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Karen C
 
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To the other side and back again

01 December 2010, 15:00  - Karen C
I was an expat. In fact, I haven’t been back in SA yet as long as I was away for.

I lived in Auckland, New Zealand. What a beautiful country. People say that South Africa has the best of everything. I think those people haven’t been to New Zealand.

New Zealand has snow capped mountains, white sandy beaches, and black sandy beaches (on the east coast). There is also a wine route, a semi-dessert, and game farms. Sure they don’t have the “Big 5”, but they do have other weird and just as wonderful creatures.

You pay 33% tax which is quite a pocket full, but the benefits are wonderful. As a Permanent Resident I felt the benefits. Prescription medication at only $3, road works that only last a day or two. Or a fire brigade that responds to your call within five minutes, even if it was just a precautionary call out.

I know from experience. I thought there was a fire in a building on my way to work, so I called, and before I had even reached the office, I saw the fire truck racing past me. Turns out it wasn’t a fire, but I was called back and thanked for my concern.

So why did I leave South Africa? The same reason every white person does, safety, security, first world living, a decent currency, a job that pays well, a life style where kids can play in the streets, you can bar hop and still get home safe by calling a cab.

And then why did I come back? The same reason everyone does. Family, the weather, and the vibe South Africa has and it is home.

But it’s like an ex-boyfriend. When you’re sitting at home alone on a Saturday night, you can’t seem to remember why he is your ex and you only remember the good things. So you invite him over for a drink.

And at first you guys get on like a house on fire and you question “why did we ever break up?”. Until he has a few more drinks, and starts to beat you, and call you names. That’s South Africa for you. You forget the bad, because all you can do is remember the good.

And just like me now. I came back, finding it hard to remember why I left in the first place. Now that I’m back I am seeing things first hand again, and I’m already making plans to leave again. I have had a taste of “what it can be like”, and I want that feeling back.

- Are you a South African living abroad interested in sharing your views? What is it like for a South African living in a foreign country or how do you view South Africa from a distance? Send us your columns to feedback@news24.com and you might get published in our new Beyond Borders section.

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Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

 

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