This past month has been really difficult for me. My brother and his family have emigrated to the United States for the next three years, at least.
My heart especially broke at the thought of my nieces leaving. They are still young, aged seven and one and a half, and so we will miss the greater part of their childhood.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m overjoyed at the opportunities and the wonderful new experiences they will have. But that’s the heartbreak. I’m so happy for them but I want cuddles too!
Their moving happened so fast, none of us have had time to catch our breath. My brother told me when he had gone for an interview and I was excited for him. That was three months ago, and now they have gone already!
I don’t think people realise what It means to move your entire life, household and family to another country. The biggest problem was trying to get rid of all their things!
You don’t fully realise how much stuff you accumulate over a short period of time, and when you have small children, the stuff accumulates exponentially.
As much as their moving needs and the logistics were taken care of by the company, when moving day arrived and the actual container arrived, it was a big shock, and even more things had to be left behind.
Minor things became big problems. Because they are moving to the US and the voltage is different, they could not take any of their electrical appliances. There was no space for beds or linens either.
So when they arrived, they had to live in an empty house for a week, until they could get a social security number which would enable them to make large purchases.
New work, new school, new climate, everyone getting sick, it was all a bit much. And all the while, the rest of us at home are left worrying and frustrated because we can’t help.
Then there is the customs experience. Whether it is Home Affairs or the US Embassy, dealing with government officials and having your children in tow is draining and time consuming.
To have to deal with the emotional stress of them leaving is one thing, but the legalities that we have to sort out on their behalf, finalising the sale of goods and vehicles, lease agreements and transfers are also very stressful for everyone on both sides of the Atlantic.
The rushed nature of their emigration meant that if my brother wasn’t organised with paperwork and legal documents, a lot of important financial and legal arrangements could not have been seen to by us after they left.
I’m just grateful that after all the upheaval, we can still keep in contact. Thanks to apps like WhatsApp and Skype the distance doesn’t seem so far and we can still talk to each other frequently.
I still want my cuddles though and it looks like I will have to start planning a visit as soon as I can face all the paperwork again!
By Keshina Thaver