)


28 thoughts on “Day 2: Saying Goodbye and Hello

    1. I tried to choose something that would be a little different and with my own flavour to it. It is also a way, I think, for me to work through the experience. Glad you are enjoying the series thus far.


  1. My husband and I have often talked about migrating to another country, but it has been for political reasons, we hate our government and what they are doing, more now than ever, but I don’t know where in the world we would go. I love reading your journey here, and can’t wait to hear more.


  2. I started on Day 1 to get a better understanding. Doing what you did couldn’t have been easy, although you did it for good reasons … and 10 years later … life is good. 🙂 …. so cheers to that difficult decision!

    Meanwhile, I hope you can stop by my blog party this weekend … and your readers are welcome! … The reason? Hmmmmmm …..


  3. Having a cousin in Toronto must have been your ‘entry’, Colline? I don’t know how strict Canada are (or were) about immigration but the whole issue has become difficult these days. So glad you found open arms to turn to. 🙂


    1. Having family here played no role at all. The reason we could get in was based on our educational qualifications. The fact that we both speak French added to our points.


  4. It’s good that you had a cousin to meet you. I remember when we emigrated to South Africa from England, with our 3-year-old daughter, we knew absolutely no-one at all. We came over by ship and then travelled to Jo’burg by slow train. I cried a lot on that first night in the hotel in Hillbrow.


    1. I can feel for what you experienced. Even though he lived far away, at least we saw him from time to time. A year later, though, he moved out of the Toronto area completely and now we see one another on a rare occasion.


  5. Some pictures will never fade! Specially when it comes to family you have to leave behind! How long did it take you to feel rested after your 24 hours without sleep? How did your children take the long flight?


    1. It took me quite a few days – and then I was sleeping whenever the girls did.
      During the flight they were okay. One sat on my lap while the other slept on the two seats. They did not really want to eat the food they were given on the plane as they did not like it. Luckily I had raisins and apple in my bag.


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