OK, so long story here, but I will try to nutshell it.
I am married to a US citizen. I am a South African citizen. We got married in South Africa in 2007, and after trying hard to live here we decided to move to the States (skip horrible experience at customs*). We lived in the States for around 2 years. I missed my family and friends. A lot. I felt alone and like I did not fit in. My husband, wanting me to be happy, suggested we move back to South Africa and try to make it work. So we did. And it didn’t (work out).
We have been living here for around a year and we seriously cannot live here. I know it is my country and one should be proud of one’s country, but sadly I am not. I feel horrible about this and guilty for some reason. I feel about this country the way I felt about ex-boyfriends, I love what it CAN BE, not what it IS. I love the nature, the animals, my culture and of coarse, my family and friends. But unfortunately, the rest is a big downside.
In the 2 years that we lived in the US, I came back to visit twice. Each time I noticed the deterioration of the country. Each time it was worse. I do not know why this is happening, but it is and it is horribly sad to me. I am sad because I will never be able to show to my children the South Africa I knew and loved. I am sad because everything I know, everyone (OK not everyone but a lot of them) I love is here and I do not want to be here, although I want to be with them. I am sad because everyone is unhappy here, or at least everyone I talk to. I do see some silver linings and I appreciate them, but everyday life is hard and unnecessarily so. People do not give their best in what they do and it seems that they do not care to either. I do realize that there are exceptions, but I am talking out of my experiences.
Another downside is that my husband does not like it here. When you come from a first world country and you try to live and adjust in a third world country, well, you can imagine the struggles you have to go through. He tries hard but it gets him down. He does not understand the language (I am/speak Afrikaans, but not to him obviously. Also, we have 11 official languages. It gets crazy) and people here do not seem to care. It makes him unhappy and in turn affects me and our relationship, which in turn makes him even more unhappy and so on and so on. There are numerous vicious circles in our lives, this is one of them.
So in June 2010 we made the decision to return to the sates. My husband will go back first in August 2010 and after, once again, filing papers for my permanent residency**, shipping our dogs, selling our stuff and killing debt made here, I will follow. It is bittersweet for me, but in the end I feel that it is the best choice for us as a family. I will undoubtedly miss everyone again but this time I know that we tried once and for all and it cannot work. Also, I am not getting any younger and I want to become a mommy. It is quite difficult to think about a family when you are hopping between 2 countries every 2 to 3 years. We need stability and hopefully this will be it.
My family has been taking it pretty well. My mom was the worst but I think she will be fine. It is hard for her because I am her only daughter and her best friend. It is hard for me to leave her (and the rest of my family) but this was the life I chose when I married a foreigner. It is a hard one with even harder decisions to make, but I love my husband so much it is disgusting and he is worth it.
We have problems that normal couples do not have, but then again we do not have to argue over where we will spend Christmas/Easter and what ever other family holiday there is. Our families have never met, and yes this is very sad, but on the other hand, we don’t have to deal with family squabbling. So, bonus there.
Both of us have 2 brothers and both of us have nephews and nieces. Either way, one of us will miss out on seeing these children grow up and being part of it. I will be missing out on my little brother growing up (he is only 11). As you can see this is tough and no choice is fully the right choice. We have to live our lives the way we want to but then again our lives are shared with others as well and it affects others. It is rough. I hope that our choice has the least repercussions on other people. But who knows? Only time will tell.
You are probably asking yourself why things will be better for me this time around in the States. Won’t I get lonely again? Won’t I miss my family and friends again? And the answer is yes, I will. I have no defense strategy against this, yet. I am hoping I will make more friends (which I am horrible at by the way), which will take away the feeling of not fitting in, hopefully. Also, I will have to keep reminding myself why I am doing what I’m doing (also horrible at this). And then lastly, assuming that we can have kiddies, I am hoping that they will keep me so occupied that I have no time to feel sorry for myself. So yes, no strategy at all. I’m just kind of winging it here.
Someone once told me that a piece of your heart always stays behind in all places that you have been. And so, a big piece of my heart will always be in South Africa. I will always come back for visits. But as for making a life here, I do not feel it is possible for me/us. I miss living in the States. Something I didn’t think would happen, but it did.
This story is not over yet, but I feel like I can cross this off my list. I will be continuing with this as it unfolds. I am sure there will be drama (there’s always drama with these things). Next step is to send my 2 dogs over. This is quite the process, lets hope it goes off without problems, unlike the last time***.
P.S. I know that I will probably be judged for this by someone. Undoubtedly people would like to defend South Africa, and you have the right. But if you are uncouth, I will delete your comment. You have been warned.
* I might write about this, but it was a horrifying experience that I am still trying to get over
** Assuming they will let me in again! *nervous laughing*
*** I will write about this, rest assured.