There is a saying that says the grass is only greener because the manure is deeper…… So true! Very fed-up with Mbeki and that disgraceful Minister of Health we had, I decided this place is doomed! This was 6 years ago. With grand illusions I packed my Kugel and baby boy up and off we flew to America to go live the American dream. I was fortunate to have relatives over there and had a job and a Green Card before we left. Those of you that have had to leave the country for America will appreciate the following. I had $20,000 cash on me when we arrived at JFK and because I didn’t steal the money I openly declared the money when we entered. The next thing I knew I was in an FBI cubicle being interrogated about this large sum of cash. Drug Dealer!! After some explanations and whatever proof I could find amongst my documentation, we were released 4 hours later, missing our connecting flight to our final destination. Little Bagel Boy hasn’t had his milk for hours so he isn’t a very happy little boy. Kugel is frustrated because she needs to keep him calm so I can get us out of this pickle. It is 1 January in New York and the snow is 10 metres deep. We now have to schedule a new flight and find a place to sleep for the night. I felt like Joseph having to find shelter for Mary and my precious little Boy. We then slither and slide in the snow in a yellow taxi towards Manhattan and eventually get some rest. 11 hours to London, 2 hours stop, another 7 hours to New York, 4 hours with the FBI and added up it means my crown prince hasn’t seen a bed for a full 24 hours! Don’t screw with a little Jew! He will let you know about it. The next morning we slither and slide back to the airport and suddenly some more snow starts pouring down. Our flight is delayed because the wings of the planes ice up and they have to de-ice the wings before we can fly. All flights are delayed and we are stuck for 7 hours with crown prince inside a terminal building. Eventually we arrive at our destination and we walk into our new apartment the relatives rented on my behalf because I wasn’t flying until I knew my family had a roof over their heads. One double bed, a coach and a cot. First thing the next day, we need a car. Only one because Lauren could drop me at work and use the car during the day. We are saving for a house, so no luxury of two cars. We get to the dealership and if you think you are going in choosing a car quickly, think again. They kept us there for 7 hours. I had to call South Africa and get all kinds of verification before we eventually drive out there late that night. The dealerships work till about 9 at night, every night. The next day I’m driving the new car when all of a sudden I get stopped by a very rude American cop on his bike. He claimed I travelled 60 mph in a 35 mph zone. I ask him what proof does he have of my over speeding and he says if he says I was driving 60, then it is a fact. He doesn’t need any device to prove to me what I was driving. He writes a ticket and in my typical “windgat” South African manner, I scrunch the ticket up in front of his eyes and drive off. I start working and Lauren starts house hunting. We find a nice little house. The estate agent tells me the house even has a gas range. A gas range? What is that? She points to the stove. I immediately decline the house because I have visions of blue Cadac gas bottles. She then tells me the gas comes piped in the ground and I won’t have to carry gas bottles around. I say “oh” and we sign. The deposit on the house is $12,000 and I go pay the deposit and we move in. The next thing the transferring company (escrow company) calls me and says I have to come in and give them a paper trail of how I got the $12,000 cash. That was when I learned that it is American law that any cash paid into a bank over $10,000 must be questioned. At work I settle into my new office and meet all my new staff. I have to repeat myself about everything I say because they don’t understand my English. I then slowly learn that there is English and then you get American. The labour laws in America are so bad that very few people get permanent appointments. That means a person isn’t employed for more than 29 hours a week. Employers are then not obliged to deduct pension and medical and can fire the temporary worker on the spot. Because of this 29 hour per week situation, I had two single mothers having to work three jobs to be able to survive because it isn’t possible in America to survive on the minimum wage rate and only working 29 hours a week. So many millions of Americans have no other option but to work at one place during the day and at a MacDonald’s at night. The majority of American kids run wild after school because there simply isn’t the luxury of having a parent at home to supervise. My staff is frustrating the living hell out of me because their productivity levels are shocking. Everybody works behind a closed door so inspection is a difficult issue. One night I decided to a computer check on Internet histories and found that all the men were on porn sites when they should have been working. Remember I told you about the rude cop? I get a notice mailed me that my car insurance has been cancelled. I didn’t pay my fine because I scrunched up the ticket remember? They cancelled my car insurance. We had both gotten our American drivers licenses by then, which I must say is a walk in the park when compared to here. I then call the insurance company and they agree to insure me but because I am a risk now, they doubled my premium. The car insurance ended a $100 more than the car payment. I continue to ignore the unpaid fine. Windgat me. So we are driving very peacefully with our crown prince one afternoon in the sunny California, when I get pulled over by the cops driving around with a scanner thing. They confiscate my car’s number plates, my license and wingat me has to be driven to work by Kugel everyday. No drivers licence for 9 months. I had to attend a rehabilitation program for drivers and was thrown into a big lecture hall for 3 days with all the drunk drivers who lost their licenses. The house has a lawn. I have never mowed a lawn in my life. I got a contractor in and removed the lawn and paved it with gravel stones, which looked terrible. I still have a phobia about lawnmowers but I like grass. LOL The house also had tiles all over except in the bedrooms and it was my job to wash the tiles. Yes I washed tiles after work. With a one year old in the house, the tiles had to washed daily. Lauren washes our washing and irons while she watches television. While she is ironing, I sit on Internet and read all the news of South Africa. I knew every day of the three years we lived there how hot or cold Joburg was. After the speeding trauma I used to sit and dream about the road between Beaufort West and Laingsburg and having a BMW that can do 250 kph. All I wanted was to feel the freedom of the land of my birth again. I felt completely trapped, jailed and incarcerated. It was April 3 years ago that I got a pleasant surprise from the IRS. They demanded an extra $33,000 from me for income tax. I realised I was in a socialist country where the ones with jobs were providing for the ones without jobs and funding wars. In certain states some men are driving around in Cadillacs they lease with the money the government grants them every month. They get $250 grant per child and the more kids they make the more money they get. I sat back and looked at what I had to pay over to the tax man and wondered what was actually different about America? Why would I be thousands of miles away from our family, made no friends because Americans find us a bit odd and sit and read South African news in my spare time? We sold the house, I resigned and we came back. The best decision I have ever made! Give me the ANC and all its troubles any day and I will take my own bag of salt and carry it laughing all the way!