My fiancé (Ryan) and I immigrated to become financially free and stable; live safely and comfortably, and to grow in our careers. This post is purely a little introduction to the first of a series of posts about South Africans moving to Europe. I’m writing theses in the hope that it will offer a little bit of advice or guidance for those who are or hope to do the same. It will especially relate more to those who only have a South African passport (like we do). Moving anywhere, especially as you become older, is a big decision to make and a rather challenging one to conquer.
We are two South Africans with big dreams. I’m a Graphic Designer and Ryan is a Software Developer. Back in South Africa life was good, but the struggles were definitely real. To put it bluntly, most South Africans live and work for payday and hope that all the work put in, pays off (quite literally). For most, it’s not always so easy to get by and/or outshine competition to be noticed for their value. There is so much talent in South Africa that goes unnoticed, and because of that, there are plenty of individuals who become discouraged. Yes, it also has to do with the country’s political status issues – let’s not go there – but it’s also the many extra unpaid hours individuals are guilt-tripped into that end up crushing their souls for the happiness of their boss. Jobs have become scarce and therefore it has become the norm to grab any job and fall back into the normal working regime – just to survive.
We followed a routine and a number of house rules to get us through the month. Apart from working, there had to be at least one night of a partying (bonus if it happened more than once) and always did grocery shopping at Pick n Pay, Shoprite or Checkers, never Woolworths. I also became a pro at bargain hunting when it came to clothes and little spoils.
Traveling abroad to beautiful locations were only dreams. 2016 was a rough year for a lot of people and a year that personally almost pushed us to our limits. After making it through the emotional roller coaster we got up and motivated ourselves even harder to change things and win back our lives. After doing the maths, writing pros and cons, we faced the facts and made the decision to move abroad and move forward with our lives. After all, they say a change is as good as a holiday and we really deserved one.
We worked very hard, but Ryan worked even harder to create memories and turn our dreams into reality. Getting to Europe was definitely NOT a walk in the park. There is no gentle breeze blowing through your hair or little birds who chirp sweet melodies in the distance while you hop onto a plane. No, it’s the complete opposite. Its months of research, gale-force nonstop battles with home affairs, mountains of paperwork and a heavy metal backtrack. You need a checklist, a lot of perseverance and tons of patience with “systems” that are out of your control. We literally had two months to collect all the paperwork, sell, move, make necessary arrangements and pack. After blood, sweat and tears we made it happen and can now tick the biggest dream off our list… making it to Europe.
Arriving from very hot and sunny Cape Town we had to learn
fooocking quickly how to cope with the icy feeling in the core of your bones. We arrived in Amsterdam on Kings Day, one of the biggest public holidays celebrated in The Netherlands and the best way to be welcomed to our new home. Bursting excitement and a little fear of unfamiliarity had us completely overwhelmed.
There is so much about Holland I love. The buildings, bicycles, canals, people and everything that is so diverse and uniquely beautiful. Public transport is absolutely amazing! It’s so easy to get around. Trams, buses, metros and trains are all easily accessible.
All in all The Netherlands has been really good to us so far. Naturally, we have had our ups and downs, but we really can’t complain. We have been blessed with an amazing opportunity and intend on making the most of it.
If I could offer a piece of beginner advice to those dreaming of or who are moving abroad is that you must be open-minded, but remember roots; have faith, because everything will fall into place and most importantly be patient… happiness will follow.
To end off part 01 I have compiled a little video. All the footage was taken with my iPhone 6 Plus. I am in no way a professional videographer and/or editor, but always feel videos capture more and therefore put together a little something.