Where do we belong?

Where do I begin? I suppose when something is weighing heavy on your heart you can write about in the hopes that it will make more sense when you read it over and over.  I am South African! But am I really? Born in Zimbabwe and lived there for 13 years. So am I African? The black people don’t seem to think so. They think of us as land thieves and apartheid creators and in a way they are right. Even though I had nothing to do with either of these it doesn’t matter to them. I’m almost embarrassed to be white because all over the media white people are portrayed to be entitled.  

What will solve the hatred and animosity in South Africa? If all the black people moved to the suburbs and all the white people to the locations? Would this be the answer?
The reason I struggle with this is because I feel like we just don’t belong anywhere. Living in the Netherlands has been a real eye opener for me. I met a young South African lady who was told by the Dutch that her family created apartheid and she should be ashamed of herself. REALLY??? We are not racist, I could go to great lengths explaining what I believe were charitable acts of kindness for the underprivileged black people but would that help any? I think not.
So living in the Netherlands my son of 10 was told if he is South African and white then he must be an albino. He should return to South Africa because he’s going to give everyone AIDS. These kids run past the back of our house shouting “AFRICA”. He left his jacket in the park on Friday and went back on Sunday to see if he could find it. Of course he did but the teens in the park decided to burn holes in it with their cigarettes. How cruel? One thing I love about the Netherlands is if you drop something then someone will pick it up and hang it on the nearest tree or pole, not this time though…

I think my biggest question is “where do we belong”? 

Return to South Africa so that we can be punished for something our generation had nothing to do with or live in a country where people believe we created apartheid and are albinos who are here to give them AIDS.
When South Africans feel they can no longer continue to live in the country they were born then they emigrate. That in itself is a monumental task! Families are scattered all over the world, some never get to see each other again. I find this so hard and so very sad. I want my family around me. I crave their love and support.
I stumbled across this article http://morningmail.org/white-south-africans-nowhere-run/

Read it if you have the time. I thought it was interesting that they talked about the white South Africans as “afrikaners”. I’m not Afrikaans I’m English. Funnily enough most Dutch people expect you to know how to speak Dutch if you are from South Africa and this is the only association they want with South Africa. I can’t even speak Afrikaans! I understand it and can have a brief and very basic conversation in Afrikaans but that’s about it.  
I’m frustrated, I’m angry and to what end? Is this how the black South Africans feel? Frustrated and angry? Absolutely, because they feel that change has not benefited them at all. They still feel oppressed and undermined. Guess we will pay for the sins of our forefathers until death do us part.  

Survival Mode

I never realized how flexible I was until I moved to the Netherlands.  All your creature comforts and familiarities from your home country no longer exist.  There are good days and bad days.  When you first arrive in a foreign country (this being my second as we spent nearly 3 years in China) you will be in the “Honeymoon Phase”.  This will last for approximately 6 weeks.  This is an exciting phase because you will get to try the new foods and shopping in a supermarket can be really fun as you discover not only new products but you find products that you used in your home country.  Site seeing will make you feel like a tourist on an extended holiday and the locals will try their best to speak to you in English.  Fascinated by your accent they will try guess where you are from, we get mostly Australia and the U.K. because my 10 year old speaks “proper” English.  When they find out we are South African they are absolutely baffled as to why we don’t speak Dutch then.  This leads into a lengthy conversation that not all pale faces from SA are Afrikaans, in fact I was born in Zimbabwe and only moved to SA when I was 12.  Another thing I quite enjoyed when I first got here was the variety clothes stores, the raspberries growing wild in the parks, the forests and the amazing greenery and plants you have never seen before.  There are farms and animals everywhere with quaint villages and cobble stone roads.

Nope, they are not magic mushrooms. You might want to read this though: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/there-is-a-type-of-fungus-that-can-instantly-induce-orgasms-in-women-with-its-smell-a6687611.html

Sadly reality kicks in….

You are NOT on holiday!  Where to begin, my mind is spinning and the walls are closing in.  Children start school and the daily routines begin.  This is what I call “the deer in headlights” phase.  This is when you need to figure how shit works!  Simple things like registering at the Gemeente “home affairs” can be a menial task.  Best you explain exactly what you’re doing here and how long you plan on staying.  The confusion when they see my husband and I have the same surname is besides me, I can almost hear them thinking to themselves “are they brother and sister” 😱.  They even go so far as to tell you “it’s not normal”. Oh well, guess we’re not normal then.   There are so many rules here and best you obey because if you don’t you will be told off.  Recycling is a good thing, I can’t agree more but when you have accumulated more than 5 empty bottles of wine and need to dispose of them you need to make sure you go at night… unless you don’t mind people staring in disbelief as you do so.

Yip, one bottle at a time.  Make sure you get the right colour bottle in the right hole!

I must say, I have developed quite a thick skin living here.  This however will not change the person I am.  No I don’t want anything from you if I smile at you, I will say please and thank you and look you in the eyes when doing so!   I will help you if I see you are struggling with something and stand aside for you to go first, even if you are a man – yes, because I know you are going to go first anyway.

My advice, take one day at a time and be kind to those around you.