Sometimes when we sit around the table at dinner time, my family and I play the ‘if’ game. (We always seem to play when it is mid-February and the temperature outside is below -20!)
The game always starts with the sentence, “What if we had never left South Africa to move to Toronto.”
- We would have spent more time outside (remember this game is always played mid-winter!).
- We would not have experienced living in cold, snowy climes.
- We would have had to drive the children everywhere. They certainly would not have gone out with their friends as they do now.
- We would have lived in the suburbs in a house with an outdoor pool.
- We would have spent more time with family – siblings, cousins, grandparents.
- We would have driven everywhere. Now we walk a lot: to the supermarket, to the subway station, to work.
- My daughters would have gone to a private school. Instead now they attend a very good public school within walking distance of where we live.
- My daughters would have had to learn Afrikaans – and they would not have learned to speak French.
- We would not have used the public transport system – which in Johannesburg is very poor. Now we go everywhere using the TTC (Toronto’s public transit system). We love it! The trains and buses are frequent; and we do not have to stress when driving in a busy city.
- I would have had a different work experience. In Toronto, my teaching experience is so much more than what I experienced in Johannesburg. The school board I now work for has a lot more supports in place for teachers than the school board I used to work for – and I currently work at a school that has many resources available to me.
- My husband would not have had the experience of working at a large international company.
Often when we play this game, my husband and I feel nostalgic for the lifestyle we lived in South Africa. We do miss the good weather and our loved ones whom we left behind. But we remind ourselves of why we left. And, when we look at the positive experiences our children have had and their successes, we know we made the right choice.
Do you play the ‘if’ game?
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018
(This post is linked to Frank’s If Challenge. You are invited to join in and write a post of your own. The post can be in any format: a poem, an artistic impression, a commentary. Once you have written your post, you can share your post on Frank’s page.