Its been 17 years on since we arrived together ,our family of three, in this country, Australia. This beautiful country with so many opportunities , we were eager to make our life a good one. We had left behind all of our extended family in South Africa , way past its apartheid days ,although still unstable and vulnerable. It was my home, my country of birth and one I had lived in all my life , all my 18 years. What lay before us now was a bright happy future, filled with dreams and hope. My mother and father and I had left behind my brother , aged 22 to take this journey and we were now only three.
Today should and would normally be a day I felt ecstasy towards. Today marked the day we got off that plane, my first flight ever and stepped onto the Western Australian sand. I always celebrated this day and viewed it with that same hope and brightness. Although this one, 17 years on, I don’t feel that same happiness, but rather an emptiness and abandonment. I feel as vulnerable as the country I loved and left behind in my past.
I came with them, my parents. We started this prominent adventure together. An 18 year old with her mother and father as Immigrants. But now I stand alone.My parents who brought me here, who gave me so much, who self sacrificed every thing for me to have a “better” life ,no longer stand with me.
A 35 year old woman, no longer a teenager. No longer free and passionately pursuing new dreams. Now I am a mother, a mother to three children, a wife, an employee, a “do it all“. At least my fear has diminished now ,no longer young and naive in this big new foreign land with my funny accent and cultural stand outs. At least I feel I actually do assimilate here, I feel that this is my new home now. I have not returned to South Africa in all these 17 years.
We came with heart ache here, we came alone just us three. Each day for the first year a constant struggle, with little money, both parents seeking employment, no house, no bank cards, no cars, no friends and no family. Despite all this, there was that constant fight, that constant hope that each day would get better.
My father would meet me at the bus stop every evening after college and while we walked home together , tears streaming down my youthful cheeks , he would turn to me and say ” look up, you see those clouds?, they are dark, but see behind them in the distance, there is always a silver lining.”.
He’s no longer here. He no longer lives here. In this place where he never became a citizen. This place that was always foreign to him. He left me you see, standing alone in this country staring at the sky , looking for that silver lining. He let go of my hand when he chose to take his life, he chose to walk away. After 17 years here together he decided to turn his back.
It’s much the same with my mother. She’s gone too. Gone to me, when she chose to neglect my children and she turned and placed her back to their abuse.
Now I stand here alone, no longer tied to any part of them or our past. A new surname, a new family, my family. Deep in the depths of my despair and sadness I will fight to celebrate still, celebrate my personal journey to this wonderful place, to Australia. A place where I met my beautiful husband and gave birth to three precious daughters. You see cause there is always silver lining no matter how dark the clouds, there is always some thing to be grateful for, and there is always hope.