Life in America - We made the move.

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Mr Zog

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Ok, so this thread has been requested by many of you guys out there and even some girls. I've been putting off starting it, because I wondered just how much interest there could be in a move to the USA? But I've been here just over a week now, and I have had so many " WTF"  moments that I have decided to share them. So bear with me, I'll get to them.

But I have to start at the beginning, just to give some background...  :sip:
 

Mr Zog

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I never ever considered that I would ever move to the USA. I had thought about Australia, because a good mate from school made the move and he seemed to adapt quite well. I even thought about moving to Botswana once, but that didn't happen either. Obviously  :biggrin:

But then I met this really hot chick from the USA. And we hit it off big time. We even got married, thats how big we hit it off. But even then I didn't think that I'd MOVE to the USA. Visit, of course. Meet all her friends back home, see all those awesome places I'd only read about or seen on TV. But thats it, never MOVE to the USA.

But then one day, about a year ago she and I were chatting. I was doing my 9-week tax-rotation in Lesotho, and we were talking about how kak it is that I have to work out of the country in order to look after my family. And how I have to spend so much time away from home as a result. I mean, it's just not lekker, being away from home so much. It really puts a strain on the home life.

So we started talking about various options. But the only really viable one was that we move to the USA, and start over. With the provisio that whatever job I do over here, I live at home. No nightshifts, no away-jobs. Deal.

Another decision was WHERE in the USA? The USA is a pretty big place, and there are lots of different areas to live in. The wife was from Baltimore, Maryland. But after 3 winters in Lesotho I told her that there was no way I was going to live in a place where I could potentially freeze to death. It had to be warm. She told me that the only other place in the USA that she would like to live would be Florida. And not just anywhere in Florida, it had to be sort of around the middle, half-way up. And the east coast. And within a reasonable distance from the ocean. Close enough that we would be able to hit the beach weekends.

So she showed me a spot on the map of where she wanted to be. She told me about it, I googled it stukkend, and we made the decision. We would move to Florida. Brevard County. Somewhere in the vicinity of Melbourne...

The only snag was getting the Immigration Visa from the US Consulate. The website told us what we needed to do, and it sounded moerofa complicated. Endless reams of paperwork, medicals, payments... eish. But we knuckled down and persisted. Got all the papers that they wanted; Police clearance certificate, work qualifications, proof of co-habitation, UNABRIDGED birth certificate for me, UNABRIDGED marriage certificate, proof of previous divorce (had to get the Afrikaans version I got from the High-Court on the day pf the divorce Translated - the 'mericans dont understand Afrikaans) Etc etc etc...

We hit snags, that ended up costing us over R20k in extra expenses. But we persisted. We didn't lose sight of the goal. I will admit that I formulated a " plan B"  for IF they decided not to accept me for an immigration visa. It involved a move within SA, down to the coast...  

WE were saving too. Saving like crazy. Doing away with the lekker things in life, like braai's, and restaurants, and farkles for the bike. And not spending money on anything we didn't REALLY need.

Eventually we had all our paperwork done and submitted. And we got the interview at the consulate in JHB. Jissis I was nervous hey! Sweating like crazy... but it went well and the lady said that I would get an answer from them within about 10 working days. I got the email from them 36 HOURS later to say that I had been approved for an immigration visa!

I'll just say that that night I got rather vrot  ;D  :lol8:
 

Draadwerk

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Sub - ek lees - baie interessant - gooi jou Merican  :imaposer:
 

Mr Zog

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The immigration visa is a sticker that they paste into your passport. Its got lots of stuff printed into it, but one of the most important things is the date. They give you a certain amount of time (6 months from the date of your medical exam) to enter the USA. If you don't enter by that date the immigration visa is cancelled and you start the entire process over again. My final date for entry was 12 April 2016. I had to be in the USA by then, or bust.

I decided that it would be best if I could finish the financial year in SA just so that my tax was sorted. So we booked the flight tickets for 15 MARCH. I resigned my job so that I would finish off at the end of Feb. Then I would still have 2 weeks from getting back home from Lesotho to finish packing all our stuff, sell the car, sell the bike, sell everything else that we weren't taking with us, load the rest for the shipping company, and get on a plane. Easy peasy....

Right. NOT.

