Day 27: Freedom

Since moving to Toronto, I have experienced the freedom to walk about unfettered by fear of attack. I have walked safely not only in broad daylight, but also on lamplit streets unaccompanied by person or concern.

It is not only myself who has experienced this freedom. My husband, who was attacked a few times on the streets of Johannesburg, walks down the roads of Toronto with no thought of repeating the experience. I am comfortable with my daughters walking to the library or to school on their own. In South Africa my husband and I would have insisted that we drive them everywhere. No parent there allows their young daughter to walk even to the nearby shops without an adult.

Even though there is a certain freedom to walking the streets in Toronto, I still warn my girls to be wary. Through example, I show them the importance of walking down well-lit streets and choosing busy streets for their route. I tell them of safety alerts given by the schools, and explain to them the importance of thinking of their own safety.

I do feel a sense of freedom from crime since living here. My habits, though, have been created in a country that isn’t crime-free. And sometimes old habits die hard.

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. Today’s prompt is: free)

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24 thoughts on “Day 27: Freedom

  1. True, it is always good to be mindful of safety, but what a difference it is walking in safe streets. When I was in Manila, I was mugged twice – the first time was when a snatcher grabbed my necklace while I was in a jeepney (an open window kind of vehicle); the other time was inside a cab – the driver picked up his gang further down the road we were traveling. Each time I walk in Manila streets, I would keep my bag in front of me and cover it with my arms. I always walked almost always towards the middle of the road so that I would not be surprised when I reach dark corners. How good it is to be not worried at every turn – but the behavior stayed with me. 🙂

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    1. What you describe is the way I used to walk in the streets in South Africa – with my bag tucked tightly under my arm and all my senses aware of who is around me. As you say, it is a relief to no longer have to walk like that.

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  2. I like how you and the fan are still careful – but not in the grips of fear….
    when we left Denver in 2000, the month we left there was a very interesting article in the newspaper. they had interviewed all these guys on death row and they were sharing some of their stories. You know, some were of faith and finding God, but one of the guys was firm to offer warnings to women to keep their guard up. It was chilling – but also sobering to read…and so true – but it is so refreshing to have that freedom you note here. 🙂

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  3. Yes, you’re so right about old habits dying hard, Colline. I don’t think one can ever be too careful wherever we may be living, but I have to admit that I love not having my house surrounded by high walls and electric fencing, and not being afraid whenever we have to stop at traffic lights at night. The freedom from such fear is very liberating indeed. 🙂

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  4. Safety is so important, no matter where you live I think. You can’t ever underestimate how important it is. We can be too complacent about it at times. Even here, as well, it isn’t crime free, but it is low crime, I have taught my girls the same thing. I am glad that you do let them explore there, it is important to teach children that the world is not always scary, and that if you are careful you will be fine. We see people here who won’t let their children walk to school, or do anything on their own. It isn’t good for them.

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      1. I am sure they do, I worry about the kids who grow up here, but their parents teach them to be scared of the world, it is not good. I think you have been great parents and it shows in your blog how much you care about your girls.

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        1. We do Leanne. And we try to make them confident. It was scary for me as a mom the first time they went out on their own but they were so proud of their achievement 🙂

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  5. Good to know you now have a certain sense of security.
    It really is a good think that you still have an awareness about you when out in the streets.
    When I came back from Vietnam they said one of the symptoms of PTSD is hyper awareness.
    I think that maybe what you are describing.
    Regards
    Ian

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    1. You may be right Emu. When living in South Africa, one is always aware of who is around you – when you walk the streets, when you are driving, and when you are entering your home.

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  6. No matter how safe your locale, Colline, one must remain alert to her/his surroundings. You’re wise to instill that into your children. There’s no need to be fearful, just aware.

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