Thursday, June 16, 2011

Realizing a Dream

So, for our big news-- those who know us have likely heard about our plans ad nauseum, but for those of you who haven't: We're moving to South Africa! Our hope is to arrive in Cape Town in December. We'll leave Boston in mid-October, visit Eug's dad in Arizona, hang out with Lia (and Anna and Sarah and Yesica and Ray and Angie?), and then take a boat from Genoa to Cape Town.

We have a tree?!
Closer to Great-granny and great grandpa
We've been considering a move to South Africa ever since I moved back to the U.S. five years ago to marry Eug. The five years of waiting have been important. I remember someone told me once that if I wasn't content here then I wouldn't be content anywhere. That was helpful and not helpful: helpful in that it was probably true.  Unhelpful in that, feeling guilty about the restlessness I felt, I probably faked contentment for a while. And then real contentment slipped up on me.

So our upcoming move is bittersweet: We're very happy in Boston, we love our friends and our church. But the past few years felt like preparation for something. Over the past couple of years, we've begun to feel the timing on the move was right: doors (physical and metaphorical) opened in South Africa, and doors here (Eug's job, my job having a clear timeline) seemed ready to close. We were also financially ready.  Which I'm not saying to discourage people from taking leaps of faith, but for us, it would have been impossible to pay off US debt with South African rand, so getting financially ready felt like a spiritual discipline.

The physical door that opened...

By the time we return, it'll have been about eleven years that I've lived outside SA: in the UK, USA, and Eritrea, with visits to many other exciting places. Eug will have lived in Massachusetts for about 12 years (1997-present, with two years in Japan).

Noah already has his SA rugby gear (or wait, I guess he outgrew it...)
We're not totally sure what our overarching purpose will be in South Africa (or if we need one-- perhaps being and growing is enough), but it seems like a big deal just to be saying yes to returning when a lot of people have been leaving. That's not to say the move is a sacrifice- far from it- but that it's ok if the transition is not totally smooth. Or maybe I'm just giving myself permission to grumble at SARS and SA Home Affairs.

Preparation
Getting rid of stuff
We've already moved twice since Noah was born, but this move will be much more radical in getting rid of stuff, because of the cost of shipping. I liked what Baker did over at ManvsDebt to keep tabs on their family's stuff. I may try something like that on Concrete Gardener, if only to have a strong sense of why we're keeping what we're keeping.

Figuring out paperwork
We've entered a season of passports and visas as we get residence (temporary then permanent) for Eug, South African citizenship for Noah, and for me, getting U.S. citizenship and applying to retain South African citizenship. We're also figuring tax laws and money transfer. It's complicated, but we'll be well-poised to share what we've learned, should anyone need support in their own move. Our experience as a tri-continental family is that immigration status has been a fairly constant annoyance but never something that threatened to split up our family for any length of time.

The Logistics of Working from a Different Location
When we arrive in SA, our house will still be rented out and so we're still deciding where we'll stay (or travel) in the month before it becomes available. But as we travel and settle in SA, we'll be figuring out stuff like internet and working remotely. Eug already has practice at this: He's worked for his Boston clients while in South Africa, Korea, and Mexico. It'll be new for me, I'll be doing some work for my U.S. employer, while starting a PhD and doing some work in South Africa. And, uh, taking care of Noah.

As we prepare for our move and I continue the blog from South Africa, I'd love to hear from you (by e-mail concretegardenerblog (at) gmail (dot) com-- or via the comments section, whatever you're more comfortable with) what's been most helpful about the blog, and what's been less helpful, and what you'd like more of.

Thanks for all your support, either here in Boston, in South Africa, or from afar. We're so excited to see what's in store for us next.

3 comments:

leah said...

I can't believe this is happening so soon! I'm going to miss you guys a lot!

On a selfish note, I raise my hand for wanting to take off your hands the baby swing I saw in the tiramisu post. You know, JUST IN CASE that's one of the things you're trying to offload. :)

Jo said...

Are you thinking about the jumper? If so, yes! =)

Marz said...

Great news! :D It's going to be a first to have one of my best friends move *closer* and not *further away*! :)

I had heard some rumours or maybe you mentioned it earlier in your blog, but wasn't sure if it was definite that you were moving back.

All the best for the big move in December, and let me know if there's anything we can help with?