Some of the long time News24 commentators may remember that I am a mom. It's one of the reasons I decided to leave SA, but was it the right choice? Nearly six months on, in spite of the snow, I think so. I'd like to share one of the big reasons.
My daughter is four. She turned four in Canada, which means she's not old enough to enter the free school system yet. That means I've had to spend a small fortune on daycare ($750 a month is the going rate over here.)
That's beside the point though - as is the fact that over here, that's very affordable for most parents.
This story is about my daughter's best friends - and how they prove that I made the right choice.
Let's start with their names: Jackie, Ariel and Takayoshi.
As you can guess from the above, Takayoshi is a little Japanese Canadian boy. He's a born Canadian though - even though he has Japanese heritage.
Ariel is a little Canadian girl. She was born here - as were her parents.
Jackie is a little boy from Somalia. His parents came to Canada as refugees. He's Canadian now too though, since his parents became citizens.
The rest of her class is pretty much the same. Korean, first nations, Indian and other races, as well as more than a few of mixed heritage - and the teachers are a mixed bag too.
None of that matters over here though. Even when my daughter came home the other day announcing that she's white (I've never used race to define her, so I assume they were discussing it at school) it wasn't in a guilt ridden or race obsessed manner. It was like hair colour or eye colour - a trait rather than a definition.
No matter what anyone has to say about my decision to leave SA, I can 100% say that having my daughter grow up somewhere that is not race obsessed is worth any sacrifice.
I cannot tell you how happy I am that my child is growing up integrated with other races, without the baggage tacked on to that in South Africa.
What a difference to what we're used to, but what a breath of fresh air! I can handle a little snow when one of the biggest goals of leaving SA have so clearly been achieved by the move.