I know the meaning of existence…..

I know the meaning of existence

I know the meaning of existence, I’ve done it for a year.  Believe me, it has to be existence, because it isn’t  life, what I have done for the past year one cannot call living..

Years gone by

Two years ago, I lived in South Africa. I had my whole life ahead, a future to look forward to and lots of plans.  The man I’d lived with for 10 years (lets call him Mr Almost Right) As I was saying, Mr Right, myself and our five children were moving to the UK.

The Brady bunch

My daughter is 24 so after travelling the world for three years as first class cabin crew for a middle east airline.  She was coming to London.  She never really got on with Mr Right, her being a feminist and him a chauvinist, well they just couldn’t live happily under the same roof

Many years ago we went though a period of children moving in and moving out.  Instead of trying to make things work they ran away to their other parent.  My daughters father passed away when she was a baby so she was not as lucky as the others – and bless her, she tried her best to make things pleasant but she is very protective of me and every debate or little tiff would really upset her.

Mr Right and I always stuck together, we used to joke that it was the parents vs the children.  We had agreed fairly early on to put up a united front and not allow the children to play on our weaknesses – as children from divorced homes sometimes tend to do.  We stuck by each other and respected the choices our children made.  We knew they would come back, well lets say we hoped they would come back and they did.

Another wee little conflict area, apart from the alcoholic binges, was his parents – they really didn’t like me.  I was English, catholic and their son was in love with me.  No problem for most people…..most.

Deciding to leave SA

After going through robberies, a hit and run which wrote off my car and being hijacked at my gate at gunpoint by three black men, we decided it was time to leave our beautiful, beloved country.  We were going to leave South Africa.  We had planned for two years to move to another country.  It took us about 6 months to decide by a process of elimination, which country to go to.  The UK was not my preferred choice, I wanted to try Australia or New Zealand.

The deciding factor was Mr Right’s parents were living in Northern Ireland and they are getting old and his mother was not well at that time – so Northern Ireland it was.

Those left behind

Prior to leaving South Africa we went through a terribly difficult time with my ‘step son’ he was rebelling and really just trying to get his dad’s attention.  He really chose the worst time with the move and all involved looming.  Well this teenager went right off the tracks and I wont go into detail but he ended up expelled from school, living at a friend’s house and refused to leave South Africa.  We thought he might have had a mind change at the last-minute, but he didn’t – this was not good.

So in the few paragraphs above I have outlined 10 years of my life with a family as dysfunctional as most others, okay perhaps ours was a little bit more so than others.

The heart of the matter

I outlined all this very briefly and unemotionally – but trust me, the relationship I had with this man was anything but unemotional.  I have hated him more than I have hated anyone else in my life…. and I have loved him more than life itself.  Before I go further,  I want to change that last sentence to present tense.  That one little sentence which has held me captive for 10 years in South Africa, a year and a half in the UK, and probably forever more.

Our world fell apart

Moving to Northern Ireland in January last year was tinged with bad luck from the beginning.  Leaving my parents in South Africa broke my heart, they were my voices of reason.  So when all the stress involved in moving began to get too much we both (Mr Right and I) didn’t compromise and everything fell apart.

Leaving the Emerald Isle

In May last year my sons and I took the ferry, with 10 boxes of personal belongings most of the boxes were my sons instruments.  We moved in with a cousin I hadn’t seen since I was twelve-year-old.  Within a month I had arranged a house, furnished it and enrolled my sons into college to further their education.  I am thankful to the government for much of this even though I had to desperately fight tooth and nail every step of the way for anything and everything.  When I look back I think that a divine intervention created all the obstacles to keep my mind busy and avoid my dropping into a heartbroken depression – well, that and the fact that I really had to keep a brave front for the sake of my boys.  Their lives had also been torn apart.

Thank goodness for my sons

So I went through a melt down, it has left me broke, alone, scared, unmotivated, disinterested and sad. I have no job, no prospects, I have a health condition which has grown rapidly worse.  All of this and still I can proudly say that I manage to put a smile on my face every time my sons walk in the door. In a way my kids have saved my life, without them I think I would have fallen to pieces.

Living in Limbo

The love of my life still lives in Northern Ireland.  His son will be coming to live with him later this year.  We still chat on the phone, email and text messages.  Both of us find it hard to say goodbye.  We know our love is strong but we also know we cannot be together right now.  We have taken a celibacy vow until we meet again, we will have to reassess then what to do.  We trust one another emphatically and can therefore live apart yet together in heart.  I don’t know how long this will last but I am happy with this arrangement for now.

New beginnings

Now I have a little voice inside me, deep down inside, telling me to get my life back together again, to start to live again.  It’s telling me to look for work, find my true independence, make friends, focus out – focus out, stop focussing in.  Look at all the life and beauty (not that there’s much of that where I live) but Iam minutes from the sea, where there are some of the most beautiful and expansive beaches in the country.  Explore, learn, get excited, be interested, give myself to the world and take back my life.

So, my friends – I’ve been knocked down but I’ll get up again.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life, wish me luck!


I’m not a racist, I’m a realist

Most people, if they don’t initially mistake us for Ozzies, recognise our South African twangs.

The first thing I normally hear is “why did you leave South Africa?” followed by “its so cold here.”

Well I left South Africa, one of the most beautiful countries in the world because I had to escape while I could.  Yes, this beautiful country is unfortunately being destroyed by high, violent crime and corruption.  It is fast becoming just like the other African countries.

I was hijacked by three black men in my driveway.  There is no way to describe the fear when they point a huge firearm to your head.  I thought they were going to kill me.  They stole my car with all my personal belongings and camera but as all complacent South Africans say “at least the children weren’t in the car,” “at least they didn’t hurt me” True, and I am thankful for those small mercies but what they did to my mind is not funny.  I lived in fear, I was afraid to go to my own house alone.  If I saw people or cars outside our house I would drive around the block a few times while I waited for a gate escort from our security company.

The very sad thing is, almost every South African has a similar or worse personal story to tell.  It is crazy there, you get in from work and batton down the hatches, all security doors are locked and when you go to bed at night the house is alarmed in and out and the armed response are on the alert.

Every open window has burglar bars, every external door is secured with an iron security gate.  Those that aren’t are few and far between.

So essentially when we got to our houses we locked ourselves into our jails, safe from the outside world – no way to live.

I can honestly say that during the five months I lived in Northern Ireland and the eight months I have lived in England, I have not missed South Africa, I have not been home sick – I am glad we all got away before the troubles start up again.

My own personal opinion is that the underprivileged people move into an area, they degrade the area by erecting their makeshift tin shacks  which  are interesting, but an eyesore, not to mention a huge firehazzard.  These people drain every resource offered to them, from the land, government and  public, then they get up and move on.

So, there are a  couple of the reasons I have for leaving the country.  As for the cold, you will not believe, but I have been colder in SA than I have ever been in the UK.  You are geared up for the cold here.  In SA it gets extremely hot and cold but few homes are equipped to handle the temperature.Clothing in SA is also very thin and skimpy, not for wearing in the extreme UK temperatures.

I will be discussing other issues in future blogs.  Please dont let me put you off going to visit this beautiful country at the bottom of the African continent – just be aware, be alert and dont trust anyone – remember, its not being a racist, its being a realist.