The amount of things that needed to be done was mind-boggling. Things that should be simple, like cancelling the Telkom line, became a nightmare. I thought that I had planned everything really well. But I was wrong, there was so much that I hadn't thought of, that came back to bite me. Stuff like saying goodbye to friends and family members. Eventually we left with many people not having seen us to say goodbye. Stuff that I could have sold for good money I either gave away for free, of flipped for stupid bargains, just so that it was out of the house, out of the way. The couple that worked for me, the gardener and the maid, they made out like kings! more than 4 car-loads of stuff (clothing, bedding, kitchen stuff, etc etc etc)

But finally dates started arriving. Originally we were looking at getting a 20-foot shipping container, loading ALL our stuff. Furniture, the lot, but the quote was around US$10k for that. Not achievable. Cancel that idea. Then we looked at 4 pallet loads of stuff. Quote - almost R40k. Stuff that. Reduce the load to 2 pallets, quote around the R25k mark. Just to get it to Miami, more costs that side. Ok, sums done. It will cost more than R25k to replace the stuff we want to take over, and some of that stuff has a lot of sentimental value to us.

But even so, there is only so much one can fit onto 2 pallet-loads. We had to be very strict in our selection of what we would take, and what we would leave behind. We sorted through our clothing, and the stuff that we weren't taking along on the plane needed to get packed into the boxes for the pallets. But then a brainwave; instead of using bubble-wrap to protect all the breakables, use the clothing. Saves having to pack the clothes separately, saves on bubble-wrap, but most importantly we save space.

The shipping company arrived on the Friday (11 March) to collect the stuff for shipping. A standard pallet is 1200 x 1200, and can be packed up to 1800 high. Believe me when I say that both our pallets JUST made it. No room to spare. Nothing. Nada. Exactly at the max dimensions specified. Luckily they work on volume and not weight  ;D
 

Ganjora

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more pictures,
less words.
 

hedleyj

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As I have said before, your writing style is compelling and I believe you missed your vocation in life. You need to collect your thoughts on your life at 10000 feet and begin writing. It will make for brilliant reading. Looking forward to the first in the long line of "bestsellers by ZOG"

 

Mr Zog

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Now before you-all (thats an american way of saying it, just for you Draatie  ;D ) think that it was an easy decision to make, let me stop you right there.

I have worked extensively in Africa, but I have never left the African continent. So I'm an African, through and through. Born and raised. African dust runs in my veins, I love the African continent.

I have family in Africa. My mom, my dad, my step-mom and step-sister, my grandfather, my sister, aunts and uncles etc.

But the BIGGEST fuckup. A fuckup that almost made me cancel everything.

I have a son in Africa.

My son is 8 years old, and he lives with his mom. My ex. She has custody, and there is no way she would ever let him come with me to the USA. Never. I would have to leave him behind. Jissis guys. Those of you who are dads, try thinking about that? Try put yourselves in my shoes for a few seconds. No lekker. Not lekker at all.

I did justify it for myself though. My justification. Nobody else's, so judge me if you want to, I don't care. Its my choice, my call, so be it. If its the wrong call, I'll live with the consequences. My justifications: When the time comes for him to go to university, he will have access to any university that he chooses in the USA, so he can get a decent education. And if he decides that he wants to come and live in the USA later, he will have the access to do that too. Lets say that he'll have a back-door, should he need/want to use it.

I got him a smartphone, and installed whatsapp for him. I gave him my old laptop, and registered him a Skype account. I gave the ex my 3G wifi router, and a large amount of data so that my son and I would be able to chat as often as possible. Just so that he would know that daddy hasn't abandoned him. So that he can call me, whenever he wants to. We are close as father and son, and I wanted to try and keep it that way. By any way that I could. I hope I have succeeded.

I'll end off this installment now. its almost 1am here, and I need to get some sleep now.

I'll just say that the last couple of weeks in SA I had my bladder very close to my eyes. In fact my eyes overflowed several times...  :'(
 

Rynet

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Cool , thanks for sharing Mr Zog . You write well ,and authentically :thumleft:

I lived in USA for almost 2 years :  7 months in Fort Laudedale , Florida,  7 months in LA , CA and 5 months in NY and the rest of the time I travelled around ,  so am very interested to read about your experience.  I prefer SA over USA  , but I'm sentimentally fond of America  .

One thing I did like about America is that with hard work you can get far .  South Africans have a good name there , we are hard working . Preserve your sanity and get some UK and Aussie friends who live there.  :biggrin:
 
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My daughter is turning eight soon and tears started rolling down my face when I imagined myself to be in your position. Can only imagine how difficult it must have been for you to leave your son behind....... Strongs!
 

DirtyTeNeRe

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Excellent. Thank you for sharing, the nuts and bolts of this is very interesting

Sent from my D6603 using Tapatalk
 

Geriatrix

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Liar.

If your wife was so hot you would have introduced her to us......

All the best. If you decide to get back to Emergency Medicine let me know.
Send lots of pictures, please.

What work will you do?
 

Keith Barbier

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I feel for you Mr Zog  :xxbah:

Enjoy your style of writing - makes one want to read further  :lamer:

Good luck - I know you will succeed  :thumleft:
 
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