Saturday, 26 July 2014

20 Years on

Some of you will know that I was not born in Australia, but instead South Africa. In 1993, things in the country I was born, became unstable and, to put it bluntly, terrifying. My parents had started making plans of immigration out of South Africa to initially New Zealand. The social implication of which caused us to be ostracized, My brother and I especially as we were at school at the time of this decision. 

I did not attend school in 1994, which at 15 was a very big disruption to the routine of my life. In April my father and brother left for Perth, Australia while we waited for immigration applications. My mother and I stayed behind until our house could be sold, meanwhile we lived with my paternal grandparents. Unfortunately my grandmother health was declining and the doctors had sent her to hospital for test. I saw her the first day she was there, and helped her get settled in. I am a bit hazy on the timetable of what occurred but one morning when they were preparing her for a scan she became very ill and exploratory surgery was arranged.  For many years my grandmother had been told she has a hermia in her bowl which was the cause of the pain and digestive issues she had. This surgery proved that to be very false.  A 1 kg tumor was found on her bowl. 

Around this time my parents had to leave the 6th floor apartment they were staying in and move into a retirement village type arrangement. While my grandmother was in hospital we moved there belongings, at the same time my mother and I prepared ourselves for our departure of South Africa. The night before leaving I was watching a broadcast of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 Comet's last fragments smacking into Saturn's surface. This was the day before my mother and I was scheduled to fly out. While I was watching the celestial wonderment, my mother was out with my grandfather visiting my grandmother. When they returned, I was told that my grandmother had not recovered from the surgery and had passed away. I cannot recall how I felt, there was just so much going on. It was a lot to take in as a lot had taken place in such a short time. 

The following morning we were up and ready to go, I remember my mother making the statement the we could stay a few weeks longer and help with arrangements for my grandmothers funeral, but with all the political unrest my grandfather just wanted to see us safe. He insisted we keep to the plan and fly out that morning. First time I cried was when the wheels of the plane left the ground, that was the moment of realisation that we were leaving and nothing would ever be the same again. My childhood as I knew it was well and truly over. From Port Elizabeth we flew to Johannesburg and from there a 9 hour or so flight to Perth. We landed at some ungodly hour of the morning, it was still black out side and it was COLD.

And here I am 20 years later, so many adventures and learning curves, heartbreak and discoveries. I would not trade any of it in for a second. 

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